In an industrial area of Brampton, ON, a suburban city outside Toronto, the office of Hi-Lon Glass is bustling with the morning arrival of staff, many with steaming coffees in hand. The playful banter one finds among family and close friends warms the atmosphere. This rapport should come as no surprise – many employees are indeed family, and those that aren’t have been with the company long-term.
Whether home, condo, office, or warehouse, Hi-Lon Glass has been repairing and replacing all manner of windows and doors throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Family owned and operated, President Steven Pilon is the second generation in the business – his parents started the company 46 years ago. He’s fiercely proud of the company’s history and of his team, “Family businesses and small businesses become a way of life, it becomes a very tight-knit group. Even the people that aren’t in the family become family. Many of our employees who’ve been working with us for 10, 20, 40 years, they’ve become part of the family.”
Servicing primarily condos and apartment buildings, the Hi-Lon family relies on a fleet of eight Sprinters. As window and door repairs require a myriad of tools, parts, and materials, cargo space is essential. With the Sprinters, technicians arrive fully equipped to get the job done. Pilon elaborates, “We’re really happy with the level of customization that you can do with a Sprinter. We’ve had our vans outfitted with shelving, interior racks, hooks – all these things to carry parts and materials. Our vehicles have gone from being able to carry tools and a few important parts to now being a mobile stock room.”
There are plenty of challenges when working with panes of glass, and weather is a major one. “Because of the Canadian climate, we’re subjected to snow, ice, rain, all the elements. Glass gets very slippery in these conditions. The fact that we can deliver the glass inside an enclosed vehicle improves the safety level of the job tremendously. The guys aren’t slipping in the back of an open truck or having the glass slide in their hands. The Sprinter has enabled the techs to become more efficient, more organized, safer, and, overall, just a better presentation of themselves,” explains Pilon.
Serving an area as large as the GTA means Hi-Lon vehicles cover a lot of kilometers. Pilon is particularly pleased with the Sprinter’s efficiency, “Our fuel costs are surprisingly low. Compared to our previous pickup trucks, and we had eight, the fuel cost is roughly half. I didn’t know how much it would be affected by switching from the traditional pickup truck to a diesel van. It was quite staggering. Every aspect of the vehicle has been beyond my expectations.”
When your vans become your mobile workshops, taking one off the road for maintenance is a lost business opportunity. Minimizing downtime to maximize profit is key – Pilon doesn’t worry about this with his Sprinters, “We don’t have to have the vans taken off the road to be serviced with oil changes and whatnot as often as our previous trucks, so that means more uptime for us. The van is on the road. It’s servicing our customers. It’s essentially making us money.”
But what’s most important to Pilon is legacy, and he sees the Mercedes-Benz brand as a likeness of Hi-Lon’s values, “It’s got a great heritage, a great track record, and it’s well known for making a quality product. There’s a level of assurance there.” As the company relies exclusively on word-of-mouth, Pilon, his team, and their fleet of Sprinter vans bring a sense of trust and security to their customers, “Happy customers are repeat customers, and that’s what we look for.”