RESOURCES / LINKS:
Keith: I’m Keith Cosentino. He’s Shane Jacks and this is the PDR College Podcast where we are coming at you every week with an hour of PDR Jedi mastery. We’re teaching you paintless dent removal techniques, teaching you business skills. We’re gonna talk about PDR tools that are new and stuff you should have but most of the time we are gonna be hammering the drum on the business side of paintless dent removal.
Shane, why are we going to talk so much about the business?
Shane: Because I need a new light saber. Jedi’s gotta have a light saber.
Keith: And they don’t come cheap baby.
Shane: No they do not.
Keith: The real ones. You can still get a real Jedi light saber if you know where to go.
Shane: A Jedi PDR light saber. It’s otherwise known as the jackhammer available for $139.95.
Keith: I thought it was the leftover fluorescent bulb from your old light. It has awesome effects when you actually slice somebody with it.
Shane: It just shatters and they stay there. Really funny.
Keith: All right man. What are we talking about today?
Shane: We are talking about PDR myths.
Keith: Oooh. There’s lots of them.
Shane: Lots of them.
Keith: There’s myths from the consumer standpoint that we need to know how to explain through to people that we need to explain through to people and bring them through to a state of comfort. And there are myths from the technician’s side which are stupid.
Shane: One is that I’m not the best in the world. I was supposed to get positive reinforcement from the end from California.
Keith: You got your trophy. Go hang out with your trophy.
Shane: So, what are some of these myths?
Keith: One of the myths I hear the most that just makes me cringe is guys saying oh yeah, you can’t fix that dent. The paint’s gonna crack on that.
Shane: Yeah. Why? How is that a myth? Is it not true sometimes that the paint can and will crack on some of these dents?
Keith: Absolutely, if you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll crack the paint. But there’s one very simple technique to stop any paint from cracking that anybody can use and you don’t even need to learn any skills. You just need to do it.
Shane: Dry ice.
Keith: Bingo. Put it in your shirt before you start the dent. No, use a heat gun. It’s so simple. When the paint is hot enough it simply cannot crack. It won’t crack. You can’t crack it if you try to crack it. It’s almost melting. It’s hot but so many people don’t use a heat gun or they use a torch, which is fine because it makes things hot. But it doesn’t stay hot. You gotta pick up the torch, heat it, down, push on it and if it’s cold outside that thing is cooling off a lot faster than you think.
And thanks to Harbor Freight Tools which most people have access to, you can now get a little infer red thermometer and prove this to yourself quite easily. If you get a heat gun, just about anybody that sells a heat gun and leave it on the low setting, not the high setting. The high setting is gonna send you back to the body shop because you’re gonna burn the paint off the car. But on the low setting as long as it’s maybe two, three inches away from the car you can leave it there indefinitely on a factory paint job. And it’ll just stay super-hot. It won’t burn anything.
But the paint will be hot enough that it won’t crack and in my experience that’s around 200 or 220 degrees give or take. Every scenario is a little bit different if the wind is blowing or how close the heat gun is. But if you’re measuring that with a thermometer and then you pull that heat gun off and measure it right away, you just watch that temperature plummet by ten degrees a second. It just drops to the floor. So in about 30, 40 seconds, a minute, it’s almost down to a temperature that it doesn’t – it’s not high enough to matter anymore and you can crack it again. That’s why I don’t use a torch. That and the risk factor of I don’t want something burning hot sitting next to me on the ground, and not being able to pay attention to a torch and flame the paint off. Because you get that thing close enough for half a second, it’s over with.
A lot of guys use a torch because it’s convenient, you don’t need power. Great. Knock yourself out but there’s a risk involved and my entire world is about mitigating risk when I’m working on cars.
So, if you don’t believe me, next time you’re at a body shop go into the garbage in the paint department and get a piece of masking paper that has a full bleed of paint on it, base and clear. When you get it it’s relatively rigid. Hold that piece of paper and put the heat gun on it and watch – hold it up level with the ground, parallel to the ground. Heat it up and watch it just flop over to the ground in your hand. See how soft it gets. It just wants to bend wherever the gravity’s gonna pull it. That’s what paint does when it’s hot. It doesn’t stay rigid.
That same piece of paper, you just bend it in half when it’s cold and it’s gonna crack. Everybody knows that. But when you heat it, you can bend it back on itself and the paints just fine. So, I have never cracked a paint job that’s hot. I’ve cracked paint when I’ve gotten lazy and not gotten the heat gun out but when it’s hot, you can’t crack it. It is a myth that the paint will crack if you repair the dent properly.
Shane: Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve every cracked one either with heat on it.
Keith: Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been pushing dents 15b years. I’ve cracked plenty of paint. Sometimes repaints you don’t see. Sometimes it’s factory paint and I just got too aggressive but every single time it was because I was too lazy to get the heat gun out or I didn’t think it was necessary.
These days I know when I need the heat. If I get caught and the paint cracks and I didn’t see it coming it’s usually because it was a repaint and I didn’t care to look or there’s Bondo or some silly thing like that.
But if I look at a dent and it’s got any kind of depth to it and I’m gonna be putting some pressure on it, it gets heated. Even if I’m not sure. It takes me five seconds to throw the heat gun on it and I now don’t have to worry about that at all. I can get to pushing as hard as I need to push to move that dent whereas before I was pussyfooting around it not pushing as hard as I need to because I’m worried about the paint. As soon as I heat it, that’s it. I don’t worry about that anymore.
Shane: Are you done with that subject?
Keith: I’m done with the subject, except people have different crazy ways of getting a heat gut set up and with advice from other technicians, this is not my original idea, I have eventually adopted a cymbal stand from a music store. That has been the best thing I ever did for my heat gun. I used to put it on a tripod which was fine but a tripod is really lightweight and flimsy and expensive. They’re not made to be beat up. They’re made to set a $3000,00 piece of equipment on and tiptoe away from it.
But a cymbal stand by design is made to smash with sticks. It doesn’t fall over. So, the cymbal stand is cheaper. It’s 50 bucks at Guitar Center and it’s built super heavy and solid with big heavy rubber feet and everything on it is heavy-duty so you can’t knock that thing over if you wanted to. Not to mention it’ll reach all the way to the top of and SUV and heat up the roof. Not the middle of the roof but the sides. Like the rails and stuff like that. And it folds down to a little two-and-a-half-foot cylinder.
So, thank you to the guys who were promoting that years and years ago. I think Tommy Clayton was the first guy I knew that used a cymbal stand that I knew about. Thank you for that. So, I did that and that’s been friggin’ amazing. Way better than a tripod.
Also, you can put it on a – a heat gun is on a lock line so you can put it on that cymbal stand or you can move it over to a suction cup on a lock line if you’re doing something in the middle of a hood or the middle of a roof where that thing doesn’t reach.
Shane: Good idea.
Keith: That’s a game-changer right there. It’s the most basic tool but if you don’t use it you’re sucking sometimes, and you’re making excuses for it like the paint will pop.
Shane: I typically, just telling on myself here, for convenience I do use a propane torch.
Keith: Yeah, a lot of guys do and if you know how to be safe with it, it’s just heat and you can apply it but –
Shane: Be careful on aluminum especially. It dissipates heat way differently than the steel does and you’ll burn that three times quicker. You’ll burn the paint three times quicker on aluminum that you will on steel.
Keith: How do you know that?
Shane: Um – yes.
Keith: This leads me perfectly to my second myth. A second myth; you can wedge a laminated window and repair a dent down that door with zero risk.
Shane: That’s not a myth.
Keith: Zero risk. You see, I’m gonna tell you a number right now and this number will represent the number of laminated windows that I have broken in my course of my PDR career.
Shane: Name it.
Shane: Zero? You must have wedged it correctly.
Keith: Nope. Yes, I have wedged it correctly. I don’t wedge it. I don’t touch it. I don’t play with it. Here’s why I don’t play with it. Can you wedge it and get away with it? Yes. Shane you wedge it on a regular basis, correct?
Keith: Can you wedge it properly in our mind and still break it? Yes.
Keith: All right. Here’s where it gets painful for Shane guys. Shane, I gave my number in my PDR career how many laminated windows I’ve broken. What was that number?
Shane: Zero point zero.
Keith: Zero point zero. Now what is your number? What’s your sleep number/
Shane: Somewhere north of ten.
Keith: Okay, so although Shane has perfected a technique now at an average –
Shane: No, I didn’t perfect it. I simply took something that – I was wedging it wrong before.
Keith: Okay, well that cost you four grand over the years.
Shane: It cost me way more than that.
Keith: Okay, so if you want to take that learning curve and you want to learn how to wedge it right and wrong, for every right scenario and every wrong scenario, if you want to pay the four to six to ten grand, whatever it ends up being, you knock yourself out. But, like I said earlier, why I said this myth segued well from the last one is that everything I do is mitigating risk. And I’m not gonna take a $600.00 risk on a$150.00 or $200.00 dent repair. If I break that glass, I’m negative three times the cost of the repair. Why would I even bother taking that risk?
There’s risks to be taken anytime you work on a car but to take it that blatantly, it’s like you might as well set the car up in the middle of the freeway and fix it there. So, I’ll just put the risk back to the customer’s hands. I will not wedge this glass, so here’s what we can do. We’ll drill your door or you can pay to take the whole thing apart. It’s three times the cost of the dent repair. Because I’m not that speedy at taking a fragging laminated glass door apart. It’s gonna take me longer to do that than fix the dent by a long shot.
So, I just let them make the choice. I don’t think I’ve ever lost the repair because of it, not that I can remember. Like just priced them out of it or like they didn’t wanna pay for the R&I. I just let them make the choice. You can make it easy or you can make it expensive but I’m not going down that glass. It’s not even an option. I don’t even mention it. I just say your glass will shatter in a million pieces. We can’t do that.
And I know that it’s possible. I put that down. I get it. I did do it one time. I took a risk and it was fine. Nothing happened but I don’t like that feeling and I won’t do it again. It was an S Class that was in a paint booth. Needed to be done today. I was gonna be gone. I couldn’t get back to the car so I put it down and I did everything the way you’re supposed to do it but I was still nervous every step, ever second. I hated it. So, I won’t do it anymore. I won’t do it at all. No broken windows on my record. Because I just won’t play.
Shane: I respect that. However, since – and I, like I said, I respect that. I understand that. I understand your taking the risk out of it 100 percent. You also have the risk of breaking other glass at any time also. Since I started correctly wedging and protecting laminated glass, I’ve had zero breakages. Zero point zero. I just didn’t do it correctly before. Is there still a little more risk if you touch the edge of a laminated glass? Of course. There’s a little bit more risk there. However, there’s in my mind there’s as much risk in a regular glass and a tempered glass. Because there is a risk there also.
Keith: Yeah, but to say it’s the same is nonsense.
Shane: Zero point zero since I started doing it correctly.
Keith: Disclaimer at the end. I have 100 percent success rate of asking out top level models,
Shane: Do what?
Keith: I have 100 percent success rate in getting dates with models, famous models.
Shane: You’ve never asked one and I’ve wedged many windows correctly, okay? So that was a completely asinine statement on your part. That was not even close.
Keith: You said zero mistake since I learned how to do it right.
Shane: Yeah, but your model – you’ve never asked a top-level model out so you are –
Keith: But I’ve had zero rejections from top-level models.
Shane: But you’ve never done it.
Shane: But I understand. If you wanna be a pansy and never take a risk don’t wedge laminated glass.
Keith: Maybe you should start a PDR technician laminated glass insurance company. Where they pay you 20 bucks a month and they can wedge any laminated window they want and when they pop you send them a $2000.00 check.
Shane: That would be a stupid business decision on my side because I am me. I can control what I do but I can’t control what anybody else does.
Keith: Because it’s easy to screw up.
Shane: If you know what you’re doing. Yeah, it’s still easy to screw up but if you know what you’re doing, you’re not going to. It’s easy to pop paint too if you know what you’re doing, it’s not. We’ll agree to disagree on this one. It’s our first fight.
Keith: So, the myth was that I got Mr. Jacks to agree to word for word is that you can wedge a laminated window with zero risk; myth.
Shane: I completely agree with that. I’m also going to add to that.
Keith: You can’t leave it can you?
Shane: No. No I can’t. Myth number – are we going on myth number three now?
Shane: Was that your second one?
Shane: Myth number three. There is zero risk in popping paint on a dime-sized dent. Would you agree with that statement? Keith?
Shane: Are you going to take that risk?
Shane: Okay. End this discussion. Let’s go to number four before you bring up another point that I can’t argue.
Keith: All right. How about this? We hear this quite often and we’ve probably pounded this drum already, but we’ve got like a little different spin on it. We’ve talked about this, but – whenever we talk about money, we’ve probably already talked about it because I spent a lot of time on it, but you hear other technicians say oh, you can’t get that kind of money here.
And when I say here, or rather when I hear them say here, what I picture is them saying here, in my life, where I live, in my reality, with my checking account. That’s a lot of money and you can’t – people aren’t going to spend that.
You’re talking about – if that’s you, if you said that to anybody, yourself or any of your peers. Oh, you can’t get that kind of money here, I want you to take a look back at your personal circumstances and more than likely you’re talking about a dollar figure that hits the pain threshold for you; for you personally. $400.00 bill for a five or six-hundred-dollar bill for a PDR, you just can’t wrap your head around that. You wouldn’t want to pay that so you think that no one else would either.
Shane: Makes sense. Yes.
Keith: It makes sense absolutely, because it’s true.
Shane: It is, it is.
Keith: I can tell you from personal experience, I used to have a number. A sleep number. My number was $400.00. And earlier in my career, I had a hard time getting any estimate past that point. Hail excluded. Any kind of big crush or smash or whatever, $400.00 was a mental block that I had because looking back, that was a period in my life where if I got a bill for $400.00, I would cringe. I didn’t want to cut a $400.00 check for anything. That pissed me off to pay that for anything.
So, I had a hard time giving somebody a $400.00 bill. Well, now 400 bucks, once I recognized what I was doing. I’m looking over my invoices over the previous year or two years, and I remember thinking, why do they all stop at $400.00 or $425.00. I got nothing for $500.00, $600.00, $700.00, $800.00. $900.00, $1000.00. None of that stuff. So, I made a conscious decision that I needed to look closer at this because there’s something – I look at all kinds of different smashed up cars. There’s no way none of them are worse than $400.00. If I’m spending half an hour on a door ding that’s $150.00 I can’t cap out at $400.00. I spent ten hours on a car before. So, I had to go back and tell myself that I was getting a mental block there at 400 bucks and I blew past that and now I don’t feel like I have one now.
Well, maybe it’s $1500.00 I guess. So it’s virtually non-existent for PDR.
Shane: What is your threshold on a dinner for two?
Keith: My threshold on a dinner for two is ironically probably 400 bucks. I’ve exceeded that and I know that that is my threshold.
Shane: And – I’m just gonna leave it.
Keith: Just leave it.
Shane: I’m gonna leave it.
Keith: I’m making memories, damn it. Priceless.
Shane: The loaf of bread was the best memory you made.
Keith: You gotta listen to a few more months of the PDR College Podcast before that story is revealed in its entirety.
Shane: It’s a good one. It’s a really good one.
Keith: All right, what’s the next myth you’ve go there?
Shane: Actually, I was wanting to come on the back of your cracked paint. Right on the tail of that. Sharp tips crack paint.
Keith: That’s true.
Shane: Myth. They can. There is – all right, here we go. Myth there is zero risk cracking paint. Zero is a huge, huge, huge qualifier in these statements that we’re making. No, sharp tips crack paint more than soft tips.
Yes, and no. If you push like mad and you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re new at this game and you push on a stiff part of the panel near the edge and you push with a tip way too hard, yes, you’re going to crack the paint. Out in the middle in the open, where – and you know what you’re doing, in my experiences soft tips crack paint way quicker than sharp tips. Does that make sense?
Keith: Yes, it does.
Shane: Tell us why.
Keith: Because with a blunt tip you’re moving a lot of metal. You’re making a big adjustment and it’s the movement in the metal that obviously stresses the paint and cracks it. It’s not necessarily the point of the tip that you’re pushing on. Because quite honestly you can have a ball tip, not a screw-on ball tip, just a spherical end of a rod and a razor-sharp tip on that same rod, and the push point that you make, if you over-push it on purpose isn’t all that different. They’re both pretty sharp. Now if you pad it or use a rubber tip, different story, but any kind of bare metal tip with enough pressure you can crack the paint. But if you pad it and then really start cranking on it, you’re moving a lot of metal faster.
Now, you’re less likely in my experience, just apples to apples, you’re less likely to crack the paint with a padded tip than you are with a sharp tip, but the sharp tip is not more likely to crack paint by itself, it’s the manner of how you’re gonna push with it. Usually that’s gonna dictate if you’re gonna crack the paint or not.
Shane: Where I started noticing this was really more less in the paint side and more in the body filler side. A lot of times you get an inexperienced body guy or a body guy that’s not really that great and he missed things on the edge of his bond whites. We get this all the time. I’m sure you do also, correct, Keith?
Keith: Oh yeah.
Shane: Touching up stuff. And I started noticing I was trying to push with a blunt tip of the very outer edge of where this Bondo, or plastic filler was really thin and I was – I noticed I was cracking more paint when I was using a soft tip. So, then I transferred that to – Chrysler products are notorious for cracking if you don’t put heat on them. Just the thickness of the primer and the paint and it’s extremely hard primer and it cracks at the base at the primer or the ECoat, whichever it is, and it resonates all the way through and you’ve got this massive crack. And I cracked – I stared experimenting with that on used cars and older cars that wholesalers were doing and without heat, I’d have a small dent and I’d take and push on it and see and I noticed that the blunt tip was cracking twice as much as the sharp tip was on that Chrysler paint.
Keith: Yeah, small disclaimer is that you’ve gotta be an adequate or experienced technician to use those tools more effectively. If you don’t know what you’re doing, overall you’re safer with a padded blunt tip. It’s a basic truth. But if you know what you’re doing you can get better results with an experienced hand with a sharp tool in the same scenario.
Shane: In some instances, not all.
Keith: In some instances; if you’re hustling out crushed up smashed stuff, you still need to start out with something blunt and move some metal, which kind of segues me into a similar myth.
This myth is that it is impossible to crack paint when you’re glue-pulling.
Shane: That is false.
Keith: How can you crack paint with the glue tab. This big, wide, soft thing. How does that crack paint?
Shane: Some sort of black magic or something.
Keith: It just comes down to how much you’re moving that metal again. Sometimes you have the added benefit of the glue tab is nice and warm so the paint is a little more pliable there but if you’re really getting after something, and you got just the right tab that’s hooking up right and the right panel that’s a little too flexible, you can crack the paint underneath the glue tab. It is possible. So keep that in mind when you’re getting aggressive with glue-pulling. Now that everybody is kind of figuring it out and how to get it to stick and making every tab stick and using either a real aggressive pull with the mini-lifter or big giant yank with a slide hammer, don’t think you’re completely risk-free because you’re not. Keep it in mind that it’s possible to pull that paint. Pull it or crack it. Everybody knows you can pull it. People don’t thing you can crack it.
Shane: You can. I’ve done it.
Keith: I was unpleasantly surprised a few years ago that it is possible. What’s the next myth that you’ve got there, Shane?
Shane: X-sized dent should always cost X. So a dime-sized dent should always cost 100 bucks. No more. No less. Period.
Keith: That’s all it’s worth.
Shane: That’s nonsense. That’s horse shed.
Keith: So tell us why that’s nonsense.
Shane: Because you can make more money off of some than you can others and you can do it without just saying I wanna make more money off this repair than I do another.
You talk about worth. Let’s just take our views, Keith. Your views and my views that you’ve converted me to. And that it’s all about the sale and not leaving any money on the table. Let’s take that completely out of it and let’s go to the worth thing.
I was at a body shop five or six years ago and fixed a dime-sized dent on a Maserati. Went down through the window and I charged the guy, I think it was to the body shop, I charged him 100 bucks and he flipped out. And he was like, you normally charge 60 or 80 and stuff like that. It’s a friggin’ Maserati. What happens if I break a clip, glass, yada, yada, yada. I can’t go down to the Greenville Maserati Store because we don’t have those here and pick up a window for 150 bucks. There’s more liability involved there.
Location, you can explain these things to the customers getting back to what Keith and I said or preach. You can explain it to customers. A dent – every dent is in a different spot and every dent works differently. If you say that a dime-sized dent is only worth 100 bucks every single time, whether it be in the middle of the door or up in the brace, you’re taking your work completely out of it. If you’re just gonna look at it objectively and talk about what it’s worth and worth to you.
The same amount of time is not going to be involved in every dent.
Keith: No way, man.
Shane: I think we’re being skewed by these matrixes. We’ve talked about how you say matrix, plural. Matrices, matrixes, whatever. We’re being skewed by these things and what other guys are charging out there into thinking we have to charge the same amount. It’s simply not true.
Keith: No, it really isn’t. It doesn’t matter what your competition is charging or what you think your market will bear. Your market is the person right in front of you. If you can’t sell it, if you can’t properly convey what you’ve gotta do, why it’s gonna cost what it’s gonna cost and make your customer feel at ease that you’re gonna do a great repair then your “market” won’t bear your prices. But really what you’re saying is you just can’t sell. And you know what? If you can’t sell, and you recognize that, you’re in a great place because now you know what to fix.
But if you’re too stubborn and you say no, I’m a great salesman. My market just won’t bear it. Well, you’re gonna stay sucking wind for a long time because you’ve gotta realize that guys are getting these numbers all over the place. They’re getting what they feel they’re worth for the repairs and if you don’t’ feel like you’re getting what you’re worth, you’re probably lacking in your selling.
So, go back to school for some selling skills and come back and try again.
Shane: Now, you’re not going to sell every customer either. Not even close.
Keith: That’s like our last episode or two episodes. How to lose business. You gotta cut them loose man. They’re not your target market. Let them go. Don’t try to capture everything.
Shane: Which brings me to the next one. All work is good work. That’s not a – a lot of techs when they’re starting out – you know what? Sometimes all work is good work when you’re starting out and you’re trying to build that customer base and I have a hard time saying no myself, Keith. I am guilty.
Keith: Me too.
Shane: I am very guilty of this.
Keith: I still do it. It’s not easy though.
Shane: Still do what?
Keith: Let work go, just drop it.
Shane: I’ll let retail work go. Ironically, I’ll let the retail work go. It’s really hard for me to let wholesale work that comes to my shop – let me clarify that. I’m not talking about work that’s out on the lots that – these car lots that are asking me to come and do work for them. That’s not what – when a wholesaler brings work up to me I have a hard time saying no to it because I look at it as more work filler, keep my guys busy,
Keith: Yeah, just drop it off. I’ll get it done in five days.
Shane: Right. I had a car here for five months one time. I’m serious. In 2012. ’11 or ’12.
Keith: Did you have to has it back up from pulling it back in and out.
Shane: No it sat outside. It was horrible. It was one of the wholesalers that I work for. It was five months.
Keith: One of the wholesalers you don’t do work for,
Shane: One of the wholesalers I’m supposed to do work for.
Keith: He’s just trying to get this account. He’s leaving his car here until I work on it. In Shane’s business, wholesaler’s try to get his account.
Shane: I’m trying to get that Dent Pro account. Been trying to give that guy money for 15 years.
Keith: You just can’t get a good dent guy around here.
Shane: Somebody was talking to me on the phone the other day. They said, I think it’s hilarious when you start imitating rednecks.
Keith: It absolutely is.
Shane: Because I am one.
Keith: So here’s my next myth, Shane; yeah, you just can’t get to that dent. It’s double-paneled. That’s true, right? Sometimes?
Shane: Sometimes, yeah.
Keith: Like, how often? Once a week?
Shane: Yeah, it is –
Keith: Once a month?
Shane: Yeah, it is rare.
Keith: Once a year?
Shane: I’d say more than once a year. Once a month. With a drill you can get to dang near anything.
Keith: Well that’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying without drilling. I’m saying just flat out I’ve tried everything I know how to do and you cannot get to that dent.
Shane: Yeah, and how many times has it been the wrong tool choice and coming from a wrong angle?
Keith: Every time.
Shane: I had a guy that was – he’s been doing dents for, at this time, 10 to 15 years and went through the boot with the answer – what we call the answer. Shave tool. You go through the boot. He had tried every other angle, so we were going through the boot and the angle between it and the brace is very slight.
He’s like how did you get on that? I had a tool that size coming from here. You had the wrong angle. You were at way too great of an angle trying to come at the brace and you’re shoving at a right angle between the brace and the skin. Does that make sense?
Keith: Yeah. I don’t give up. If I say I’m gonna get to a dent, I’m gonna figure out a way to get it. Now I’m not saying I won’t put a hole somewhere, a legit place. I won’t drill in a shady area like at the edge of a door where the plug hangs out. Some crap you’ve seen before. It’s gotta be – it’s gotta fall within what I would call acceptable standards. But if you’re willing to take something apart and not stop taking things apart, and if you’re willing to put a hole somewhere, there’s almost no dent you can’t get to.
Now I’m not saying you can fix every dent. Some stuff’s nasty and stretched. But if you’re saying you just can’t get a tool on it, that’s a myth. You’re gonna get a tool on it some way or another. Now that might not make sense for that job. You might not want to take a door off a car to do $150.00 little nickel dent at the bottom of a door or the front of a door. Whatever. I’m not saying it always makes sense. It’s okay to give up because the job, the circumstances aren’t right for the job. Some guy says the most I can pay is $125.00. You need the door off. You’re at a stalemate and you’re not gonna make it happen. Fine. But don’t just say you can’t touch it.
You can get to it. There’s a way to get to it. You start taking stuff apart and don’t stop until the door’s off the car and everything is out of it. Bare shell. Could you get to it now? If you could flip it upside down, could you get to it now? If your tool made a different bend, could you get to it now? Does it mean taking a torch to your favorite tool and bending it? They could you get to it?
There’s almost always a way to get to it. When you say you can’t, it’s usually because you’re not willing or you don’t know how. But if you don’t quit, you don’t give up, you’ll get to everything. Obviously, we’re excluding the rails. But even some guys are saying you can get to the back of that rail. You have to take everything apart, you can snake through that hole, but in general parts of the car that are accessible and then you think on this particular car, or this dent, I don’t know why but you just can’t get to it. It’s probably because you are doing something wrong. You can’t get to it. You haven’t tried hard enough.
And usually if you’ve tried that hard and you can’t get to it, you can glue-pull it. You can – the number of dents I turned down because they’re fixable dents but I can’t figure out how to get them out, that’s gotta be near zero. It really does. And I’m not trying to say I’m great but I’m tenacious. I won’t quit. Here’s one of the reasons I won’t. I’m deathly afraid of somebody coming behind me and getting it.
When I leave I gotta know that there’s no way that can be repaired. I’m not gonna look at it, poke around with a tool for two minutes and say nah, it’s double-paneled. Can’t get to it. Double-paneled is a ridiculous made-up excuse term for guys that don’t really wanna be doing this trade and they stink at it or they don’t have good tools.
There’s only a couple cars in my experience that were straight-up double-paneled, meaning that it had another piece of skin glued to the back of it in a big long area where you couldn’t shove two tools. The one I remember off the top of my head is Towncar fenders.
Shane: Yes, but if you take the door off there are those slots, correct? At the back of the fender.
Keith: I’ve never taken the door off of a Lincoln. But that’s what I’m saying. There’s a way to get to it.
Shane: There’s a way, yeah.
Keith: If you really want it. I’ve never really wanted one that bad. I’ve tried the engine compartment, front light and then wheel well. That was it. I’m not taking a Continental door off, or a Towncar door off. I wasn’t interested in doing it. But, if somebody said here’s a stack of a million one dollar bills. You get that dent out, the money’s yours. You’re gonna look at it a little differently. You’re gonna say, what else didn’t I try? I’m gonna take the fender off this car and set it on a stand and drill a hole thought this brace and snake this little homemade bendable tool in there. It is possible. Don’t say it’s not possible. You can say you gave up. That’s fine. That’s a true statement, but don’t say, double-paneled, can’t get to it. Can’t do it.
Shane: We’re fooling ourselves. It’s just not worth it to us.
Keith: Right. Or just be honest with yourself and say I can’t get to it and if you have to let that job go because of that, it is what it is but recognize where you fell short and go fix it. Pick up a new set of tools. Ask a question about that particular part of that car.
If you’re gonna fail, and you’re gonna let it go, take a lot of pictures and go talk to other guys like we’re talking in previous times. Network. Ask other guy what do you do to get to this part. Because if you couldn’t get to it, chances are it’s a difficult part to get to, but it’s probably not impossible. Somebody has got some good answers for you. So hit the drawing board and come up with a plan and solve that problem that you think is there. There’s probably a solution to it.
Shane: You want me to go with another one?
Keith: Yes. I’ve got one but you hit yours.
Shane: Another myth is that you always have to do A+ work, get the dent out 100 percent on all jobs. And that is just not true to be a good tech. Let me finish that. To be a good tech you have to do that. It’s just not true.
Keith: You’d love to say it’s true. Say, yep everything I touch is golden, it’s perfect and I’m like Fix-It Felix. Just touch it with my magic hammer and it’s perfect again.
Shane: And you can charge for stuff that’s not 100 percent perfect. coming off the back of that. There was a point in my career that if I couldn’t repair to 100 percent or close to it I wouldn’t really take it on. Because I didn’t feel like having to try to sell an 80 percent repair on the front end or back end. And now I’m not so scare of that. I actually kind of embrace it now. It’s fun trying to sell – and there are times when I don’t sell it when hey, your best option is a body shop simply because you have all these scratches and I will let that stuff go. Maybe not the best business decision in the world but I will let it go because it’s not gonna be 100 percent happy.
Keith: Sometimes, oftentimes, you know better than they do and when you treat them with honesty and you say listen, I could fix this metal but when you stand ten feet away it’s the scratches that you see, it’s not really the dent. These scratches are terrible. Even if I get the metal perfect, which I can’t do, it’s still gonna look bad. I think your money is better spent in a body shop, they appreciate that. Because it’s the same thing you’d tell your best buddy, you tell it to your customer,
Shane: For sure.
Keith: So, there’s nothing wrong with that but oftentimes they try to talk you back into it. They say I appreciate what you’re saying and I appreciate the honesty but I don’t wanna go the body shop. I’m not gonna pay all that money I just wanna get this thing looking as close as I can and I’m gonna put some touch-up paint on it and you say okay, well I can do that.
So what it comes down to is does every repair need to be perfect? No it doesn’t but does every customer need to be happy? Yes, so that’s all you need to do. Make sure they’re happy. If you explain everything perfectly to them and they still wanna proceed, that’s a great deal and it’s gonna be great repair for them. It might not be one that you wanna show your PDR friends but that’s okay. There’s no shame in that. If they’re happy and you explain to them perfectly, honestly about what it was gonna be, what it was gonna look like and they made an informed decision and even if you’re not happy in the end, almost every time, they’re super happy. It’s hard to believe when you’re done, you go oh man, I don’t know. It looks bad. Yeah, I can take shape back and everything but this is bad. And they come out and they go oh my gosh. And you’re like I know.
Shane: That is wonderful.
Keith: That is amazing. And you’re like, you know it. Fantastic. And don’t feel –
Shane: Pride can kill your business.
Keith: It can.
Shane: This doesn’t only go for the retail side of things. This is really, really true in the hail side of things. There are times when you do not want to get it 100 percent because the customer – I mean wholesale gigs. I was working a wholesale gig last year with someone who was way well respected in this industry and he was like I just can’t do 80 percent. I can’t do it. And I’m like dude, you have to at times. This is what they’re paying for. Because he was complaining about the price on the cars and I’m like dude this is what you signed up for. If you signed up for 50 percent of the ticket and what they’re really looking for, it’s not what they want, they want 100 percent. I understand that. But what they’re looking for at 50 percent of the ticket is 70 or 80 percent. And they can sell it. You’ve got to be able to flip that switch.
Keith: Like, a dealership or something?
Shane: Dealership. Does it make me feel good? No, but it is what it is.
Keith: You know what makes me feel good?
Keith: When I trip and I fall over and I don’t get hurt because my pockets are so padded full of money. I just bounce up like I’m in one of those sumo suits.
Shane: What’s your next one Keith?
Keith: Man, there’s just too many techs in my area to be able to really be successful or to make a lot of money in dent removal. It’s too competitive.
Shane: Yeah. How many techs are in your area, Keith?
Keith: I haven’t counted. The last time I counted was a couple of years ago so it doesn’t account for all the new guys that have come into the market but there was like 32 or 33 guys.
Shane: I would be willing to bet the same amount are here in this area and when I say this area, three, four counties wide.
Keith: I’m just talking about two counties but one of them’s real big.
Shane: We’re a little more spread out than you.
Shane: I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.
Keith: How many hours driving from one end to the other of those counties, no traffic.
Shane: Well, you’re talking four counties. You’re talking north, south then east, west?
Keith: Just pick the furthest point north and south.
Shane: An hour.
Keith: Yeah, we’re further.
Shane: Hour and a half.
Keith: If I went to the top of one county to the bottom of the other it’s like three here. Their big. One of them is huge.
Shane: Going north, hour to an hour and a half.
Keith: I’m the winner, whatever, I win.
Shane: Yeah, okay.
Keith: But too may techs in my area. It’s too competitive. You can’t make that kind of money here. Somebody will come behind you and do it cheaper. Why is that a myth? Doesn’t more competition mean things are cheaper?
Shane: Why doesn’t more competition mean things are cheaper?
Keith: No. Isn’t that what it means? If there’s more people doing the work, it’s gonna be cheap? It has to be cheap.
Shane: No, not necessarily. It depends on what kind of work you’re talking about. What kind of product you’re talking about.
Keith: Why should guys not being worried about having more techs in the area?
Shane: There are many reasons. I look at – and I’m just gonna – this is not the one you’re throwing out. This happens. I convince myself of this all the time. Or talk to myself about this all the time. You look at how many people are in this area, and in my area it’s 800,000 people in this metro area. 400,000 people in Greenville, somewhere around there. And you look at the amount of cars driving down the road, and then you look at the amount of cars that have dents in them, then you look at the amount of – you start breaking it down and the number is astronomical how many customers are out there. You just have to capture them. I know that’s not what you were looking for, Keith.
Keith: No, that’s a great way to look at it.
Shane: I just threw it out there.
Keith: It’s not something that people consider I don’t think. But they do consider all the time, how many technicians, how many technicians, oh there’s another guy. Oh my gosh, there’s so many people, you know? But we’ve talked about this before too.
People, when they choose a PDR company, their generally not shopping around to four, five, or ten different guys. It just doesn’t happen. You think it does, but it doesn’t. And you can stop it by happening by not playing that game and not giving blind estimates and letting people run around town with them. If you just give out estimates on a text or an email or phone, and say yeah, that’s what it’s gonna be. Call me if you need me. Of course they’re gonna shop you around. That’s what I would do, too. But if you work hard to get in front of them, they’re not gonna get the price and then go shop. It’s not that kind of a thing that people want. It’s just kind of an impulse buy. It’s an emotional purchase. It’s not the same as shopping for a car. You can get the same car across town, you just need to find a different person to sell it to you.
It’s not the same, so these people aren’t shopping as hard as you think so it doesn’t matter how many other techs are there. But what it does matter is how many cars are there and if there’s a ton of cars like Shane is saying and if you just stop on a Saturday. Go to a mall, if you have a busy mall. Just look around. How many cars are there? And tomorrow or two hours from now, it’s gonna be totally different cars again and again and again and again. And 80 percent of them have a dent on them and probably two percent of those people actually are wanting to fix that dent. But that’s still a huge number of cars.
If every one of those customers wanted to get their dents done, there wouldn’t be enough techs to handle it all. So even if you have 50 or 60 techs in that town. Are other guys cheaper than you that you’re worried about? Of course there are. But you gotta get them out of your head when you’re dealing with your customers. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. When you’re dealing with a customer, the only person that exists, the only people that exist in the universe right now are you and the customer and that’s it.
Not 30 other dent guys behind you waiting to take your place. None of that stuff. Just you and the customer. That’s their only option in your mind and your just tell them what they can expect from you and what you’re gonna deliver. And take away every objection that they can possibly have about not doing work with you. And you’re gonna make the deal. You’re gonna make the deal more often than you think. But you gotta believe it and you gotta quit worrying about all these other guys in town.
Because if there’s 40 or 50 guys, half of them are terrible, first of all. There’s probably only a handful –
Shane: Way more than half.
Keith: Yeah, way more than half. There’s probably only a handful that you would consider legitimate competitors. And I’m speaking to you like this because you’re on a Podcast about dent removal. So you, by definition are at the top of your game, the top of your town. And the other guys aren’t. They don’t care about getting better. They don’t have new tools. They don’t know about new tools. They don’t care about that stuff. They just have whatever they’ve got in their truck and they’re gonna work with whatever they work on and they can’t get to that dent and they cracked the paint on that one, but you’re trying to get better. You’re spending your time listening to information that can help you get better, so I’m gonna promise that you are in the top five percent of your area skills-wise.
So, now we’re gonna work on making you in the top five percent income wise. So, quit worrying about the competition. If you’re on the Podcast, you don’t have a lot of it. I’m gonna promise that. Am I safe in promising that, Shane?
Shane: I believe you are.
Keith: I know I am.
Shane: Don’t let the competition enter your mind when you’re talking to a customer. Because there is no competition, like he said. The only two people that exist at this point are you and he or you and her and there is no competition. So don’t let them enter your mind and skew your reaction or what you’re saying to them.
Keith: We’re running out of time. I got two minutes left. How many do you have left?
Shane: I’ve got really none.
Keith: Okay, let’s hit mine then.
Shane: Hurry up.
Keith: This is a myth that you hear from customers and sometimes from customers in the business like service guys, service advisors and people who should know better. Well PDR can’t fix dents on a body line.
Keith: How many times you heard that?
Shane: Pretty much every car that comes in that has a dent on the body line.
Keith: So, I have my own way of explaining that. How do you explain it to a customer? That you can fix a dent on a body line. What do you say to them?
Shane: What do you say about anything that’s not true? You tell them you can and explain why or I kind of use that to my advantage honestly. If they come in and say I heard, you boys can’t fix – there I go imitating a redneck again –
Keith: Just roll with it because it’s funny. I like listening to it.
Shane: I hear you boys can’t fix them dent of the body lines. And here’s my reaction, Keith. Maybe yours is somewhat close. Sir you are somewhat correct because many, many, many guys that do what I do cannot repair a dent on body line, but we can. We’ve been doing this for – and then the spiel goes on. And I explain why I’m the only guy in town that they need to fix their dent.
Keith: Now, I’m gonna pick on you for a second because I was thinking about this yesterday. If doesn’t have anything to do with body lines. It has to do with the words we use.
When you –now don’t say anything – when you use the words spiel, I want you to think in your mind of the last time you heard a spiel that you wanted to hear. And you were glad you heard it.
It’s almost never. Spiels are things you don’t want to hear and you wish nobody ever said them to you.
Shane: All right. So –
Keith: When you use the word yourself in the description of the scenario some of that attitude is gonna transfer over into the way you say it to a customer. And I said I’m picking on you because I know you’re A+ when you’re dealing with your customers. But I know a lot of people who use that word when they’re describing how they say what they say. They say oh, I told the customer blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I gave them my spiel. I gave them my pitch.
But if that’s how you view what information you’re sharing with your customers then that’s what it’s gonna be. Because you are the person setting the reality. So, you don’t give spiels. Spiels are nothing anyone ever wants to hear. That’s a terrible thing. It’s being pitched. A snake oil is how you get a spiel. But if you inform them with good information and you help make them an educated buyer, that’s what they wanna hear and they would ask to hear that again and again and be happy they heard it.
So, think about how you categorize what you say to your customers and if you categorize it as a spiel, a) maybe you need to change the way you describe it. Maybe you’re describing it incorrectly or b) you need to change the actual things you’re saying. Because maybe you are giving a spiel and in that case, you’re sucking it. Spiels are bad.
So I’m picking on you but I was thinking about this last week independently of this conversation. I was thinking about people saying spiel it just makes my skin crawl because I don’t wanna give spiels.
Shane: Okay, fair enough. But I think it was just a short way of my saying a presentation to the customer.
Keith: I understand that but if you –
Shane: I don’t view them as spiels. To answer your question.
Keith: I told you I’m picking on you because I’m using you as an example.
All right. My last myth – I’ll try to do my redneck voice. It’s not as good as yours because you have authenticity but my– people around here, I ain’t gonna spend that kinda money on that stuff. I ain’t gonna do it man.
Shane: That’s pretty good. I can tell you’re keeping your mouth pretty much closed while you speak. That’s part of it.
Keith: My redneck I usually keep my mouth open. Wide open. Drooling.
Shane: But you’re not moving your lips much.
Shane: It’s all about energy conservation. That’s all it’s about.
Keith: Which is ironic because when they’re not speaking they’re sipping on a double triple Big Gulp.
Shane: Well they have to transfer all that energy into their hand movements and their poking their head out like a chicken when they’re speaking to you. You can only do so much at a time. Expel so much energy at one time.
Keith: So people around here don’t spend money on dent removal. Is that a myth?
Shane: Yes, and no.
Keith: So before we started the show, Shan and I were talking about crappy places that we’ve been and he’s been to a lot worse places than I have because I live in the best place in the country already. Why would I want to go anywhere? I live in California. But being in South Carolina he might actually explore other options that you might enjoy. No, I’m kidding. But you go around fixing hail, it doesn’t matter where you’re gonna go. You’re gonna go to some shady places.
So I said you’ve been to a lot of other places with regards to PDR. Are there places that are this crappy? And I started thinking some of the places that I had been and one of the crappiest places I’ve been traveling for PDR, not necessarily working, but was Corpus Christy, Texas. And I thought okay, here’s a place maybe some guys are right. Nobody would spend money on that there. This place is like a big giant dirt pit and they built a couple barbeque joints on it and then set them on fire.
Like there was this one place. There were places that were just abandoned. Like retail stores that were just abandoned with a new store right next to it. Like the place is so bad that when you’re done with a building you don’t even bother knocking it down, you just walk away from it and you can build a new one next door. So I thought maybe that’s a place they wouldn’t spend money on PDR but we did a little driving when we were there and then went down to the coast which wasn’t too far and there was some beautiful expensive homes all lined up around the water like there is on every coast in every part of every country. So I don’t think it’s true that there’s nobody in your town that will spend money on this kind of stuff.
And if it’s true, if it really is true, then you’ve opened a bad business in a bad area and you need to move it. That’s all there is to it. Because there’s a million places where people do spend this money and they do spend all the time.
So, I tend to think that if you think that then you’re probably wrong, but go around and see if there’s any luxury homes or, we’ve talked about this a lot, high-end dealers within an hour of you. If they’re there, if they’re within an hour of you, I call that somewhere you could work, if you can commute an hour to and from. It’s not the end of the world.
So look around for that stuff. If it’s there the customers are there too. You’re just having a hard time or doing a bad job of finding them.
Shane: But possibly when guys say that people around here won’t spend money on that kinds of stuff, they’re generalizing in terms. You said Corpus Christy, Texas. You had many homes down there on the water that were million dollar homes. How many? Give a guesstamite.
Keith: Well in my limited tour I don’t know. A few hundred.
Shane: Let’s use our same percentage of people that you said at the mall to fix their cars. Two percent. We can up that because they’re high-end homes and maybe they take care of their stuff more, so let’s take it to ten percent. That would say there are only 30 people there that are willing to fix dents on their cars. So they’re right.
Keith: No, there’s two people in each house.
Shane: Okay, so there’s 60. So you’re fixing 60 cars every two years. So they’re generalizing in terms. They’re not saying there’s nobody there that’ll spend that kinds of money, there’s just a few.
That’s the way we country people do it when we say – I’m gonna go back – when we say spiel, we don’t really mean it. When we say there’s no one. Technically, no we’re not saying no one. We’re just saying there’s not enough to convert to make it worth our while. So what do we do? And I say we. Again I’m not speaking for myself.
So what guys will do is they will lower their prices and find that medium where they’re getting work. Is it good? Like you said, find somewhere within an hour to commute or move.
Keith: But ironically if you dumped me into Corpus Christy, Texas and said you gotta work here for a year. It might sound crazy but I’d probably raise my price. Because the few people that were there if that’s bad of a market there’s probably not that much competition and the few people that are there that are high- end, I’m gonna cater to those people. I’d rather push less dents for big money.
Shane: That’s a lot of money per dent at 60 dents a year. That’s a lot of money.
Keith: Four grand a dent.
Shane: You are the man. Hey let’s talk about our tool. We’ve gotta get going here. We’ve eclipsed our hour.
Keith: The Blehm Tools bendable whale-tail. I don’ think I’ve talked you into buying that yet have I?
Shane: Haven’t gotten it yet, no.
Keith: This is another recommendation.
Shane: People around here don’t buy stuff like that.
Keith: This is another recommendation I got from my friends on Doording.com. This is so important to network with other guys because I’ve never held – before I bought that I’d never held a Blehm tool in my life. I’ve never seen a Blehm tool, I didn’t know who Jerry Blehm was. I didn’t know to look for it. But they said a bendable whale-tale and I thought that sounds dumb. The thing I like about a whale-tale is that they don’t bend. They’re stiff. But they said no, no. The bottom part down by the tip is tempered. It doesn’t bend but from there up to the handle you can bend it any which way you want and bend it back. And I thought well, I don’t know if I’d use it that much but you’re saying it’s so great.
And then I popped over to his website and the thing is basically free. It’s 53 bucks for this quarter-inch bendable whale-tale. They all it a 14BWT-26. 26 inch being the length. So I got that tool. I thought oh, that’s kinda cool but it’s not the kind of tool you use every day but when you get that one scenario where you were just coming at the dent from the wrong angle and you think if I just had this bend. Well you pull it out, crank it over your knee and put it back in there and you’re on that dent. That is a lifesaving three, four times a year. And for 53 bucks when nothing else in your box is gonna get to it unless you take a torch and a vice to it man that is a cool tool to have.
Shane: Yeah, I’ve gotta get one.
Keith: I sound like I’m making a joke but 53 bucks for a tool that’s gonna save your bacon that’s cheap dude.
Shane: That would take me like four dents to pay for that thing.
Keith: Four dents from cars that have been sitting in your parking lot for five months. So that’s Blehm Tools, B-l-e-h-m, PDRtoolstore,com is their web address and it’s a 14BWT-26. They also have a 5/16 tool the same length. I don’t own that one. I’m sure it’s great as well but it’s also a bendable whale-tale. The bigger one is blue. The one I have is a yellow and black handle. Really good. Really, really good tool.
Keith: Once I bought it I bought it for my guys as well. Everybody had one.
Shane: Because you’re a great guy.
Keith: Well, when they make money, I make money. But I am a great guy.
Shane: That’s debatable.
Keith: Alright. That puts another episode in the book. Don’t forget the myths. Go back and listen to them again because you have a lot of these myths in your mind. Bust the myths and break through to some higher profits. They’re there waiting for you. Until next time.
Shane: Get better.[End of Audio]
Duration: 65 minutes