A question I’m often asked is why is there such a wide range of prices when it comes to fire glass. This guide will answer that question so you decide which fire glass best fits your needs.
I will talk about four areas that drive prices, and where we align in these areas.
- What drives prices up
- What keeps prices down
- Why are some companies/brands so expensive
- Why are some companies/brands so inexpensive
- Where does Celestial Fire Glass align
What drives the price of fire glass up in the industry?
There are five main things in the industry that drives the price of fire glass up.
- Customer Service & Warranties
- Insurance & Taxes
Quality has the greatest impact on the price of fire glass. There are three main things that determine the quality of the glass; quality of underlying glass, quality of secondary treatments (such as mirrored backing), and quality control.
When selecting glass to use for fire glass, manufacturers have many choices. For example, the low-cost glass used for Coke bottles has a green/blue tint to it which is why this type of glass is often referred to as “Coke bottle glass”. At the other end of the spectrum, the glass which is typically used for aquariums is very clear and has no color tint to it. The aquarium grade glass is much more expensive than the “Coke bottle” quality glass. In between these two extremes, there are many choices in glass with different properties that directly affects the price of producing the fire glass.
After selecting the quality of the glass to use, the fire glass may require additional enhancements such as applying a mirrored backing or iridizing the glass (adding a luster finish to the glass). These processes are tricky and require the correct equipment to do properly. This equipment can be quite expensive to both purchase and maintain, but it’s an investment that is well worth the expense. Having the right equipment, knowledge, and skills to properly enhance the fire glass drives the price up.
Quality doesn’t only involve just selecting the best quality glass. It also involves the process of applying true and tested quality control processes to ensure that fire glass which doesn’t meet quality standards is identified and discarded. Manufacturers who strive to produce high-quality fire glass will have a documented set of quality standards and methodology to inspect and ensure that all of the glass meets that standard. Quality inspectors will check all fire glass throughout the manufacturing process, if any of the fire glass doesn’t meet the quality standards they will discard the glass (which will be recycled for use in other products which don’t require high-quality glass).
While many people don’t give it much thought, but packaging has a significant impact on the cost of fire glass. Much of the higher end fire glass requires enhanced packaging to be sure the fire glass arrives at its final destination in the same condition it left the factory. Providing this level of protection for the glass not only requires it to be packed in a plastic jar, but also for additional packaging around the jar to absorb impacts and lessen the stress on the fire glass. In short, the higher the quality of the fire glass the greater the amount of protective packaging is required which drives the price up.
Customer service and product warranties contribute to driving the cost of fire glass up. While a high-quality product shouldn’t have many warranty claims, this is a cost to be accounted for. Customer service is a more direct cost that requires staffing and training of customer service representatives. The better the customer service is, the greater the cost to the manufacturer/brand. Brands can range from low cost with no customer service, to mid-range with customer service through email only, to high end with phone and email support. Having trained persons answering the phones drives the cost of fire glass up.
Insurance and taxes are a hidden cost, but a real cost with a substantial effect on the price of fire glass. Low-cost fire glass is typically sold by sellers located in China where they don’t have to carry liability insurance and pay low taxes. Brands located in the U.S. are required to carry liability and other types of insurance which is quite expensive. U.S. brands also pay local, state and federal taxes; whereas, overseas sellers don’t. The cost of insurance and taxes for brands located in the U.S. is a substantial factor in driving the price of fire glass up.
Free shipping isn’t free, it’s included in the price of the fire glass which drives the price of the glass up. Fire glass is heavy, so shipping is more expensive than typical products purchased online. This shipping cost can account for up to 50% of the cost of fire glass depending on where it’s being shipped to and from, and how quickly it needs to get there. Typically, the faster the shipping time the more shipping costs the seller and the greater impact it has on the price of the fire glass.
What keeps the price of fire glass down in the industry?
There are three areas where fire glass brands can leverage to keep the price down.
- Mass Production
- Direct to Consumer
Manufacturers are able to drive the cost of fire glass down by producing single colors and types of fire glass in large production runs. Glass is produced in large furnaces where the glass is melted, minerals or other material is then added to the glass where it is mixed in to give it the desired color. Setting up and cleaning the equipment to produce glass takes a lot of time and effort. So if a large quantity of glass of a specific color can be produced in a single run, the setup and cleaning of the furnace and equipment has a smaller impact on the per-pound cost of the fire glass. The greater the quantity a manufacturer can make of a single color and type of fire glass helps to keep the price down.
While we spoke earlier about the cost of packaging driving the price of fire glass up, the flip side is that the cost of packaging can also be leveraged to keep the price down. Manufacturers can keep the price of fire glass down by minimizing the packaging and packing the fire glass into plastic bags. While this doesn’t protect the glass during shipping and handling, it does allow the consumer to buy fire glass at a lower price.
Direct to consumer is a business model where the brand sells directly to the consumer without distributing through wholesalers. By selling directly to the consumer, brands are able to eliminate the fees charged by the distributors and wholesalers and pass these savings on to the consumer. Direct to the consumer is a powerful tool to drive the price of fire glass down.
Why are some companies so expensive?
When shopping for fire glass you’ll see some companies with higher prices than others. The four areas which are most likely to be the reasons that they’re more expensive are:
- High Quality
- Excessive Overhead
- High Margins
- Wholesalers / Distributors
The brands selling fire glass at higher prices are most likely producing a very high-quality fire glass with premium materials. These brands are investing in the quality of their fire glass and packaging to ensure the best possible experience for the customer. Producing high-quality fire glass and getting it to the customer without damage or degradation makes the fire glass more expensive.
Another possible cause of high prices is excessive overhead for the brand. If the company isn’t operating efficiently and in the interest of keeping prices down for the customer they will have excessive overhead contributing to the cause of expensive fire glass.
High margins are another potential cause of expensive fire glass. Companies which enjoy high profits may be making the owners and shareholders happy, but are also causing their products to be more expensive. High margins could possibly be one of the contributors to making fire glass expensive.
Brands that distribute through wholesalers and distributors are adding a layer of cost to their fire glass. The wholesaler, or distributor, makes it easier for resellers to purchase fire glass to sell in their stores; however, this adds more cost to the fire glass making it more expensive.
Why are some companies so cheap?
When shopping on the Internet it’s possible to find many sellers of low priced fire glass. I don’t mean fire glass which is priced slightly lower than the market price, I mean fire glass which is priced substantially lower. Typically this low priced fire glass is lower quality and sold by overseas sellers. These are the three contributors to enabling some companies to sell fire glass at cheap prices:
- Company Based in China/li>
- Buying Fire Glass which didn’t meet Quality Standards for other Companies /li>
- Source Low-Cost Fire Glass
The first reason some companies are able to sell fire glass at cheap prices is that they are located in China. By being located in China these companies save on a lot of expenses that U.S. based companies have. The obvious is that labor is cheaper in China. However, there are other costs they also don’t have to pay. Such as Workers Compensation, Liability Insurance, U.S. Taxes (both payroll taxes and corporate taxes) and U.S. based warehouses.
The second reason they’re able to sell so cheaply is that they purchase fire glass which has failed quality inspections by more reputable companies. Instead of recycling fire glass which doesn’t meet the quality standards of the large fire glass brands, factories sometimes sell this glass in the clearance wholesale market. This way they’re able to recover some of their cost of manufacturing the fire glass.
The third factor in being able to sell fire glass at cheap prices is by sourcing lower cost fire glass. This fire glass is usually produced by factories that have little or no experience in the manufacturing of fire glass. As such, they are just entering the market looking for quick sales and are willing to discount their prices to get the sales. This also means that they don’t have the experience and quality assurance processes in place to ensure the fire glass meets the standards for fire glass. By sourcing lower quality fire glass brands are able to cut their costs and sell at a lower price.
Where does Celestial Fire Glass Align?
- Quality – we produce the highest quality possible and put it in enhanced packaging to ensure it doesn’t get damaged during shipping.
- Value – without sacrificing quality we strive to keep the price as low as we can ensure our customers receive the fire glass at the greatest value. Since we are direct to consumer we pass the savings of a wholesaler to our customers giving them the best value./li>
- Customer Support – you can talk directly to our team who are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time./li>
- Warranty – our lifetime warranty protects you from defects in our fire glass./li>
- Return Policy – While you’ll pay just a few dollars more, you’ll receive the highest quality of fire glass possible – along with a “no questions asked” return policy, and US-based customer service, and lifetime warranty.
Celestial Fire Glass puts Quality ahead of everything else when manufacturing our fire glass. With providing our customers with the highest quality of fire glass possible as our main purpose, we back that up with our second highest priority which is to provide exceptional customer service. We know that your fire glass is a significant investment and want it to be the best possible experience for you. We back up our fire glass quality and exceptional customer service with a lifetime warranty which protects you against defects in the fire glass.
But producing this very high-quality fire glass doesn’t stop here. We take great care in our packaging to ensure the quality isn’t diminished during shipping and handling.
Now you would expect this to make our fire glass very expensive. Not so. We strive to offer our customers the best value by being a direct to consumer brand. By cutting out the wholesalers and distributors we’re able to pass these savings on to our customers.
We also keep the price of our fire glass down by manufacturing in very large batches and being efficient in our business operations. By moving fire glass efficiently and in bulk we are able to focus on applying efficiencies to our operations.
The following table breaks down what drives the price of fire glass up, what drives it down and where Celestial Fire Glass aligns with these drivers. The red checkmarks are where Celestial Fire Glass aligns.