Electronic Estimating for PDR
We dive deep into the current generation of estimating PDR work with electronic applications
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 ReconPro 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 wanna run specials, you wanna reach out to and touch them, you need an email. This prompts you to capture their emails. You can send them the receipt, which comes via email – no paper in the truck to get lost.
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 ReconPro. It’s not one guy who is 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. ReconPro.
I’m Keith Cosentino, he’s Shane Jacks, and this is the PDR College Podcast, where we want you to sneak up on mediocrity and incapacitate it with a Vulcan neck pinch. That’s right. We want to bring you to the Promised Land where we reside, and that is happiness in our PDR careers. How did we come across this happiness? It’s with stacks and stacks of cash.
Shane, why the heck do we need so much cash?
Shane Jacks: Because money is something that you have to make just in case you don’t die, Keith. And I’m talking to Keith like he’s here, but he actually isn’t. Keith is out today. He’s got some sick family members, so we are going to be – we’re not gonna be solo today though, like we were last week. We actually have a guest today, and that guest, we need to introduce him. He has developed some tools for the PDR industry, not physical dent tools, but he’s developed at least this one tool we’re gonna talk about here today that will help you tremendously. It helps me quite a bit in getting money and capturing more clients, honestly.
And so, I’m gonna introduce him first, and many of you are gonna know him. Most of you are gonna know him. He is Mr. Raymond Sapp. How are you today, Mr. Sapp?
Raymond Sapp: Hi, how we doing?
Shane Jacks: I’m doing great. We’ve had some technical difficulties this morning, but let’s be open and real. Raymond, you and I have been struggling with this computer how long now? About an hour and a half or longer. But I think we’ve got it figured out now, correct?
Raymond Sapp: I think so too, yeah. That’s working great.
Shane Jacks: Okay, awesome, awesome. We are recording.
And again, Raymond, a few questions that I want to ask you before we get into the actual tool that you’ve developed that we want to highlight today. I’ve mentioned the tool several times on the podcast in the last, what, two months I guess. Something like that. And I’ve mentioned it just in passing, went into a little bit of detail last week about it, but this tool is helping us grow.
Before we get into that though, Raymond, I’ve got a few questions that I wanna ask you, all right?
Raymond Sapp: Absolutely.
Shane Jacks: No. 1, how did you get into this business, and how long have you been in the business?
Raymond Sapp: Okay. I got into the business in 1992. I was actually working for a company in South Florida that was training PDR clients. I happened to do mobile paint repair and touchup since 1988. I was doing that, and I was working for this company doing mobile paint repair and touchup.
But then they had a trainer that had just finished up his training course with the company, and then he came on, and he was doing PDR in the shop. And I saw what he was doing, and I was curious and said, “Hey, what are you doing?” and he said, “Paintless dent repair.” I said, “What’s that?” and he said, “Here, come here and I’ll show you.”
So, he pushes out a dent on a Monte Carlo in less than a minute, and I asked him, “How much money did you make?” And back then, this wasn’t a wholesale deal. He made $50.00 on that one dime, and I said, “Man, you’ve gotta teach me that.” It was really a no-brainer. If you can make that much money in under a minute…
That same dent for me – mobile paint repair and touchup – would probably end up taking me three to five hours, depending on the job, but literally having to wait for primer to dry or wait for Bondo to dry, and then blocking it and priming it again. I’m shooting the best color and then the clear coat, and then maybe sanding and buffing. It’s 30 seconds or four hours, your choice.
Time is money, and back then, it was very rare to have –Anybody in the knowledge of paintless dent repair back then was pretty scarce. I think Dent Lizard was one of the ones that was really hitting it big on the dealership accounts there in South Florida where I was at. I saw him come in, and he worked for about maybe, oh, I’d say 30 minutes to an hour. He probably billed about $600.00.
Shane Jacks: And you were hooked.
Raymond Sapp: Oh, instantly. It was, to me, I knew it was something that I wanted to do and wanted to learn, not necessarily because of the – just the time-saving factor, and the money factor was definitely, obviously, a major part of that decision.
I was pretty young. I was only 24, 25 at the time, so obviously, I wasn’t making huge bills back then. And coming from mobile paint repair and touchup, sure, I could bill some money during the day, but like I said, those jobs – bumper repair, bumper spot repairs – paid, what, 110.00 back then. My touchups were paying 35.00, and really I made more money on my touchup jobs than I did on my larger paint jobs, but we still had to do those.
But yeah, I was billing decent money back then, and I started out with a good company there in Florida called Color Crews in 1988. I did some painting for Chevrolet, since I had the painting skills, and a couple other body shops there that I did some painting for, but I really wanted to get away from the harsh chemicals. I mean, there were so many positives to doing paintless dent repair, I just instantly decided that’s what I wanted to do.
And I just put the blinders on. He put up a test tube for me, put some dents in it. I think I worked for 20 minutes on that first dent, and I mean, he really hit it as hard as he could. You’re talking worse than a real national training test at…
Shane Jacks: Not fair at all, huh?
Raymond Sapp: Yeah. I don’t know if you remember fixing your first dent. I do, and it’s a –
Shane Jacks: I’ll just go ahead and tell you, Raymond, I did not fix my first dent.
Raymond Sapp: Well, I like to say “fixed,” but it was sort of like “destroyed.”
Shane Jacks: Sometimes I still don’t fix dents.
Raymond Sapp: Well, I have my times, too, where it’s a challenge to fix that bigger, larger damage. I’m not the one that really chooses to do those. I kinda made a decision. A large dent repair is a really interesting and cool trend in our industry where you see really great individuals doing fantastic, phenomenal repairs. I’m certainly impressed with a lot of stuff we see on Facebook and videos, like Sal Contreras that he does some just amazing work. There’s a lot of them, though. There’s not just a few. There’s quite a few that are able to do those things.
I personally went the other direction three years into doing my dealer route work. I decided that anything larger than a half dollar, I was going to try to push to the body shop because time was money to me, and I saw where I was making my money, which was in the stuff that I could push in 10 to 45 seconds. And really, I try to bill those – honestly, you have to do a few things for dealers to keep them happy and adequately appeased, so…
Shane Jacks: Right. The landscape has changed in that sense, quite drastically I would guess, over the last 10, 15 years. Now, I know you mainly chase hail now, Ray, correct?
Raymond Sapp: I do hail. That’s mainly what I do. Every now and then when I’m in town, I have some friends that have accounts and they ask me to maybe go take care of something for them, but other than that, no, it’s not something I do on a day-to-day basis.
Shane Jacks: Right. Over the last 10 to 15 years, when I say the landscape has changed, I’m mainly speaking on the dealer end of things and a lot of times on the retail end of things also. The large-damage repair, I do a lot of that stuff also, and just some stupid stuff that 15 years ago, no one – like you said, myself, Sal, and Paul Gordon, there’re a lot of really – Manny Quintero – there are a lot of really, really high-level techs that are doing some crazy repairs out there.
And the landscape has changed. If you’re gonna do dealer work, you probably better be able to do that at least every now and then. You’d better be able to do some of the larger stuff, or they’re gonna call someone else. So, I think it’s a little imperative that that stuff be able to be repaired now because there are so many guys into it now, and they’ll come in and undercut you.
That’s kind of one of my bread-and-butters is I don’t do many dealer accounts, Raymond. I do very few of them, actually, but the ones that I have, I get paid a little more on the door-ding type stuff, but then I hit them hard on the big stuff that they used to send to body shops, and that’s what keeps them happy. And the $50.00-a-car guys, they’re out of luck trying to get into my accounts simply because of that. I have lost one, over the last year, like being completely transparent. They went with an in-house all-in-one. They will paint bumpers, do windshields, do rim repair, do dent repair for I think it’s $120.00 a car, and I’m like, “Good luck with that.”
Raymond Sapp: Well, and that’s one of those things that I was thinking about just now is like I really would like for technicians to be able to get as much for the dealer work that they’re doing, but it’s really up to us to explain to them what those things should cost. And if we’re not even sure of them – I mean, I tell people who might use my app for wholesale work, I mean for wholesale pricing, “Whatever you establish your wholesale ‘discount’ at, you need to be able to illustrate to that dealer what this would be if you were charging at MSRP.”
The reason why is because if we don’t teach them what those prices should be, then we’re not doing our part in educating our customers. So, this benefits us both because if we show them a retail price, then they know what to tell the customer when they do come in for one of those jobs.
Secondly, it anchors them at a price much higher than what they’re actually paying for, so hopefully we gain some, maybe, respect that way, some understanding of the technical difficulty of this job.
Shane Jacks: And a little bit of trust, trust that we’re not screwing them over. I mean seriously.
Raymond Sapp: That’s a big thing. That is a big thing. And it’s just showing them honestly what this costs. Well, I tell people to use my app for doing door-ding estimating, and then establish your wholesale discount rate already where it is. Put it into the app. I’ve given you the ability to discount your PDR or discount the bottom line, so…
Shane Jacks: Right. Now listen, before we actually get into that – we keep talking about the app – let’s talk about the app first. That way everybody knows exactly what we are talking about. So before we get into that, why did you make this app? And that’s abundantly clear to me, it’s abundantly clear to you, Raymond, but why did you decide to develop this app? Tell us what it is first, the name of the app, and what it does.
Raymond Sapp: All right. The name of the app is PDR Estimate, and the whole purpose or reasoning behind it, well; it was driven a long time ago by first seeing the matrix and instantly knowing that there was a huge factor missing on it, which was depth. So, that was my main thing. I was already maybe into hail catastrophe during that time, maybe three years into doing hail catastrophe, so my driving force there was a fair and accurate pricing standard, if there could be one, for paintless dent repair.
Shane Jacks: Nice. So, tell us exactly – well, before we do that, you made me think about something. This is a tool, Raymond. It is a tool to help you make money. Most dent guys are falling into this mental trap of “X costs X,” okay? We’ve had arguments with guys over – not your app, but the Dent Depth Gauge that Keith come out with, okay? That thing will tell you how deep dents are. And guys, they’re stating ad nauseam, “Well, depth is not on the matrix.” Well, it’s because you’re tying yourself to that matrix. You have anchored yourself to the matrix.
We talked about anchoring a few weeks ago on the show, and I’m sure that’s why you brought it up a few minutes ago. Hail techs have decided to anchor themselves to that matrix, and they are married to that bad boy. And whenever anything else comes up, they don’t believe in their mind that they can change the prices on this thing, that they can convince an adjuster or an insurance company, a customer, that this dent is going to cost more because it is not the same as this dent right beside it of the same diameter or the same relative diameter.
And that’s something that your app does. It does have depth on it, and it does help tremendously on not only hail damage, but also on door dings. I see the two, I see the Dent Depth Gauge, you can use it to kinda measure, and then use your app to whether it’s shallow, medium, deep, extreme. I can’t remember – you have four levels on there? Is that correct, Raymond?
Raymond Sapp: That’s correct.
Shane Jacks: Okay. And there are four levels of depth on there, and you could conceivably use that Dent Depth Gauge to measure it and then put it in the category. Have those categories predetermined in your mind, that if it’s over X, it’s gonna be “medium.” If it’s over X, it’s gonna be “deep.” Does that sound about right, Raymond?
Raymond Sapp: That sounds exactly right, and that’s why I actually built a tool similar to the Dent Depth Gauge that you and Keith have. What I did there was I did some measurements of different dent depths. I measured their width and depth, and then compared the relative differences there. Obviously, there’s some variances, but I came up with four different types. There’s actually a fifth type, which is “stretched,” and I didn’t see the point in putting a stretched variable in there because that’s up to the technician, really, to decide if they want to do that or not. So, I looked at it from reparable damage down.
So, yeah, that’s exactly the same principle, and those are the four categories, variables, that I found there. I could have simplified it into three, but I liked having that “very deep” category.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, and so knowledge is power, right? Well, you have to use that knowledge too. I love the term “knowledge is power,” but if you don’t use it, then it’s absolutely useless power, correct? It’s a battery laying on the shelf, is kinda how I look at it. So, these numbers, this knowledge that we gain from these numbers of the Dent Depth Gauge and using your app…
Your app is different, okay, and it’s different in that it uses an algorithm, and I’m sure you’re gonna explain that a little bit here. It’s not a matrix. It is something that is much better than a matrix, and it’s something that a matrix could not be simply because it would be 400 pages long. Raymond, if your app were printed out to every variable for every dent or every hail damage car that could possibly be out there, the thing would look like the new healthcare code book. It would be unreadable and too long, and you wouldn’t be able to find a dang thing in there, correct?
So, Raymond, your app is very, the word to use, honestly, I would say would be “comprehensive.” It covers dang-near everything. I’m trying to think of something it doesn’t cover, but it’s really comprehensive. It uses an algorithm, so it’s not a 1 to 5. It’s a 1, or a 2, or a 3, or a 4, or a 5, and then it’s a this-depth, this-diameter. So, you’re not – and I’m sure your 1, well, I know it for a fact, your 1 is the 75.00, the 2 is a little more, the 3 is a little more than that, so you’re getting more money out of this thing, and it only makes common sense. It’s not really that hard to convince an adjuster that two dents should be a little more money than one dent. It’s kind of common sense.
Raymond Sapp: Honestly, I haven’t had any issues with adjusters with the app. Actually, they’ve embraced it pretty well. They like the fact that it’s up-front with them on the count and the access, the material, the panel, if you edit that. It shows them in the images and the captioning. But there’s actually room for improvement with anything, but as far as an acceptance by the insurance adjusters, the biggest question mark I have is that, one, they’ve never seen it before, and two, it’s just unlike the matrix.
But as far as acceptance, even the DRPs that I’m at right now, and the shop that I’m at, they’ve actually loved it and followed it to the penny. Everything’s been approved that I’ve done on it. And it’s made me a lot more money, and that’s the key thing. It’s gonna make you more money. I want everyone to make fair, reasonable money, but it’s up to you to decide what your rate is, so you establish a foundation for you to grow on. Their biggest –
Shane Jacks: Let’s talk about that, Ray, the rate. You kinda just brushed by that. What do you mean “establish your rate”? I know what you’re talking about. Everybody else doesn’t. So in your app, you establish your own rate, correct?
Raymond Sapp: Correct. I designed the formula algorithm to work well with our local-area body shop rates. But it’s entirely up to – but it doesn’t use an hourly rate for PDR, just so everyone understands this. It’s a formula, and it’s a very complex formula. And if you saw the spreadsheet, it would probably take up four screens on your computer. That’s how big it is. If you put them all together, it’s like a 42” TV screen to view it all. And so, it’s that complex.
A lot of the guys I talk to did not want to go to an hourly rate, and I completely agreed with that, and so I had to come up with a way that would actually function and work like a, but not actually be, an hourly per se rate for PDR. So, it works in the background as it utilizes the area labor rate or the labor rate that you put into the application. And with those numbers, you can actually grow with inflation. You have an inflationary measurement, so your business doesn’t start to lose money next year when everything costs 2 percent more and you’re still down here at 2 percent less.
And the local labor rate in your area, I’m not sure what yours is there in South Carolina, maybe 46.00 to 48.00.
Shane Jacks: The body labor rate is, for independents, is 46.00, DRP is 44.00. That’s the body labor rate. Mechanical is – oh gosh, you know what? I don’t even know what mechanical is. But that’s the body labor.
Raymond Sapp: 100.00-plus probably on mechanical.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, it’s 100.00-plus, yeah.
Raymond Sapp: Here’s the thing. I talked to someone about this yesterday. If we looked at inflation and we go back, your labor rate there should be 60.00 to 65.00, right now, if everything followed current inflation from 20 years ago.[Begin Commercial]
Keith Cosentino: Let’s talk a little bit about hot glue specific for paintless dent removal. What kind are you using? You know, you can get a decent pull from any type of glue. I mean any. You can go get some stuff from the craft store. You can get stuff from Wal-Mart. In fact, I used Wal-Mart glue for a long time. Before I really got into the manufacturing side of PDR, Wal-Mart glue was my glue. You know what I thought? All these colored glues are fancy ways to trick me out of money. How much better can they work?
Well, to some degree, I was right. Some of those colors suck, and they’re there just to take your money. However, once I opened my eyes and got some of the samples of glues that were the real deal, glues that really did work better, I thought, “Holy smokes! Here I am again, doubting the technical progress of our trade. Just because something looks different doesn’t mean it’s not better. It doesn’t mean it’s a scam.”
So, I started using colored glues. I found two that worked amazingly: green glue and the pink glue, and we stock both of them on BlackplaguePDR.com. But I wanted a glue that worked even better than that. Now, can a glue work too good? Yes. Super Glue and Liquid Nails work too good. They will take the paint off the car. That’s not what we’re after. It’s a fine line of maximum adhesion but not going over the top and ripping the paint off the car, putting us further back than we started in the first place. We want to leave the paint on the car.
So, we need something that doesn’t have maximum adhesion for a hot-metal glue. There’s a lot of glues out there that are made for construction and manufacturing that’d make this glue look like it doesn’t work, our glues that we use, but we have a specific purpose, and we need to find the maximum adhesion we can get out of those conditions, and that’s what we’ve done with our new line of glue, TabWeld.
TabWeld is the new standard for PDR. You don’t think it can get better because what you’re using works now, but if you want to function at the highest level, you gotta squeeze the last 2, 3, 5, 10 percent of performance out that everyone else is leaving. It’s just like racing cars. Everything has to be dialed if you wanna go faster than the other guy. And if you wanna do a better repair with less pulls, or do a repair that someone else said couldn’t be done, you’ve gotta have the best tools.
And glue is so stinking cheap for how much you use. I did a $600.00 repair the other day. I was on it for four hours, and I used two sticks of TabWeld the whole time, and I glue pulled the whole time. It’s not a lot of money to put in, and there’s almost no other expenses in our business. Stop being shortsighted. Buy the glue that’s gonna make your life easier and more profitable.
Don’t forget, that’s what I’m all about in this business, making more money. And if you’re using the right tools, you’re gonna make more of it, I can promise you that. You got the right lights, you got the right tools, you got the right tabs and the right glues, and you know how to use it all, magic happens.
So, that’s what I’m trying to tell you about. There’s a glue that works better than what you’re using now, and it’s called TabWeld. It’s still in an early-release stage. We’ve got samples out right now. If you buy anything on BlackplaguePDR.com, you’re gonna get a sample. You can go on there and just pick the sample if you want; you’ve gotta pay for shipping if you do that. But very shortly here, in a matter of weeks, the TabWeld is gonna be released full steam ahead, and you can have as much of it as you’d like.
Check out the website, TabWeld.com. You can pop yourself onto our mailing list there so you can be notified the minute we are releasing it. But we’ve got some exciting stuff coming out with that. You are going to be impressed, I promise you, and if you don’t like it, I’ll buy it back because I use it every single day. I can’t have enough of it. So, buy it, enjoy it, make more money. TabWeld.com.[End Commercial]
Raymond Sapp: You would be at 60.00 to $65.00 right now, but unfortunately, the insurance companies, they will stifle that because they have these agreements, DRP agreements, and it really bogs down our –
Shane Jacks: Our acceptance of it, honestly. It’s the body shops, and they accept it. They push down with the DRP, and they accept it. They’ll always find someone to do it for cheaper. That’s why the mechanical rate is so high, because, I mean, the insurance isn’t regulating it, stifling it, at all.
Raymond Sapp: They’re very good at auditing what’s going on. They have a very good grasp of the current trend in their industry and they know what’s happening, so they make adjustments accordingly to save money. And that’s really, hopefully, we can turn the tables, and we can start paying attention and listening. PDR College does a lot of that for us. It gives us the opportunity to stay in touch with what is the trend in our industry.
Shane Jacks: Um-hum. And again, this thing, your app, PDR Estimate, Raymond, is a tool. I’m gonna keep saying that over and over and over again. And it’s an effective tool, just like a glue tab or a dent tool you have, the Dent Depth Gauge. Some of these new tools that are coming out, like your app and like the Dent Depth Gauge, will meet a little bit of resistance simply because it is so radically different than what we’ve had before, and we’ve gotta change our mind. Our minds are anchored back to the old ways. Anchoring is not just a monetary thing. Man, once you get your mind set in a certain way, it’s really hard to change.
But, Raymond, man, this app has worked for me tremendously for several reasons, and if you’ll just give me just one minute, I’m gonna go through a few of those reasons. I didn’t actually write them down, so this is kind of just off the cuff.
No. 1, you put that rate in there – okay, when I walk outside, Raymond, before I had your app, I would look at a dent, and I would go, “It’s about” – there’s the first problem – “It’s about 6” long,” okay. And then I’ll go, “It’s not that deep.” I didn’t have the Dent Depth Gauge.
Raymond Sapp: Keep talking yourself out of money, huh?
Shane Jacks: Yeah, keep talking yourself out of money, but do you know why? The main reason is because it’s easy. It’s easy. When you’re busy, it’s easy to go out there and go, “Ah, this, I can make money at X,” okay, and it’s easy to do that. It’s not smart in the least bit, but it is easy to do that.
So with this app, I go out there, I measure the thing, I literally measure it. Most of the time, honestly, I just measure it with my hand. My thumb to the middle of my finger is barely, when I spread my hand, is barely over 9” long, so I’ll kind of adjust that, right, so I can use kind of about how long, and I actually fudge a little over most of the time, so I’m erring on my side on that.
So, I will put it into your app, Raymond, if it’s a crease that is 8” long. I’ll put all the customer information in. I get their email, which looks really professional when you ask for all this information.
Before, I was walking out going, “Hey, Mr. Bob. Yeah, that dent’s about 4” long. It’s not too deep. It’s a pretty decent dent. It’s going to cost you $220.00,” and I had no idea where I was getting that price from other than past experience, right? That’s the only thing we have to go by if we’re not using something concrete.
And they don’t have anything concrete in their minds. They just think you’re pulling that number out of your wazoo also. So now with the app, I go out and I say, “Okay, Mr. Bob, your dent is 4” long. It is one dent.” I’m speaking to Raymond’s app, so I pull up one dent. I say it’s medium depth, it’s 4” long, and according to the base, my profile and what I put in as my rate, a number pops up, okay? And that number is never $200.00, right, Raymond? It’s always 247.50 or something like that, most of the time, most of the time.
And so then I email that to them. I will often email it to myself and then print from my computer here, or I will print it from the computer – not from my computer – from my printer here, my air printer, and give them this four-page really professional-looking, looks like a body shop estimate. Okay? That is another impressive thing, Raymond. The estimate that it gives looks professional. It doesn’t have my letterhead at the top, left rear door dent, 4”, 275.00.
No, this thing, it breaks it all down. It looks like a typical body shop estimate, and it looks professional, and it’s a hard number on a piece of paper from an app. And to the customer, it appears that you’re just not pulling that out of your rear, and that helps a ton.
Raymond Sapp: That’s the first thing that I noticed when we were doing testing. I had a customer send me an email and had a few dents, and so I was excited because we’d just finished the first build run, and so I’m gonna take it over. I have it installed on my phone. I go over. I put the VIN in, decode it, make sure I’ve got the right vehicle, enter the variables really quick. It gave me the price, 220.00 total, I think it was. Put in the discount for him. I felt like giving him a discount. It was fair, good-sized job for me, so I gave him a little discount. I put that into the app and showed him, and he goes, “You got that out of your phone?” And he was instantly sold.
I didn’t have to sell it because – and I didn’t have to back up my price with anything because it was coming out of my phone. The trust was established instantly because it wasn’t just me giving him the price out of thin air. It actually was derived from another trustworthy device, our phone, something we put a lot of investment into.
Shane Jacks: Right. It looks official. I mean, to a customer, it looks official instead of a redneck dude named Shane just spitting him a number out of his mouth. It looks official.
And that’s another thing I do, Raymond, on almost every one of these that I give to people from your app, the estimate – I knock a little bit off. People love discounts; you know what I’m saying? You can adjust the rate so you’re still making the money you need to make, correct?
Raymond Sapp: Yeah.
Shane Jacks: Man, it’s literally 90 percent of the time I will give them a little bit of a discount. It may not be much. It may be $12.00. If it comes up to 270.00, 280.00, I may say, “You know what? I think I can do that thing for 260.00,” and that helps sell also. That’s a whole other issue.
But yeah, the professionalism of your app and how it makes a business look professional, it can’t be understated, Raymond.
Raymond Sapp: Well, I appreciate that. The more it gets out there, I think the more that people will understand how to use this tool for their benefit, and not just on a personal level, but for the industry’s benefit too. My whole goal here was to really help with this standard that we were missing. I really didn’t set out to do door dings, per se. I always had this perception, maybe false perception, that door ding pricing couldn’t really be done. I was like, “How?” I couldn’t fathom how, so I thought, “Well, that’s always something that should be” – and it still is, even with my app – it’s left to the discretion of the tech to ultimately make that decision.
I still want you to be able to do that, so there’s a manual pricing there. If you don’t like what you get from the app on the calculator, simply touch the Manual button and enter your price, even adding up time. And the customer isn’t always aware of what you’re saying. If it says 250.00 and you think it should be 325.00, then – because of whatever reason – it’s right there. It’s be a little quickly to simply just enter your manual pricing, and you can explain that to the customer or however you want to handle it.
But the main thing was it’s something that I wasn’t really sure could even happen, technically. But fortunately, the algorithm worked for this. And that’s the amazing part for me. I’d set out maybe more along the lines of hail appraising and hail estimating, and lo and behold, it actually works fantastic for door dings because – at least that’s what I’ve found, for me. It works really good for the one-dent estimating. And it can be two that equal 30”, but it still works.
Shane Jacks: I think it works wonderfully. I think you’re underselling it for the door dings. For me, Raymond, it’s working really well. There are actually a few times when myself and a guy that works for me – he’s in training. He’s been doing this right at a year now, but he still goes out with me a lot of times when we’re not stupid crazy busy, which is not very often. He will still go out with me during estimates, which is a little bit intimidating for the customer, two people standing there, but I will have him standing kind of far back, and I will have him watching also, and telling me how long it is, how deep it is, whatever.
And then the price comes up, and we both look at it, and we give the customer their estimate. We print it off in here. They’ve got this official-looking estimate. And then when they walk away, my guy goes, “Man, I didn’t know it was gonna come up that high.” I was like, “Heck yeah! That’s what this thing is for.” And, man, it works really well. I’m using it quite a bit.
You told me this past week, Raymond, that you had a – is it a Mercedes that you’ve got this massive estimate on? Is that correct?
Raymond Sapp: Yeah.
Shane Jacks: Can you go through that? If you don’t wanna talk numbers, that’s fine, but if you do, it’d be awesome.
Raymond Sapp: No, I don’t mind. The current shop, though, man, is a pretty high prediction type of high-quality body shop, and it’s been really working really well. Well, we have a couple of in-house DRPs there, and I had an estimate, but one of the companies wanted – the customer really wanted PDR. They didn’t want to paint their vehicle. It’s a Mercedes-Benz GL550. Retail value on those vehicles start at 85 to 115, I think, but it was a used 2012, so worth about 55 to 60.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I don’t remember what I paid for my last brand-new S550. It was a lot. I just stroked a check for it.
Raymond Sapp: There you go.
Shane Jacks: That’s a complete joke, by the way.
Raymond Sapp: Well, I’m trying to set up the scene for you because I really wouldn’t have known exactly what to charge for this car, you know what I mean? Because I wasn’t sure. I could guess that the hood was probably gonna be about a $2,500.00 replacement. I could guess that the roof was gonna be maybe a 3 to $4,000.00 replacement. There’s these things that we don’t know, especially with European cars, but I didn’t really concern myself or necessarily worry about that.
I did use the local-area labor rate here, which was 46.00, to my chagrin, but I just wanted to establish the dent count, the depth, and how many – I mean, and the width, which the nice thing about the app is with how anything should be a quarter. Why we have dime or nickels on a matrix, I’m not sure, but the app uses 1” or less, 2” or less, and groups it into those types of ranges. So, the nice thing is I didn’t have to explain that, and we didn’t have to argue about they were all basically 1”, maybe with some oversize.[Begin Commercial]
Keith Cosentino: Are you trying to stay on the cutting edge of paintless dent removal when it comes to your tools? Well, if so, you need to make sure you have two things in your arsenal. One is a Shane Jacks Jackhammer blending hammer. Find it at BlendingHammerPDR.com. If you want to learn blending, we’ve got an awesome tutorial to go along with the hammer right there on the site. You’re gonna love it, you’re gonna learn something, and you’re gonna get better and make money.
In addition to the hammer, if you are doing any glue pulling, you need to have the Blackplague Crease Tabs. It’s a six-piece crease pulling set. The two largest are absolute monsters. They are gonna pull out collision damage like nothing else you’ve got available. And the smaller sizes are gonna be for the normal everyday kinda door edges and minor, minor collision dents, and a dog leg, and a bottom of a door. I’m telling you, guys, it is going to change the way you do your repairs when you have the cutting-edge tools, and these are two of them. BlackplaguePDR.com, BlendingHammerPDR.com. Check out the sites, guys. Bring yourselves into the 21st century.[End Commercial]
Raymond Sapp: I would run the vehicle. I did have to do the dent count. And with the insurance adjuster there, long story short, we probably came up with – everything was off the chart, except for the right side, meaning if you used the matrix, it wasn’t there. So, he had to get this estimate completely approved by his supervisor. The final estimate was 12,700.00, and that was just the PDR.
Shane Jacks: And you’ve got another 5, 600.00 in R&I at least on that car.
Raymond Sapp: Actually, it was almost 1,500.00 in R&I.
Shane Jacks: That tells you how much I know.
Raymond Sapp: Yeah, so, and it was all from the app. And I didn’t really have to – all I had to do was enter the count and make sure I got the width and the depth, which I ran at medium because the count was so high. And it was legit. It worked, and I didn’t have to really adjust any of the prices. It’s scheduled to be in on Tuesday. I took a few pictures of it, obviously, with the estimate.
I’ll tell you, everything was approved. The body shop’s already been paid. We’re just waiting on the customer to show up with the vehicle. It’s all reparable damage. There’s nothing cracked or fractured, nothing deeper than medium, really, on it. I think maybe I had a few oversize here and there, but I really didn’t have to work that because the count’s there. And that’s the nice thing about it. All these things that we have to try to remember to add for, which always gets not added to an estimate? It’s there. But if you just give it the width, the depth, and the count, you should be around there where you need to be.
Each panel in the app, and when you open up the screen for the panel, there’s an Info button, and you can actually change the characteristics or attributes of the panel. So, a lot of people may not even know that when using the app, but it will affect the price.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I missed it the other day. I was doing a hail estimate with it, Raymond, and I was like, “Wait a minute. Where’s the aluminum?” And it’s back on the information on the hood. You click on the information on the hood, and it’ll come up – Material, I believe is what it says. Is that correct? Material?
Raymond Sapp: Yes.
Shane Jacks: Or Construction, one of the two.
Raymond Sapp: Material.
Shane Jacks: Okay, I changed it to aluminum, and of course, it changed the price immediately.
Raymond Sapp: Those are the things that, yes, you have to like check it with a magnet and change it to aluminum. Eventually, the hope is to have all this in a database where it goes to not even have to think about it. That’s where we need to be. We need to have a complete repair-information database that gets for PDR, so we know that that’s a [inaudible] [00:48:12], or that’s an Ultra Lite [inaudible], or that’s an aluminum panel, and that’s the way we get the money for it and the adjuster doesn’t have to think about it, or the estimator, whoever’s estimating it.
There’s a little more thought with the app. We have to think about it a little bit, about applying those basic estimating principles of checking the metal. And I myself sometimes don’t always have my magnet with me, so yeah.
Shane Jacks: That’s why I wear earbuds. These earbuds have little magnets on the end of them.
Raymond Sapp: I forgot about that. You absolutely can.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, the customers think I’m weird when I bend down and put my face on their car, virtually put my face on their hood, and they look at me, and, “I’m checking to see if it’s aluminum, sir.” “Oh, okay. This guy, is he like the dent whisperer, and he’s listening to it or what?” “I’ve gotta listen to what the dent’s saying to me before I can give you a price, sir. Give me just one minute.”
Raymond Sapp: Shane Millan.
Shane Jacks: But, man, your app is awesome, in my humble opinion. I don’t think anything about me is humble, but in my opinion, man, Raymond, you app is awesome, and it’s made me money. Period. End of discussion. It’s made me more confident in giving that estimate to the customer when it looks as professional as it does. It inspires confidence when you hand it out to them, instead of something scratched on a piece of paper, and it’s really effective in that way also. It’s just all the way around, the thing is awesome.
I know you want to make a few changes to it over time. We heard you just now. You’ve made a great product, and you still want to make it better, and that speaks volumes to your passion for the industry and wanting to make more dollars.
Raymond Sapp: I appreciate that very much. And absolutely, we look forward to making it a better product. Right now, it’s hail season. It’s really difficult for me to have hardly any time available besides pushing dents and sleeping, and that’s really what I do this time of year. But we certainly have a lot of plans in the works, improvements that really are vital to making it available to everyone, making it more efficient, making it more accessible to all of your shared users. Certain things that we would love to have right now, it’s just time and money, and that’s what it takes.
Shane Jacks: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Anything else you wanna add to it, or you think we’ve pretty much covered it, or…
Raymond Sapp: Well, let me think for a second because…
Shane Jacks: Because I mean, I don’t know what else I can really say. I mean, I’ve pimped this thing for the last month, and I believe we’ve pretty much covered the effectiveness of it and kind of how it operates. We didn’t go into deep detail on exactly how it operates. I guess one thing that we touched on – whenever you enter that in, it does de – at that in – whenever you enter the VIN of the car, it does decode that VIN and automatically bring up that automobile, that model.
Raymond Sapp: That’s a big part. And there’s some roadblocks that maybe I have put in place in the current version. We’re going to, with the updated version, we’re gonna try to remove some of those, what some people may see as roadblocks, and I see them as maybe error prevention, so the user can actually benefit the most from the app, and that means having and requiring a VIN right now.
There’s some certain required piece of information that the app requests. One of those is a 17-character VIN. You can enter 17 characters of anything you want in the character code and use the inner specs manually, choose your car manually, but one of the revisions that we’re going to do is try to remove as much of those roadblocks so that maybe you feel more efficient, more proficient with the app, and there’s nothing to slow you down in the sense of, “Well, it requires a VIN and I don’t have one.”
Shane Jacks: Right. When you’re not standing there in front of the customer, then, yes, that could be. But giving an estimate without the car there in front of you – Or maybe the car has already left, or it’s not there in front of you any longer, or it’s a quick type thing.
Kind of what we preach here on PDR College is you need to take a little bit of time when you’re doing that estimate, and I’ve found that this thing backs me up a little bit, makes me slow down, and that’s a good thing. Whenever I tell the customer, “I’m gonna open your door here and scan your VIN or enter your VIN,” it’s – again, I know that seems tiny, Raymond, and it seems tiny to a lot of you guys out there, but it’s just another thing that you’re doing to ensure, and this is just in the customer’s mind, it’s another thing you’re doing to ensure you’re giving them as accurate of an estimate as you possibly can. That’s the way I look at it.
Raymond Sapp: Well, as a business owner, I’ve had companies or technicians working for me, and when they write estimates, they may forget a phone number, if they’re writing it out by hand, or they forget name. I mean, of all things, you would think at least get their name. But that was the big problem with pen and paper. They wouldn’t provide the information that we needed, the data that we needed, so I always thought, “Well, at least get the first name, last name, and a phone number.”
If you can give me those three pieces of information, at least I can try to find this customer when it comes time to schedule them, or call them back, or just contact them for something else. That’s why I put that failsafe in there, which was customer name, first name, last name, and phone number. I like having the VIN on the car because it gives me a way to always track what I’m doing as far as paperwork. Using the last date usually works, and those are things that just me personally doing this as a business, that’s what I found were necessities.
Shane Jacks: Same here. “Black 2012 Honda Accord” does not work. “Well, which one was it? We did six last week.”
Raymond Sapp: There’s going to be a few that maybe the decode doesn’t work. And I found that like the database won’t have some commercial type trucks. So if you’re doing commercial, larger diesel trucks, you may not find them in there, but you can certainly still choose a manual vehicle that’s close. If it’s a four-door crew cab, you can choose that and enter those specs manually, so at least you have something to provide as estimate with, albeit something somewhat of a generic sense, but still very functional and professional.
Shane Jacks: Nice, nice. Well, Raymond, I appreciate several things. No. 1, you being very patient with me this morning and helping me figure out our computer issues, or connection issues. That’s No. 1. No. 2, I want to thank you for being here and talking to us about your app. And No. 3, that you for the app itself because it has helped me make lots more money, and I just urge other guys out there: If you want an app that’s going to help you estimate these things more correctly, more precisely, give a really professional image to your business, get Raymond’s app. It’s gonna cost you a few bucks, but hey, you’re making it. You gotta spend it to make more. Don’t be stupid.
So, appreciate it, Raymond. We do appreciate you being on.
Raymond Sapp: I appreciate you asking me to be on PDR College. It’s been really helpful for me to listen in and get the benefit of the experts in the industry that are really applying everything that they can to improving this trade, for themselves and for the other people that are in this.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, we gotta keep learning and keep evolving, man, or we’re going to get left behind. That is for certain.
Raymond Sapp: That’s it. We try to stay one step ahead of the game.
Shane Jacks: Yes, sir, and you’re helping us do that with this app, man.
Keith Cosentino: All right, fellas, via the magic of post-production editing, I am with you on the show, even though I wasn’t there to hang around with Shane and Mr. Sapp for that episode. I wish I was. It was really awesome and a lot of interesting stuff talked about, but I wasn’t there.
However, I am showing up here at the end with the tool review. And what we’re going to talk about today is something that I’ve talked about a little bit on the show before – I think Shane’s talked about it as well – and that is another kind of glue tab that is not one that I make, and it is a German product made by a company called LAKA, L-A-K-A.
And how did I find out about these tools, these tabs? Well, when I started coming out with the Blackplague Smooth Series Tabs, I was sending them all over the world to technicians who were pumped to get them. And they were consistently telling me, “Oh, we’re throwing out our other tabs. Yours are the only ones we’re using,” which made me feel great. But a couple of guys said, “The only tabs I’m not getting rid of now are the LAKA tabs.” And I heard it once, twice, three times, and I thought, “Okay, I’ve never seen these tabs. I’ve never held them. I better look into them.”
So, I did. I got some samples, talked to the guys there in Germany, and man, they were really well-made products. The Germans take a lot more pride in their stuff than just about any other country, maybe except the Japanese. I think you gotta kill yourself if you screw something up there. But with the German stuff, when it comes to cars, it’s hard to beat them.
And these tabs are no exception. Fantastic tabs. And you might ask yourself, “Keith, why are you promoting another company’s tabs when you are in the tab business?” There’s two answers to that question. One is they’re great tabs. Two is I thought, “Okay, if there’s going to be another product that’s as good as mine, why don’t I join them instead of trying to beat them?” So, I am the distributor for the LAKA tabs in the United States market, and we’re just getting that rolling. You’re gonna start seeing a lot more of them soon, but we just launched the site, which is one of the reasons that we’re doing the tool review today.
But why am I hot on LAKA tabs in addition to Blackplague? Well, let me tell you this. There are almost no sizes that directly cross over between the two lines of tabs. The Blackplague Smooth Series and the LAKA tabs, there’re very similar tabs, but none of them are the same. None of them are even the same dimensions. There might be one or two round tabs that are close to the same, but none of them are the same. And every tab has its own characteristics that you may like more than another. The LAKA tabs are all very, very stout in the face. What I call the “face” is the part that you glue to the car.
The Blackplague tabs have engineered flex in a lot of them for certain sizes, mainly the round sizes, that allow you to pop up the center of a dent without making a big volcano out of it. That’s there on purpose, and that works great for a certain kind of dent, namely a hail dent, and lots of them. But other dents need a stronger, more collision-repair-style pull. The LAKA tabs might be better for that with a similar size.
But I carry both in my kit. Those are the only two tabs I carry, with the exception of one Atlas Titan Tab; that’s a fantastic little rascal. But the LAKA tabs are the real deal, and they’ve got some really innovative shapes and sizes. They’ve got this weird – what you think is weird when you first see it – this offset square when two of the four corners on the square face are thin on the edges and two are thick. And you think, “What is this? It’s like it’s made wrong.”
But when you look at it, it’s got the direct proportions that go along with a normal door-edge dent in a car. It has a shallow in and out, left and right, and an abrupt top and bottom. So, when you place this tab in the dent, it fits one way, and it doesn’t fit the other. And I didn’t notice that until I talked to some German guys and they said this is how you use that tab, and I thought, “Holy smokes. It actually works.”
So, when I’ve got one that’s a door-edge dent that’s really, really stubborn and I want a crease pull, but it’s more of a roundish dent, that’s the tab I put on there, a little square LAKA tab. And there’s three different sizes. There’s a small, medium, and large. But they’ve got triangle-size tabs and all kinds of –They got a little tiny crease tab that is just a monster. It’s smaller than my smallest Blackplague crease tab, but it is really good.
And when you get really good at glue pulling, you’re starting to pull precision areas, tiny, little pulls that some other techs would overlook, but if you know what I’m talking about, then you know what I’m talking about. When you’re getting down to perfect repairs, you want those custom little tabs to fit in the last little pit or area left so you don’t overpull the whole thing and set yourself back. It’s all about being fast. And if you’ve got just a tiny little crease pit, man, you don’t wanna put a bigger crease tab on there and yank the whole thing up and have to go spend 40 minutes tapping it down. You want the tabs that fit the damage.
So with the Blackplague and a LAKA set together, you’ve got more and more sizes that you could possibly fit in to your repairs. You’re still probably gonna go the Blackplague more often, but there’s a few areas where LAKA tabs are a better fit. They’ve also got these big ovals that are inspired by the original Wurth ovals, but they’re different. They’ve got two different flexes of those, and then they’ve got a larger one that’s even bigger than the old Wurths. If you do a lot of heavy collision stuff, those tabs are awesome, which I do a lot of because I don’t do hail.
And I know a lot of you guys are the same way, so what I’m doing is offering a discount. I know last time we did this, if you listened on the day the episode came out, you had an opportunity to get a discount. This week is a little different because the episode’s coming out on a holiday, so I’m giving you two days. So, for two days, if you hop on over to LAKAToolsUSA.com, you’ll see our new site. And if you decide you’d like to purchase anything there, you can use the discount code LAKA2015, and you’ll get 30 percent off your entire purchase. It’s a stupid discount, and I’m gonna lose money on those products, but I want them out in your hands so you can try them.
Now, they are a premium tab. They’re more expensive than probably any other tab out there. But remember what we’re talking about when we’re using these kind of tools for what we do. The costs are so low. These tabs don’t break. I’ve never broken one. I’ve never seen one broken. If you break one, I’ll give you a new one because I don’t think they can break. So, you’re gonna lose them before you break them.
And they’re all brightly colored. You guys can stop complaining about that. They go under a car, you’ll be able to see them. But man, they are fantastic. And if it costs you under 5.00 bucks or around 5.00 bucks for a tab, and you can make 150.00 bucks with it in a few minutes, is that a bad investment? You know it’s not. You’re just accustomed to paying next to nothing for pieces of plastic, and these are still pieces of plastic. But what can they do for you?
You know we talk about Zig Ziglar a lot, and one of the stories or the quotes that he has, he’s talking about the worth of things. And he says, “A glass of water would be worth a billion dollars to you if you were in the middle of the desert and it was the sustenance you needed to stop yourself from dying. But in the city, we can get a glass of water on every corner. It doesn’t have any value.”
What does that item do for you? That’s how much it’s worth. That’s what it’s worth to you. And these tools make us money and lots of it, so to put up a couple hundred bucks that’s gonna last you for five years and get you out of all kinds of tight situations that you can’t get a tool under, I don’t see how anybody could make the claim that that’s not a good investment. It’s ridiculously good. Couple that with the fact that I’m gonna send you a new one if you break it, and that is a guaranteed moneymaker.
So, check out the site, LAKAToolsUSA.com, code LAKA2015. That’s L-A-K-A2015. Until midnight on Tuesday, that deal is good. It is going away right when the clock strikes because I cannot afford to keep it going, but I do want you guys, if you so desire, to try the tabs out and see what they do for you.
Until next time, get better. That’s my Shane voice.[End of Audio]
Duration: 68 minutes