Sal Contreras Dent Expert
Sal will be teaching at the Advanced Skills Seminar 2016!
In this episode we interview Sal Contreras from Dent Dial and Dent Expert in CA.
Sal is the Dent Olympic Winner 2015 and is one of the presenters at the 2016 PDR College Advanced Skills Seminar in January in Orlando FL.
more info here for the seminar
Listen to his unique approach to dent removal and come and learn for yourself!
here’s the crazy goggles he used in 2015!
Recon Pro software for PDR businesses
PODCAST TRANSCRIPT[Commercial] Shane: In the past, when we have needed to repair dense and double panels, low edges or inseams, we’ve used rather imprecise and dare I say ineffective methods of tooling. Screwdrivers, awls and hammers were all we had. Now, with the development of the Edge Jack from blendinghammerpdr.com, that has changed. Using the power and precision of the mini-lifter we can now effectively repair these damages with control. It takes interchangeable tips, you can vary the tip that you need depending on the damage and what you need to lift.
Again, crazy control, crazy power, you’re going to fix dents in double panels and seams that you struggled with before in half, tenth, one quarter of the time. Grab these bad boys and start making some extra money, fellas. Blendinghammerpdr.com.
Keith: I’m Keith Cosentino, he’s Shane Jacks, and this is PDR College Podcast. Where we are coming to you every week with fantastic new, usable information for your paintless dent repair business. That is all we are talking about here on the PDR College. We are dedicated to success, everything from marketing to tools, to business strategy and everything in between. We do it to make stacks and stacks of cash. Shane, tell these boys why you need to make so much cash.
Shane: Well, Keith I need more money that way – you’ve heard the tropical storm/hurricane. I want one named after me next year. I figure if I get enough cash, I could buy me one.
Keith: You could buy yourself one, but don’t you think…
Sal: That would be great advertising. Hurricane Shane.
Shane: You know, that has a really great ring to it.
Sal: You could make some great money of off Hurricane Shane. Cane Shane. Too bad, hurricanes don’t generally bring hail, do they?
Shane: No, none at all.
Shane: They bring some lightning sometimes, and typically lots of wind and water, for you people in California that have never, ever, ever seen one.
Sal: Yeah, no doubt. It’s amazing, you guys know so much about hail on your end. I mean, I just don’t follow it, you know? You guys are all specialists out there in weather.
Shane: Yeah. Yeah. Not really. I just know when it’s solid and when it’s liquid.
Sal: Really, is that, I mean…? It just seems like…
Shane: I mean, I know some about it. People like Fraser, you know, they start talking about it, they draw lines and all this stuff and I start snoring. I just know when that water collects into big icy balls it makes us money. That’s about it.
Sal: But I mean, it seems like, if you’re a true chaser, you know, that’s your whole…that’s where you’re going…
Shane: Yeah, yeah.
Sal: You go to that perfect storm. You would think, it must come down to, I don’t know, for some reason I thought, when I used to be in constant conversation with Ryan Hampton when we were building PDR Nation, he would tell me all these different things he’s doing, and it seems like the tale to me was, you’re driving down this road, like a cornfield, and all of a sudden there’s a guy with sunglasses waving you in to this secret opening. You get in there and there’s 150 cars that are 8 grand apiece…
Shane: It’s funny you say that, I was at a store in Minnesota a couple of years ago and that’s kind of what it was. The building that we were in was kind of a tractor storage little facility, kind of right out in the middle of nowhere and that’s where we were doing the dealer cars at, so you’re not that far from the truth. But before we talk about what we’re talking about, who is this other voice that’s taking up the airwaves here, Keith? You want to introduce this fella?
Keith: Of course I do. So a lot of you loyal listeners who have been listening for a long time, especially in the last couple weeks have heard Shane and I talk and talk and talk about our advanced skills seminar coming up in January 2016 in Orlando, Florida, and one of the most exciting guests and teachers that we’re going to have at the seminar is Mr. Sal Contreras. And if you’ve never heard of Sal before, then you’ve probably never got online and looked for anything PDR. But if you have, especially on YouTube, you’ve seen some of the smashed up stuff that Sal brings back to life.
He’s a real artist, both with PDR and wood and all kinds of other mediums, this guy just likes to work with his hands and he’s chosen to go bananas with PDR, probably 20 something years ago. And now, he’s an expert. He won the Dent Olympics last year. So we’ve got two Dent Olympic winners on the show at the same time. That, I think, is a world first. So, Sal, welcome to the PDR College podcast. How are you this morning?
Shane: Yes, welcome champ. Reigning champ.
Sal: Well thank you, yes. It’s good to be here. Thanks for inviting me, this is really nice. Really appreciate you guys inviting me on here.
Shane: No, it’s good for us. It’s good for us to have you on, man. We’re glad you’re here.
Keith: It’s good for everybody. It humbles Shane a little bit.
Shane: That’s impossible.
Sal: Well, it’s interesting you say that about the Olympic, first place Olympics. Because when I started going to the MTE Expo, I met up with Joel Valois, out of Canada. And he’s a, believe, a two-time winner, I believe so. And…
Keith: He’s at least won one before, I know that.
Shane: I think it’s two or three.
Keith: Yeah, yeah.
Sal: Yeah, it’s quite a few. And…
Keith: Let’s be honest, though. That’s before guys were really good. He just got kinda lucky, come on.
Shane: Don’t say that, we may have him on the show one day.
Sal: Well, I mean, after I placed third, I think it was, he invited me up to Canada and did some training up there and it was a good time. And we did a whole smash contest between each other, with a sledgehammer and some leather. And when you’re, when you go up against a guy like that, just in front of him in his garage, just, we’re both going to see what we could do, he was a two-time champion and I know why. Dude’s good, man. Joel Valois, pretty awesome tech. So…
Keith: He’s a really interesting guy. He’s not only — there’s a couple guys like him who not only are expert-level PDR guys but also really high-level business men.
Sal: Oh yeah.
Keith: He’s built a great little empire for himself up in Canada, as I understand it. And, just, he’s a really nice guy too. Similar to Mark Zurcas. He’s an awesome tech and he’s grown a huge hail company. He’s won it too, I believe, right?
Sal: You know, I’m not sure if…
Shane: I think that Mark’s guys have won it, not Mark himself, but…
Keith: If Mark himself, I think he has won it, and if he hasn’t, he’s been top three…
Keith: …a time or two. But I remember, Sal, your first year competition, because that was my first year at MTE as well, we should have shared a plane, but I remember we were in that place in Texas where it was like that indoor cattle ranch or whatever?
Keith: Cattle auction place. And I remember that really well because I was so excited to be there, everybody was really watching you because that was when you were, you had been online for awhile and your online persona was a little different than your offline persona, so everybody was wondering what was really going to show up there. And you impressed everybody, coming in and showing up third right out of the gates, but I know you were really planning on winning it. I mean, who doesn’t plan on winning when they enter, but third was respectable.
Sal: Well, yeah that was an interesting year. I didn’t know about hail. It was really weird. It’s almost like, I tell people all the time. It was like Rip Van Winkle. I literally was just concentrating what I do in used car lots for so many years, listening to the music, talk to the family, they’re visiting me, dropped me off sandwiches, I had no clue about doording.com and all these different forums out there for dent guys. But I wasn’t networking, you know? There’s no need to when you do what I do. Like anything, you’re just trying to find a corner in the lot somewhere where someone’s not going to see this new setup you came up with, you need privacy.
At least I needed it. And I just built that, that whole way of doing my work, and then when I got online, I was like, what? What are these guys doing? Why are they all talking to each other? And why are they being so nice to each other? So that was an interesting transition for me, going from used car lots, dealerships and route guy to doording.com and just seeing all these dent guys out there.
Keith: You know what I just remembered? You sucker, when you were first on there and you were all saucy, Shane you probably remember this because this is kind of internet nerd stuff right here. But it’s our conversation so you can listen if you want. Sal worked on one of those Gold Wing Mercedes, what the heck’s the model number for that thing?
Sal: Oh, I know what you’re talking about. It escapes me at the moment.
Keith: Somebody’s smashing their phone on their head right now, going “it’s a this, it’s a this!”
Shane: Why don’t they know?
Keith: You young kids just wait, you’ll get to where we are one day. You stop caring a little bit about exactly what the cars are. It’s killing me, but you know, it’s the half a million dollar one or whatever it is.
Keith: And Sal, I’m sure you remember the story, but you came up to Stockton or something and worked on one, because they said their normal guy makes a mess of it.
Sal: That’s right, that’s right.
Keith: And you were implying that it was my body shop and that I…
Sal: I remember it, I remember it! Yes I do. I was like, “you SOBs…” You know, they had me drive a couple hours up there because their normal guy in the Sacramento area, he just makes a pimple pizza out of it and then you got to get it done right this time.
Keith: But that was after your reflect-a-tree video.
Sal: Fair enough.
Keith: But that was retaliation for you for reflect-a-tree.
Sal: We had a good time busting each other’s chops.
Keith: It was very convincing.
Sal: That’s why I get Shane’s humor online because he’s mean online. You know, these guys are mean.
Shane: You say mean, I call it truthful.
Keith: Just kidding, just kidding.
Sal: When they were online, and it’s funny, they were going after me for so many things, it was so much fun because I knew what I was doing and so, when you know wo much that can’t be proven not, in the end I felt like that was a great way to get into digital because honestly you really just got to get your ego aside and just have fun out there and chop each other up a little bit once in awhile.
Keith: You actually hit on a really cool point, Sal and that’s what you’re saying, you knew that what you were doing worked so you had complete confidence in being a ballbuster and taking people on online who say contrary. And simultaneously, Shane knew that what he does works because he was doing it as well. And both of you had a really different style of attacking big dents, where Shane was using a lot of bare steel and a lot of sharp tips, Sal, you had a lot of what you call wide directional pushing, big, padded, you’re moving as much metal as you can at any given time, you’re just making these monster pushes and it’s a totally different end to a very similar means, so both of you knew the other one was dead wrong, you had to be.
Sal: The guy that convinced me that what Shane was doing was faster and perfectly fine out there in the field, especially where I was working was that technique, because when I went to Canada to see Joel, that’s what he did and he brought that dent out beautiful and did the polishing and made it look great. And I was looking at it, like wow, that’s beautiful you know? And it looked fantastic. And then – but he was amazed at my orange peel because I don’t alter the orange peel. So he both – we both learned from each other that trip and so when I know about what Shane does, it makes so much sense. You got to be fast in this business to make money, you got to be really fast.
Shane: Unless you live in San Francisco.
Sal: You know, you’re right.
Shane: And I’m not being funny there, you know? Actually I am. You can make that kind of money anywhere. There is a difference in the sheer number of cars in different areas that there are to work on.
Sal: Yeah, no doubt.
Shane: Just like Keith said earlier, there is only so much you can do in a day and honestly depending on the area, if you’re in Chicken Lips, Arkansas you are not going to have the amount of cars to pull from as in San Francisco, that is a fact. So I don’t have nearly the amount of cars that either of you have to pull from. But you make it work. There’s still enough to pull from. So…
Sal: Are you saying Chicken Lips is actually Greenville, South Carolina?
Shane: Close. They are – maybe it’s just code for Greenville.
Sal: Well, think of it this way. It’s not necessarily the volume as much as the quality of cars you’re getting from your community. So if I look at a technician, I don’t know where it would be, maybe a – with a town of, let’s say maybe 150,000, right?
Keith: It’s Chicken Lips, so…
Sal: Okay, let’s say 150,000. And it would be obvious to me, if you are doing great work in that area, at one point, the president of the bank or the mayor or somebody on the high end with the nicest car in town has some damage. And they really should be coming to you. You really should be the guy in that town doing that work, if you’re truly that good at what you’re doing. If you’re just busting out tons and tons of cars but you’re not quite up there for the high end retail, I don’t know, it depends I guess on what you’r going after. Shane’s got this going. I’m saying in general. If a technician is in his community and he’s not doing some of the higher end cars, you have to wonder why.
Shane: Yeah. And I don’t mind being accused of going after anything except money, anything other than money. So I will go, I will work on anything and the speed thing helps. With that – but it, ok a town of Greenville, honestly, within city limits only has 60,000 some odd people. The county itself is 200-something thousand. The metropolitan area which is rather large is a couple million, but it’s a large, large area land-wise, so I don’t have that many people. There are way more presidents of banks in San Francisco than there are in Greenville, South Carolina, so the pool is way smaller.
Sal: You could tell…
Shane: I could capture every single president of a bank here in Greenville and be done with their cars next week, and you could capture every single one and be done by the time your hair turns grey, Sal. Wait a minute, that’s already happened.
Sal: Well, that’s right, that’s right. You know what’s funny about that end of the market? Let’s say I, in my career lifetime, I deal with, I dealt with, let’s say 60 president of the banks, right? Out of the 60, you got to think about it, a market’s a market. There’s the low end of the president of the banks…
Sal: And then there’s the high end. It’s the guys on the high end are the guys that I like to deal with now. The guys that never ask how much anymore, they just want to get it done. And they provide – the person brings out the car, I give the estimate, everything is done all in advance. So all I do is show up, do my work and leave. But they want it flawless. And they don’t want any mistakes because the cars are so valuable. So you have to do that for so many years before you see another level of cars and another level of cars.
But it even goes beyond that. If you’re working for body shops that are doing those level of cars, and then you can do that damage on those kinds of cars, it’s amazing some of the customers you get to work for when they refer you. So it’s fun, as opposed to the low end of the presidents of the banks who are kicking tires, almost kicking tires. I don’t like those guys because they drive nice cars but they’re looking to save a few bucks, and I don’t have time for that because they’re going to want it perfect but they’re – I’m competing against another guy and not many guys can work those cars so I know he’s not able to go somewhere else.
Keith: At least he doesn’t find that out until after it’s too late.
Sal: That’s right, that’s right. Because if he goes through cars — a lot of these guys go through cars — the next cycle of him looking for damage to be fixed, he won’t pick that guy, you know, come back to me. So I’m 24 years in this area. Over time, I’ve developed that clientele of people that have tried me, “oh my gosh he’s expensive,” tried someone else, “oh my gosh that’s not what I wanted,” come back to me and I just get my price. And at the same time, I guess – I was thinking about this the other day – you know, the longer you’re in this business and the older you get, you somehow get your price because, I don’t know, you just look at them like, “I’ve got three kids, I’ve got all kinds of things going on. Just give me the money and shut up.” And it works.
Keith: You two can have a pitch like that.
Shane: I’ve got to try that, I’ve got to try that. “I got two kids, man. Give me that four grand. Shut up and give me the money.”
Sal: Well it’s like – yesterday I was working on a Toyota, a high end Toyota or something and it was the middle of the car. So the back of the driver’s door and the very front of the rear door. And you know, when it’s silver you have to do the whole darn car practically. So I was bringing so much value to this car, and the guy knew it and he was so proud of it to pay me what I wanted and he was so happy I was like, “how can this be wrong?” you know?
Keith: It can’t be.[Commercial] Keith: Let’s talk a little bit about hot glue 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 some at Walmart. In fact, I used Walmart glue for a long time before I really got into the manufacturing side of PDR, Walmart 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-meld glue. There’s a lot of glues out there that are made for construction and manufacturing that will make this glue look like it doesn’t work, our glue 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 – Tab Weld.
Tab Weld 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 got to squeeze the last two, three, four, five, ten 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 got to 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 Tab Weld 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. 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 Tab Weld.
Check out the website, tabweld.com. You can bop yourself onto our mailing list there, 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.
Keith: Do you know – have you looked at that pricing guide that Paul Corden got started and everybody’s adopting?
Sal: I have looked at it. I don’t usually like to look at a whole bunch of numbers because I’m not into organized numbers like that. It scares me. But…
Keith: The reason I ask is because I think a lot of people perceive your repair prices to be just ridiculous, crazy, they couldn’t get it in their area. But I have a feeling after knowing you for so long, that I don’t think your repair prices are too far off where that pricing guide is. What do you say about that?
Sal: You know, I think you’re right. That’s what I saw when I looked into the guide, was that – okay, yeah, that works. I was happy with it, but I guess I, I’m at a point where I don’t want to even be limited by the guide itself because I just – I wouldn’t want to show it to the customer and they’re trying to tell me, “yeah, but you could also go on this side of that” you know?
Sal: And I don’t – I’m a more physical estimator. I literally put my hands on the vehicle, I get on my knees, I’m looking at it from five different angles, I talk to myself, I do that a lot. I look at this spot here and I – ok, so that’s a hundred and twenty-five – I don’t say a hundred and twenty-five, I say 125. Or if I’m saying a hundred, I say one. I go, “one, two, three, three, four,” and I just add up these numbers and they kind of look at me, they walk backwards a little bit like, “ooh, I got to leave him alone, he’s thinking to himself.”
Keith: Like a mad scientist kind of estimate.
Sal: Yeah. And then – what I’m doing is something I’ve done my whole career and I highly recommend it if people are wondering what they should price, and I don’t know if you guys want to hear all of it, but it really makes sense to me. All I do is put my hands over a particular section of a dent that I recognize from dents I’ve done in the past, right? I mean, aren’t we just doing a ton of redundant dents?
Sal: Yeah. So I just put my hand over it, look at that spot and, “oh, that’s 250. Right there.” Because I know I would get 250 from so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so, and their cars, and they’re calling me like crazy. That spot, 250, you know? And then I’ll put my hand away and cover it with the other side and, “oh that’s 60 bucks.” For sure 60 bucks. And I just come up with these numbers. And it’s always above that price guide, but I’ve always felt like the price guide could be adjusted upward really well. So I do like it, I just tend to think on the higher end of that price guide and I don’t want to be limited.
Keith: Yeah, that’s one thing that you started doing that I thought was really – before the price guide came out – it was really powerful for estimating big crumpled up stuff. Because you tend to just get lost in it and just fall back to your personal big number, whether it’s 800 or 1,000 or 1,200 or a big number, you just end up on one of these big round numbers. But when you start breaking it up into pieces and saying, “okay, this fender lip damage is $350.00, the crease is $500.00, you know, this little tiny ding here is $100.00,” when you start adding it up all like that, it’s easier to justify to yourself and you’ll come up with a number that’s more realistic that you won’t be upset about when you’re three hours into the repair.
Sal: You’re right. That’s what helped me so much when I transitioned from used cars to retail, was – you just can’t, you know, look at a dent, stand there and say, “three and a quarter?”
Sal: You know, because what are they going to say? “Three hundred.” I just don’t do that. I look at it and say, “250, 60, 40, 180.” And I just start writing it down, and they’re like, “you know, what about, why not this number?” And I’m like, “well, that’s not what I see. Because see that one there, I’m going to have to go through the speaker and this and – I just started explaining my process to them and they just back off because I already have my story in my head as to how I’m going to go after these dents and that’s what I tell guys all the time – you sound honest when you’re looking at damage and you just say, “Alright, that is this much,” because you know what it is in your area because that’s what you’ve been getting. So…
Keith: Hold on. I’m sorry, go ahead.
Sal: So you’re at some point justifying it because you’re getting that in the community, and I used to do that with dealers all the time, I would look at a dent and say, “alright, that’s $85.00.” “Oh, $85.00?” You know, they – I’d be like, Putnam Lexus up the street, they’re paying me a hundred and fifty to do that right now, and I’m going to give you a good deal or whatever, and you can just bid them against each other because he doesn’t want Putnam Lexus to have the better used cars than me, so…I used to work them so well, that I applied that to retail and it worked because they’re not going to argue with you if you just sound knowledgeable.
Shane: That – you’re – I see three different, well I see more than three different ways of pricing. I really like the way you’re doing it, I like the pricing guide that Keith is using better honestly, right? And I like the way I do it right now the worst out of all three. I’m not bashing you at all so, I don’t use the pricing guide yet, here’s – and I see kind of a progression. The way I do it right now, I go out there and I look at it and I say “that’s going to take me…” and that’s the way most guys do it, okay? I would say 99% of guys – techs – do this. That is going to take me X amount of hours. I’m going to charge X amount of dollars. Or they say, “that’s worth…” the body man in them, a lot of them are ex-body guys, right? A lot of dent people are ex-body guys.
Shane: So they say, “that’s worth X amount of hours, even it’s worth 4.5 dent hours.” They formulate that stuff in their head and then they say, “well, I could do it in one hour, but it’s worth 4.5 dent hours at $150.00 an hour,” and then they come up with a price and that’s where they’re at, but you’re doing it according to how long, or – I do it according to how long it’s going to take me to do it, so – way you’re doing it breaks it down even further when you do your hand thing, and I do – I remember when you explained that online, it was a really good explanation and it stuck with me, Sal.
And not many things stick in my head, but that did, and when you do your little hand thing, and “that’s worth this much, that’s worth this much,” and then you piece them all together as a much more precise way of pricing, and then to take it even further like I said, the pricing guide is even more precise, but it kind of narrows you down like you said, it can narrow you down. But I guess you could keep that pricing guide close to the vest, look at it yourself, measure it, if you don’t like the price you just throw one out there and then throw the pricing guide in the shop and don’t let them see it.
Sal: Well, I’m sure that guys memorize the pricing guide at some point. So they don’t have to look at it and they…
Keith: I think they always get it out.
Sal: Oh, really?
Keith: Because it’s a selling tool that you use in front of the customer.
Sal: That’s just scary. That’s so scary.
Keith: I know it’s scary. What’s scary is changing from what we used to do.
Sal: Well let me tell you why it’s scary. Let’s say digital advertising starts for a particular company. And the big slogan? “Twenty-five percent off of the pricing guide.” You know? “Forty percent off the pricing guide.” The pricing guide, the pricing guide, the pricing guide. You know what happens after awhile, is that now is the anchor for the market, the markets out there, whatever market you happen to be in.
Sal: To anchor and take you down. Because what happens is you take each other down. We’re all a bunch of cannibals. We eat each other alive because when the going gets tough, everybody starts dropping prices, whereas that might be based on what you think you can get for it, I mean it’s just – I don’t know. I don’t like pricing guides, but at the same time it’s so needed because so many guys were so cheap, remember how when Facebook first started guys were like, “What? You get that much?” And then you can almost read it daily now where a guys like, “my first thousand dollar dent,” you know? “I finally got up to that pricing, I didn’t know I was so underpriced.” So something’s working.
Keith: Yeah, I agree with you. Everything’s going in the right direction and if you could look like ten years down the road and see that there’s an industry standard price and everyone’s trying to – everyone’s trying to find an advantage over that as a selling point because they can’t sell on any other topics.
Sal: That’s right, that’s right. And then to where after awhile the customer says, “well, he said twenty-five percent off the pricing guide, what are you willing to, kind of, work with us on this on the pricing guide? Are you ten percent off?” Now the consumer knows what the pricing guide is.
Keith: Yeah, it’s a valid concern if you’re going to be pushing dents into your seventies.
Sal: Yes. But I like the idea of lifting the bottom. Because the bottom was too low and I think it’s really necessary, so I like it.
Shane: Is it really more, any more of a concern, honestly than the guy that’s on YouTube that says, “I’ll do $40.00 dents?” I mean, honestly, is it any more of a concern?
Sal: Any more?
Shane: Than the pricing guide?
Sal: Yeah, I’m just saying it, from, not from my standpoint because I’m in a totally different market of retail, but for the low-end, it seemed like the pricing guide could get adopted by the dealers and then…
Shane: If my dealer adopted that pricing guide, I’d be the happiest man alive.
Sal: Well, I know that, wouldn’t they start – I see that comment is about pushing it into the seventies, so it could ruin the market later, but not for us right now?
Keith: Right. And that $39.00 dent, guys, is in Sal’s market, he’s just like an hour or so away from there. You know about that guy?
Sal: No, no.
Keith: Yeah, see there’s a guy in San Jose that advertises $39.00 dent repairs on YouTube.
Sal: Wow, I could see that. We could make some money doing that around here because there’s so many cars. I mean, it’s just nuts how many cars are here.
Keith: Yeah it is bananas. You can’t – if you go anywhere during rush hour, you’re not getting anywhere.
Sal: No way. Your life has to be centered — not centered, but regulated around traffic. Which is mine, because I always find myself looking on the other side at traffic and I’m not in traffic because I’m just doing jobs at times I want to and I know the reverse commutes and all that so it’s fun. But I couldn’t imagine commuting or having a route like I used to. I used to cover thirty dealerships at one point. No way right now, no way.
Keith: Shane, you ever had a lot of stores like that? I’ve never had a big route like that, I’ve always had…
Keith: …eight or ten stores, max.
Shane: I’ve never even had eight or ten, honestly. No – gosh, right now I have two dealerships…
Keith: Well, totally different, totally different animal.
Shane: At the most, one. One, two, I think the most I’ve ever had was three large dealers and a few dirt lots honestly. And the rest was – the rest was retail and body shop. I did a lot of body shop work then, before my retail was really kicking, so…
Keith: Possibly the longest count to three I’ve ever heard. And I have little kids too.
Sal: Well, that’s – I was thinking it – with Dent Pro I used to do a large route in the early 90s, because it just seemed like there was no dent guys around. And then I realized then it was because the Dent Wizard had all the high-end dealers, and those were the Mazdas and the Ford dealers and Hondas nobody wanted, and in the beginning I had at least 30 or more dealerships to cover and it was nuts and that was one of the reasons why I left Dent Pro, because my phone and the managing of the guys, it was crazy. But I can’t imagine having – you know, trying to establish a route, having that many dealers and working with traffic these days. It’s crazy.
Keith: Those days are almost, I’m pretty confident saying those days are over.
Keith: Where one guy can come to a market and do 30 stores. There’s just too much competition, in every market. There’s somewhere you could roll into town and snag four or five real fast…
Keith: …but I think the days of one guy finding 30 stores who say, “yes, please we need a new dent guy,” I think those are gone.
Sal: Really, I’m with you.
Keith: I mean, you think about it in your day when you were doing thirty stores, there were hardly any other dent guys in town. Now there’s probably 100 in the Bay area.
Sal: Wow. No, I saw it coming, you know? Because we were doing just such minor dents for $50.00, but it was $50.00 a panel on a dent that was maybe under a minute to fix. So it was the easiest work ever, and it was fun but that was sure to go, I could see, because it was so easy I was thinking anybody could do this so that’s when I started studying big ones.[Commercial] Shane: Let’s talk about glue tabs. More specifically let’s talk about Black Plague Smooth Series glue tabs. These guys come in a variety of sizes and are specifically designed for maximum adhesion. They are designed differently than all tabs and I can say honestly that they stick better than any other tab out there. From the itty-bitty tiny ones that seem as if they wouldn’t pull anything all the way to the larger ones, these things pull like a tanker. And best of all, they pull with finite precision. They pull exactly where you want, in the exact spot you want. I’ll tell you what. Pair these guys with the Tab Well glue and you’ve got an unbeatable combo. Visit blackplaguepdr.com pick these guys up, puck up some Tab Well glue, and take your glue-pulling to the next level.
Keith: So tell us a little bit about your tools, have you got anything new coming out, for someone who’s never heard of you and doesn’t know what your tools are known for, give us a little intro into what that is and why it’s different.
Sal: Well, the two main concepts I sell out there for tools, is tools that move a dent with a larger surface area in one push, and that’s what I try to do with any dent really, because – you know, the way I look at it really, any kind of dent, especially when you start pushing on it, doesn’t have a bunch of rounds in it, it has a rectangular type of lows. And they’re all in different directions. And I try and spot them before I chop them up, you know when you first get into this business you tend to just push, push, push and you could chop up a perfectly good low into twelve pieces, you know? So I look at that low and say, “I want to bring the whole thing up in one swoop.”
And then go to my next one, go to my next one, so I kind of develop a sequence where I push the dent out in a few pushes, and at the same time, I didn’t have a great process for knocking it down the same way or the same concept because I just wasn’t hitting it correctly. And then at some point I figured it out that I need to knock down in the same way where I’m knocking it down with a big, wide footprint, so that’s what I do. I push with a big wide footprint, and I slap with a big wide footprint. And I’m able to take the dent out and not really beat it up to where the original orange peel is intact and it’s a lot easier to finish when – that’s what you’re staring at in the end is the original orange peel.
Keith: So that tool system. Would you call it the system-wide directional pulling?
Sal: Well, the idea behind it was I started to – how it happened really was from the used car lots. I – it’s like 4:30 in the afternoon and there’s – I want to go home and there’s a big dent, and guy wants it done really cheap, and I want to go home and I’m thinking, “alright, I can just drill that hole and bulk that thing up and I’m out of here.” But I don’t know, I just didn’t like doing that because I knew, as I’m kind of a perfectionist when I approach my work, I didn’t like it, I knew it wouldn’t get me anywhere, so I started to think, “alright, if I just pull the panel off and get in there with a bunch of rubber or something, I can probably make that look good enough to where I can get out of here,” you know?
So I would pull the panel off, look underneath and hope for an opening. And in those days, in the 90s everything was open, you know? Three series BMWs were wide open, Mercedes, so it was the Hondas and Toyotas that were tough. And the Mazdas in those days. So that’s where I struggled because I didn’t know how to use twisters and things like that, I just knew the bigger open areas. So I gravitated towards large dents on high end cars so I got good at the R and I, but bottom line is that at some point working these used car lots I knew what was open so there was that moment where the big dent had to come out and the guy’s like, “get this done and I’ll give you an extra 200,” you know, so – I’d take the panel off, “Wow. Wide open.”
And then I’ll run to my toolbox and I’ll grab some clamps, and I’ll take a piece of steel and I’ll kind of anchor it to where I have this great fulcrum, I’ll get a flat bar up in there, leather it up with a bunch of rubber, and yank on it and and boom. A lot of it comes out, I get to get home early, he thinks I’m a genius, and I’m like, “wow, that was quick.” So then, during the day, doing the regular cars, I stated noticing you know what? If I could just, you know, do that again, that’ll even come out even smoother if I – so that’s when it started. So when I could get a tool tip up inside of a dent, I then noticed that I had to push it out with a particular angle, and it was too difficult to make the rods do that without constantly bending them and breaking them.
So I started to screw on a tool tip to my flat-bar, and I liked how it could swivel, being in the thread, and I was able to line up my tool tip to the direction of the lows I was going after and that’s when everything changed for me. When I started to control my shapes up inside the big lows, I knew I was going to push the dent out way faster and cleaner. And that’s essentially what my tools – the Dent Dial does, is get wide shape to dents and then while you’re there, you have the opportunity to turn the tool tip in the direction of the lows you’re going after and that’s why I call it the Dent Dial, because you can kind of dial in the tip.
Keith: That’s a really, such a unique way of looking at it, because most of us just kind of think it’s a – at least in those days it was a win if you could just a get a tool in there, on it, let alone get a customized tip dialed in to the right orientation for the dent. But do you know what’s something you brought up that I remember is something that you’ve always impressed me with is your ability to create leverage in a unique fashion in all kinds of different situations. And I think it comes really easy to you, I think you’re just able to look at it and go, “oh yeah, I’ll clamp this here and clamp that there.”
But whenever I see your setups that you share, either in Facebook or other online mediums, I always think, “yeah, that’s – I would have never thought to clamp that there and put a piece of wood there to get that kind of leverage.” I hope you share a lot of that at the seminar.
Sal: Oh I see. Yeah, I can, definitely. It’s something that you learn, being in the trades. I mean, I’m a carpenter, a professional carpenter, at least, so I’ve worked on so many houses and you’re moving so much material and you’re just dealing with so much in construction that if you’re not good with hand tools like clamps and vises and all kinds of materials, I’d think it’s hard to do this job, at least that’s what I thought. And then as I got into it I realize, you know, there’s a lot of artists in this industry that can just get a rod to a dent and they don’t have to know about clamping or nothing, you know?
So that’s what opened my eyes up, was that like you said in the beginning it was good to get a rod to it, but I don’t know, I still kind of want everyone to try and be more creative in their leverage because honestly it really comes down to that. If you have great leverage, you don’t need super-stiff rods. That’s what my tool tips, I mean that’s what my rods are, are rods that aren’t that strong but I bend them close to my fulcrum that I make sometimes and then I’m on it. And I’m not only on it at the angle I want, but I’ve bent the tool to a point where, when I push the low out I’m able to roll a little bit more and get more out of that push.
So my main concepts have always been you don’t want to stitch it up, you don’t want to come to a point with your push. You want to push and see your roll and then you want to connect that roll and connect that roll and at some point you’ll have – you’ll develop a style of pushing lows out and not beating them up because you’ve taken advantage of the fact that you’ve gotten the whole thing done in one swoop and you didn’t chop it up. The trick in our business as far as the skill itself is to not get fooled by the illusions and the reflections and when you’re pushing a low out you should always double check to make sure you’re pushing it in the right direction because if you find yourself moving your body and you look into a low and say, “oh wow, looks much better from over here,” you better push it from over there. Because if you don’t, you’re going to chop it up.
Keith: And that’s mostly the style that everybody does, is chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, get it as close as you can. And then either ship it or sand it flat.
Shane: That’s my MO.
Sal: Yeah, mine takes longer no doubt about it. You have to have a discipline of looking at things that way for so many years that it comes natural to you so you know what tool you’re going to use and you just know how you’re going to bend it and tweak it and just – I don’t know, I’m just so fast at it. I go to my bumper, I bend it, bend it, bend it, bend it and I’m doing so many bends but after awhile, I have multiple – I have redundant bends, so now I’m looking down at my tool set saying, “oh yeah, I could do that one, that one, that one.” And it works, all through one hole.
Shane: That’s the great thing about this seminar, you’re going to see so many different methods and be able to merge them all together and use them in different scenarios. Because I use – we kind of talk like, I never use wide directional pushes and Sal never uses sharp, and neither is the case.
Shane: And when you can blend the two together, when you can merge the two together, you can be a really crazy effective dent tech, and that’s what you’re going to see at that seminar is Sal’s methods, Brice Kelly’s methods, so you’re going to see some really – you’re going to see across the entire spectrum, what you need to learn.
Sal: No, I agree. I need to learn what Shane knows. Definitely.
Shane: I can teach it all to you in about three minutes. That’s how little I know.
Keith: Sal, you do a crease repair in a unique fashion as well. You want to talk about that a little bit?
Sal: It’s kind of the same concept really. Just go with the low, and the direction of a crease is one direction. So I try and re-crease it as much as possible, and I keep working it with rounds, I don’t like sharp tools because I’m – what happened to me is, since I’m not coming to a point with my push, I see it move in the low, and I see it, I see myself traveling around in there as opposed to coming up to a point. Because when I look into reflection, I’m able to see the very deepness of the lows because I’m looking 90 degrees into it.
And when I see myself running around inside there, I find that I’m able to bring it up clean and not sand it and I’m tending not to do that so many times that I’m able to work on really old cars doing that. And it just brought me into another way of doing it every day and I never learned how to use a sharp tool.
Keith: But the – when you say rounds, you’re sometimes talking about just a round bar stock bare steel for a finish, right?
Sal: Well, think about this. If you’re trying to push the very center of a cone, like a sharp cone, like a snow cone, you know what I mean?
Sal: Alright. If you’re trying to find that little dot, that little point there, what would you rather try and find it with, another sharp point that you’re trying to meet those two points together, or would you rather find it with a round, because you can’t miss? Literally. You could be off a little bit and you’ll still be in the sharp point. And so that’s what I figured out when I read reflection, I can find the smallest of lows and know I’m inside of it because I know where the reflection’s going. And I don’t have to bring it up all the way, and I know I’m in there.
Keith: I see.
Sal: I think if you’re reading the wrong direction and you’re looking at 40 degree, 45 degree angle boards and stuff, you’ll sometimes be on the wrong side of the mound when you’re pushing highs and lows out, they’re all irregular in height, so if you’re looking at something from the wrong angle, it’s like trying to look over a ridge. So I don’t run into that because I’m looking 90 degrees into the panel. So I don’t get fooled by the illusion and I’m able to push the center of the deepest lows out because I can see it so well, I’m looking 90 degrees into it.
Keith: That’s really unique, because a lot of guys might not be tracking when you say looking 90 degrees, but that means looking straight at the panel…
Keith: …directly at it, not at an angle looking down like a rifle, but you’ve got your face right at the dent which is generally the worst way to look at a dent.
Keith: Not to repair it, but just to look at it, and see what is it made of, you know? Like, you want to get the angle and look down the car, right? But, like when someone wants to look at your repair and they look dead on, straight at it without a reflection, they say, “looks great,” and you say, “well, yeah,” and you can put your face down by the tire and look down the car you can see it’s super wavy.
Keith: But for that purpose and that point in the repair, you’re looking at it in a fashion that really I don’t think anyone hardly does. Shane would you say that’s the case?
Shane: Well, actually, if…
Keith: I’m not saying it’s wrong by any means, but I’m saying it’s not common.
Shane: …I look straight on, not when it’s deep like that, not in the beginning. When you’re getting close to the end or three-quarters of the way through, I do look, I look straight on and use an overhead fluorescent light quite a bit actually on a crease. It just depends on the damage, it needs to be complex before I’ll do that. But Sal’s doing it different, he’s doing it kind of from the beginning, which is – I guess that’s what you’re asking. I do do it, but it’s normally in the middle of the repair, not in the beginning of the repair.
Sal: Well, think about it, I look at it this way. And it started with creases, because what is the hardest thing to do is get inside the line of the crease and not slip off, right? Right?
Keith: I mean, it depends on the crease, of course, and how sharp it is and all that kind if stuff.
Sal: Well, but if you’re trying to reverse out a crease…
Keith: Let me take a baby step out to the side because when you do a crease, Sal, I think if I understand right, you’re actually putting pressure behind the crease and then scooting along the dent with pressure, right?
Sal: That’s right.
Keith: So you’re actually moving the tool as you make adjustment whereas most guys line up tool, push, release and see what you did.
Sal: Yeah, that’s right.
Keith: But you’re pushing and scooting and dragging, so it’s the same motion that created the crease, which I think is why you call it re-creasing when you’re removing it. So I don’t think that’s very common, that’s why I wanted you to talk about it a little bit.
Sal: I see.
Keith: Most people, if the tool moves behind the dent when it’s under pressure, that’s called a zipper and it ruins the dent.
Sal: I see.
Keith: It takes a big, it takes a high ridge in it.
Sal: Right. Well that’s…
Keith: But you’re doing that on purpose in the right direction. So you’re saying when you set that up, you’re doing what?
Sal: I’m lifting out the very bottom. Because if you think about it, like I was saying, that round trying to hit the bottom of the cone, I’m on it, I know I’m on it, but I see it as well, that I’m on it. I think that’s the hardest thing for techs to do, is to know where they’re at when they’re bringing up something deep and I can see it so well that I don’t have to bring it up because you got to remember you’re fighting pressure on the way up. So I push it, and then I slap it to relieve it so it can come up again my next round because I don’t like to push into any pressure. So that’s kind of what I do first, is I get underneath it and I bring it up, but I haven’t disturbed it, I just kind of brought up a large area.
And then I go for the highs immediately, or pressure, and they’re subtle, subtle. I go for everything that’s subtle and release it and then when I go back in for the next round I see that it’s going to come up easer and I bring up the original hit, you know? I’m not kind of creating a stitch effect in the crease, I’m just bringing up the original low. And at some point, if it’s super sharp, I got to do the stitch effect because there’s just no getting around it. But that’s usually at the very, very end on something that’s really super sharp.
But if it’s got a shallowness to it, I can bring it up so clean because I didn’t disturb it in any way with any kind of a push that ended. All the pushes were kind of rolled, so you can blend in rolled pushes better than you can a stitch effect where you came to a stop.
Keith: I don’t even understand the rolled pushes, but that’s one of the reasons why we want you to come and teach.
Sal: I see.
Keith: I want to see, because you just…
Shane: But we will by Friday.
Keith: We will by the Friday of that week.
Keith: There’s so many things that you do that are unique to you but are unquestionably effective based on all the big old, smashed up stuff that you make look real nice. So I think all the stuff that you may have kind of done for so long, you may have forgotten how unique it really is compared to what everyone else is doing.
Sal: I’m glad to share it, that’s the thing you know? I share it so much. Everything I said just now, I’ve said online for so many years and it’s amazing to me how many people still – I mean, I think it’s because they think I’m selling something, I’m going to make money off it, “I’m not going to buy anything from that guy, I’m not going to give him a dime.” But at some point, I just, I’m just trying to get this to them so they don’t have to work so hard because it is, in a way this type of method will take you to a higher level of repair on high-end black cars. And that’s what you want, you know?
You want that guy who walked across the street to the job you just did, he loves it because it’s perfectly like it was before, and he’s now going to give you his black Porsche under the cover in his garage. But if you come up kind of in a slight irregular texture, you just don’t get that work where I’m at and in this part of the world, they just spot you so fast if you have this texture to your work. It’s got to be just completely glass on the big stuff and this type of method is so effective that I want to tell everybody about it. But it takes a discipline, it’s hard to roll down, not roll down the glass, throw a tool on it and boom, you’re going.
It’s just so hard because I would be completely opposite. You’d be staring at me thinking, “Sal we haven’t pushed a dent in five minutes. What are you doing?”
Keith: Yeah, tearing everything apart?
Sal: Well it’s not even that. Sometimes it comes to bends. I do bends a lot and sometimes I take my time bending the tools or getting the right angle to it, and thinking about it. Not necessarily R and I as much as I might – because I like to do a two opposite direction approach to all dents. So I don’t want to always push it from one direction. So when you do an opposite direction, it forces you to open up the other access. Because when I teach guys that’s the one thing I try and instill is that, you’ve got to think about your other access because if you just start on that one access and you just start pushing, there’s going to be a point where you’re going to want to cross-check.
And if you haven’t started how you want to think through the other access, you’ll most likely kind of avoid it, you’ll just kind of keep going and, “oh that’s getting close, close, okay I’m done. And I didn’t have to do the other access and that’s great.” But if you were to cross-check it, it would have looked better if you did, so I always teach that you abandon the easy access first and you start the hard access right away. And sometimes that takes you longer but it will set you up for speed in the end because now you have all that figured out.
Keith: That’s a really unique way of looking at it. I understand what you’re saying and I think it’s right, but I think it’s an uphill battle to get most guys to do the hard way first.
Keith: But it’s like training for anything, you know? The training is really hard and you get to the competition, it’s easy because you trained so hard.
Sal: That’s right, yeah. Well what happened to me was when I was competing at dealerships there was a point where I was in the service drive talking to the service manager who had, at that time, the top Dent Wizard tech and I highly respect this guy, he’s still in the area. And he was kind of competing with me, and he was so good and so fast, guy was amazing. Still is. And he and I were at a head because I wanted one more dealer and I was taking them from him because I was able to pick up his slack. He was only one guy you know? So I wanted another dealer of his, and I was taking it, and we were at the service drive and the service drive manager was asking me about a particular spot on the car that I do because I take apart cars so much.
And I remember the Dent Wizard guy looked at me and said, “how did you know about that spot on that car?” And I said, “oh, I just did one the other day.” And that’s when he knew I was for real, that I was going to know so much more about the R and I because what happens if you learn R and I to a point, you kind of get to the point where nothing stops you because there’s no excuses, you know, if somebody asks you to do a dent and you say, “I can,” it’s because you probably removed that glass at one point in your career, you probably removed that panel at some point, and nothing stops you.
But if you haven’t done a lot of this stuff, that kind of stops you in your head. You kind of feel – you don’t feel the confidence when you’re giving that big estimate because maybe you don’t feel comfortable removing that pillar or something like that. So that’s kind of where I liked it, when I was starting to, you know, take a dealership from a guy who was well-valued in the area, but he honestly wasn’t studying what I was studying.
Keith: No, it’s that same wholesale mentality of, “how quick can you get through these cars?”
Keith: And oftentimes, that’s buzz a hole in them, get them flat, and roll.
Sal: Yeah. Flat pays.
Keith: Flat pays, and it pays quick if you can make your access hole right where you need it.
Sal: Yeah. Well, I like dealerships because I know speed and I liked working upside-down, so it’s kind of fun. I can kind of keep up with guys on that level that I think – not now maybe, I’m too old to do that anymore. But I could probably keep up with them with the quality of it in the end, you know? If you had me do 20 cars and had another guy do 20 cars, just super fast, I’d probably take longer but in the end I think people would like my work more because I took longer. But you can’t take longer on the wholesale end if you’re just too slow. But you can take dealerships if you’ve got good quality.
Keith: Are you still not sanding and polishing anything?
Sal: You know, that’s funny you ask that. I broke down and finally tried it and I have incorporated it, and that’s only in the last two weeks.
Keith: We finally got you.
Sal: You know, and it worked. I’m about to release a video, I didn’t finish it because my son came visiting, and I…
Keith: That’s right, you were going to talk about a video you got coming up.
Sal: Yeah, I did a crease on a Chevy truck, a Z71, that went from wheel-well contour to wheel-well contour. So from 11:00 to 2:00, all the way across. And driver’s side, dark color, and it was probably a dent that I Would probably turn down, you know, even four or five years ago because I just never really could make it the way I wanted to, especially for this guy. And the crease turned out fantastic but after I did this red Tesla, I learned that I have to hit it once with 2000, just once, to make my work look better. And that’s what I did with this truck. And it worked, it looked great.
Keith: Yeah, it works. I’m glad it only took ten years to get you – ten years of online prodding to get you to come around. So is your video about that crease?
Sal: Yes, yes.
Keith: And so is just that a YouTube video, or is that a paid video that you’re putting out?
Sal: I’m sorry, it’s a – it is just a YouTube video that is hopefully trying to help me transition into a Vimeo pay-per-view kind of setup that I’m building where a guy can go buy a movie but it’s worth watching for like a couple hours, you know?
Sal: And – because that’s kind of what I want, is something that’s a good hour and a half, two hours long, that you can really explain a lot but at the same time not lecture a lot. So what happens is, it requires a lot of past footage, you know, to make it interesting and I have so much, I have hundreds of hours of repairs, for 24 years it seems that – to go through all that archive and bring it out and add it to the movies, it takes so much time but it’s there and sometimes I add to it, sometimes I don’t, but I’d like to at some point have a series that people can subscribe to, that way at least they can learn of a different way to repair it and it’s not, kind of, lost when I retire.
But that’s kind of what happens in our trade. It’s been around, I tell people, you know, this trade’s been around since the 50s, I’m sure of it, you know in auto plants. And guys just don’t retire and pass on the ideas of whatever he had, and then the industry has to kind of rebuild itself with the new guys.
Keith: Yeah, everybody thinks they’re inventing stuff.
Sal: Yeah. So I figured, I want to get it online to where I don’t have to explain it anymore, it’s locked in, and people can learn from it.
Keith: Well, if you don’t want to wait for the videos, come to the seminar and learn in person. But putting a video together with all that editing, my hat’s off to Shane and other guys like Mike Toledo that put together these long videos. I mean, you can sit and watch a 35-minute video and not realize that there’s five, six, seven, eight hours of editing that went into making that stinking thing. It’s arduous.
Sal: Well, yeah. It depends on…
Shane: Guys like Mike have got it down to a science. It probably doesn’t take him a quarter of the time that it takes me, but it’s still a lot of time involved.
Keith: Yeah, you still have to watch it, though. You got to…
Keith: …watch each segment over and over, and that’s what makes it so long, you know? You watch it, make sure it’s what you want, cut out the pieces…
Sal: Make sure it’s flowing well.
Shane: Yeah, yeah.
Keith: It’s like, man how many times, like when we do a long show and we’ve got to edit it up, while I was still doing it, you can spend two or three hours listening to a 45-minute show and written different iterations before you get it the way you want it. Man, how do these video guys do it? And this is just audio? It’s crazy.
Sal: And that’s the art in it, really. It’s taking all of that and then making it meaningful.
Sal: And not boring.
Keith: Yeah. It’s not easy. So I appreciate what everyone does, that takes the time to put up a video that’s fun to watch.
Sal: No, that’s great. It’s a great medium we have in this industry. There’s so much that is involved digitally for our industry, it’s fantastic. But at the same time, at the end of the day, it’s still a physical thing that we do that’s going to be seen in person, and then it goes, transitions to that, to the MTE, it’s pretty exciting, our industry.
Keith: Sal, are you planning on competing again this year?
Sal: Oh yeah, definitely.
Shane: He’s in it still, reigning champ.
Keith: Yeah, you’ll need…
Shane: Defend the title.
Keith: You’ll never beat Shane.
Sal: I don’t think so, man. Because I don’t know if I can do that out in the open. That’s a hard dent out in the open.
Keith: It sure is.
Shane: I don’t think that’s what he’s saying, Sal. What he’s saying is I’m never entering again.
Sal: Oh really? Oh, why not?
Shane: It’s not possible — what do you mean, why not? Why?
Sal: It’s fun, it kind of gets your heart racing, it kind of…
Shane: You know what’s not fun, Sal?
Shane: Losing. And it is not possible for me to ever lose if I never do it again.
Keith: He says that every year and then last year after the show we were looking at all those chewed-up dents on the cars and he’s like, “next year I’m in. I got to, I got to – this is ridiculous.”
Shane: Ah, it didn’t last but about five minutes.
Keith: The truth of the matter is, Sal you know it now because you’re selling your Dent Dial and it’s been so popular, you hardly have two seconds to do anything when you’re there, you’re so busy.
Keith: It’s different on the other side of the booth than it is when you’re just walking around and shopping.
Shane: Oh, man.
Sal: That’s why I like it, that’s honestly why I like it. I don’t know it — like this time, this last time that we were there, I didn’t know how comfortable it felt because I was just going to fix a dent instead of explaining all this tool stuff and talking to people. It was kind of like a relief to just walk up and just fix the dent. You have to get used to the people watching you, that’s for sure, but at the same time you’re trying to win it, so that gets you excited. So it’s exciting to me, I have fun doing it.
Keith: You know what else I want to ask you about, Sal? You did something unique besides winning, but you had an apparatus on your cranium for that win that no one else has ever worn before. You want to talk about that? Because we haven’t really – I thought we’d be seeing those pop up all over the place throughout the year, and we haven’t. Tell us what you used, what was different about it and tell me, are you using that on a daily basis?
Sal: I don’t use it on a daily basis, no. And it’s because I work outside a lot and the natural light is something that I – it’s really bright, you know, so – and my eyes aren’t great, so I apparently, when I’m outside, I read, I dance around inside that orange peel and I see it really well and it’s no problems. But I go indoors and I work with the light, I have a hard time seeing so I have to wear glasses and I don’t like wearing glasses, so I just avoided it for so many years, and then with this MTE Olympics coming up I thought, you know what? I’m going to lose bad unless I get something, like a magnifying glass, you know?
So, in building the Dent Dial I’m always in these tool supply stores and I saw this visor that, like, a machinist would wear, that was like a hood, but it was like maybe one inch tall and it literally just goes right over your face but it can slide back up and the power was, I think, a foot and a half. And I thought, “oh man, I’m going to need two feet or two and a half feet to do that dent at the Olympics. Oh well, I’ll just do the foot and a half and see, you know, maybe if it helps me.” So I’m in there, I carry it with me and I start pushing on the dent and it’s looking nice at some point and then I think, “oh that’s right, I got my visor.”
So I put it on and I realize, “Wow, if I had pushed there, I would have ruined it.” So it helped me in that moment make the best decisions where I was with the dent to finish out and I really enjoyed how well I was able to see to finish out completely. So, I highly recommend them if you can bring the dent up to the point where you can be helpful with a visor like that. Because if you beat it up on the way up, that visor’s not going to help at all, if anything it’s going to make you sick, what you see.
Shane: We use – I have used those visors before, Sal. Maybe, I may have shared this with you. The wood carvings that I do? I use them for the burning of the feathers, so it’s called an…
Sal: Oh, you did tell me that.
Shane: It’s called the omni-visor or opti-visor, I believe is what the name of it is. And so, guys if you want to compete with Sal next year, get you some wood-carving magazines, you can find them in there also. Or wood-carving sites online.
Keith: They can’t be that expensive, are they?
Sal: It was 60, well actually it was $65.00. So, I remember when I bought it…
Shane: It’s because Sal doesn’t know what Amazon is.
Shane: I’m just kidding.
Sal: You’re right.
Shane: I have no idea. Back then, they were like 30, so – but I was 12 or 13 years old.
Sal: No, I’m sure this was a retail location where the guy made 30 bucks on it, I don’t know why, it was one of those things where you just got to break down and get it and online, I just don’t order stuff that way, I can’t break down and order it like that.
Keith: You thought Amazon was just a really tall, good-looking woman.
Sal: Well, what? It’s such an old-school thing. Whenever you buy something online, you don’t know what it looks like until it shows up and then you realize, “oh, I should have saw it in person.” Just like shoes, you know?
Keith: Well, I think…
Shane: As long as you always buy Gucci shoes, you don’t have to worry about what they look like. It really doesn’t matter.
Keith: Well, Shane you find one online then and we’ll post it, we’ll post the link.
Shane: I’ve already found it.
Keith: Alright, we’ll put a link on this pod – on the show notes, so if you want to check out the kind of visor we’re talking about and maybe – I don’t have one yet, maybe I’ll get one. My eyes aren’t getting any better and I like to do super high-end work, I like to have a look at my stuff under a magnifying glass.
Sal: There you go.
Keith: How much are they online, Shane?
Shane: 30 bucks.
Keith: 30 bucks?
Shane: Yeah. And this is pretty cool. There’s a opti-loop that you can slide on over it to make it even more – to magnify it even 2.5 times more magnification.
Shane: Sal, you’re going down if you don’t get online, man.
Keith: Someone’s going to show up with 2.5 times, and you’ve got 1.5, and they’re going to wipe you off the map.
Sal: It was amazing. You know what also helped, in the Olympics, was having four lights. I highly recommend if you’re going to get in and do it, Shane, that you have four lights on you.
Keith: You had four lights?
Sal: Yeah, I had four lights.
Keith: What brand?
Sal: Well, I don’t know. They were just there.
Shane: I have no idea what I was using.
Sal: No. Well, I happened to do my dent at the time where somebody was storing a bunch of lights behind this car, so I just asked, “can I use them?” and I got to use four lights, that helped in the speed.
Keith: Like big floor lights?
Sal: Yeah, heck yeah. It was fun. And I put them behind me, you know kind of looked natural, like 90 degrees and that was awesome. Having that light, 90 degrees, and then having different angles. I had four lights going. I don’t see how anybody can’t see all that with those lights, but they don’t rig it that way. Now that I say this, they’ll probably restrict me to one light.
Keith: No. People really want to see this, especially the guys at the seminar. So last year we were able to recreate the Dent Olympic dents, and we’re shooting for that this year again as well. So you might be able to show, if you’re willing, your exact setup that you used, like where you put the lights and everything and how you went after it, just so everybody can know. Not necessarily so they want to go in and try to win, but you know, doing a deep sharp dent like that is a really challenging repair for a lot of guys back home. So I think we could really learn a lot.
Even if they don’t – even if you could get it to 95% of what you got it to to win, that’s still a great retail repair, you know, that everybody’s happy with. You can – to win that thing it’s got to be just perfect. Beyond perfect.
Keith: It has to match the peel.
Sal: That’s why if you bring up the peel you don’t have to match it and then – I think what helped me the most in these Olympics was the slapping of the outer ring of the deep dent because it just – if it’s a dent out in the middle, and if you hit the pressure wave around the dent fast enough, then panel has, you know, no time to react. And it’s like somebody putting a piece of rubber behind the dent and you hitting into it, you know when I pushed that dent out in the Olympics, the very first thing I do is hit that really tight wave around it. But I hit it and all 360 degrees that it is and not leave anything.
But you’re doing that in the course of the repair. Balancing it, your pushes, on your way up. So I always tell people it’s 50% pushing and 50% taking down highs and waves in this business. It’s a 50/50. It’s not 80 pushing and 20 knocking down. It’s 50/50.
Keith: Well I’m excited to see what you have in store for us in January, Sal, and I appreciate you agreeing to do that and put your – I know you’re always trying to share techniques but it’s a big deal to put a presentation together and haul all your stuff…
Sal: Oh, yeah.
Keith: …3,000 miles and help and train guys and we’re really excited for that and I’m excited to see it.
Sal: Me too. I don’t know what it looks like.
Keith: Yeah, it’s a first for you, right? You’re going to be teaching to a class?
Sal: I had to do that with Dent Pro when I was traveling around teaching their new franchises, and that was kind of…
Keith: But this is – you know what you’re doing now, that was kind of before, you were doing the fake stuff with all the round tools and all that.
Sal: Yeah. So I think, it’s just a matter of, I hope I can convey to a group of people in such a small space, they almost have to gather around and see from different angles. But you guys, oh that’s right, you’re going to have that TV set up and the camera.
Sal: That’s cool, I remember that.
Keith: Yeah, it’s a really great setup. So in case you don’t know what we’re talking about, we’ve got at least two different cameras rolling, and guys can walk around and get right over the tech’s shoulder and see what he sees and put it up on a big screen. So you’re there in person, you’re right in front of him, but if you want to get that perfect angle that he’s seeing, we’ve got it right up on the screen and it’s zoomed in on HD, so you can actually see on screen better than in person.
Sal: Oh, that’s cool.
Shane: Last year, it was two cameras rolling. This year it is at least three, most likely four.
Shane: At least three at all times. Let me rephrase that. And going to be up to four at other times, and yeah, there will be multiple monitors this time instead of just one like last year, so…
Sal: That’s great.
Shane: Yeah, so everyone’s going to be able to see what’s going on from multiple angles, and even better than last year, so…
Sal: Good. I mean, that’s the thing. I mean, the two main things that Keith had mentioned when we first discussed this was wide directional pushing, which is something I can teach in a large audience because they’ll get it, especially with his, the rods that he’s developed through A1 Tool. And that will be good to have there. And then the slapping. I think when people see that, the mark it makes and they see it physically, right then and there, why that mark is so effective, I think that will be great and those cameras should be able to pick it up. So that’s pretty exciting.
Shane: Those cameras pick up – Sal, I’m just going to go ahead and warn you, it’s humbling what those cameras will pick up.
Sal: Oh, I know man.
Shane: That looks like crap. It’s like opti-visor times 6. It’s pretty bad.
Sal: Wow. Yeah. I mean, filming on cameras it’s crazy how bad it can be. And I think that’s the main thing I can tell anybody and I’ll tell it right now. You’re not not going to make a mistake in a dent. When I knock down a big wave, you can still see some dimpling. So nobody’s perfect at what they’re – any pass they’re making, except for pushes maybe. And that’s okay, you know? I think, in the long run if they see a wide push and a wide slap and that audience, that will be great.[Commercial] Keith: You know, you’ve got a lot of options when you decide what to do with your invoicing and your data capture for your dent removal or other reconditioning business. But the choice I’ve made for my company is Recon Pro by Auto Mobile Technologies. This stuff has proven invaluable. I had a mountain of paper invoice books stacked up in a room in case I wanted to look something up. It was archaic, ridiculous. Now all of my technicians are on iPhones, they scan the VIN of the car, they enter a few pieces of information including entering the email for your customers. It’s 2015, you need to be building a mailing list for your customers so you can keep them updated if you want to run specials, you want to reach out and touch them, you need an email.
This prompts you to capture their email so you can send them the receipt which comes via email, no paper in the truck to get lost. Guys, this is the way to do it. There’s a lot of options you can take, there’s lots of competitors. But this is the one I’ve chosen. Check them out online, automobiletechnologies.com, the product is called Recon Pro. It’s not one guy who’s also a PDR tech building software, it’s a team of nerds dedicated to making your life better and that’s what you want. Check them out, tell them we sent you over there. Recon Pro.
Keith: Really excited about it and we’re grateful for you coming on the show and hanging out for a little over an hour and sharing this stuff.
Sal: Oh yeah this is fun. I appreciate the invitation to talk to you guys, this was fun.
Keith: Do you want to share the contact information for your Vimeo stuff?
Sal: Yes. Vimeo.com is a place that, for those that don’t know, is a place that shows videos, presenters like me, on all kinds of devices, so it could be on a plane, you know, on your phone, it just shows the movie correctly and you don’t have to worry about trying to find it. So vimeo.com is that place and I have an account there under Dent Expert Training. And just search me out, check it out, sod over the next months or so I’m going to be adding content to that. Some pay-per-view, some not, and just trying to convey everything I’ve tried to teach to people and hopefully it stays there for awhile and helps some guys out.
Keith: That’s awesome, Sal. We’ll put a link to that as well on pdrcollege.com so you guys can check that out.
Sal: Oh, thanks.
Keith: And we look forward to seeing you in January. Until then, get better.[End of Audio]
Duration: 87 minutes