How To Present and WIN High Dollar Estimates
Use these tips to start getting top dollar for your repairs!
Keith Cosentino: You know, you’ve got a lot of options when you decide what to do with your invoicing and your data capture for your dent removal or other reconditioning business. But the choice I’ve made for my company is Recon Pro by Auto Mobile Technologies. This stuff has proven invaluable. I had a mountain of paper invoice books stacked up in a room in case I wanted to look something up. It was archaic, ridiculous. Now all of my technicians are on iPhones. They scan the VIN Of the car; they enter a few pieces of information, including capturing the email for your customers.
It’s 2015. You need to be building a mailing list for your customers so you can keep them updated. If you want to run specials, you want to reach out to and touch them, you need an email. This prompts you to capture their email so you can send them the receipt which comes via email. No paper in the truck to get lost. You guys, this is the way to do it. There’s a lot of options you can take. There’s lots of competitors. But this is the one I’ve chosen. Check them out online, automobiletechnologies.com. The product is called Recon Pro. It’s no one guy who’s also a PDR tech building software.
It’s a team of nerds dedicated to making your life better, and that’s what you want. Check them out. Tell them we sent you over there. Recon Pro.
I’m Keith Cosentino. He’s Shane Jacks, and this is PDR College Podcast, your most valuable source for information pertaining to the paintless dent removal business. We’re going to talk tools and techniques, but we are mostly going to be talking business, business, business because that is where the money’s at. We want you guys to get out there and punch mediocrity right in the face so you can make tons and tons of cash. Shane, why the heck do you need so much cash?
Shane Jacks: Because, Keith, I am literally only 30 cents away from having a quarter.
Keith Cosentino: Only 30 cents?
Shane Jacks: Only 30 cents, yeah.
Keith Cosentino: A little bit of debt there?
Shane Jacks: A bit. Just a little.
Keith Cosentino: Well, way to bring in the energy there, Shane. Amazing. This show is going to be very good. We’ve got all kinds of cool stuff going on here, Shane, but tell us what’s going on in your world right now. Give us an update on the Shane Jacks.
Shane Jacks: I am working a lot, period. That’s about all I have the energy to tell you, to be honest with you. No seriously, there is a ton going on down here, Keith. The hail damage – it wasn’t a huge storm, not really big enough to bring anybody in because I’m a whore and I like keeping as much of the money as I possibly can for myself. We scheduled cars out ’til late June right now, and have about 50, I believe, on the books left right now. So it’s busy down here. Really good damage, but it just hasn’t produced a ton.
But with the contacts that I have at the body shops down here, we capture a very high percentage of the damage that is out there. So we have that. Still producing hammers. Still doing the retail work that we are pretty much scaring everyone away with right now, with prices because of the hail damage.
Keith Cosentino: Oh, bidding them to lose them?
Shane Jacks: We’re bidding them to lose them, baby. So we’re capturing less than we were. We were getting a lot of blinks.
Keith Cosentino: You know what? Those are great experiments because you really learn –
Shane Jacks: Yes, they are.
Keith Cosentino: – how hard you can push. Sometimes they say, “When can we do it?” You’re like – your shoulders just drop, like, “Are you serious? We can’t do it right now.” I can’t believe you said yes. I just made all this stuff up. The numbers are nuts. But they tell you who’s going to walk and who’s not. Oftentimes you’re right; guys would walk at the price you think is crazy. But sometimes they don’t, and you think, why didn’t I do this before? What questions didn’t I ask this person?
Shane Jacks: Yup. What else? Gosh, the little bit of dealer work that we do has just blown up. I think it’s kind of a karma thing that held. Now it’s just as much as I can do to keep up during the day to repair my wholesale and retail stuff, which we always stay busy, but I mean I’m literally running between retail jobs here and when I’ll take a car across the street to the lot or whatever, I’m running back. So I’m getting a little bit of cardio while I’m at it. We’ve got another local guy in here with me, that is helping me with the hail. And of course, my guys that work for me. So a lot going on, man.
Keith Cosentino: And none of your dealers got smashed, right?
Shane Jacks: No, no. None of my dealers.
Keith Cosentino: Oh, that’s a bummer.
Shane Jacks: No. Yeah, that really stinks. If the big dealer across the street gets hit again, you’re coming out here, Keith. It’s money.
Keith Cosentino: That would be enough to get me one of those John Madden style RVs and drive me on out there.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. The only – I don’t know if I could bring you out here. You and I can’t not talk –
Keith Cosentino: Go anywhere without getting swamped by fans. Is that what you were going to say?
Shane Jacks: Yeah. But you and I can’t not – can’t stop talking to each other, and it would be 9:00 at night before we ever got started doing anything.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it probably would be.
Shane Jacks: Because you’d be telling me how I was doing everything wrong, and I’d be trying to explain why it wasn’t wrong, even though I knew it was.
Keith Cosentino: Right. And you’d be trying to get me to go eat steaks for lunch and all that.
Shane Jacks: Mm-hm. Why not?
Keith Cosentino: Why not? Because the older I get, the more I look like Mr. Potato Head, that’s why not.
Shane Jacks: You have no ears at times?
Keith Cosentino: I’ve got the opposite of that problem. That’s for sure. So we’ve got some new iTunes review over the last month or so, so I want to hit those. We haven’t talked about those in a while. What is an iTunes review? Well there’s a lot of places you can listen to the podcast. You can listen right on our website. You can listen through Stitcher Radio, which is the easiest thing for most Android guys. Or if you’re on an Apple product, you use generally – you can use other things – but generally you use Apple’s Podcast app, and you get to listen to all the shows.
And if you like them, you can pop in there and write a review, or you can do it straight through iTunes as well. So it’s not that easy to do. You almost have to be a little bit geeky. So that’s one of the reasons why I really appreciate people actually finding their way through that maze and leaving us reviews. So if you’d like to leave us a review, that would be awesome. We would love it. And here are a couple of semi-recent ones. The most recent one says, “I’m just going to say thank you. You’re the best. Excellent information for all PDR people.
You always motivate me to keep learning.” So that is pretty darn cool by – you know, with these user names, you just make them up like an email, so most it’s not worth reading them, – but 1291Omar1978.
Shane Jacks: Thank you. Thank you, 1291Omar1978.
Keith Cosentino: He’s typing it in. He’s like, okay, Omar, taken. 1291Omar, taken. Gosh, dang. 1291Omar1978, fine, there. That’s how some of my emails are too. Gosh, is every email taken in the world or what? Next one, “Thank you, five stars. Thank you for being so generous with your time and for the wealth of information you guys share. You’re making us all better, especially at being business savvy in our industry. I find myself jumping up from a dent to jot down notes, a name, a tool, a website, etc. Thank you, Keith and Shane.” Who’syourdentman. Thank you, who’s your.
Shane Jacks: When you said who’syourdentman, down here, that is W-H-O-‘-S-Y-O-U-R-D-E-N-T-M-A-N, Who’s your dent man? I ask that question all the time at dealers.
Keith Cosentino: I bet. I thought you said, “I’m your freaking dent guy.”
Shane Jacks: Who’s your dent man?
Keith Cosentino: I’m your freaking dent guy. The last one we haven’t read yet is, “Another five star review. All techs should tune in. The first thing I listen to on Monday mornings. These guys are funny and very informative. I want a pair of Gucci crocodile too. Every dent guy should tune in.” P. Whitehorn from April 7. So thank you, PO.
Shane Jacks: He’s s liar. The alarm clock is the first thing he listens to in the morning.
Keith Cosentino: No, some guys just pop out of bed. High achievers. I need close to three, sometimes four hours of sleep every night, twice, then I am good to go. You wouldn’t believe it. So today, you know, we haven’t had a guest on the show in a while, so today, we have a guest. Shane, if you would be so kind as to introduce the man.
Shane Jacks: Yes. And he is the man. This guy, a lot of people follow him and his words and mainly his pricing. And he causes a stir with that, and he captures it also. So I’m not going to go – he’s from Virginia. Maybe some of you have figured that out, figured out already exactly who he is. It is Paul Cordon. I wanted to say Cordonne, but he’s already corrected us this morning. It sounds more French when you say Cordonne.
Paul Cordon: Yes. When I want to be taken seriously, I call myself Cordonne.
Shane Jacks: Oh, do you?
Paul Cordon: Yeah, yeah.
Keith Cosentino: Well, we’ll call you Cordonne here then.
Paul Cordon: Well listen. Just so you guys know, my wife is always mad at me on Sunday nights because I go to bed with my cell phone in my pocket and my ear buds in, so that first thing Monday morning, I just hit play.
Shane Jacks: That’s awesome.
Paul Cordon: I wake up with you guys. Figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t want to get Keith excited.
Keith Cosentino: Shut these kids up. I’m trying to listen to something important. I wish this was a video because I could make a commercial. But I picture you’re like walking through the kitchen, all the kids have their bowls out, and you’re looking somewhere else with your headphones in, just sprinkling cereal wherever it may land. Some lands in the bowls. “Here, eat this.”
Paul Cordon: And the whole time I’m going, “Shh. Shh.”
Keith Cosentino: I missed a very subtle joke.
Paul Cordon: “I can’t hear the podcast, kids.”
Keith Cosentino: Well thanks for coming on with us today. It’s an honor. We appreciate it.
Paul Cordon: Oh my pleasure. The honor’s mine, man.
Keith Cosentino: So we got to know Paul a little bit online, and for some of the stuff he was talking about, he was talking crazy pricing on the East Coast, which I’m used to talking it out here. And our buddy, Sal, down in the San Francisco Bay Area, he preaches it down there. And we didn’t have a big voice on the East Coast, and then Paul popped up and started saying, “Hey, you guys are crazy. Prices are good out here too, and they’re good everywhere,” just like we have been preaching, so we resonated with Paul quite a bit, and we actually had him out to our advanced seminar in person in January, out in Florida.
So Paul came out and shared a little bit about his perspective, and those were popular with everybody, so we’re happy to have you on the podcast and share your info with everyone who didn’t make it out to Florida in person.
Paul Cordon: Well, it’s really good to be with you guys, man. I really appreciate all that you’ve brought to the table. I think because I’ve spent the last 15, 16 years in the industry, learning on my own and through some of the advice of guys who’ve gone before me, how to do this thing, at least on the retail side of things, right and well. And then when I heard Shane, you, Shane and Keith preaching the same stuff that I’d been discovering and practicing for a while, not all of it – I’ve learned a few little tricks and tips here and there from you guys as well – and a perspective which has been really helpful.
That’s when I went, yeah, I’ve got to get behind these guys because they’re already preaching in a public forum what I know to be true, and like you said, we resonated. I resonated with your message and I was like, “All right, I can help. Here’s how I can help. I’ll just continue to help pound into the heads of the dent guys around the country and hopefully the world, that our craft, our skill is much more valuable than I think most of us understand.”
Keith Cosentino: It is the most valuable way to repair body damage, on a late model vehicle, hands down. There’s nothing else that can even come close.
Paul Cordon: Agree.
Keith Cosentino: And one of the things that you – I’ve been pretty vocal about, but that you changed my mind about, is a written pricing guide. I have been adamantly against it for a long time, but after coming out and talking in person at the seminar and you let on a little bit about how you use that guide – and we’ll get to that later – but you really kind of made me decide to give it another shot, and we created a guide based off yours there that you created. And it’s been a different retail experience. It takes some adjustment. It really does. From so many years of just giving a verbal estimate, it’s a completely different process.
You’ve got to set it all the way up. It starts with your phone call. Everything’s different. So I had some – a slow roll out when I was trying to adopt it into my company because we couldn’t just go from one day doing things the way we did, and with the verbal, and then automatically switch gears and use this guide because we didn’t really know how to do it. So I’ve learned a little bit over the last few months as we’ve rolled it out, on how to do that. So we could touch on that a little bit later as well.
Paul Cordon: Mm-hm.
Keith Cosentino: I’d like to hear what you do too. Maybe it’s even better because you’ve been using it longer.
Paul Cordon: Yeah, no. I’m really interested to hear how your process is going and how it’s changed things. But I think you’re right. You said something that I haven’t thought about, which is, yeah, the process, kind of the approach to the customer from the very first interaction, whether it’s an email, a text or a phone call, is different. You’re coming from a different, slightly different mindset, only because when the price is law because it’s written on a chart or a guide, let’s say – I hate to call it anything other than a guide – then you can approach it from, “Hey, listen.
I can’t give you a hard number until I see it in person because I’ve got to measure it and I’ve got to look at the measurement versus the chart.” Then you’re less likely to give – I give a pretty wide range. You know what I mean? Most people send a picture, and I take a guess at what size those dents are, and I give them a really wide range. Well, that dent could be anywhere from 150 to $575. I have no idea.
Keith Cosentino: You’ll go that wide?
Paul Cordon: Oh, I’ll go very wide.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah?
Paul Cordon: Yeah because honestly what I want is I want the car in person. I want the customer in front of me. That’s my ultimate goal. And if I can get them to just come and bring it to the shop without quoting them any pricing or a range, I will. But sometimes people are like, “Well, can you give me an idea?” For whatever reason. You know, their aunt wants to know the number because she backed into the car.
Keith Cosentino: I’d ask that question if I was going into something I never bought before.
Paul Cordon: Sure, absolutely.
Keith Cosentino: Let me know – I mean is it 10,000 or $10? Just give me an idea what I’m getting into here.
Paul Cordon: Yeah, and that’s why I don’t mind quoting ballpark prices. And I’ve had some people who have said, “Oh, I don’t want to quote anything over the phone.” I’ve heard that argument, and I can understand that. Obviously the goal is to get the customer in front of you with the car in front of you. But I don’t mind, if they’ve sent me a picture, if they’ve described how the damage happened and I have a general idea for what I’m facing, I don’t mind quoting them a range. And I usually leave the range pretty wide so that there’s enough unknown in their mind that the only logical next step is to bring the car in to the shop.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. I quote a range on the phone as well. People that say, “I can’t quote any prices on the phone,” that’s nonsense. You’ve got to be able to give somebody an idea about what the business is. You’ve got to say, “We fix dents without painting them, and the costs are usually somewhere between 150 and $400 for a dent the size of a half dollar or a quarter.” It’s not that hard to say, and it’s true, and you’ll get people in there. But if you don’t sell them anything at all, you might get them in there, but then their expectations are way out in left field and you can’t do business.
So it’s just fine giving a range on the phone.
Shane Jacks: I literally had a gentleman the other day, he said, “Can you just give me a range?” And I tend to fall more towards the I really need to see it before I can give you any kind of idea, but I will give a round-about, not as wide a range as what you just said – maybe I should, Paul – but if it’s dime-sized it’s 100 bucks. If it’s any bigger than that, if it gets up to a half dollar, you’re looking at 150 to 250. I will give that kind of range. The problem is, what a lot of guys run into with customers, it’s rarely what they say. And once the customer’s in front of you, you can prove very easily that it’s not half dollar size.
I had one the other day. He said, “I swear it’s the size of a nickel.” And this thing – I wasn’t here – one of my guys was here – and he said, “Man, this thing was so deep” – it was metallic – he said, “It looked like a BB gun had shot it.” And he said, “It was literally 3 inches in diameter, and the center was really deep.” Well, I had already set him up, and I always go, “If, sir, and this is a big if, if it’s nickel size, you’re looking at 120 to 160 or 180.” Of course it was way more than that once he got in here. But then you’ve got the customer in front of you.
I had a gentleman the other day, he literally asked me, “Am I looking at $10, $100 or $1,000?” That’s a huge range, you know, and like you said, Keith –
Keith Cosentino: Right. Legit question.
Shane Jacks: – yeah, it is, and it really made me step back and think, you know, I don’t need to be – it’s funny we’re having this discussion right now because it made me sit back and think, I really don’t need to be telling people I cannot give you a price over the phone. You can give a range. Give them an idea.
Paul Cordon: Yeah, and I think – I agree with you. I think the customers are always wondering – for me, the question comes up, well, are we talking about a couple of hundred dollars, or are we talking about $1,000? Because that’s generally the range that a repair like that will run, even with a body shop. I mean a body shop will fix the side of a car with a buckle in the door for 1,000, maybe 1,500 bucks, depending on how much they have to blend and all that. All the other stuff that goes into it. But for me, I don’t mind telling a customer, “Hey, listen. We use an estimating guide, and on our guide, a 1 inch dent starts at this prices, and a 6 inch dent will go for this.
And anywhere in between is where your dent might fall, according to what you’re telling me, if it’s an average dent.” But I always make sure that they understand it’s impossible to quote an accurate price without seeing the car because we are taking into consideration the variables of size, severity and location, which are always – you can’t know that from a picture. And then you’ve got to take in the variables of, well what do I need to do to get to the damage? Am I pulling a door off? Am I de-trimming an interior door panel? Am I glue pulling this thing 200 times because there’s no access to it?
Like I had a Ford F150 – it was like a Harley Davidson edition, driver front door, and you guys know, this is probably a 2012 maybe, 2011 truck. And you know Ford has the brace doors, you know, the F150. And unless you’re pulling the door panel off, which is easy to do, and it’s hard sometimes to get your tools in that bracing where you need to in order to fix something. And the guy came in, and he thought it was going to be a quick job. We tried to glue pull it. It was pretty sharp. Didn’t come out with one pull. And immediately I said, “Listen. I don’t know if glue’s going to do this. I think we’re going to have to pull the door panel off.”
So he brought it back another – two days later, pulled the door panel off, and sure enough, it’s right in a spot where there’s a brace and a flange around the door handle, and the whole door hand mechanism, and I was like, “You know what? I’ll put the door panel back on and try to glue pull this thing until it’s gone.” And sure enough, blending and gluing, I got that little dent out. This thing was the size of – I mean this was – I think I posted about this, and you guys may have seen it. I had a picture of a tiny little ding on a door. My thumbnail’s in the picture, so you guys could see the relation to the dent.
And I said, “Listen. This is a $200 dent.” And guys were going back and forth about pricing. But the reality is, if you have to spend an hour and a half glue pulling that or realistically an hour, glue pulling that and blending it and glue pulling it, and this guy literally said to me, “I’m selling the car if you can’t fix it.” Okay, so you know that it’s a do or die situation for the customer. If it’s going to take you two hours to glue pull that tiny little – I mean the size of – you know the one Lego that’s like the tiniest one that they make?
It’s perfectly round and it’s used for headlights and stuff like that?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah.
Paul Cordon: Okay, it’s the size of that. I mean in most cases, you and I wouldn’t charge $200 on that size dent. But in a situation where it’s going to take you an hour of glue pulling and blending, until you get this thing perfect on a black Ford 150 driver front door, you’ve got to get the right price for that.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. Otherwise you won’t do it.
Paul Cordon: Yeah, it’s about what you’re putting into it. And you know, so that’s my story on that one. But all of those factors, you can’t know that from a picture. And you can know that only when you – sorry, my phone’s ringing in the background – you can only know that when you’ve taken the time to do a proper estimate, look around the vehicle, inspect it appropriately, and take into consideration all of those things I said, size, severity and location, and how are we going to get this thing done? And when that’s spoken about, when that’s discussed with the customer, the justification comes into place in their mind.
And in this particular case with this gentleman, obviously he was – just like you said, Keith, “We’re selling happy,” and Shane, “We’re selling happy.” This guy was a mess. He literally meant it when he said he’s selling the car if we couldn’t fix it. And very Type A, very particular, and in that case, what are we going to do? Price isn’t the issue. That guy would have paid $500 if I quoted him 500 bucks. You know? And those are the customers that we want, and that’s why I preach you determine what quality of customer that you want.
Don’t let the tail wag the dog by your pricing, because if you’re selling a low price, you’re selling a commodity. If you’re selling on value, you’re selling a service. Sell service, guys. Don’t sell a commodity. You know?
Shane Jacks: The two lessons that I learned two weeks ago – well two of the lessons that we preach that came into play two weeks ago – I told you about this, Keith – No. 1, you talk about a range. I had this guy call, and he actually talked to one of my guys. I had my – I was on the phone and he couldn’t get me, so he called the other phone number. He says, “I’ve got hail damage.” He says, “Okay, we need to get in here and take a look at it. Have you spoken with the insurance company?” Blah, blah, blah, blah. And he says, “No, I haven’t spoken to them because I really don’t think it’s going to be more than $500.”
So my guy does well and he gets him in here, and he ends up having, I think it was $2,800 worth of damage on a 2000 model CRV. Okay? It’s silver. The paint is flaking everywhere off the thing. And this guy was anal about these dents. And it was amazing to me that he wanted it fixed, and he immediately, he says, “Okay” – my guy didn’t expect – the guy that works for me, he actually did the quote also, did the estimate.
He’s not expecting the guy to come back, but he does his regular sales – you know, he sells it like we preach, and the guy says, “Okay, I want to have it fixed because every time I walk up to this car, I’m going to see these dents.” And there were literally about eight dents on the hood. The roof had many more, but the hood, there were like eight dents, and one of them was a fairly big dent, not huge, but fairly big. And my guy was like, man, in his head he was thinking, this guy’s not going to fix this.
Then he looks at my guy and says, “Why you guys?” And so he goes through the regular, here you go, Keith, pitch. And he tells him about our experience and the shop and everything, and the guy has absolutely become a friend of ours, honestly. Keith, I told you this guy has been back here, I think, six or eight times, to the shop, since we repaired his car.
Keith Cosentino: If you just go ahead and let him take you out, he might stop coming by.
Shane Jacks: We’re thinking that may be something to do with it. He’s got a girlfriend. But he’s a doctor, and he’s got a couple of other cars, nicer cars, but this is his driver and he doesn’t want to look at those dents, man. He’s a quality customer, with a non-quality car. It blows my mind what some people will do. So you can’t judge. You can most of the time, you can judge a book by its cover, but this cover, man, was tattered and beaten, but the inside was – the guy was pure gold. He’s an awesome guy. Got his car fixed and it blows my mind. He wanted a range over the phone for the hail, and we told him, “Anywhere from 1,000 to 8,000.” That’s a huge range.
So you can’t really give a range over the phone for hail. That’s pretty much impossible.
Keith Cosentino: No, you sure can’t.
Paul Cordon: I had a customer this week – and this relates to your story, Shane. A lady came in. Actually it was a dent warranty lead through Ding Monkey. I don’t know if you guys get those out by you or not. But we see a lot of them. I service probably six or eight different warranty companies.
Keith Cosentino: You do, really?
Paul Cordon: Oh yeah.
Keith Cosentino: We’re going to talk about that in a minute then.
Paul Cordon: All right. Well anyway, so she came in with a dent warranty, and it turns out that the dent was not covered. Imagine that. And so I quoted her – and this was a – well anyway, I quoted her a price. I think we were at something like 500 bucks for the damage. And she did have a ding in her door that would have been covered by warranty, except she hadn’t filed a claim on that door. So I encouraged her, “Hey, file a claim. Get them to come to the table with something, and then we’ll fix the fender for you if you decide you want it.”
And judging – just like you were talking about, Shane, judging the book by its cover, I thought this is futile. This isn’t going to happen. She’s not going to want to fix this car. It was a newer Subaru, but this was the quintessential cat lady, okay? You know, I’m guessing she was maybe a nurse during the evening hours and spent all day in Starbucks reading. Right? No offense if that’s what your wives do. So I thought, no way. But it turns out she scheduled to meet two or three days later.
And when we were done, she was – the way she was talking about her car, I realized very quickly that this woman loves this Subaru Forester, a new vehicle, and will do anything to keep it as clean and nice as it was without the dent. And it just hit me, man; I’ve got to stop judging people by their cover because I do it all the time. I make a judgment call on somebody when they walk in the shop, and I go, “Yup, this guy’s going to buy, or no he’s not.” You know? Or I’m going to have to negotiate.
And you never know. Sometimes it’s the weirdest ones that just – they surprise you.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, you think you know all the customers, but you don’t. You know a lot more than most people, but you don’t know it all. Speaking from experience.
Shane Jacks: I had the “quintessential cat lady” come in yesterday, and I gave her a quote. It wasn’t a huge dent, and I ran it through the PDR estimate app, and it came up to $311, I believe it was, somewhere around in there. And she just kind of blinked for a minute, and she said, “Well, I’m unemployed,” so that was the end.
Keith Cosentino: So I’ve got time.
Shane Jacks: Okay. She said, “But I’ll think about it.” Because this is a newer car. I took it as, if I get a job making about 150K a year, I’ll be back. Don’t count on it.
Paul Cordon: Well the interesting thing to me about customers like that is – my first question is, what are you doing worrying about the dents in your car? Don’t you [inaudible] [00:29:56] something else? You know? But it amazes me, even though I believe – and I’ve heard you guys preach this – that we are a luxury service, no matter what anybody wants to say. This is a luxury service. These are not things that keep the wheels rolling and the engine running. You know what I mean? These are, hey, I love my car. I want to get this ugly ding out of it because it makes me feel bad.
Keith Cosentino: That’s it.
Paul Cordon: But you still have that occasional person or people who come in, that are not in the position to maybe afford a luxury service like that, and they’ll do it because they have such an emotional attachment to this car.
Shane Jacks: I mean we live in a – let me get a little philosophical here – we live in a country of luxury anyway. I mean honestly. In the grand scheme of things, what we consider mundane and typical is luxury in most other countries.
Paul Cordon: Correct.
Shane Jacks: So someone that’s unemployed is still doing really well in the grand scheme of things. And saying that, I’ve been to a third world country, one of the seven poorest countries in the world, every freaking body has a cell phone down there. It blows my mind. You’d think that’s a complete luxury when you’re starving to death, right?
Keith Cosentino: Are you talking about Chicken Lips or Temecula?
Shane Jacks: Chicken Lips.
Keith Cosentino: All right.
Shane Jacks: Haiti actually.
Keith Cosentino: In Temecula, everybody has cell phones and Ferraris.
Shane Jacks: But all they can eat is avocado, the ones that you find laying on the ground.
Keith Cosentino: And terrible prices. We’ve been letting Temecula off the hook lately.
Shane Jacks: Yeah.
Keith Cosentino: No, Shane. You do actually go to Haiti. I don’t make a joke about that. People think Shane’s all about just wearing his loud Gucci shoes, but Shane has actually done quite a bit of charity stuff, and he doesn’t make a big deal about it. But he’s the real deal.
Shane Jacks: Thanks, Keith. You’re going to make me cry.
Keith Cosentino: No, I’m not.
Shane Jacks: I don’t cry.
Keith Cosentino: He’s incapable of crying. I still remember the story about when your son had his foot severed off, and you just told him, “Well, that’s what you get.”
Shane Jacks: Yeah, suck it up, boy.
Keith Cosentino: Playing around with the lawn mower upside down.
Shane Jacks: The Honda CRV guy – I told you this, Keith, yesterday – I’ve got this nasty gash on the back of my leg from skin cancer I had removed this past week. He comes in and he sees a picture of the wound. He goes, “Man, that’s nothing.” This is what he deals with, is wounds, and he goes, “I’ve got this powder in my car that we put on people to heal them. It’s made out of – it’s powdered pig skin basically with some other stuff in it,” and he said, “I can heal you up in two weeks. I can do it right here in the shop if you want me to. It would be highly illegal, but we could if you wanted to.”
This guy is my friend now. He loves coming in here. I bet he’ll be here once a month, I guarantee it.
Keith Cosentino: Powdered pig skin is what’s left over at the bottom of a bag of pork rinds.
Paul Cordon: Yes, and that’s the good stuff right there.
Keith Cosentino: All you’ve got to do is sprinkle that stuff in there.
Shane Jacks: You have pork rinds out there, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: We did ’til I bought ’em. Yeah, they’re amazing.
Paul Cordon: I can’t do it. I’m a Yankee man. I just – I can’t do it.
Shane Jacks: What about boiled peanuts?
Keith Cosentino: We don’t have ’em.
Paul Cordon: Oh gosh, don’t even get me started.
Shane Jacks: Man, you two do not know what you’re missing?
Paul Cordon: That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever tasted. It doesn’t make any sense.
Keith Cosentino: But you can get them there, Paul?
Paul Cordon: You can’t get boiled peanuts up here, but I’ve had ’em. I had ’em – I was visiting my buddy, Jeremy Smith down in Tallahassee, and he bought me a bag of boiled peanuts and said they were the world’s greatest invention. And I literally choked them down, and then I ended up spitting them out. It was that bad. I don’t get it.
Keith Cosentino: I never heard of it until I went out there and Shane was telling me about ’em, and I thought, you’re making this up. A boiled peanut?
Shane Jacks: It was in Florida.
Keith Cosentino: That’s right.
Shane Jacks: Remember, we walked into a convenience store, and they had ’em in the convenience store.
Keith Cosentino: That’s right, that’s right, a little pot of ’em. And you still didn’t buy them for me.
Shane Jacks: Those are not the good – you’ve got to have them home made pretty much. Or there are little trucks on the side of the road on Saturday and Sunday, here, and these trucks are some of the first ones ever built, and the people are – neither one of you would understand anything they’re saying. If you’ve seen The Waterboy –
Paul Cordon: Oh, you want me to buy their food and eat it?
Shane Jacks: [Inaudible] [00:34:30], man.
Paul Cordon: Oh, boy.[Crosstalk]
Paul Cordon: Hey, if Shane says it’s good, I might give it a shot. We’ll see.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, don’t get those ones from the national chain gas station. Way too sanitary. You’ve got to get them from this dude who makes a living selling boiled peanuts only on Saturday and Sunday on the side of an ever-changing road.
Paul Cordon: He throws a handful of dirt in the pot just to get it the right flavor.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, that’s Carolina dirt.
Shane Jacks: We’ve had Tony Atonelli on here. He came out here a few months back, and went mountain biking with me. And going up to those mountains up in North Carolina, you go through some really hick areas. And so I’m telling him about boiled peanuts, and he’s like, “No way. There’s no such thing as boiled peanuts.” So we’re on our way, and right there on the side of the road, boiled peanuts. And it’s always a handwritten sign in like red paint with a 2-inch paint brush, and boiled is normally spelled wrong.
Paul Cordon: How do they spell it down there?
Shane Jacks: It’s got a Z and a Q in it. [Inaudible] [00:35:31].
Paul Cordon: Oh man.
Keith Cosentino: All right.
Shane Jacks: We live in a very backwoods area. Right outside of Greenville, it’s terrible.
Keith Cosentino: In your city though, it’s pretty – very similar to California, honestly.
Shane Jacks: It’s a very nice city. Greenville’s very nice.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not California, but it’s all right. It’s kind of like it.
Paul Cordon: Well, people keep their minds over there in South California.[Crosstalk]
Shane Jacks: You keep coming out, Keith. It’s because I pay you. You keep coming out.
Keith Cosentino: So Paul, when did you come up with that pricing guide?
Paul Cordon: Well, we had a pricing guide that was much, much simpler and less robust. It basically said, hey, a 1-inch dent usually goes for X. I think it was 150. A 2-inch dent usually goes for 200. A 3-inch dent goes for 250 kind of deal. And once I took over that shop, I realized pretty quickly that I liked to be able to justify with a guide to the customer, that these are what the prices need to be for this size dent. And so I got in the shop. I had a front office guy that was working, and he didn’t know anything about dents. This guy had – he was a PhD in physics, never worked behind a desk in a front office in his life, and fell upon hard times and needed a job.
So, he’s working the front desk, and I needed to train a guy who didn’t know anything about dents, how to estimate with a customer in front of him.
Keith Cosentino: Side note, plus 1 for PDR, minus 1 for PhD education.
Paul Cordon: Yeah. That’s right. Thank you. PhD in physics. This dude was a full brainiac, unlike us big old dumb dent guys. So anyway, I needed to come up with a way to teach a guy how to price a – some guidelines on how to price retail work, and in the meantime, also – I also believed – I wasn’t sure about this, and I needed it to be proven or disproven, but I believed that if we could substantiate and justify the prices with a written number on a guide, that the customer would be less likely to negotiate the price. And for those two reasons, I went, “Let’s make this pricing chart more robust. Let’s kind of extend this idea of pricing and size out, and then let’s start building out justification on the variables,” which are really, on the back side of my chart, I have a list of markups.
And those – really the only thing the markups take into consideration at this point are things like obstruction, double metal, glue pulling, high strength steel, aluminum laminated glass, contour lines, body lines, additional dents, and then sound deadener. I’ve recently updated all that. And so – because all those things – in my mind, all those things are reasons why, if we have to do more work, and we can justify it, then we should be getting paid more. We shouldn’t be doing a ding in a door that has sound deadener for the same price that we would do if it didn’t have sound deadener.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. It’s the same stuff you would complain to your other dent guy friends about. Hey, how was that dent? Ah, man, right in that fricking body line, and it had the sound deadener on it.
Paul Cordon: Right. And so taking that concept and wanting to try to maximize, justifiably maximize my tickets, and I wanted to make more money, I started developing this price chart. And I will tell you that it’s still – I just had another 50 of these guys printed because I updated the adders list. But in my mind, when we charge for a ding in a door that’s wide open and there’s nothing there, absolutely – and it’s an easy ding, you know, two to five minute ding, then absolutely the customer should get the lowest price. And the question is, you know, and this is a good segue into your price [inaudible] [00:39:43] talk that you guys did, but what is that lowest price?
Where’s the anchor on that lowest price in the customer’s mind? And so for us, we start here in DC, just outside of DC, at $150 for a ding. That’s an inch or smaller, if it’s wide open and there’s no obstruction, no other reason to add a markup.
Keith Cosentino: You know, just a little side step here, we’ve been using our chart that’s based on yours, and so a lot of the verbiage is the same. And after using it in the field, I don’t like the term adders because the normal work flow is that you’re going to start on one side and show the inch size and you have a base price. And then it’s like, but wait, there’s more. It’s getting more expensive. We’re going to add to it. So when I reprint, I’m changing adders with the word factors. So I’m not adding something. This is the base number, and then we consider these factors, and then we come up with the actual figure. So it’s just a small little tweak, but –
Paul Cordon: No, I like it.
Keith Cosentino: — it feels –
Paul Cordon: More palatable, right?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, yeah. It’s a little less, I’ll use the term slimy. Because they’re following along with me going, “Oh, okay, 250.” No, no, that’s not your price.
Paul Cordon: Just a little bit more.
Keith Cosentino: I’m going to see how many of these adders I can add. Like oh man, stop adding adders. But if you just talk about the factors of the conditions, you know – factors or conditions, I think, is a better term. So when you first came out, that fellow who doesn’t do PDR was using that chart successfully to estimate for you?
Paul Cordon: Yeah, absolutely. I mean he had a few mishaps where he wouldn’t go through the process to really get a look at the dent and look down in the door with a flashlight and all that stuff. But at the end, I mean he was pricing them as good [inaudible] [00:41:35] who really didn’t have skin in the game. He didn’t make a percentage on the work. He was just getting paid a flat salary, and his job was just front office, and if he needed [inaudible]. So it has been very effective for us, and I think I’ve noticed that I think once it’s justifiable, [inaudible] because it’s based on a hard guide that I usually say is fairly industry-standard.
So they know that I’m not one crazy dude in the middle of Virginia, and everybody else is starting at $75, which might be true, but I don’t really know. And I think in the customer’s mind, when they know that you’re – it’s based on a very sophisticated [inaudible] then they’re less likely to go, “Oh, that sounds high. Can I offer you 100 bucks?” You know? And you and I, Keith, you and I chatted about this a little on text about how much negotiation each of us might see on a regular basis with retail, and I think something about having a hard location factors in to that as well.
It’s not just the chart. It’s not just the justifiable printed number. But even so, I do think that the chart has something to do with that.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. You had mentioned that you don’t get very much negotiation from your numbers, right?
Paul Cordon: Not a lot. Yeah, I think you and I, the percentages are flipped on us from what you were telling me. You know, maybe 10 percent of our customers will negotiate and ask for a lower price. And these prices are built such that – and the markups, the adders – are built such that there’s room for negotiation there, and I will negotiate. You know, if a customer wants to pay me $700 for a $900 dent, I’ll probably take that deal. You know what I mean?
Keith Cosentino: Meet them in the middle, $800.
Shane Jacks: Keith, what percentage of people do you get try to negotiate with you, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, quite a few.
Shane Jacks: Really? I don’t get that much either.
Keith Cosentino: Okay, it could be the fixed location deal.
Shane Jacks: I just get people that stare at me and that awkward silence is there for quite some time. They blink a lot.
Keith Cosentino: Let it ride.
Paul Cordon: Do you keep smelling salts on hand? How much is that going to cost me?
Keith Cosentino: On your next reorder, Paul, why don’t you get some for us?
Paul Cordon: I’ll do that.
Shane Jacks: I’m probably like Paul. I just – I get very little. And I think it may be geographical location also, you know? Because I mean people down here don’t – if they don’t know you, they don’t speak to you. There’s not a lot of communication back and forth. You know what I’m saying? They’re almost scared. They don’t open their mouth much since birth to talk to people. If you’ve noticed, you get those few out there, that when they start telling – when they do get to know you – Keith has noted this – when they do start telling you a story, it takes forever to get the story out because they’ve got to tell you about their mama and their aunt and all their life story.
But if they don’t know you, man, it’s just kind of – you know, it’s look surprised, “Okay, thank you. See you later. Bye.” It seems like maybe geographical location has something to do with it. I don’t know.
Keith Cosentino: I don’t drink at all, but if you were going to play a drinking game, you could play one with the stories over there. And every time you hear mama or trailer or Camaro or any of that stuff –
Paul Cordon: Or boiled peanuts. Oh man.
Keith Cosentino: So, Paul, why don’t you, if you would, walk us through the process that you’re going to go through with your customers when you’re going to use that chart in person. Assume your estimator’s not there, and you’re going to deal with the first contact yourself. Tell us how you present with it. Because a lot of guys who we talk to, both via the podcast and via Facebook and in person, they say, “I just can’t – I can’t tell this guy $565 to fix this dent that I know I can fix in an hour.” It’s like, “I don’t know how to present that.” But we know there’s a whole mental issue that you’ve got to feel like you’re worth that money.
But let’s assume this guy has made it past that hurdle, but still doesn’t know the actual steps to take to present that kind of estimate. Tell us what you do.
Paul Cordon: Okay. Well first, let’s preface this by saying all of the things that you guys have taught about customer interaction, apply that automatically. That’s just an automatic. You’re looking the customer in the eye, you’re shaking their hand, you’re smiling, you’re making them feel like they’re the most important thing right now, no matter what. Because ultimately customers are people, and people want to be cared about. People want to be taken seriously, and they want to be treated right, just like you do. So take that into consideration, start there.
“Hello, Mr. Customer. My name is Paul. Nice to meet you. Thanks for bringing your car in. What happened?” Actually before I say what happened, I usually look at it, I take my hat off, I scratch my head, and I go, “Holy smokes, what happened to this thing?” You know, even if it’s a ding. Because they need to understand that we’ve got the solution, and this is a big problem. And then they usually say, “Oh, you know, my son hit the garage,” or, “I drove too close in front of a train,” or whatever. And then we look at it together and I say, “Well, you know” – I employ a lot of the tactics you guys have taught – “Did you catch the guy?
How did it happen?” I’m trying to get to who’s paying for the car, and also how emotionally attached are you to this vehicle, sir? And based on that, you know, I know kind of how to approach them with body language, with the inflection of my voice, and I say, “Okay, well me get the lights turned on and we’ll take a look at this.” Assuming – let’s assume we’re talking about a door that’s got maybe a medium to large sized dent in it. And I’ll usually ask them to roll the window down. We’ll wedge the door, we’ll turn a flashlight on and take a look down in the door, and I’ll check for weld marks on the sides of the door to look for any obstruction.
And I’ll explain this to them as we go along. And I’ll usually say, “Well, listen. We can probably fix this. It’s going to take some time. What I’ll do is I’ll measure the dent with the lights, and then we look at our chart, we see what size – how much that size dent goes for, and then we’ll add any of the markups to it, depending on what’s going on with the dent, and let’s see what the chart says.” Once we get through that process, I’ll usually be trying to either handwrite – at this point, I’m handwriting these things down on an estimate sheet. Sometimes I’ll transfer them over to a digital estimate at that point.
Keith Cosentino: But you’re using a PDR light to look at the damage?
Paul Cordon: Oh, every single one. Absolutely. You have to. There’s just no other way, I’m sorry to say it. But you can’t estimate any [inaudible] [00:48:42] done it. We’ve all done it. And yes, can you? Of course you can. But you can’t [inaudible] without a light, and I would be one that’s willing to say you can’t accurately estimate any car, on a dent in the door, without wedging the window and looking down inside the door. Because all of your justification of that pricing is going to come when you’re able to verify that there is obstruction or there is a regulator or there is sound deadener or whatever the case may be.
So once we’ve talked about the size of the dent and we look at the chart together and we talk about why there’s a markup on the body line or the obstruction or the sound deadener, then we kind of look at the chart and we write the number down from the chart. And I think what really helps to make it easier for a dent guy to present that number is 1) educating the customer and walking them through it, but secondly, referring to the chart because then the chart is the bad guy, not you.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Paul Cordon: You can say $1 million because that’s what the chart says. This is not Keith is personally trying to get 1 million of your dollars or 100 of your dollars or 1,000 of your dollars. This is the industry standard chart is saying that that damage is worth this. The other thing that’s helpful is that I always – I never tell a customer I’m going to save them money from a body shop. I never want to say that. I always tell them, “Hey, listen. This may be the same cost as a body shop, it may be a little more. In some cases we can save you from a body shop.” But when you get their mind anchored on the relation of our pricing versus a body shop’s then automatically, they’re going, “Okay, I know what price range I’m imagining.”
And when they find out that our estimate on that door dent is 675, and they know that the body shop just told them 750, we’re close enough. Okay, we did save them some money in this case. Maybe not. Maybe the body shop told them 400 bucks. Either way, it’s still within the general range. After that point is when I start to explain the benefits and the value of what we offer. Fast turnaround time, you know, saving the paint, saving the parts, save them a CarFax report, and superior repair all the way around.
Keith Cosentino: So I’m glad you shared that because I can already tell the magic is not coming from the chart. The magic is your sales process, which you’ve got down to a system, which Shane and I do as well. But a lot of the guys, they hear – you know, you’ll post a photo to Facebook and say, “Hey, this dent is something we did, and the estimate came up 4, 5, 600 bucks,” and then everybody will freak out. But all they’re hearing is the start and the end point. They can’t understand that it’s – and they say, “Oh, the prices are bad here. We could never get those prices.”
But the way you’re getting the prices is the same way Shane and I are getting these prices. It’s with a sales process. You’ve got steps. You’ve got a system. You walk them down that path. You help them understand what their options are and what you bring to the table, and the price is the last thing. And you get it. If you can do a good job of educating the customers and you believe in what we’re doing, which almost all of us at a high level do, you can get these “crazy” prices. But when you don’t have those steps, and you just holler out numbers like an auctioneer over the phone or in person, and guys walk away, it’s because you didn’t tell them anything.
You just gave them the worst part. You just gave them the punch line. You didn’t even give them the whole joke.
Paul Cordon: Well, and I think educating the customer is a double-edged sword in the hand of a good sales guy, a good dent guy. Because 1) you’re setting yourself up as having the superior solution and presenting the superior repair, which we know that we are. And secondly, you’re educating the customer for the future so they think twice the next time they have a dent, no matter how big or small. Why do I need to paint my car if these guys say they can fix it without painting my car and without sometimes getting insurance involved? Well, that’s the other thing. I don’t mind customers going through their insurance company at all.
I know a lot of guys say, “No, no, we’ll save you an insurance claim.” But you know, I don’t mind it. But the point is, as long as they understand that they’re getting the best possible solution that they can on that repair, and then once they’ve learned that, once you’ve educated them with that, they know it from now on. And hopefully that works. I think I’ve seen that happen. I think I’ve seen many customers who have had damage done that we’ve repaired, sometimes very large or severe. And they pass the word along to their friends, and you wouldn’t believe how many train wrecks that come in that I know I can’t fix, and it needs a collision center.
And then at least what I appreciate about that, even though sometimes it wastes my time, is that at least I got the first dibs at it, and then I can be the body shop next door’s best friend because I’m sending him work. And of course that secures my relationships with these body shops in some cases, and it’s a perfect solution. I want first dibs at every damage that’s out there before we send it to a body shop.
Keith Cosentino: Let’s talk a little bit about the insurance claims. Because we certainly deal with them here. But I don’t necessarily promote it for this purpose. It’s going to stretch my contact time out with this car three or four times. I’m going to have to see the car in person, give an estimate. They’ve got to show that to the adjuster. We’ve got to negotiate possibly, and then we’ve got to set a repair time. So when somebody comes in with an estimate and they decide they’re going to make a claim for you, I mean there’s a chance when they walk out that door they’re never coming back.
So I personally – I’ll do it if they’re set on making a claim or if it’s a really expensive repair and they’ve got a low deductible, I’ll tell them, “You know, it’s probably better if you do this.” But how do you solve that problem of capturing the work? Are you keeping the car there? Are you letting them drop it and keeping it overnight for the adjuster to come? Are you sending them back home? What are you doing?
Paul Cordon: It depends on the situation. I mean we do a little bit of it all. But let me clarify. I won’t necessarily promote an insurance claim. Usually when that comes into play it’s because the customer said, “Oh, wow. You know, I wonder if I should get my insurance involved.” And I usually say something like, “Well, listen. We work with all the major insurance companies. If you decide to do that, we can work with them, take our estimate, give it to them, and let’s go from there.” Sometimes I will mention an insurance claim in certain cases.
And those cases will be situations where I know it’s going to be a comprehensive claim, where the customer’s deductible won’t get hiked. For instance, anything that’s an act of God – and this is insurance company verbiage here – an act of God or an act of nature, where it’s going to be usually covered by comprehensive. So a deer strike, believe it or not, we see a lot of those, tree damage, limb damage, nuts, hail damage, tumbleweed damage, whatever it is.
Keith Cosentino: Avocados.
Paul Cordon: Avocados in Temecula. You know what I mean? That’s what I –
Shane Jacks: Tumbleweeds in Virginia. That’s a major.
Paul Cordon: No, we don’t have tumbleweed. But I bet a lot of the people in the Midwest do. Actually, you know what? I had a guy come in one time with a car that had a tumbleweed dent in the fender. He was driving abroad, and he brought it back home, and he came with a tumbleweed dent. I’m not kidding.
Keith Cosentino: We’ve got tumbleweeds here.
Paul Cordon: We don’t have them here.
Shane Jacks: The oddest thing I’ve ever heard – I didn’t see this myself – it was another local dent guy – he said – I guess this would be an act of God – he said an eagle was flying over this person’s car with a trout in its claws and it lost it. It hit the roof and put a dent in the roof. So he’s traveling down the highway next to a stream or lake, I’m guessing, and a trout hits his roof. Talk about an act of God. At that point, you’re probably thinking this is a biblical situation.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, repent.
Shane Jacks: And it’s raining – yeah, repent – it’s raining freaking fish.
Paul Cordon: Geez. I’ve seen some turkey hit damage, and I’ve seen an owl that hit a fender that left a pretty big dent.
Keith Cosentino: I did an owl. I was waiting to bust it out, and then you took it from me.
Paul Cordon: Sorry. Anyway. What were we talking about?
Shane Jacks: I want to touch on something real quick you said a few minutes ago, Paul, that was a poignant statement. You said that we had the superior repair and we know that, right? We understand that. You know what? I don’t think we do, most of us. You and I and Keith and several others do, but that’s one of the reasons guys don’t get – or techs don’t get as much money for their repairs. We hear it all the time. “Well, a body shop can do it for $100 more than that.” It is constant that we hear that, and that PDR techs say that. So some of us, knowing what you’re worth and believing in what you sell, we preach it all the time on here.
But I don’t think it can be overstated, honestly. Believing in what you sell, if you believe in it, you’ll be able to sell it. That was one of the No. 1 things that I’ve learned over the last few years, is that I didn’t really believe that my service was worth what it is. Now I do. So you said we believe it. Yes, us three do, and a few others out there, but there are a lot that don’t. So guys, just believe in what we’re selling. Believe that we are the superior repair. It’s happened a few times with hail with me. We’ve talked about the $1,200 rail two years ago, Keith, where the customer did not want their car painted, and we battled with the insurance company along with the customer to help us, to get $1,200 on a hail damage rail.
Because the customer understood it was a superior repair. We understood it was a superior repair, and we sold it as such.
Keith Cosentino: It’s amazing how you can not believe that. I mean repainting a car sucks.
Shane Jacks: All these guys are looking at is the cost. That’s all they’re looking at.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: If they don’t believe the repair is better than a body shop repair, that’s complete and total ignorance. And you’re letting that dollar figure in your mind – that’s all you’re looking at. That’s all you’re considering, if you think that we’re not the superior repair. I can’t think of any other reason why you wouldn’t think that it was a superior repair.
Keith Cosentino: Well, if you’re not good.
Shane Jacks: Well, that’s the other reason, yes. I’m taking into consideration that you’re good. I’m taking that for granted.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Paul Cordon: I posted a rant about two weeks ago about this very subject. And I was thinking about it, and I talked about the value of PDR and being a superior repair to any conventional repair, no matter what. Let me say it this way. The high quality paintless dent repair is definitely the superior repair to any body shop repair ever. And the reason is the best, the absolute best that a body shop can offer – okay, and follow me on this – the absolute best a body shop can offer in a repair, the closest they can get to pre-loss condition would be an all OEM part repair of direct and indirectly affected parts, and then you’re still stuck with having to respray it and not be able to reproduce the curing that they do in a factory.
So you’re still stuck with a repainted all OEM parts, right, and you’re not able to bake that paint the same way that the factory does, so it’s never going to be the same, no matter what. They’re stuck. They can’t. You know what I mean?
Keith Cosentino: It’s impossible.
Paul Cordon: It’s impossible. So right there off the bat, if you can produce good quality work with PDR, you’re better than the best that any conventional repair can offer. I don’t care how good the shop is. You know, how clean the shop is or how good their spray booth is or their ovens. You know what I mean? So take that into consideration because the truest form of pre-loss or pre-accident condition is what we can produce with high quality PDR. That’s the absolute truest form of pre-loss, pre-accident condition.
Keith Cosentino: So I hope you guys are listening at home or at work, wherever you are, and you’re thinking about this. If you’re thinking, gosh, I can’t get those crazy prices that these guys do. These guys are the fringe, you know, Shane and Paul and Keith and a couple other guys. If you listen closely, you’ll notice a pattern, and the pattern is 1) we are all in for PDR. We believe it 100 percent. It is the best repair you can do for body damage on a late model vehicle. End of story. No disclaimers. And there’s a sales process. We take time to educate the people. And thirdly, we can do a good repair.
So if you’ve already got the repair part done and you’re confident you can fix a car, you’ve got to start believing the other two parts, and then you can enter the land of plenty. But if you are stuck in your old ways, you’re going to stay stuck. You’re going to stay with your crappy prices that you made up or that you’re going off some stupid matrix that the insurance company put out because they made up. I mean how asinine is that idea? It’s like someone – a retail guy calls you or walks into your shop and says, “Hey, I pay 60 bucks for every panel with three dents or less. I pay 75 if there’s four to five dents.”
Like, well, it’s nice to meet you. See you later. I mean – but that’s what you guys doing, working for this matrix. I mean you’re just letting someone else dictate the prices, the revenue that your company that you started so that your kids can go to college, you’re going to let some other company dictate what your margins are. Crazy idea to me, absolutely bonkers. Most body shops are DRPs because they play the game. But there’s plenty that are not. I’ve got a handful that I work for that are not. I’m sure you guys do as well.
And are they as busy? Generally, no, they don’t have the volume. But do they make money on their jobs? Absolutely, or they’re not doing them. But talk to your DRP shops that have signed with their own blood on these contracts, they’re doing jobs below cost half the time just because they’ve signed into a contract that they’re going to let some other company dictate their revenue. Bananas idea. And we’re in a place when we don’t have to let that happen. But you’re letting it happen when you say, “I can’t get these prices. The other guys charge this.” You’re just letting some other entity determine how much money you’re going to make. Go ahead.
Paul Cordon: Can I speak to that?
Keith Cosentino: Yes, go ahead.
Paul Cordon: So one thing that’s on my mind, and I think that you guys believe this as well, and that this is kind of one of your goals – we haven’t talked about this, so I don’t know what your mindset is on this – but I truly believe that we have the opportunity, guys like us, other guys, like the guys who listen to these podcasts, and who I see on the forums, who believe and love this industry, I believe that we can redeem this industry, that we can redeem the pricing in this industry. That’s one of the big goals that I have in educating other techs, newer techs who are coming up.
Our pricing, especially in the wholesale world, maybe in the hail world a little bit, from what I hear, our pricing is our own fault. It’s a result of either us or those who have gone before us, not understand the value of what we bring to the table.
Keith Cosentino: It’s always us, Paul. You can’t blame the guys that came before you. It’s always us.
Paul Cordon: Right. But we choose to either capitulate to their pricing from years prior or not. And we have. Let’s be honest.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Paul Cordon: It is our fault. You’re absolutely right. Now I think that we can turn the tide here, but it’s going to take all of the guys who care about this industry, who want better for themselves and for the guys who are coming up in the future, to stand up and just decide that we’re going to price things based on what it’s worth and what we are worth, what this process is worth. You know? And I fully believe that in my heart, man. And I hope that – I know that you guys stand with me in that idea, but I hope the rest of the PDR world decides to do the same thing.
I know it’s happening out there because I get messages from guys who are going, “Man, I’ve just raised my prices by 20 percent and haven’t had a customer bat an eye. I’m making more money now. Thanks,” kind of deal. And I’m sure you guys hear that all the time.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and 20 percent is not that big of a jump with your customers, but it’s a big jump for you. A 20 percent raise. Who gets a 20 percent raise?
Paul Cordon: Well, I know a guy who owns a shop somewhere – I think he’s in Ohio – that just did. So there you go.
Keith Cosentino: It’s happening all the time, and it can happen for you. You’ve just got to make the decision and make yourself a process. Copy the guys who’ve got it figured out. Don’t just holler out prices. We’ve talked about, at my company, slowing down the estimate process. Did you guys hear how slow Paul’s process was? He didn’t talk about the price for ten minutes. He talked about the customer. He talked about the car. Moved the car to a spot where he can put a light on it. We looked at it – and the customer’s involved in that whole thing, right? They’re hanging around with you?
Paul Cordon: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Keith Cosentino: Do either of you guys watch this show called The Profit?
Paul Cordon: No.
Shane Jacks: I’ve seen one episode.
Keith Cosentino: It’s one of my new favorite shows, and it’s spelled profit like money. It’s kind of a play on words. But this dude’s name is Marcus Lamonus. He’s the CEO of Camping World. But that’s his current gig, and he’s had lot of business success getting to that point. And what he does is he goes to small business, guys who send a video in and ask for his help. Usually they’re starting to fail, but sometimes they’re stagnant, and they can’t grow. And he goes there, has a look at their business, and then if he thinks he can change it, he makes them an offer. And it’s usually kind of a sharky offer, where he wants like 51 percent of the company for a relatively low amount of money.
But then he goes in there and just cleans house. And one of the first episodes that I saw was this company in New York City that would buy your car for cash, called 1-800-CAR-CASH. And it had been around since 1968 or ’70 or something. The guy’s dad had started it, and the dad passed away, and the two brothers were running it. So people would just come in retail, and he would estimate their car. And the process he had was go sit in the waiting room, and I’m going to look at your car.
And when Marcus got there, he said, “This is not the way you do it.” And Marcus Lamonus comes from a car background. He got his start in dealerships, so he knows the car business. But he said, “This is not how you do it. You get the customer out here with you, and you show them all the things that you’re marking down. The wheels are curbed. It’s been painted. It’s been hit. The interior’s worn out here.” And then you can justify the price you’re giving them. But you’re just letting them hide in there. They’re getting more and more anxious the longer they’re sitting in there and the more you’re checking off on the sheet because they don’t know what you’re doing.
And it was a great parallel to what we do. When you involve them and say, “Okay, I’m looking in the door now. I’m looking for obstructions. Oh, look what we’ve got here. We’ve got this in the way that’s going to be challenging, but I can do it.” All the things that you’re going through in your mind; you just help step them through it, and that’s where a lot of debate has been happening also in social media about the dent depth gauge that we’ve got out now. Guys are saying it’s ridiculous, it’s useless. But then the other guys are saying, “No, it’s a tool. I’m getting it out. I’m showing the customer this dent is this deep. That’s why this is going to be more challenging than one that’s not as deep.”
It’s just another tool to help slow that process down and help them understand how you’re getting to that number. And once you can educate them, there’s nothing left to ponder or worry about or wonder. They either want to do it or they don’t. But they’re not concerned with are they getting ripped off? Where did the guy get the price? All that stuff, you take it all away with the right process.
Paul Cordon: You know, Keith, I know a guy who, he sold a body shop, a very popular body shop here on the East Coast, and now he is a consultant for body shops, and he speaks at the [inaudible] [01:09:19] convention and some ICAR things and stuff like that. And one of the things that he taught me was that in the body shop business – sorry, I think I have a kid screaming in the background here – one of the things he taught me is that documentation is salvation. Right? And now that’s a little farfetched, or a little stretched for estimating, but same concept. I think justification is salvation. If you can, in front of the customer’s eyes, if you can let them look down inside the door, see what you’re having to deal with – I did it this week.
If you can explain to them why, if you can explain to them why that presents a problem, why it slows you down, why body lines take more time because they’re work-hardened metal, why aluminum is a markup, you know, all that stuff, then the question marks come out of their mind as to why your price is what it is. Justification is salvation in estimating PDR. So just do the work, guys. It’s as simple as that. You know, take the time and do the work.
Keith Cosentino: It really is. It’s not always about the cheapest price. I just had a guy the other day with a Camry – it’s not the world’s nicest car – but some other guy had quoted him 175, another guy 200. 275 was my number, and he chose to use me. 100 bucks more than the cheapest guy.
Paul Cordon: Yup.
Keith Cosentino: It’s not about the price.
Paul Cordon: Nope.
Keith Cosentino: Not about the price. And we’ve all got 100 of those stories, where a guy’s got estimates for 50 bucks, and then you give him a $300 estimate, and they took it. But then there’s so many technicians that cry about, “Oh, my market is whored out. Everybody’s a low-baller here. I’ve got to compete.” If your sales process is non-existent or sucky, yah, you’ve got to compete on price alone. But if you can just get out of your own skin for a minute, and work on a process – actually write some things down on paper – make yourself a process. These are the things I’m going to do with each customer. This is the way I’m going to bring it up.
I know you’re not going to do it half of you guys, but there’s a couple of you guys who are. And I’m proud of you for trying to change. Do it because it’s free to do, and you make more money. And the advice is free too. It’s a total upside, zero downside. Why no one would try to change their process if they’re complaining about their prices, I can’t even comprehend it. But there’s guys that do it.
Paul Cordon: Well, I’ll tell you this. I’ll leave you with this story. I had a customer come in this week, drove a Honda Insight, and he bragged about how he paid $17,000 for it, and he loves the car, and he’ll drive it forever. So I knew I was probably going to be in negotiation with this guy. Using our chart, I estimated a 13 inch crease on his right rear door, horizontal, not deep, fairly minor, at $937.50 or something like that. And at the end of the day, he offered me 650. He said the body shop gave him a $700 estimate. And I said, “Well, 650, we’re too far apart. I can’t help you, man.” I said, “I could probably do 750.”
And he went, “Oh, I don’t know.” We settled on $700. This was a 30-minute crease, guys. It was obstructed, but it was still accessible and fixable. My point in telling you this story is that if you can get the pricing right, and you take your time to sell it, and you start at $937.50 on a 30-minute crease, and you end at 700, where he’s happy and you’re happy, you just – I don’t know how many guys I guarantee you would have sold that dent for 200 bucks.
Keith Cosentino: All day, yeah.
Paul Cordon: You know what I’m saying? So be prepared. It’s part of playing the sales game. Many times you’re going to have to come in high and know that you’re going to come down on your price with certain customers. But if you start in the retail market with your prices up there, it gives you that room, that margin, to come down and to negotiate with a customer. And in my situation, many times, I don’t have any pushback at all. Like I said, maybe 10 percent of those customers I have to negotiate with. And I think that has something to do with a fixed location. But the point is, you’ve given yourself the room to do that and to still make good money and make the customer happy. You know what I mean?
Keith Cosentino: Let me ask you a question. This is not a popular theme, but I have heard it more than once. What would you say to someone who says, “You’re ripping this guy off. You could do it in 30 minutes. You don’t need to bill him $750 or $700.” How would you answer that? I know how I would, but I want to hear what you would say.
Paul Cordon: I point back to the 16 years of experience and training that I’ve had. I point back to the fact that just because I can do it in 30 minutes doesn’t mean it’s not worth a six-hour repair. Does that make sense? Because many – and this happens in the body shop world, this happens in the mechanical world. Mechanics make X amount of hours on a job. It doesn’t matter if that job takes them 30 minutes or the two hours that it was quoted at. Right? That’s how the auto repair business kind of works. Body shops do it all the time.
We get paid five hours on a headliner, but it takes us 15 minutes to pull it out. Maybe that’s a stretch. Maybe that’s too far of a stretch, but it takes them an hour to do a five-hour headliner. Why should it be different for PDR, No. 1? And why should I be penalized on my pricing because I have 16 years of experience and I know how to do a 13-inch crease on a rear door in 30 minutes, even though it might take a new tech three hours? I don’t understand that justification.
Keith Cosentino: And still not get there on the repair.
Paul Cordon: Yeah. I mean you’re paying me for what I know and the quality that I produce. You’re not paying me for how long it takes me to fix it.
Keith Cosentino: Shane, what do you say?
Shane Jacks: I’m the same way. It’s that experience. I literally told a customer about a month ago, they said, “Why should we use you for this little” – it was a small dent, a fairly straight-forward dent. They had already gotten an estimate from another hack. I man the guy’s an absolute hack and will – I’ve literally heard of him doing dents for $20. I’m talking half dollar sized dents. Not doing is a relative term. Why should we use you –?
Keith Cosentino: Working on it.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, working on it. Why should we use you and not someone else? And there are many reasons there. One was, look, this thing’s going to be completely gone when I’m done with it. He may – and I was giving him a lot of credit for this – he may get it 70 percent out. No. 2, whenever you have more damage, you’re going to have somewhere you can come that can do the bigger damage. This dent is fairly straight-forward. We’re five times the price that he was. We understand that. But our experience – whenever you need to come back somewhere, you’re not going to regret using us from the beginning.
We captured that sale also. Again, I use the experience, the perfection when it’s done, because there’s – I don’t know about you guys’ area, but there’s just so little talent here. There are a couple of guys that do good work, but other than that, it’s really bad. And I use the shop also. I mean we’ve talked about that ad nauseum. I use the shop to sell it.
Paul Cordon: Yeah.
Keith Cosentino: So my response to the guy who says you’re ripping somebody off, is that there’s only two people who need to be happy in this transaction. That’s me and the customer. If they’re happy, and I haven’t misled them, I told them what I’m going to produce, and I keep my promise, and I told them what it’s going to cost and I keep my promise, there’s nothing wrong with that. If some guy wants to pay me 10,000 bucks to work on his vintage Ferrari and I get that thing done in five seconds, I’m fine with that because I produced the result that I promised him I’d produce.
Shane Jacks: We consistently – it’s about believing in it. I hate to go back to that again, but believing in what you’re selling. Do you guys wear – I hate to say this – Wal-Mart brand jeans, either of you?
Paul Cordon: No.
Keith Cosentino: No.
Shane Jacks: What do you pay for? You pay four times as much for decent clothes that are going to stand up, they’re going to last, they’re quality, they look good, da, da, da, da, da.
Keith Cosentino: Actually I have to give you a disclaimer. I do own a pair of Wranglers from Wal-Mart. And I got in so much trouble with my wife for buying – they’re for work, you know? I’m like, “Hey, these are all right. Dale Jr. wears them. I’m just going to roll around under cars in them.” She’s like, “You can’t wear these.” I’m like, “But I’m working on cars in them.”
Shane Jacks: Dale Jr. wears them because he’s paid to wear them.
Keith Cosentino: He wears them. He’s in the picture, Shane. He wore them once.
Shane Jacks: We buy our kids Under Armor, which is – how much can you buy virtually the same T-shirt for at Wal-Mart? It’s fricking one-fifth of the cost of what Under Armor is. I buy it myself. You know, we buy things because they’re quality. If you believe what your product is, its quality and it’s superior to others, and I truly believe that, Keith, you truly believe that, Paul, you truly believe that, that’s why we can sell it. We have no problems with that because we believe that our repairs are superior to anybody in our area.
Paul Cordon: Yeah, and I’ll tell you, I have a ton of happy customers who have paid what most people would probably think was too much, and I would argue exactly what you just said, Keith and Shane, that the only two people that need to be happy with this are you and the customer. And if that customer believes that what I did on his car was worth the money that he spent, that’s all that matters. Because honestly, it’s a subjective opinion anyway.
Keith Cosentino: It really is.
Paul Cordon: You know, what man’s trash –
Keith Cosentino: I’ve paid too much for a steak.
Paul Cordon: – is another man’s gold.
Shane Jacks: Dude, I’m glad you said steak. I’ve paid way too – I’ve cooked steaks at home that were as good as a steakhouse steak. I’ve paid, for the steak itself, a good quality steak, you know, 20, 25 bucks for an aged rib eye or whatever at the grocery store, cooked it myself, and then paid $75 at the restaurant. You know what? I would rather pay 75 at the restaurant because of the experience. I’ve got a guy waiting on me. The atmosphere – we overpay for things all the time. Everyone does. You go to McDonald’s, one of the cheapest fast food joints out there, or let’s say Taco Bell, you go to Taco Bell and you pay $1.50 for a drink. How much does that drink actually cost if you were to go to the store and buy it?
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: You can buy it in bulk for 20 cents for the same amount of drink.
Keith Cosentino: They’re getting almost 3 bucks for those now. I always pay because I like to drink water, but they don’t like to give you that cup, so I just pay for it because I figure it’s cheaper than getting – about the same price as getting a bottle of water anyways. But it’s like 3 bucks at some places for a large drink. What is that?
Shane Jacks: You’re in California though.
Keith Cosentino: What does that really cost?
Shane Jacks: Yeah, it’s like pennies –
Paul Cordon: Pennies.
Shane Jacks: – is what it costs.
Keith Cosentino: And there’s – and in my story, there’s another lesson. I pay for water that’s free. And a lot of times they can’t –
Paul Cordon: [Inaudible] [01:20:15] free.
Keith Cosentino: – they can’t wrap their mind around that I’ll actually pay. They always say, “Well we can give you this one for free.”
Paul Cordon: Because it’s free if you drink it out of the crick. Never mind the dysentery and all that, but –
Shane Jacks: It tastes better out of the crick around here.
Keith Cosentino: We can give you this little shot glass with no lid in your car, if you want, for free. I’m like, “Well, thanks for that. But how about I just give you $2 and you give me the drink I can drink for a couple hours?” But it’s worth it because that’s what I want. Is it a rip off? To somebody, it’s a crazy rip off. But to me, it’s a great deal. I get a drink with ice in it and a straw, and I don’t have to get out of my truck. I’ll take that.
Shane Jacks: You pay for convenience.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: And experience.
Paul Cordon: Mm-hm.
Keith Cosentino: Well, Paul, thanks for coming on the show. We could talk about this stuff for a couple more hours; I’m sure because we’re all passionate about it. It’s like a big round table. But I know if you guys take his lessons to heart and mix them in the cauldron with all the stuff that Shane and I have been talking about for the last year and change, man, you can make a difference in what you do. You can make a difference in the bottom line in your bank account, just by changing your behaviors and the words you say. Not even fooling with your tools and your repairs. Just the words and the numbers. It’s like magic. Try it.
Shane Jacks: That’s it.
Paul Cordon: Yup. And by the way, one of the major by-products that will be of benefit is you’re going to bring the industry up. You know what I mean? Because your neighbor’s going to be happy you’re charging what you’re charging. And maybe they’ll step it up and adjust their game as well. Anyway, thanks for having me, guys. It has been my pleasure and a lot of – thanks for doing what you do, sir.
Shane Jacks: Thank you, Paul.
Keith Cosentino: It’s our pleasure. Until next time.
Shane Jacks: Get better.
Male Speaker: Ooh, groovy, baby.[End of Audio]
Duration: 83 Minutes