Justify Higher Prices for Service Calls
How can you Justify your higher prices to your service drive and retail clients when you’re in an environment that involves volume pricing?
This is a question we will ALL get! Usually more than once. If you have trouble explaining your justifications, you aren’t alone.
In Episode 71 of the PDR College Podcast, we talk about some of the strategies we use in this situation.
ALSO, Shane reveals a NEW tool he has created!
Here’s the link for our homepage
Advertiser: Let’s talk a little bit about hot glue – specific for paint-less 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 some 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 that we stock – 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 melt glue.
There’s a lot of glues out there that’s made for construction and manufacturing that’ll make this glue look like it doesn’t work – the 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’ve gotta squeeze the last two, three, five, percent of performance out that everyone else is leaving. It’s just like racing cars; everything has to be dialed if you want to go faster than the other guy. And if you want to 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 4 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 short sighted; buy the glue that’s going to 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 going to 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. 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 phase. 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, TabWeld is going to 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 bop yourself onto our mailing list there so you can be notified the minute we are releasing it. 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 I’ll buy it back because I use it every single day. I can’t have enough it.
So buy it, enjoy it, make more money: tabweld.com.
Keith Cosentino: I’m Keith Cosentino. He’s Shane Jacks. And this is PDR college podcast. You’ve been waiting for it, and baby, now it’s here every Monday up in your ear holes. We’ve been bringing you this stuff that you need to take your dent removal business to the next level. When good enough just isn’t quite good enough, my friends, you are in the right place because we want to crush mediocrity here with a giant, steel-toe boot, and we want to do it with you. We do it for the pursuit of cash – piles and piles of it.
Shane, why do we need so much cash?
Shane Jacks: Instantaneous reconstructive wrist surgery, Keith.
Keith Cosentino: You feeling better?
Shane Jacks: Man, Pakistani slap fighting champions – they have to have that quite often. I’ve had it – this is my seventh time, and uh –
Keith Cosentino: I’m really glad you’re back on your feet, honestly.
Shane Jacks: Doing well.
Keith Cosentino: Back on your wrists.
Shane Jacks: Back on my wrists, yeah. That’s part of the training, is you have to walk on your hands for about 3 hours a day, so it strengthens the wrists. So that will tell you how hard I’m slapping people.
Keith Cosentino: Oh yeah, to be a champ you got to put the hurt into you. I mean, I don’t know if you want to make it public – I was pretty proud of the fact that you were telling me you’ve been practicing since you were in High School. Started with girls and then working up to guys a little stronger – the football team and stuff like that.
Shane Jacks: Um-hum. Yeah, yeah. I mean, girls are the natural – it’s the natural progression of things. They – girls is the natural – that’s the starting point; it’s just what happens. As a matter of fact, some people may not understand this – Ray Rice, that’s all he was doing; he’s just getting into Pakistani Slap Fighting, was all he was doing with his girlfriend in the elevator several months back.
Keith Cosentino: Can you actually get comedy training? Is there a comedy coach?
Shane Jacks: Are you telling me I’m that bad?
Keith Cosentino: No, for both of us. It’s the worse jokes ever. If it wasn’t for you and I laughing, I think nobody would be laughing.
Shane Jacks: There are few other people with our sense of humor.
Keith Cosentino: Hi Mike.
Shane Jacks: And Todd when he’s drunk.
Keith Cosentino: I embrace it. I embrace the fact that there are very few other people that completely understand our sense of humor. I embrace that.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I like being different, dude.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, they’re not playing at our level; that’s all there is to it.
Shane Jacks: Sure. Is that what we’re sticking with – they’re not playing at our level?
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: Okay.
Keith Cosentino: So stick around to the end of the show today because Shane is gonna talk about something new and exciting for you and for me. A little teaser there –
Shane Jacks: Yeah, we have to throw that teaser in there; the show is so stinking boring. Just hang around to the end; something good is coming.
Keith Cosentino: The show is not boring. It’s actually inspired by a question from one of our loyal fans.
Shane Jacks: Yes it is.
Keith Cosentino: AKA my friend Derek.
Shane Jacks: Oh, he’s not my friend?
Keith Cosentino: I can’t claim that for you.
Shane Jacks: Okay. You stuttered there for a second.
Keith Cosentino: Right now’s the time when you would do that.
Shane Jacks: He’s – I know him.
Keith Cosentino: For my friend Derek, also, we really, really, really appreciate Derek, actually.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, if you’ve listened to the show for long time you know that when it sounds great that’s because Derek had his hands in it – as far as the audio production.
Keith Cosentino: When it doesn’t, he’s on vacay.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, he’s gone because all we do is smash keyboards and hope sound comes out the other end. And sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we do not.
Keith Cosentino: If you’ve ever seen Zoolander when they’re trying to figure out that computer, that’s kind of what we look like when we’re trying to put the show together without Derek.
Shane Jacks: The drivers are in the computer?
Files are inside here?
Keith Cosentino: All right, well, Shane bring us in. What is this topic today? What did Derek want to us to talk about?
Shane Jacks: Derek wanted us to talk about how to justify to service manager service riders and other people at dealerships. We get the question, “How do you justify charging $400.00 for retail dent when you charge us $100.00 all day long on the car lot for –.
Keith Cosentino: To do the whole car –.
Shane Jacks: To do a hail damage car from Texas. So it’s a good question, and one that – there is one glaring answer that I have for that, that works pretty good for me, and there are several others, also, that we can use.
It is a good question because they look at you, and you’re over there, and you’ve knocked out 15, 20 cars in 6 hours and you’ve made anywhere between – depending on your pricing – you’ve made $50.00 for the one panel car, $60.00 for the one panel car, $240.00 for the ones that have four or five panels on them. And they see you run through those, and then you come over there for a dent the size of your palm and you quote them $400.00 and they’re like, “What the heck?”
But there are some answers. There’re some easy ways to answer that question, and to convince them that we are justified in doing that. And I have no question that we are justified in doing that.
Keith Cosentino: It is not an uncommon scenario at all, in fact. We had a monster mega-dealer that we used to service that came to us and said, “Okay, this needs to be the price wherever you’re doing the work – service department, the sales department, everywhere.
That was back before I knew everything I was doing, and I wasn’t able to negotiate as well. I just said, “Well, I don’t really have a good argument for you, so fine.” And that probably – as you can imagine, the pricing was already terrible, thanks to me, and my competition – at that point, again, I didn’t understand the power that I held in my own mind and my own hands. So I was playing the same game that you guys are playing, “Well, the market dictates this, so that’s what I’ll do.” And I almost ruined my business.
But that sales pricing and the service drive just killed us. It was the dumbest thing ever, and it was a testament to why it should be different, because service work is much, much, much more involved than a sales gig.
So Shane, why don’t you take us through the top, and we’ll go back and forth on some of the points that we use to combat this.
Shane Jacks: Okay. I’ll just throw a couple of points out to start us off. No. 1). I really had a hard time – one of my dealers was really harping on me on this, and said, “Well, I can understand charging a little bit more, but golly man, you just really – it seems like you’re being dishonest.” And it’s really hard to not laugh at these service writers, when they say that when they’re trying to sell canuter valves and whatnot. You know, stuff that –
Keith Cosentino: Magic potion you wipe up on your car?
Shane Jacks: Yeah, magic potion you wipe on your car to protect it for $700.00 and they guarantee you’ll never get a – the paint will never dull and whatever. They have to problem selling that stuff, and selling treatments for the car that clearly is not needed, and is just a sales point.
Anyway, it was hard for me not to laugh when they were going over that, and basically all it was was they didn’t like the amount of money that the service writers were having to tell the customers. They were uncomfortable with it. Comfortable with selling this stuff that is not needed, but not comfortable with what the customer is asking them for – doesn’t make any sense to me what-so-ever.
Anyway, I told them, “Let me tell you this. I’m here already, whenever I’m doing the cars on your car lot. There’s very little time involved. I walk the entire lot. I write them up. I get the list approved, and then I can absolutely motor.” I can grab keys; I can move –
I said, “Now, when I’m doing a retail job,” this was actually back when I was mobile, before I had a shop, Keith, when I went through this scenario, but I’ve used it since then several times – or a few times – to explain the pricing for retail versus wholesale. I said, “Whenever I have to do a retail job, I have time involved getting to that retail customer. Let’s say that retail customer of yours comes through the service drive and they have a dime-sized dent and they ask me, ‘How much?’ And I go, ‘$45.00.’ And then they see my shirt, or they tell one of their friends about me and then I have to drive 30 minutes out of my way to go to their house. Am I supposed to do a dime-sized dent with an hour and half involved – time involved, for me – for $45.00? That doesn’t make sense. I want my retail –.”
This is what I told them – what I tell them – “I want my retail pricing to be consistent so when people tell somebody else that they got a dent fixed for $45.00; that just doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist, Mr. Dealer, and I’m not going to do it that way. There’s too much time involved when I have to travel to a retail customer, or when they come to my shop.” So that’s one of my big reasons right there.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a great point, and it’s pretty easy to look them in the eye, and just like Zig has taught us, lower your voice a little bit and say, “Aren’t you familiar with the difference between wholesale and retail?” And just let it sit there for a second. Because the more you exaggerate the difference between the two prices, the more you can push them towards the idea that the customer is not getting shafted; they are getting a ridiculous deal compared to what the normal rates are.
If you anchor the normal rates at the retail numbers, and then show them the discount they get it’s much different than, “This is the standard, and that’s a screw job over there in your service drive.” So that’s what you’ve got to do, and the pricing guide can help quite a bit with it. My guys have already been using it a few times and saying – because this is a common problem, even with our current customers. The estimators never get the pricing right even when you give them the guide. It’s better than not, but these guys are notoriously preoccupied.
But when they say, “Hey, how much is this?” And you tell them $8/900.00 and they go, “What?!” You say, “Listen,” and you get the guide out and say, “This is how it works. We measure this; we measure that, and this is the price.”
“Oh man, okay.” And once you keep drilling that, and setting that as the standard, then they can appreciate the discount that they’re getting. So that’s one little mindset that you can adopt yourself and then try to show it to other guys as you’re dealing with them.
But like you said, when they’re asking me, “What is the difference?” Some of the things I point to are like you said, “Listen, I’m going to come here on one day and do all these cars back to back” – and you never want to hit the angle of, “Well, I’m pretty much just phoning it in out there on the lot, and then when someone’s here I gotta do a good job,” even though that may be the case for some of you guys. I probably wouldn’t accentuate that.
But it is okay to say, “I’m getting these cars out here to 99 percent because nobody owns them yet, and if you weren’t familiar with where the damage was, you won’t find it. But if you’re out here on the drive and you’re all spun out on one spot, this needs to be perfect. It needs to be what I call ‘retail quality’ – perfect; a perfect repair – body shop quality but better. When I’m going to do that for your customers I’ve gotta take a lot of time. I’ve got to set it up. I’ve got to use every tool I’ve got in there to make it right.”
If you want to go that angle, that’s what you can do. I would generally say to stay away from the quality discussion because it doesn’t hold a lot of water, and it would be hard to back it up if they keep asking you, “But why? But why? But why?” You’re going to run out of reasons.
What I’d point to, generally, is how much time is involved? When I come here once a week I’m going to do all your lot cars, all in one spot. I’m not even moving your cars; I’m moving my truck from car to car. By virtue of the fact that you and I are right now talking in the service drive, and I’m not working on something, is a testament to the fact that this process here requires a lot more of my time and involvement than that does out there. I could have been done with two cars already by the time I came over here and we started this conversation, and then I went back over there.
“When I’m coming in here I’ve gotta meat you. I’ve gotta great the customer. I’ve gotta look at the damage that they’re talking about. I’ve gotta estimate it. They’re gonna take some time to make a decision. Then I’m going to get the car. Well, first I’m going to get the numbers from you – RO number and tag – and then I’m going to go find this car, get it to a spot where I can work on it, then do the actual repair that we’re talking about, and then do everything over again. And an extra chip somewhere to get a PO, all for this one job that I could have been done with, in 10 minutes out there, because my truck’s already running and the back is already open.
“So half of it is the repair, and it needs to be perfect, and I need to take special concessions if the customer’s picky, but the other half is there’s just a lot more time involved; and that’s on a day when I’m already here. When you call me tomorrow, or the day after, and I’m going to come and work for you then, I’m not just sitting on my porch when I’m not here; I’ve got other things to do. And I’m grateful to come and help you with your cars, but I’ve got to change my schedule around and make sure I’m here. And that’s the opposite of the deal that we’ve got arranged in the sales department. So if you want to part this service car out in the row with all the sales cars, and just tell me it’s another one I’ll blow right through it and I won’t know, you can charge them whatever you want. If you need me to come and touch it and make a special deal about it, that’s a totally different process.”
And then I would talk about exactly what you said, Shane, that’s a great point, that I’m setting a standard outside of this place. There’s a world outside of this, and it’s my business, and I service people’s cars, and I service them on a retail level. They’re getting service from me for their vehicle that they own. It’s not a wholesale deal that you’ve arranged with me for a massive volume discount, and a loyalty discount. This guy’s going to have me come fix one dent every 3 to 5 years. And the next time he goes looking and tells a neighbor and they say, “Well, Shane right out of Temecula did it for $40.00; here’s the receipt.”
That ruins the whole business. It’s like if I told somebody you could get the same insert – whatever manufacturer you’re at – service for the same Toyota oil change across the street for $5.00. Now you’ve –.
[Crosstalk] Shane Jacks: Speaking of oil changes, I am certain that if you were to take your Toyota Tacoma – do you service your Toyota a lot? You do, correct, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: Yes.
Shane Jacks: If you were to take your Toyota truck to – I’m sure you take it there for service, correct?
Keith Cosentino: Yes.
Shane Jacks: Do they charge you full price?
Keith Cosentino: They sure do.
Shane Jacks: Do they?
Keith Cosentino: Um-hum.
Shane Jacks: Wow. Pecker heads.
Typically I would get the Dodge Dealership do that I used to work for, and this Honda dealer now – they’ll do mine – they’ll do it for a discount. They will actually –.
Keith Cosentino: They probably would if I beat them up, but I just –.
[Crosstalk] Shane Jacks: I don’t even ask. Well, no, I don’t guess I even ask. They just through a little bit of a discount on there. You can kind of turn that around on them, just as a joke. I wouldn’t be a prick about it. You could just say, “Well, why don’t you charge everybody else what you charge me for an oil chance?” It’s kind of the same thing. They give me a little bit of a discount on an oil change, but they can still make money if they charged everybody else the same amount for that oil change. But they charge full retail.
Another issue is liability. There’s a little bit more liability working on a customer’s car.
Keith Cosentino: You think?
Shane Jacks: Ah, just a little; just a little. I have a confession to make; I have a confession to make, Keith. You are going to love this. Something happened to me yesterday. We’re going to talk about liability on a car lot versus liability with a customer’s car.
If you break something on a customer’s car, even if it’s in the service drive, they’re probably going to expect you to put them in a rental, blah, blah, blah; whatever, right? There’s liability there. There’s way more liability.
Well, yesterday I was working on a 2014 Acura TL, I believe it was, used car. And I didn’t check the rear window to see if it was laminated or not. And just was in a hurry, and that rear glass was laminated, and I slammed that wedge down in there and not I’ve got to pay for a laminated glass.
Keith Cosentino: On a ’14 TL?
Shane Jacks: Yes; TL or RL. It was very strange.
Keith Cosentino: Must have been an RLX, because the TLs – well, they changed to a TLX now, but I – RLX maybe, because they don’t do a lot of those; they’re not very common.
Shane Jacks: The big one.
Keith Cosentino: It may have been the ILX.
Shane Jacks: What’s the ILX?
Keith Cosentino: That’s the smaller one that replaced the TSX.
Shane Jacks: No, this was a big one; it was pearl white, and –
You know, when I said you were going to laugh about –.
Keith Cosentino: That’s really uncommon – laminated rear glass.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, extremely. And I didn’t even check and I just – I just stuck that wedge in there and, “pergk.” I heard that little crack.
Keith Cosentino: It’s easy if you know what you’re doing.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, but I didn’t listen to myself and check every single time. Had I rolled it up two inches it would have been fine; still wouldn’t have had a problem. But I broke that bad boy.
So you see. Do I have to pay for a rental or anything like that? Am I gonna get it discounted price on that part, which is still gonna be stupid high? Even though the manager come out and he was like, “We can just call the glass guy.”
I said, “Uh, this is a ’14. I don’t know if you wanna –?”
He goes, “Argh! Oh crap!” So anyway, I talked him into putting an more expensive glass in it against my own – against what is best for me.
So anyway, there’s a lot more liability.
Keith Cosentino: How much did that cost?
Shane Jacks: I have no idea yet. None at all. I just told him to bill me.
Keith Cosentino: Then that’s for the stuff that you break and it’s blatant. My buddy runs an independent service center, and he has a saying that he refers to as – or as a scenario – that he refers to as ‘ever since.’
“Ever since you did my oil chance my headlights are not aligned properly.” Or, “Ever since you had my car there seems to be some kind of stain on my seat.”
“Ever since.” And these guys own everything, because you don’t wanna make enemies out of your customers. I had one – I had my first one in a long time. I had a problem car. It was an old ’04, three series convertible. They guy’s real particular, but it was his daughter’s car, and she and another kid bonked into High School and put a big dent in the quarter panel. And it was like a $900.00 dent to glass.
And he’s like, “Well, listen. It’s the kid’s car. Is there any way you get close but not go crazy with it? It doesn’t have to be perfect.”
I said, “You know what, I can do that for you. A lot of the time is spent at the end of the repair trying to get every last ripple and wave out of it. So I can –.” I was feeling generous for some reason, which is uncommon for me. I really just want to do good repairs for a bunch of money, but I was feeling generous because it’s their daughter’s car and they were going to make her pay for it – which is not like me. But I was getting in touch with my feminine side, and said, “You know what, $400.00; I can make it decent.” And I figured I’d spend two hours on it.
Well, it’d been a while since I’d taken all the treem out of one of those cars; there’s a lot of pieces and parts. So I was frustrated already; gotta take all this stuff out. And I made the mistake of telling the guys, “Here’s what’s involved. I gotta remove all this trim, and BMW generally puts a stereo component in this part of the quarter panel so we’ll have to move that and get in here and do our repair.
“Okay, that’s fine.”
So I do the repair. Of course, I spend more time than I planned on. There’s a ton of trim, and there’s that little stereo component. And I didn’t even unwire it. I just unbolted it and scooted it over a few inches so I could get the tool in there with lots of room. And then I put it back. The repair came back great; better than I promised, because I spent more time on it than I promised. But he was nice and thankful and everything and that was it.
And then he calls me back and said, “Hey, ever since you worked on it, two of the speakers have a crackling sound.” I didn’t even unplug this unit; I just moved it. And I was – I specifically made sure I didn’t push on any wiring or anything like that. I had nothing to do with it. But since I implanted that idea in his mind that I was going to be fooling with the stereo components there was, all of a sudden now, an idea that I could be damaging the stereo components because I brought it up.
So I had to go back there two different times to fix it. The second time – the car’s old! So you touch it; you own it. So the second time I put it all together and he says, “Hey, Keith, thanks for coming and fixing everything. I hate to call you but I got an indicator light on the dash that says the taillight’s out.”
“Let me come on down there! I got time!” Nah; of course I’m nice and everything, and I get there and those – thankfully – those are the easiest taillights to get out in the entire world. You just have that one plastic clip and the whole assembly comes out with all the [inaudible] [00:27:00] sticking out of it.
Well, one of them had all – looked like it came out of the bottom of the ocean; it had all this corrosion around the glass and the metal. And the bulb just fell out of there.
Shane Jacks: You must have spit on it while you were working on it.
Keith Cosentino: So he was like, “Oh gosh; okay I can do that myself. Where do I go?” He didn’t know anything about cars. So I learned a pretty good lesson there. And I have almost never had an issue like that. On a couple of occasions when I have screwed something up, I just tell the customer we’d handle it, but I never try to slip on past the goalie. But the lesson I learned was when you’re getting ready to work on a car and pull a bunch of stuff apart, the less they know the better. They don’t need to know what goes into making the doughnuts; just serve them a doughnut. They don’t need to know you’re pulling every last bit of trim and frickin’ computers out – they don’t need to know it! Don’t tell them! Because then they generate ideas about what you did and what you didn’t do.
I’m not saying lie to them if they ask, but don’t serve it up to them on a platter and say, “Okay, so what we’re going to do –.”
Shane Jacks: Tell them as little as possible.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. “It’s a very tricky situation, because I break a ton of these things. You gotta get this trim out.”
And they’re gonna ask you, “Is every single clip back in there the way it was?”
“Well, yeah; pretty sure. I mean, I hit it with my fist about a hundred times and I stopped hearing popping sounds so I’m pretty sure I got it.”
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Keith Cosentino: This argument is a really common one to have. The service drive is one place, but the body shops is even harder.
I talked to a fan of the show yesterday, and we were talking; he was asking me some strategy, and one of the difficulties he had was getting his pricing up in his body shops. He’s been working at them a long time, and they’re stuck around $75.00, $85.00 for a repair. And every time he tries to creep up out of there he gets a little backlash. “It was $75.00 last time; now it’s a $100.00. Now it’s $125.00.”
So Shane, in your body shops, when you’ve wanted to creep the pricing up what strategies have you used to baby step those guys into a higher retail pricing for their insurance jobs, and their retail jobs?
Shane Jacks: Like it or suck it.
I’m just kidding. Keith, after speaking with you a few years ago, and you jumping all over me about my retail pricing – it was a creeping up of the prices. And I’ve actually lost some shops – or one, at least – two, I’ve lost two – and it’s not quality. It’s basically pricing. They call me on the stuff that really matters, a lot of times. And then I stick it to them even worse than usual. It’s like double retail, and I make them cringe.
How did I creep the prices up? Honestly, that’s all I did was just crept them up, and I just explained it to them nicely. “Look, I was an idiot. I’m still doing –“ Basically I let them know that I realized that my time was worth more than what I’d originally charged long ago, and that I was just going to charge more now; that was it. They’re going to make more – with the body shops you can use the, “If you’re giving them a percentage off, you’re going to be making more money. So, not only am I making more, but you’re making more also.”
But then they have that stigma – that repeat customer coming back when you did it for $75.00 two years ago, and your prices have crept up and now it’s $190.00 for virtually the same dent. So it is kind of tough on them. Most of mine were understanding; they get it.
But a couple of mine I’ve had trouble with and lost due to that. But you know what; I’m not chasing that $45.00 anymore. I’m 20 miles from here.
Keith Cosentino: I’m glad you brought that up; because that was one of the points I told them. I said, “Listen, if you’ve got five stores, and you raise everybody 200 percent and you lose two, you’re still ahead. You’re still money up. You’re, literally, making the same or more, and you have less work to do. So don’t be afraid to lose a couple if you can make it stick in a couple of other places.
That’s a pretty easy problem to solve, but the way you solve it is – the easiest way to solve it is through the backdoor. And that’s making friends with everybody first, because when they like you they believe what you’re saying and they want to believe what you’re saying and they want to listen; they want to agree with you. If they don’t like you, then it’s really tough to win that argument or convince them otherwise.
You’ve got to invest some time in making friends with those estimators. And some of them you’re never going to crack. Some of them are just tough eggs, and they’re not friendly. No matter what you do you’re not going to crack them. So you can’t always win with that strategy, but that’s the first thing you gotta do.
If the manager likes you and you’re buddies, the pricing change is easy. It’s as easy as, “Hey, I’m doubling my prices douche bag. Ah, I’m kidding with you! But I really am raising them. All right, see you tomorrow.”
Shane Jacks: You’re not a douche bag!
Keith Cosentino: If you’re just buddies with the guy that’s easy. But if it’s some weird managerial position and you’re trying to have a, “Hey, I’ve got to sit down with you and have a talk about the pricing –” That’s way harder to do. So try to make friends first. If you do or don’t, the conversation you’re going to have about the pricing – it’s going to vary according to the shop, and according to their attitude, and their quality. But if they’re a nice shop and they turn out high quality you say, “Well listen, I’ve been undercharging for a long time, and I’m finally coming to the realization of that because I’m having trouble paying my bills” – or whatever reason you want to tell them for the reason for that.
But when the customer comes in, assume the dent is just a little too deep, and I can’t fix it. What does that repair look like for them? “Well, we gotta do this. We gotta blend the door. It’s $900.00.” Or $700.00, or whatever –
So if it’s just a little bit more shallow it’s virtually the same dent to a body guy; it’s not gonna change it for them, but it changes it for me. Let’s assume it’s a little less shallow, and now I can fix it. So we’re saving this customer $900.00 for this repair. How is it a bad deal if we’re charging $300.00? It’s a third of the price of what they would pay normally.
“Well, it just seems like a lot.” Well it seems like a lot to you because you’re numb to this stuff because you look at it over and over and over again. But for them, in their reality, I’m producing, arguable, a better repair because it’s got a factory paint job, the car is not going to be devalued at all, and that’s kind of a slippery slope with the body shop. They don’t really like to talk about that very much.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, it is.
Keith Cosentino: But if you’re friends with the guy, you can say, “Listen, obviously your painter has had me fix his car, and he could paint it for free. Nobody really wants to paint a car if you don’t have to. And most of the guys at a good shop agree with that; they don’t want to paint it if they don’t have to, especially when they call you and it’s a weird color. They don’t even want to get into it. Even if they could do it, they don’t want to. Painting a car sucks.
Shane Jacks: Yep.
Keith Cosentino: So you say, “Listen, it’s a fantastic repair. It’s out of here in one day. And it’s a third as expensive. Help me understand why that’s a bad deal for that customer, just because it can be done cheaper? There’s a lot of body shops that are cheaper than you guys, too. Does that make you a rip off?”
“Well, no. We do –”
“Well right. You guys do a great job here. It’s a different job. It’s the same thing I do. There’s cheaper dent repair guys all day long, but we like working together because we both have similar standards in quality.”
You just have the conversation with them, and you’re not going to win every time, but the more you have that conversation with more people who are your friends, the easier it’s gonna be. But at the end of the day, just like Shane said, you’re gonna lose a couple stores probably, because they just care about, ultimately, the cheap price. And I promise, you won’t regret losing them; I promise you that. If you lose the stores because you raised your prices, you lose 10 or 20 percent, or even 30 percent of your stores and you’re mad about it a year later, I’ll buy you a steak.
Shane Jacks: You won’t be. You just won’t be.
Keith Cosentino: You won’t; you’ll be excited, because these guys that will pay, they value your service higher, they treat you better, they have more respect for you, and the checks are bigger when they hand them to you.
Shane Jacks: I’ve had it happen, raising my prices when Mr. Cosentino across the country, that I’m talking to here, got on to me a few year back; I raised my prices. I started doing things differently and lost a couple of accounts. I just lost an account this last December. Keith, I told you the Audi Volkswagen account?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah?
Shane Jacks: Lost that. And guess what? I’m still eating, and I’m still as busy as I can possibly be.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, you don’t miss it.
Shane Jacks: No; not at all.
Keith Cosentino: If you’re running a first class business, meaning you’re doing all the things you’re supposed to be doing to grow your business, you’re not going to miss the one store. If you only have one big store, you’re going to miss that one, but just like what happened to me, that’ll be the best thing that ever happened to you, because it makes you focus on your entire business, and not that one giant account that was a big old bloodsucker.
Shane Jacks: Right.
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Keith Cosentino: So there’s a lot of different ways to combat this, but mainly I would say if you had to distill it down, it’s relationships – is the first thing; make sure your relationships are strong, because when the people like you this argument almost never happens. And when it does happen and you guys are friends it’s much easier to overcome. But if people don’t like you, this conversation sucks to have.
But don’t – from experience – don’t agree to the super cheap pricing in the service department. Tell them – you know, sometimes a joke is the best way to defuse a situation like this, because they’re not really that invested in this argument. It’s not like they’re going to stand up and fight for every retail job. Because the retail customers are paying. They’re not paying. You’re still giving them a good deal, probably.
But you can use this little joke and say, “Listen, you’re right. I’ve been thinking about it; we do need to have all the prices the same here. Your sales department is going to be a little upset thought, because all those cars are going to be expensive now!”
“Whoa! Wait a second!”
“Nah, I’m kidding you. We’ll keep them the same. But hey, retail customers, retail prices. All right. See you tomorrow.” That’s it. A little joke and you’re out of there. It’s as big of a deal as you make it.
But if they seat you down at a table and there’s three managers there, it’s hard to hit a one-liner and walk out. If you can do it, let me know.
Shane Jacks: Let me ask you this, Keith. This just popped into my head. If this is a large dealer group, this – if it’s a mega dealer or whatever, and they’re pumping a lot of money through this dealership per month, verses a really small – let’s say it’s a Ford dealer and they’ve got 100 units on the ground, and they’re selling 40 a month, or 30 a month or whatever – that’s low volume. That’s a relatively small amount of money running through that dealership. If that’s the dealership asking me about pricing, I kind of understand it. If it’s that mega dealer, I think there’s something – there’s more going on there. It may be a relationship issue that they have a problem with you, or it’s just one guy saying something and it’s not upper management, because they don’t – in the mega-dealer, they are all about cash flow. You know?
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: My guess is if this question comes up at a mega-dealer, it’s just one guy and this is gonna be really easy to overcome. Am I thinking correctly there?
Keith Cosentino: Yep, I believe you are. That’s why I recommend the one-liner joke and just diffuse it quickly and get out there, because it’s just one guy. But if three managers have thought together and they sat down and confronted you formally, then it’s a bigger deal that they’ve talked about.
Shane Jacks: But if it’s three dealers at a mega- dealer like we were talking about – I just don’t think it’s gonna happen. Those three – not dealers – managers – those three managers at a mega-dealer, if it is three of them they’ve been told by someone above them that has a little bit of a beef with you. They’re all about cash flow. Maybe I’m a little naïve there, but I really don’t think these mega-dealers are gonna balk at you charging three times – it’s just nothing in the grand scheme of things, in their view.
Keith Cosentino: No, and put yourself in their shoes for a minute. If there’s going to be a price change you probably would like to know about it before the bill comes; not after.
Don’t just hit them with the bill and expect everything’s gonna be fine. Tell them; say, “Hey, I wanna talk with you for a moment. I’m changing the way I do business. We’re getting really busy with our retail business and I really need to be consistent across the entire area with what our retail customers can expect and what a dent repair should cost them. Here’s my new pricing schedule for the retail customers. Nothing’s changing if you guys damage something in house or for the sales department, but for customers driving in here asking, ‘What does this cost?’ I just want to make sure I’m consistent, and this is our pricing.”
That’s easy to do, and they really can’t care that much when someone else is paying; it’s someone else’s money. How upset could they really be about spending someone else’s money? And at the end o they day, if they’re running the place properly, they’re gonna be making more money. They should be marking it up by a percentage, so if they’re marking it up 30 or 50 percent, the bigger the bill the better if they can get somebody to pay it.
And you gotta remind them of it sometimes.
Shane Jacks: Kind of on the side note of that, I – unless they are marking it up a different amount for each customer –. My dealerships, they have a set markup amount. It’s actually 30 percent. I will give them the – I will work that into my price for them, because giving them, Keith – and the reason I do this is because of what you’ve said before – giving the customer something else to do is not what you want to do.
So even with my service advisors, they are my customers at this point, and they’ve got a customer’s car sitting outside that has a dime-size door dent in it. I want $120.00 for it. I go ahead and go ahead, “Okay, 120 times 30.” And I have that number, and I give them that number. Every time I go to one of my service drives, this is what I say, “That dent is going to be $187.00,” to the customer. It just makes it a lot easier.
Keith Cosentino: Very important to add that in because often times they’re in a hurry – almost all of you have dealt with this scenario – they’re in a hurry, they call you out, they say, “Hey, come out and look at this with me,” and then they bring you on the drive. And it’s you, the customer, and them.
And the customer says, “Well how much is this going to cost?”
And you’re like, “Brr-berb –well, am I doing in through the shop, or uh –?”
And they’re like, “Why? What? What does that mean? What does it cost? Do you make a different price –?”
So it’s very uncomfortable, so I’ve got in the habit with those guys are walking me out there to grab them by the arm and yank them back and say, “Hey, what’s going on here? Are they paying direct, or are you guys marking it up through the shop?”
“Oh yeah, they’re just going to pay direct.”
“Okay, great.” But you gotta ask, and if you don’t know you gotta go all the way to the top and assume there’s a markup, and if they say they’re paying you direct, you just made a raise. And you taught yourself again that you don’t know where the ceiling is for pricing.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I’ve just got all of mine, and I tell them, “This is the rule. Whenever we go out there, the price I throw at the customer if they’re sitting there is the price to the customer with the markup added.” I tell it to them weekly.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a great idea.
Shane Jacks: Because they don’t really – sometimes they forget, “Well is that my price?”
But every week it’s like, “Hey dude, whenever I give a price to you, or to the customer, that is customer’s end price. I’m just trying to make it easy on everybody.”
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and that is easy; great tactic. So I’m sure there’s a couple of other little ways that you guys have of handling this argument, so we would love to hear them, because there’s no one right way to do it; there’s a hundred different ways you could do it. And I’m sure you guys out there listening who have dealt with this scenario and conquered it have some really great tips, so why do you share them on our Facebook, PDR College Facebook page.
Hop on there and share your tips for explaining your retail prices to body shop estimators in service drives, and let’s see if we can come up with something that’s even better than just what we got by ourselves. Everybody all together we can come up with an awesome checklist that you can hit, and help guys make more money. That is our goal here with the podcast.
You know what, I’m gonna tell you a note on that, Shane. I talked to one of our customers via Facebook messenger, and he’s in another state that me, and you, and he said, “After listening to you guys my retail business is up 20 times.
Shane Jacks: Holy crap!
Keith Cosentino: 20 times!
Shane Jacks: What state is he in? I may move there.
Keith Cosentino: He’s in Massachusetts.
Shane Jacks: I’m not going to Boston.
Keith Cosentino: And I, literally, don’t know what city he’s in, but from one retail a month to 20. And his average retail job is about $300.00.
Shane Jacks: That is sick!
Keith Cosentino: That is a sweet raise, just by changing the way you do things. He didn’t buy anything. It’s just making new choices.
Shane Jacks: That means making 6 grand more a month!
Keith Cosentino: I know.
Shane Jacks: He owes us.
Keith Cosentino: I know he’s listening. He already paid. All he had to pay was thank you, and tell somebody else about it.
Shane Jacks: No, you’re not – we’re gonna play good cop bad cop here.
I want a percentage! I want to dough broker that mo-pho. Both get a percentage! I haven’t brought that voice back for a while.
Keith Cosentino: It has been a while.
Shane Jacks: I don’t mind telling ye.
Keith Cosentino: Shane, what is the exciting thing you were going to share with us here at the end of the show?
Shane Jacks: Dude, I haven’t been this excited about a tool in a long time!
Keith Cosentino: Since they came out with those spring shoes.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
I keep calling it an edge tool, Keith, and other are calling it an edge tool. And it is an edge tool, but it’s as much, or more, a seam, double panel tool as an edge tool. And edge tool is – immediately if you say, “I’ve got a tool that fixes the edges of doors,” you’re thinking the folded over door edge. Right? That’s the first thing that pops into your head, is the door edges folded over, and you think I’m just gonna grab a rubber hammer and knock it out, and then knock the high spot down –
So I kind of want to – yes, it is a door edge tool, but it is as much or more a seam – a double seam – tool, because that’s where it really truly shines like crazy. Because we get hail dents that are in double seams on the edges of –it’s kind of rare, but we do have them. It’ll work on that. It’ll work on any double edged seam – double panel – where they two skins are tied together and they’re open on edge. This thing is gonna work –.
What it does is it slides into your mini lifter, and the design is to where you can put different tips on – interchangeable, it had interchangeable tip thread. You put a different tip on, you slide this thing in your mini lifter; it hooks the – the tool itself hooks around the door and tip screws in and comes in from underneath the door so – Basically, instead of pulling from the top with a glue tab, you’re pushing from the bottom with this tool, with the pressure on the top side with the feet of the mini lifter.
This thing has an insane amount of power. Okay? It’s – you can lift tiny little pits up with it with a really sharp tip, or you can lift edges up with a blunt tip. When I had – when we were talking about developing this thing, I took it to my machine shop, gave them the plans, and we tweaked it a few times, and when I got it back, and I held it in my hand I said, “All right, I’m hoping for it to work at this level.” And imagine putting your hand down at about your kneecap and the very first time I used it, it worked at the level way above my head!
I literally started dancing in the shop; it worked that well. You can see what you’re doing –. One of the problems when you’re trying to knock a double – or fix a dent in a double panel, is you’re using an awl or a screwdriver, or whatever, and a hammer, and you’re knocking that double skin up into the skin where the dent is that you’re trying to fix. Once you’ve done that, and you can see what you’re doing, you’ve gone too far and you’ve bent that metal? With this thing, you can actually, with just two fingers, squeeze the mini lifter and you can see the double panel move and touch the skin. And then if you’re not in the right spot you can move it a little bit; no damage done. You don’t have this mess of a high spot to knock down.
This thing works absolutely crazy good! And extremely excited about it. There’s a little viewing window that you can look through, also, so you can see with you’re doing while you’re pushing. It’s insane! The few guys that have used it, they are loving it. And this thing will be available next week for order.
Keith Cosentino: If you’re having trouble picturing it, picture a ‘C’ shape, and the top of the C slides into the mini lifter, and the bottom of the C has a spot for a tip. So you’re going to arrange the mini lifter on the edge of the door, on the outside just like you would with a glue tab, but the C will go out and down and around and underneath, and now it’s hooking underneath the door seam. So the mini lifter feet are on the outside, and the hook is underneath, and as you pull you’re pulling that tip into the double panel, and that’s where you’re generating all your power and moving the dent.
So it’s not just for door edges; it’s for any edge that you previously could not get a tool slide down in between. So the bottom of a lift gate, the bottom of a trunk, edges of doors, front of doors if you can get them off the car.
Shane Jacks: High cars only rear corner panel – on the rear corner panes there – instead of having that big lip that juts in, they’re just double seamed there. I had an Audi S7 – S7 – S7 – that was smashed on the corner panel a few weeks back, and it trailed into that edge. Boom. It was like fricking butter. It – this thing works. The power generated surprised me.
The three things – I don’t even know if it’s three things; I could probably go further than that. A couple things that really surprised me about it was the power. You can literally, with two fingers, make a nasty high spot that you’re never gonna knock down and just barely pulling with those two fingers. There’s a ton of power generated there.
Number two was the vision; being able to see that double skin actually touch the top skin without it actually damaging anything. It’s just like you’re working with a dent tool. It is exactly like working a regular dent.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a really big deal right there!
Shane Jacks: It’s a huge deal! Those are the two biggest surprises; there are several more. Again, in the original prototype I didn’t have a viewing window there, so you kind of had to look from the side and put your light in the exact right spot, but if you imagine that ‘C’ again on the – if you’re imagining the back of the C so you’re looking straight – you can’t see the C itself; you’re turning its back to you. There’s a big viewing port right there so you can see through; put your light vertical to the dent and see everything you’re doing.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, really cool. I just got the first model that you sent me. I haven’t even had a car to use it on yet, so I’m really excited for this coming week to try it out and take some video.
Shane Jacks: Well go out there whack that Yoda!
Keith Cosentino: I’m not that good, man. I don’t wanna go backwards.
Plus, I got that clear stuff on the edges.
Shane Jacks: You got the protection package we were talking about?
Keith Cosentino: At this point I got – I actually wanted this, and I had it installed outside of the dealership.
Even for guys in the business, I’m not going through the finance department. That is the snake pit.
Shane Jacks: Yes, it is.
Keith Cosentino: So what are you calling this thing?
Shane Jacks: I guess it’s gonna be Edge Jack.
Keith Cosentino: All right.
Shane Jacks: I really wanted to put Seam in there, but I’ve gotta stay consistent with the Jackhammer, and my last name, yada, yada, yada, – So I guess we’re gonna call this thing the Edge Jack.
Keith Cosentino: That is a cool way to name a tool, but very challenging once you get to tool 107.
“This is the Jack Fancy Screwdriver.”
Shane Jacks: This is the Lettuce Jack.
The Tortilla Jack.
Keith Cosentino: And you – a lot of that stuff’s already taken: Jumbo Jack, and all that.
Shane Jacks: Jumpin’ Jack.
Keith Cosentino: All right, so where do we go to get the Edge Jack? Are we going to blendinghammerpdr.com?
Shane Jacks: Oui. That is the only place that it will be available for a short time. And there will be an introductory offer. We will send out an email to you fellas, so be looking for that.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, if you want that tool, keep your eye open for the email and you will get it at a price that is better than it’s going to be. Is that right?
Shane Jacks: Correct.
Keith Cosentino: All right; it pays to be first.
Shane Jacks: It pays to listen.
Keith Cosentino: Learn to listen; listen to learn. That’s the phrase for the PDR College Podcast. So, on the thread of new and exciting tools, this week is the week TabWeld is coming out. That has been long enough; I’ve teased you guys out long enough. It’s taken me a while to get everything all set up, but we are going to be launching the TabWeld this week. Probably today or tomorrow you’re going to get an email about TabWeld and give you a chance to be one of the first guys to get it. And, like I said, if you’re on the email list of ours you’re going to get a special offer that no one else is going to get. My way of saying, “thank you for being loyal.”
So watch your email for that, and if you’re not on the email, then just sit around and wait, because it will be in every tool store after a while, but it’s going to only be on Black Plague PDR for the initial few months, at least. So if you want to be in the club, get on the email and/or check out blackplaguepdr.com, or tabweld.com, and get yourself some TabWeld.
And Shane and I owe you some; you’re [inaudible] [00:58:08].
Shane Jacks: I am glad you said that, because when you said you’re going to get a deal that no one else can get, I was going to say, “Including me!”
Keith Cosentino: I have two sticks that I’m rationing. I feel like I’m in a WWII concentration camp over here.
He’s actually shaving them – like put a stick on a table and shaving them with a razor blade, and that little circle he’s sticking over and tab and heating with a torch.
Shane Jacks: And then heating it up?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah.
Shane Jacks: I’ve done that before. I don’t want to wait on the glue gun to heat up; you’ve got that propane torch right there –
It doesn’t work nearly as good, by the way.
Keith Cosentino: Speaking of glue guns, that glue gun that we’re carrying, that Tec305, that is the best freaking gun I have ever used, man. It is fantastic! It’s hot here now, where I am; it’s like 104 degrees. I’ve just been using it like normal, and I was talking to a guy just the other day – in fact, the same guy I was talking about earlier – and he said, “Man, my glue gun out in the heat” – he had the Snap-On cordless one –.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I hate that thing.
Keith Cosentino: When it’s hot he pulls the trigger and it won’t feed the stick. And I thought, “Man, I forgot about that problem.” I used to have that problem every single summer with every other gun I had. And I just straight up forgot about it because this Tec305, putting it in the dead heat, in the sun, on my black tailgate, plugged in, and I just pick it up and pull the trigger and glue comes out; no fuss about it. So I actually forgot about that problem, which drove me bananas. You know, you turn the stick, now you need a grease in there to find a little area for the little teeth to bind on and see if that works. And it never works. The whole thing is gummy.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I wouldn’t know anything about that. I haven’t worked in the heat in quite a while.
Keith Cosentino: Right. It’s not humid there at all. So –.
Shane Jacks: No, I’ve got air conditioning, punk!
Keith Cosentino: With the door closed, you bring 150 degree 5 thousand pounds of steel in there. That probably heats it up a little bit.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, but it’s not that hot.
Keith Cosentino: No?
Shane Jacks: No; nuh-uh. It stays; I believe 82 is the highest it’s gotten in hear.
Keith Cosentino: That’s pretty nice.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. And it’s gotten down as low as 65 – with the air on. Come in here in the morning and it’s frigid.
Keith Cosentino: That’s beautiful.
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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.
Keith Cosentino: All right fellas, make sure you share your tips on our Facebook page. I want to hear what you’re doing with this situation, because I know there’s more to it than what Shane and I have, but I think that’s a great starting point. If you’ve been out of ideas on how to handle that, that’s what we would do.
Keep your eye open in your email for some new tools. It’s kind of exciting time to be in PDR, because new stuff is coming out, almost on a regular basis.
Shane Jacks: Yes, it is.
Keith Cosentino: Man, the technology is getting really cool.
Shane Jacks: Yes.
Keith Cosentino: And there’s nothing computerized yet, so just wait ‘till your iPhone takes dents out.
Shane Jacks: I can’t wait. If I’m the one to develop the app, I can’t wait.
Keith Cosentino: All right, fellas. Thanks for spending an hour with us. We know you could be a lot of places, but you’re here with us and we appreciate it. And until next time –
Shane Jacks: Get better.
Advertiser: Ooh groovy, baby.[End of Audio]
Duration: 63 minutes