Turning Points in Our PDR Businesses
Every Life and every business has them: Turning points. Those points in business when you realize that the direction you’ve been going is not the direction you should remain going!
Learn from Shane and Keith about their pivotal decisions and make some of your own!
Keith Cosentino: I’m Keith Cosentino. He’s Shane Jacks and this is the PDR College Podcast. The only place in the entire universe dedicated to your success in the dent removal business. Now we want you to put on that silk training robe, wrap up those hands and get to some shadow boxing. Get the sweat going We’re going to put in the work right now to come out a champion on the other side. We want you to be the next Mike Tyson. Come in that ring, knock somebody the funk out. We don’t want you biting any ears off, but we do want you to knock it out of the park. Barry Bonds style, but with a non-enhanced sized cranium, normal cranium. Going to be tough for my man Shane.
Shane Jacks: I need to be able to afford that very, very large silk robe for my giant cranium.
Keith Cosentino: Now, you somehow melded Barry Bonds and Mike Tyson into one super human who has a lisp and a giant cranium.
Shane Jacks: Yes, yes I did.
Keith Cosentino: This is pre-face tattoos, too. The Mike Tyson that you looked up to.
Shane Jacks: Correct, yeah, pre-face tattoos and pre-biting off the ears.
Keith Cosentino: Evander Holyfield right?
Shane Jacks: Yes, pre-Holyfield.
Keith Cosentino: The meal deal. No, wait, the real deal. Mike Tyson made him a meal deal
Shane Jacks: Good one.
Keith Cosentino: I’m sure that’s not my joke.
Shane Jacks: I’ve never heard it.
Keith Cosentino: All right, that’s my joke. Today is a cool episode isn’t it?
Shane Jacks: Today is gonna be pretty neat. We’re going to talk about gut checks we’ve had in our careers between –
Keith Cosentino: Turning points –
Shane Jacks: – Keith and I –
Keith Cosentino: – as it were. Major milestones in the PDR business for Shane and I, which are – turns out are similar but they are not the same, as you would imagine.
Shane Jacks: Yep.
Keith Cosentino: Because our businesses are a little bit different.
Shane Jacks: That’s right. First off, Keith, how was your week?
Keith Cosentino: I did not do a lot of dent pushing this week. I was on vacation for the first time in a long time. Took my little boy, 8 years old, for a surprise birthday trip to Universal Studios, Hollywood.
Shane Jacks: And was he surprised?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, the little rascal gave me this scowl. I woke him up in the morning and said, “Hey, we’re going to go to breakfast for your birthday,” and he said, “Hey, great, sounds good.” So we went to breakfast, drove kind of farther to breakfast to some place we never went. I said, “We’re going to a special place, you know, I’ve only heard of it.” So he said, “Oh, okay.” So we went to breakfast, and then, you know, he’s 8 so he’s not really paying attention to where we’re driving right away and then he’s like, “Hey, we’re by the airport.” I’m like, “Yup.” He’s like, “Why we going to the airport?” I’m like, “Surprise, I’m taking you to Universal Studios for your birthday.”
And he gets this scowl on his face and he goes, “Quit messing with me, dad, you’re not – we’re not doing that at all, I don’t think that’s funny.” He’s like, “We’re here to get the tickets for you and Peyton,“ that’s my daughter, “to go to Arizona aren’t we,” because I’m taking her to Arizona next week for a family thing and I said, “No, we’re going to Universal Studios.” He’s like, “Call mom, she’ll tell me the truth.” I –
Shane Jacks: I’m trying to do something special for you kid.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, so finally when mom told him of course that’s real, he can believe it. I guess I, I probably joke with him too much. Not serious enough with him, but once he understood it, he was pretty stoked about it.
Shane Jacks: That’s awesome. Very nice. That’s what it’s about, man. That’s why we, why we push like we do.
Keith Cosentino: It was super cool man. I would, I would recommend doing Universal Studios in one day, not two. We did two days there. There’s not that much to do there. When you, when you ball as hard as we do and you don’t wait in the lines and all that, you can get through the park real fast.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, that fast pass is pretty cool.
Keith Cosentino: No, I just wore my PDR college shirt.
Shane Jacks: Oh, I got you. That’s nice.
Keith Cosentino: You wouldn’t believe how many successful Hollywood stars really want to get into the paintless dent removal business, but there’s –almost none of them.
No, but you can buy a pass there and get to the front of the line. There’s two different ways. You can buy a front of the line pass or you can do a special “VIP” tour where they take you on a private tour of the park, “private.” You have a group of like 10 people and they’re hustling you in and out of there, left and right, but then they give you this little pass and you can get on every ride unlimited number of times without waiting in line. So that was pretty sweet.
Shane Jacks: Yup.
Keith Cosentino: I would recommend that. So, that was my week. It was a good week. Not a lot of work at all.
Shane Jacks: Good, we need that every now and then.
Keith Cosentino: How was yours? You work your fingers to the bone again?
Shane Jacks: Of course, sure did. Too much to do, man. Way too much going on. I need a break, I need a vacation myself, but no rest for the wicked.
Keith Cosentino: So, you super stars of PDR in the Southeast who are looking for something to do, get a hold of Shane He’s got more work than he can handle. Go make some money with him.
Shane Jacks: I’m too greedy. I’ll take fifty percent off them.
Keith Cosentino: Hey, fifty percent of Shane’s money is more like 150 of yours.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, let’s not talk too much about that. The haters are going to start hating again.
Keith Cosentino: Agreed.
Shane Jacks: So, let’s talk about some turning points in our careers, Keith.
Keith Cosentino: Tell me what a turning point is.
Shane Jacks: Turning point is where – it’s that, I guess, popular ah-ha moment that Oprah talks about. I’m going Oprah on you for a minute.
Keith Cosentino: You’re gonna get super fat and skinny again?
Shane Jacks: I’m gonna get super fat and have a skin augmentation.
Keith Cosentino: She had a skin augmentation? I don’t watch Oprah.
Shane Jacks: No, I would need a skin augmentation.
Keith Cosentino: Oh, to go Oprah on me.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, to go Oprah on you.
Keith Cosentino: The full monty.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, a turning point man, when you realize that if something happens, or you realize in your mind that something needs to happen and you change, your business changes, your tactics change, something changes. So that’s – I have a few here. How many do you have, Keif? You have three also?
Keith Cosentino: I would say I got three major turning points.
Shane Jacks: Okay. By the way, I just called you Keif with an F. I don’t know why, but –
Keith Cosentino: That’s all right. Tell me then, what is your first major turning point.
Shane Jacks: The first major turning point would have been, and this is gonna sound a little bit crazy until I explain it, would have been my wife getting laid off from work, from her job. She didn’t make a lot of money; however it was a bit of an income. I was working at the BMW plant at the time and she gets laid off after many, many years of working with this one company and I realized that it did not matter who you were, what you did, with even a semi-large corporation. It wasn’t a huge company she worked for, it was basically a family run business with less than a hundred employees, but she was still, even with that few number of employees, she was still just a number and that was it, you know. And it was business. Business is business and I’m cool with that.
But that was a little bit of a gut check for me realizing when I was working at B – I was working at BMW at the time again and I realized my destiny is in my hands. I can’t leave it in someone else’s, you know, and at that time I was leaving it in someone else’s hands, the hands of BMW, and I was just a number to them. So that was a turning point. I didn’t leave right then, but that was the point at which I –
Keith Cosentino: A mental switch to split –
Shane Jacks: There was a huge mental switch, yeah, and I decided, you know what; I am going to start making preparations to get out of here and control my own destiny. So, that was my first turning point right there.
Keith Cosentino: That’s probably one of the biggest ones you can have is when you make that decision to actually go and start your company. Not when you just think it’s cool and not when you think I should, but when you actually decide that you’re gonna do it, you’re going to go and you’re going to do it. That’s a big one, probably the biggest one, because without that everything else – I mean if I don’t have that one – and that’s not one of my three honestly, it probably should be my first one.
But I think from the day I got into PDR I was intent on starting my own company at some point, and, you know, not everybody wants to start their own company and a lot of guys who are listening – a lot of you guys who are listening, you don’t have your own companies and you maybe don’t have any aspirations to have your own company and that is totally cool, because if you’re not all in to start a company, it’s going to fail because it’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that you may not see with the owner that you’re working for or with your buddies that run a company, because nobody wants to tell you about the three hours they spent on QuickBooks. That’s not very glamorous. Nobody wants to tell you about all the money that they’re spending on all the crap that you didn’t think you’d buy for the company. That’s not cool to talk about either. Hey, I had an $8,000.00 American Express bill to run this company this month.
Shane Jacks: Cool.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, nobody wants to hear about that. So, if you’re not all in and you’re not thinking like this is absolutely what I have to do, it’s not even a choice, then sometimes you can be happier and make more money working for somebody else. I couldn’t. I don’t think Shane could because that’s the kind of guys that we are. We’re wired a little differently, but there’s a lot of people who can and it’s nothing to look down upon.
Shane Jacks: No, not at all. I believe, Keith, you were with me at the BMW plant when − back in November, I had a former employee that I used to work with ask me if I missed it, being there, and I looked at them like they had four heads. I looked at them and I said, look, this is no indication of the kind of money that I make, I said, or the ease at which I make it. They could offer me 400 grand a year to come back here with full benefits, I said, and I would come back for a week and quit. I said there’s no way I could make it here any longer. I just couldn’t do it. After being out, and I work three times as hard out here as I did in there, Keith, but like you said, I’m not – I’m wired a little bit differently now especially, and that life is not for me. Working up under someone else −
Keith Cosentino: No, no, no, but it’s for some guys. Like those guys that are still there because everything is repeatable, everything is predictable, your check comes at the same time. You get the check, you go home, you take off the suit, you go home. You don’t talk about work, look at it, think about it, until you go back.
Shane Jacks: You don’t have to worry about it in the least.
Keith Cosentino: No, you just show up, do the work and you go home, and sometimes that’s pretty enticing even to me in my mind, but I know I couldn’t do it. You think that’d be easy and you’d like it, but guys like us are stupid. We gotta go full steam, full speed ahead with our own crazy ideas, and you can’t do that in a corporate environment. A big one like that especially.
Shane Jacks: Right. So what was your first turning point, Keith, first major turning point.
Keith Cosentino: My first major turning point I’ve talked about on the show before and like I said a minute ago, I guess I could say that it was starting my business, but for me that was kind of always on my mind from the day I ordered my tools for the first time So, I’m not going to say that was my first turning point, but the one I’ve talked about on the show which is my, I think my major turning point is when I was running a wholesale, almost exclusively, business. I had a few retail people that would just pop in through referrals and I would take those, but mostly retail – I mean wholesale and I had one giant dealer and they decided they were going to bring in somebody cheaper and I had to renegotiate my prices on the spot, like that day, and I took a 25 percent net pay cut for the year in one meeting. And I thought, this is just like working for somebody. I basically just got laid off, I got my hours reduced or something. So, I thought this is lame, man. Today I’m changing, I’m gonna build a website, I’m going to go after retail, and I want a thousand customers, so ten of them can fire me today and I won’t even notice. So, that was it for me. And I never gave up the wholesale business; it’s still a big part of what we do, about 30 percent, which is fine. I think that’s a healthy number, because that could still disappear – all my wholesale could go away tomorrow and the business is still viable, but –
Shane Jacks: Which is not going to happen.
Keith Cosentino: No, no, but it could.
Shane Jacks: Not all of it at one time. Technically it could, but the likelihood you’d win the lottery.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, that’s for sure. So, I’m happier there, I’m safer, because as much as I like risk, I’m also a very safe guy like where we talk about mitigating risk all the time with my no wedging the laminated glass and things like that. So, I’m safer and I’m happier with that spread. So, sometimes it takes a shot in the nuts like that to – like Shane called it, like you called it, a gut check to realize you’re not in the right place, you’re not where you want to be or where you need to be, you need to move it out of here, but if you’re not paying attention, those scenarios can come and go and you just deal with them and go about your business. Like, if I would have just said, oh man, prices are really going down here in my area in the wholesale business, so I better get another dealer with these new low prices. Now I know what every one of them pays, so fifty bucks a car. So, if you’re not using this information to pivot and come up with a new strategy to counter it, then you’re just going to be a victim of it.
Shane Jacks: That is right.
Keith Cosentino: You know one of the other major turning points for me?
Shane Jacks: What’s that?
Keith Cosentino: Implementing ReconPro as a software system for my paintless dent removal business, Shane.
Shane Jacks: Nice. Something that I am in the process of doing actually.
Keith Cosentino: Yes. I’ve been on you, on you, on you for a while. Even as we’ve both been promoting the software, you have been so darn busy pushing hail that you haven’t taken the time to set it up and I’m confident that once you complete it, you’re gonna smack yourself in your forehead because you would’ve saved a ton of time throughout all these hail jobs if you could’ve computerized yourself before they started, but you can’t predict the weather and you can’t predict the storms, and you were sitting on your haunches a little too long to get that thing set up, because it does take a little bit of work to get set up. And as more and more and more guys are getting set up on it, the set up process is shrinking dramatically because there’s a lot more proven setups for individual techs and guys with small companies like Shane’s and mine who’ve already went through this process, and they can kind of put you right out of the box, like with my setup or some other guys setups that are similar but a little different, depending on your spread of hail and retail and things like that.
So, that set up process is shrinking, but it still takes a little bit of time to invest to get it set up the way you need it with your accounting software and all that kind of stuff. So, just like anything good in your life, you can’t just flip a switch and turn it on. There’s a little bit of set up. Even when you get a brand new iPhone, you can’t just start using it, you gotta put all your apps on there and sync it to your computer and port your number and all that stuff. But once you get it dialed, you don’t know how you operated without it. Same kind of thing. So, if you guys want to check it out and you haven’t yet, it’s automobiletechnologies.com. ReconPro is the name of the software. Tell them we sent you over there. They’ll take good care of you.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I can’t wait to get it set up. Going from paper to – shoot, going from paper to computerized system was great, and I believe going from the current system that I’m using to the ReconPro is just gonna make it that much better for me, Keith, and for my business. So, I am – I just need to sit down and take the time to do it, like you said.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, you’re – of all the years we’ve known each other, you’re going harder now than you’ve ever gone by a factor of two.
Shane Jacks: By a factor of two?
Keith Cosentino: Yes, at least.
Shane Jacks: I was expecting ten, but okay.
Keith Cosentino: A real factor of two is a big deal.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, it sure is.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a 40-hour week to a 80-hour week.
Shane Jacks: It sure is.
Keith Cosentino: Just count the numbers –
Shane Jacks: For sure, but I don’t know the last time I worked a 40-hour week. Even before I met you, so –
Keith Cosentino: You want me to sensationalize it and give you a factor of ten. You went from 60-hour weeks to 600-hour weeks –
Shane Jacks: That sounds – yeah, that sounds better, but it’s just not the hours, it’s what you’re doing during the hours also.
Keith Cosentino: That is true.
Shane Jacks: But, Keith, yeah, thanks for that – going over and get that. Again, I can’t wait to set that up for my business. No. 2 – and I’m not talking about what you did right before the podcast. No. 2 in my career –
Keith Cosentino: I’m actually on the toilet as we speak.
Shane Jacks: That is awesome.
Keith Cosentino: It doesn’t echo because I got a bunch of Persian rugs hung in here.
Shane Jacks: The visual is horrendous. I can go ahead and tell you that. No. 2, Keith, turning point in my career – do you want me to go chronologically or you want me to just go No. 2 in importance?
Keith Cosentino: First, I would like you to stop referencing No. 2. Secondly, I think you should stick with chronological order. It makes it more interesting.
Shane Jacks: Okey dokey then. No. 2 would be my decision to get a retail facility for PDR in my area. That was a – honestly, at that point I didn’t know it was gonna be that huge of a turning point for my business. I know that sounds strange. What? Did you just go in this thing blind and not hoping it would work, that’s not the case at all. We – 2010, it was around October of 2010, when I decided to rent a retail building from a gentleman that I was doing work for, and so, we move in the building and honestly I had – we had had a pretty good hail year that year in this area, Keith, and I had some money, you know, some burning a hole in my pocket, I guess you would say, and then you have this kind of little dream in your head of owning a retail facility and having retail customers come to you and having a building with air conditioning in it, that way wholesale customers can bring you stuff and you’re comfortable and all that jazz, right?
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: And so I decided, heck, why not try it, and had no intention – well, not – I had intentions of staying there, but I had no idea that I would get as busy as I did as quick as I did. I figured I would be there thirty percent of the time, you know, that would be it. It was a month and I was there basically 100 percent of the time. Now that wasn’t all retail. That was some wholesalers deciding he’s here all the time. I can just pop in, drop a car, leave it with him, I know the car’s safe, and come back and get it when he’s done, and, then, of course, the retail picked up also, the perception of importance of a business when you have a brick and mortar. That perception does help, and I sold that, I sold it as such. So, No. 2, would be –myself, would be getting the retail facility and it’s just getting better and better and better, Keith. The whole retail deal working out for me
Keith Cosentino: A lot of guys talk about a shop and I’ve thought about a shop too at several points in my career, but I don’t know, sometimes I think it can turn into a prison that just traps you there and you can’t get away from it.
Shane Jacks: It is.
Keith Cosentino: Do you feel like that at all?
Shane Jacks: Oh, yeah, I do. It’s hard to leave sometimes because you – when you’re going from point A to point B to do repairs, Keith, when you’re at the end of your day and you have point B to go to – I know this doesn’t happen to you because you’re super awesome and everything, but, if you’ve got eight repairs scheduled for the day and you only get to six of them, or you’re on No. 6 at six in the evening and No. 7 is 30 miles away, it’s really easy to call, reschedule for the morning and people are understanding, they’ll do that. When you have a retail facility and the people are scheduled for time x and time y, then you’re there and it’s hard to leave, and then when you have – like I said, I have wholesalers that drop cars and we kind of use it as fill-in when they drop, they’re getting a discount price, and I tell them, you’re going to wait for – you’re going to have to wait for this car, you’ll get it when you get it. I’m not that harsh with it, of course. So there’s always, always, always something here for us to do, so it’s really hard for me to leave in the evenings and it does become a prison.
Keith Cosentino: So, what do you do to combat that? For guys that are thinking about opening a shop, they know that’s a concern, what do you do? Let me ask you a different question, because what you do is not what you should do. What should you do?
Shane Jacks: I don’t know the answer to that, Keith, because I know what I do is not the answer, because I lose personal time, I lose time with my family, and the reason we do this – the reason I do it is for the money of course. Why do I do it for the money? It’s for my family.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: I’m wanting what’s best for my family, and I don’t want to get all emotional and sappy, but me not being there is not what’s best for my family, not in the least bit.
Keith Cosentino: No, and that’s something a lot of guys struggle with. The more of a standup guy you are, the more you’re going to struggle with it because the more you care about your fam, the more you think about this stuff, but you can get caught running around in a circle thinking, well, I want what’s best for my wife and kids. What is that? Well, it’s for me to make their life nice. All right, how do I do that? Gotta get more money, all right, great, going to go out and work hard and get more money, and then you end up working so hard and trying to get so much more money, that they don’t see you at all, and then they say, we don’t want the money, we just want you here, and you say, wait a second, if there’s no money, I can’t be here. You just keep going around in a circle, but at some point you got to get off that merry-go-round and spend some time with these guys because they’re going to wake up and be 40 and hate you.
Shane Jacks: Yup, it’s a vicious cycle and – what is the thing to do, Keith? I let it affect me too much mentally having – I can’t let go, but again, that’s kinda the way I’m wired, and you’re the same way, and a lot of you techs listening are the same way also. It’s hard to let go, and – because if you let go too much then your business is gonna suck.
Keith Cosentino: Yes, you can’t just let go of the reins completely, but I’ll tell you how I deal with it, and it’s not the retail building that’s a prison to me. It’s slightly different, but it kinda brings me to my next turning point in my career, which was the decision to hire somebody and to go from the one-man show, stay small, keep it all mentality, which I never had by the way, but to decide that you’re not just going to work for yourself, you’re going to employ someone else and help them make a living, and that’s a big decision to make, especially when you’re just – you’ve just been running your company for a period of time and you maybe still feel like there’s something you need to learn. But to take on someone else and to be responsible for another family’s income, that’s a big responsibility to me, and when I finally decided to do that, that was a turning point, a big one for me.
But I was fortunate enough to hire the right guy who was not a PDR guy at all, he had zero – he didn’t even know what the trade was, but I knew he was a great guy and a standup guy and a hard worker and had a real ridiculously good eye for detail. So, I was able to train him. He’s now probably one of the best guys in town, right next to me. I mean, he’s 99 percent the tech that I am, and the only reason I can do more is because I’ve got more experience. I had, I don’t know what, seven or eight years when I trained him. So, how I deal with it now is I give him a ton of responsibility and when I take weekends off, the phone calls go to him, they don’t go to me. So, I disconnect for a couple of days a week and just lets me spend a little bit of time with my family and work on some of the conceptual stuff for my company that you can’t do when you’re answering the phone, answering the phone, answering the phone, talking about dents, scheduling dents. It’s really hard to take your company to the next level when you can’t turn that part off, so by getting the right guys on board – and I know, Shane, you’ve got a lead tech there that’s kind of just about the same type of guy that you can just put it in his lap for at least a period of time during the week and get that little bit of space that you need.
Shane Jacks: Oh, yeah, it’s – I’m reticent to give that over. Not because they’re not capable of it, totally are. I’ve got a couple of awesome guys working with me right now and it’s – so I don’t have a problem handing over the reins. When I go out of town to do hail or even when it’s hailing here, there are times where I will just turn it over to that lead tech and he does an awesome job taking care of it. So, it’s just – and I have no problem doing that, it’s just hard for me to do it. It’s like it’s my baby. Keith, you do a much better job of that than I do. So, golf clap to you.
Keith Cosentino: Well, we also have different businesses. We’re in the same industry, but our businesses are a lot different. You’ve got that retail prison that you built for yourself, and you have all the hail that comes local. We don’t get it. It just doesn’t happen here. So, that really changes things. All of a sudden you need to be somewhere else because your time is five or ten times more profitable spent in another state than it is in your home market. So, you’ve really got to run things differently. With me, with no worry of hail, if I’m not going to go out of state, it’s a lot more predictable, so it’s easier to manage.
Shane Jacks: Understood, yep, for sure.
Keith Cosentino: I mean, we’ve shown quite candidly over the last few weeks or months, that there’s almost no way you can compete on a retail level with catastrophe hail damage repairs. It’s, it’s – they’re two different worlds, but they come with a price. Shane has been away from home, working hard, probably 30, 40 percent more hours than he would put in at home, and the rewards are much greater too, but you’ve got to put in a lot – man, it’s just a different life altogether. Even though we’re so similar, we’re fixing dents with the same tools, but man nothing else is the same. So, there’s more money to be had there. I think everyone can agree on that, but staying home and servicing customers Monday through Friday, normal working hours and still having a life with your family, that’s something that’s hard to put a price on. And if you’re a younger guy and you don’t have all that stuff built up, then hit the hail trail, go knock it out of the park. But on the same token, don’t expect to come home and have this established retail business that your gonna slip right into and pick up the pace where you maybe left it off, because these people are going to find new PDR guys when you’re gone. You may think there’s not many guys in your town, but guess what, there’s ten guys that you never heard of.
Shane Jacks: For sure.
Keith Cosentino: They’re sprouting up –
Shane Jacks: Keith and I had a discussion earlier –
Keith Cosentino: – like weeds
Shane Jacks: – about this right before the show. You find new guys – if you really start looking, you can find them almost weekly.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, they’re everywhere and they’re hungry, man, and they’re good. They’re not great, but they’re good and they’re good way faster than you were. If you’re a long-time tech – with the tools and the information that’s out there now, you can get pretty good pretty fast if you have that innate ability already. If you had the same skill – like if you and I started from scratch now with the same skills and abilities, we would – I think we would reach our current level in half the time that we took to reach it in the first place.
Shane Jacks: Yes, no doubt, no doubt at all.
Keith Cosentino: I mean, we were making stuff up like – I don’t know, two, three years into my career, my trainer, who was one of the first dent wizard guys – I don’t know how first, just first in our area or whatever, but he was an old-school dent wizard guy from 25 years ago or something. Two years into my career, he’s like, “Hey, I just figured out you can put tape on your tool and it’s way faster.” We’re so far ahead of that now, and he was ten years into his career when he was putting tape on his tools, so – and I thought, man. It’s just like anything, it evolves so quickly, that you go back and look at the old stuff and it seems stupid, but you do the best you can now. And it’s probably going to be the same five, ten years from now. Guys are going to look back on this time and think, man, it was archaic, we’re so much faster now.
Shane Jacks: Oh yeah, I mean, it’s the natural progression of any industry or any trade, art, whatever you want to call it. We are just fixing dents here though and it’s going to get faster and it’s going to get more efficient. The tools are gonna get better, the lighting – although it’s hard for me to see it right now, the lighting is going to get even better, Keith, are we’re going to be able to see things that we, that we can’t see right now even.
Keith Cosentino: You’re gonna put a 3D camera on the dent and then you put those goggles on your head and you fix it with one of those da Vinci robots they use to do surgeries.
Shane Jacks: That would be awesome.
Keith Cosentino: You can do it from your house. Just like those surgeons, they don’t leave the building. They do a surgery a thousand miles away on the computer.
Shane Jacks: That’s kind of scary.
Keith Cosentino: You seen those things?
Shane Jacks: No, I haven’t actually.
Keith Cosentino: They don’t do them remotely, but there’s this computer – well, it’s not a computer, it’s a robot and the doctor operates the robot with controls. He’s right there, but he’s looking at a screen, still, and he’s operating the robot and what it enables the doctor to do as far as I understand it, I’m no doctor, but it enables him to have much finer – fine motor control and much finer grips and work in smaller places with these little tiny arms that get in there so they can do detailed surgery, if that’s a word, detail, with greater precision. I think it’s called the da Vinci. You can look it up. And if you look it up and that’s not the right name, then just continue to look until you find it. Robot surgery –
Shane Jacks: Robot surgery, I think you can find it from that.
Keith Cosentino: So, what’s your next big turning point?
Shane Jacks: Did you do No. 2 yet?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, for me hiring somebody.
Shane Jacks: Okay, okay, sorry. I’m losing track here. My last one would be that we’ve kind of touched on this a few times, Keith, and not in depth. We’re gonna do that at some point. We keep saying that we’re gonna do it, is when – a huge deal that I lost back in November of last year, and that is a – I’m gonna kind of link that in with what’s happening now also. The current hail, current hail season here in my area and what’s going on here. That deal that, that we lost out on, it’s – it made me realize, it was kind of like that first moment that I told you about my wife. That she was just a number and that I was just a number. It made me realize, you know what I am Keith? I’m just a dent guy. That is all I am, and –– that’s all I was, let me take that back, and I want to change that. I’ve – it made me realize that, you know what, get your hands in as much as possible and make money – I’m not gonna say in any way that you can, I still want to do it honestly and with integrity, but do, do what you’ve gotta do to make money in this business because that’s why we’re doing it. You know, I’ve always preached it, do what you’ve gotta do to make money, and I preach capitalism and there’s a market for everybody, but I had kept my, my mind out of, you know –
Keith Cosentino: Well, we’ve got some time in this show. You want to tell that story?
Shane Jacks: You want me to?
Keith Cosentino: Sure.
Shane Jacks: Okay. I don’t have exact numbers. I have a few of the exact numbers, but exactly how much was there to lose or gain – and Keith knows about this story also. He was, he was present for all of it.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, great, I was living it –
Shane Jacks: Yeah, you were there the entire time. We had a – I’m just gonna call it a large manufacturing facility in the area. One of their dyes on one of their models of cars dropped and this dye weighed 40 tons and when it dropped, you can imagine the damage that it did to the floor and to the dye. The dye cracks. They weld the crack so they grind them down, but there’s so much pressure under these dyes that it’s – any tiny imperfection is going to be amplified. So, any way, a new dye is being made. It’s going to take 15 weeks for the new dye to happen. This place calls me in. Long story short, they ask me what – how many guys – could I get four guys in here at this facility –
Keith Cosentino: The result –
Shane Jacks: – to do the work –
Keith Cosentino: – of the refurbished dye was that every quarter panel/rail assembly had the same little crease, low spot and high spot in it. Every single car.
Shane Jacks: Every single car. Now, that changed over a short amount of time though, Keith, with –
Keith Cosentino: Right, but that was the initial –
Shane Jacks: That was the initial –
Keith Cosentino: – problem.
Shane Jacks: And it was a pretty ugly spot. It’s not a dent either. It’s, it’s – stamping issues, many of you know, they don’t look like a typical dent, and so the metal is under a different kind of pressure too, of course, because it’s a stamping issue instead of a dent that has changed the properties – not the properties of the metal, but the metal is bent. At this point, the metal is what it is, and you’re bending the metal to fit – to make it flat. It works differently, is what I’m trying to say. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, to be honest, but anyway, it works differently, and so, every single car has this issue. They ask me to bring in four guys. How much money, and – should I tell the amount, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: It’s pretty interesting. A lot of money.
Shane Jacks: So, they ask me how much per person per day to bring guys in to do this, and I tell them straight forward. I said it’d be a lot smarter for you guys to ask me for a per unit cost. I said it only makes sense to do a volume thing. No, the way we want to do it is a per person, per day, twelve-hour shift, how much is it going to cost us? Two on the A shift and two on the B shift. So, I throw a number out there; four grand per day per person for a twelve-hour shift. They immediately bite. Get them in here now. So I bring the guys in, Keith being one of them, and three other guys – two other guys also – no, three other guys, I’m sorry, three other guys also, because I wasn’t – I only worked –
Keith Cosentino: You needed to go back
Shane Jacks: – the first –
Keith Cosentino: – and run the shop.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, so bring in three other guys with Keith, and we thought we had this thing going, man, and we did. We signed, we signed a – basically a mini contract for a week. Keith and I busted our chops trying to make this whole situation better. The situation with the, with the stamping issue, we tried to make it better. We were trying to do the right thing instead of trying to make ourselves as much money as possible. So, Keith and I are running around the plant. We are doing everything we can to alleviate the problem with the stamping issue which means going to the supplier – or not going to the supplier, talking to the supplier. Going to the body shop, going to all these different areas within this facility and trying to make the problem better and Keith, how much better did that problem get over the course of three days?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it got a lot better.
Shane Jacks: It was an insane amount better, and so, during this time they start – it becomes evident that price is becoming an issue really quickly, and –
Keith Cosentino: Not that, not that evident, though. Not – it wasn’t like –
Shane Jacks: Well, hindsight –
Keith Cosentino: — even with the wholesale –
Shane Jacks: – hindsight, it is.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, so, they start asking about the price and then we found out there’s another company that has gotten wind of this thing and that they are flying in to see the damage, basically, and see what they can do. So, basically, we get to a point where they are – we’re, we are going out and back between myself and management there as far as price and they’re wanting me to get more people in there and they’re not guaranteeing me any more time and so I kind of – Keith and I, kind of called their – well, we go in and, we – hey look, if you want us to get more people in, you’ve got to guarantee us more time here, and we go out and back, we get some of the management involved in one area, pitting them against management in another area, and we finally get the okay. There’s a –
Keith Cosentino: If I remember properly, and I wasn’t in every meeting you were in, I was in very few of them compared to the meetings you were in, but if I remember properly, the only indication of their dissatisfaction with the price was one question: Seems – price seems kinda high, can you do anything differently? And I think you told them, listen, you want the best guys, this is what it takes to get them here from across the country.
Shane Jacks: Right.
Keith Cosentino: And then that was it. Okay, well, let’s do it, right?
Shane Jacks: Right.
Keith Cosentino: That was the extent of a billion-dollar company’s price negotiation with you.
Shane Jacks: Right, and it’s not even – I know this sounds harsh, it’s not even their money. It is –
Keith Cosentino: Right –
Shane Jacks: – another facility. And it was – the facility that was at fault here that – the stamping facility is – they are – they lost – the plant was down for seven days I believe at a cost of eight million per day to that stamping facility. So, I mean, there were huge amounts of money being lost there, and the stamping facility was at fault, so they were the ones that were going to pay for it, and you know, and we’re going off of – not only that, I’m going off of, look, I’m bringing guys in here that know what they’re doing. They’re going to make the repairs as good as possible, the best repairs possible, and that’s the way I’m gonna pay them. I’m going to pay them accordingly, and they did say something, Keith, there was another question about the price. We had been there before to do some other repairs and they, they were confused about the price and they said, well, it was only $700.00 per head the last time, and I was like, that was per unit, and guys were doing way more than one unit a day, you know, multiple units a day, and they were like, oh, okay, well, we were just wondering, we thought it was per head, and that was not the case, so they understood that. Keith and I are sitting at breakfast at the Waffle House and –
Keith Cosentino: That’s where all the ballers go.
Shane Jacks: That’s right, that’s where all the ballers go. We were sitting at breakfast at the Waffle House, it’s around 10:30 I guess, and a lady from purchasing calls and she says, look – this is after there’s been a little bit of a battle between upper management of two different – of purchasing and of another facility within the plant that – there’s been a battle and basically the management within the plant beats the purchasing, because they’re like, look, it’s gonna cost us X amount of dollars a day if we don’t get these cars out of here. So, they win and the lady from purchasing calls and says, is there – my boss is asking me, Mr. Jackson – I mean, she’s all of a sudden the nicest lady in the world to me after being not so nice before this. Mr. Jackson, I’m just wondering, is there any way we can come down on the price, and here is where I think I screwed up, Keith.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah.
Shane Jacks: You were sitting there, right? What was my reaction?
Keith Cosentino: I think we just went right back to the same mindset that we used to sell retail and that is, yeah, there – I’m sure there’s something we could do about the price, but you want the highest quality and you want it tomorrow, this is what it costs to get it done.
Shane Jacks: No, that’s incorrect. That’s not what I said.
Keith Cosentino: What did you say?
Shane Jacks: I said nope. That’s where I made the fatal mistake, because I thought –
Keith Cosentino: That’s what I said in my mind.
Shane Jacks: That’s what you said in your mind, and here’s how it – that’s not what I said in my mind. What I said in my mind was nope, and it came out nope, and so that, that is where I made the mistake. Had I come down on price even a small amount, Keith, I think we had a huge chance of retaining it.
Keith Cosentino: However, how did this conversation end up playing out?
Shane Jacks: The conversation ended up playing out – she said, okay, okay, I completely understand. In two hours you will have a contract for another three weeks and open ended if we’re gonna need you any more after that and you will be the company we use. Within two hours the contract will be in your email box, and that will be a binding contract. You don’t have to sign anything. That email will be the contract, legally binding. I said, “cool.” We hang up, Keith and I are slapping fives, we’re high fiving each other –
Keith Cosentino: Now, you have to understand, though, the gravity of this, of this phone call with the numbers that are being talked about here. This is –
Shane Jacks: They were, they were wanting four more people immediately, okay, which was going to put us at eight people in this facility; $4,000.00 per person per day. That’s 32 grand per day that we were going to be bringing in. Now, our guys, Keith and the three that I had, were taking care of it fine, correct Keith? You even had down time at times –
Keith Cosentino: Oh, yeah, yeah, too much of it sometimes.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, so I don’t know why they were wanting four more people. They were ramping up, I know that, but what happened – so, there was a large amount of money at play here for everyone involved, and what happened was this other company, within those two hours, either got contacted or – I would like to think they just swooped in with this crazy stupid contract they had and took it from me, but looking back, Keith, I think my “nope” had a lot to do –
Keith Cosentino: Yeah –
Shane Jacks: Had a lot to do with it, and there was a phone call made, or twelve, and this other company comes in at less than half of my price; staffs the thing with twice as many people as I had, up to at one point I had heard almost 20 guys were staffing this thing. They were making a grand a day, I believe was the number that I heard, but my short-sightedness was in that Keith and I had really worked extremely hard to make the issue better for the plant, doing the right thing, and I was, like, well, this thing’s just not going to last that long, they’re not going to need but a couple guys, because we’ve got it down to nothing. Well, when we lost the contract, apparently everything went to crap again because Keith and I were not there – we were a big reason, Keith, we can’t kid ourselves that that thing was getting better, and we weren’t policing it, the other company that came in cared nothing about policing it and making it better. All they cared about was making money for themselves and their guys, and you know what, that’s what this is about, I guess.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: So, they ended up staying until April, late April.
Keith Cosentino: From November.
Shane Jacks: From November. This was multi-million dollar deal that, that got away, and, again, that’s the turning point, okay, that’s the turning point I’m talking – that’s the moment where I realized, you know what, I’m just a freaking dent guy trying to hold on out here and I have no idea what I’m doing, and – I mean, I do know what I’m doing, but do we really have it figured out?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, how many people get to negotiate a situation like that very often? It’s kind of a once in a lifetime deal, at least up until that point it was –
Shane Jacks: And I screwed it up.
Keith Cosentino: You know what? You’re better because of admitting it, that you screwed it up.
Shane Jacks: Completely, and it, it only took me about a month, and here’s what happens when you screw up, when you realize you have screwed up and you’ve made a mistake. You know what I didn’t do? I know personally the guy that came in and is a part of the bidding process for the other company, I know him personally. I called him and thanked him, and that is the God’s honest – no, I’m sorry, I texted him, I didn’t call him, so I can’t say that’s God’s honest truth. I texted him and I said, “Look man, I want to thank you for teaching me a lesson, and it’s one that is a very hard pill to swallow, but you taught me something and I’m a better man for it,” and we had a nice out and back text, out and back between he and I, and he was – of course, he was cool about it.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, I think he even texted you back a picture of the helicopter he bought with that deal.
Shane Jacks: Probably – yeah, I believe I did, I think I burned my phone so it’s not in there anymore, but it’s – but yeah, it’s – you’ve got to be able to suck it up and learn from it and move on, man, and don’t stay bitter. I’m not bitter. It hurts, but I’m not bitter because of –
Keith Cosentino: Oh, I mean, that – just imagine you’re at the Quickie Mart, you never buy a lottery ticket, but today you do. You find out it’s a winning lottery ticket, it’s a $1 million lottery ticket and then as you walk out to the car, the wind blows and the thing goes in the air and it’s gone, it’s just gone. You were holding it, you had the $1 million winning ticket and it’s gone. That hurts, no matter who you are.
Shane Jacks: Yes.
Keith Cosentino: I mean, that’s unbelievable, but you know what I thought was most interesting about the story and about the scenario, because it wasn’t just a story for me, I was living most of it with you, was that all of this basic nuts and bolts selling that we talk about here on the show to you retail people about a $150.00 door ding, those same building blocks of selling carry right over to this multi-million dollar deal. When she said, is there anything we can about the price, if, if you just gave her a little ground there and – personally, you know, we both talked about and thought about that scenario thousands of times, and I think if, if I was in that negotiation, if I was on the other end of that phone with the knowledge I have now, I would ask her the question, “Well, what did you have in mind,” because I want to know what kind of number she’s expecting. And when she shows her cards there, then you can negotiate off of that point and come to a place where you both agree, and then that’s – just like Shane said, that’s a done deal. That email’s coming and that job is going for another five months, and that is a life-changing deal.
I mean, literally that’s changing the course of your career, your life, your family, but it didn’t come true because we got a little greedy and a little pig headed and thought, you know, we’ve got these guys where we want them. They need us and we’re here, we’re working. All they want is more people. We’ve got those guys that are basically packing their suitcases already. This deal is done, but it’s not done until it’s done, and the same basic lessons to selling apply no matter what you’re selling. So, that was a great lesson for me to remember, that no matter what I’m dealing with, if I’m selling something, I’m selling something. I need to make sure I handle all the objections before we part ways, so that nothing surprises me later.
Shane Jacks: Right, and that was, again – it was a – and this is gonna get a little more personal instead of transferring over to the PDR world, but I preach a lot of things about the way business should be, even apart from this podcast, and I – that, right there, man it was hard to practice what I preach, because that price came in at less than half of where I was at, Keith, and I’m okay with there being a market for everybody, you know.
Keith Cosentino: Right.
Shane Jacks: And it was – that was a huge gut check in many – not just my business, but also personally. So, that’s why I’m saying huge gut check, and so that text to him was me saying, yup, here’s what I am, it’s time for me to suck it up and be what I say I am, so …
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, you had to eat some proverbial humble pie, but just like any, anything that knocks us on the chin or kicks us in the nuts, if you can step back from the situation and analyze it, you’re gonna learn something and you’re going to come out stronger, so for sure – I mean, the likelihood of that scenario presenting itself again, almost zero, but if it does, I believe –
Shane Jacks: Which really sucks, by the way.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it’s hard to verbalize how bad it sucks.
Shane Jacks: So, let’s get off of that before I start crying. What was your No. 3?
Keith Cosentino: Hard to follow that turning point, because that’s ridiculous, but to bring it back to something that’s a little more realistic that most guys can relate to, my major turning point is something I’m kind of going through right now, which is the decision about what size my service company, my dent company is going to be. Is it going to be three techs or is it gonna be 15 techs or is it gonna be 30 techs, and that – those are two or three completely different businesses. One is just a little tiny boutique company, the other one is a – you know, it’s still in the world of companies, these are all micro companies, 30 people, but in our industry a 30-person company is a big deal. We all know that, because it’s difficult to build, and it’s difficult to maintain a high level of service with that program, but maybe your vision is not thirty, maybe it’s 300 or 3000. Nothing wrong with any of those visions, 30,000, but I think if I could go back in time like we were talking about earlier, I think I would make that decision much, much sooner about how big this company is going to be, and then get to the business of planning that growth, because right now we’re just kind of growing as we need to grow and as I can find qualified technicians or guys that I think are qualified to turn into technicians, and I’m two for three on hiring. I’ve got two all stars and I had one guy who I – we just weren’t able to make it happen with, and that was a real bummer, you know, spending so many months trying to train a guy and having it not come to fruition, a bummer for both us, for him and for me, but if I would have made that decision a long time ago that this company is going to be 10 or 15 guys, then I would’ve created a system for developing new talent and for training that I haven’t done now. I’ve been more replicating the training that I received, which is, hey, hang around with me for a year, and then if you get it, you’ll be good.
Shane Jacks: Yeah.
Keith Cosentino: So, that’s something I’m going through now, and I don’t know the answer, to be honest about it, where I’m going to end, whether we’re going to be five guys or 15 guys or 25 guys, I really don’t know, and I’m trying to sort that out in my mind, but that’s a big turning point because at some point I’ve gotta decide whether I really enjoy fixing as many dents as possible personally every day, which is enjoyable, or whether I need to be in the business of managing this company and working hard to facilitate the workload of other guys versus me just pounding out dents with my hands, and neither one is right or wrong, but they’re different, much different, and the sooner you realize that those two roles are different, the better you can do at both of them. But when you try to do it all all the time, it’s really tough to do a good job at both.
Shane Jacks: For sure, that’s – and what you said while you were speaking there, Keith, about had you known from the beginning that you were gonna make it a 15 person – if you could go back to the beginning, there would be a whole different scope. In the beginning with me, it was I just want to survive.
Keith Cosentino: Right, that’s –
Shane Jacks: And I’m sure you were the same way –
Keith Cosentino: – that’s most people, yeah, I just want to make a good living and, and that’s it.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, I mean –
Keith Cosentino: It wasn’t that complicated.
Shane Jacks: Same here. When I was – when I made that – when my wife got laid off and I was making that decision, that was like, I just want to be able to make it, and I was scared to death, which was stupid. Are you and I – are we gonna look back in 20 years with 15 techs under us – probably you, I doubt I’ll ever do that, just to be honest with you. Are you going to look back in 15 years and go, it was really stupid of me to not think that I could do this, or stupid of me to not do this from the beginning, you know what I mean?
Keith Cosentino: Oh, yeah, certainly –
Shane Jacks: Because that’s the way I look back at my decision when I left BMW. Why didn’t I do it sooner? That was really stupid of me to think that I couldn’t do it.
Keith Cosentino: You know what, honestly, it’s kind of interesting that we come full circle here because the reason that this podcast is in existence is because I would say 95 percent of us just want to make a living. So, we start these companies and then we figure out later, oh, I need to learn to sell, I need to learn to market, I need to build a website, I gotta get customers. We’re just guys who know how to fix some sheet metal, and then everything else is – we’re just figuring it out along the way and a lot of guys get really good at it and a lot of guys don’t get really good and it, and we’re here to kind of bridge that gap, but if you were to make the decision before you ever touched a tool that you were gonna build this business, this company, you would take a lot of different steps, but, but when you start, generally we just say, you know what, I just want to make a nice living and this is the way I can do it, so I will hang the sign and get a phone with a number and a truck and I’m in business, and that’s great, it works and you make money, but then you fall short when you realize there’s a lot of stuff you don’t know, and that’s – it’s interesting that that’s the whole reason we are recording right now is to kind of fill that gap.
Shane Jacks: Yup, for sure. Yes, sir.
Keith Cosentino: Take our years and years of trials and errors in the trenches and distill it down into the useful stuff that you guys can use today to get to our level in a quarter of the time that we did. Just like with the tools that we were talking about earlier, how much faster guys are getting good now. It’s the same way with the technology and with this knowledge that we’re giving out. You guys use it and you will slingshot past all the crap that we had to go through to get to this point, and land right next to us if not in front of us.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, and just like, just like with the deal with – in November, that I learned a lot from. It’s easy to look at, to look at some other guys – maybe not us, but other guys and go, golly, how did he – and be jealous of what they’ve done, maybe in your market, and instead of getting – being jealous of them and, you know, hating them basically, learn from them, man, just learn from them because apparently they’ve done something that you’re not doing correctly.
Keith Cosentino: Right, that is the truth, man. Well, I hope you guys were able to learn something from our turning points and from the decisions that we screwed up and the ones we got right to help you get on the fast track to turning your business around and putting in some record numbers. We’ve heard a lot of stories from guys back about their own personal records they’ve been breaking with our help here on the PDR college podcast, so we’re super happy about that, we’re excited for you guys and I wan to hear more of those stories. I want to hear you guys breaking some records. It makes me happy.
Shane Jacks: Yes, sir.
Keith Cosentino: And I’m not even on commission.
Shane Jacks: Not at all.
Keith Cosentino: Just makes me happy to see you guys taking this knowledge that we fought so hard to come up with, and putting it to use and making money for themselves.
Shane Jacks: That’s right.
Keith Cosentino: Super cool.
Shane Jacks: Super cool. Good job, Keith.
Keith Cosentino: Good job, Shane.
Shane Jacks: Why, thank you.
Keith Cosentino: Okay fellows, until next time.
Shane Jacks: Get better.[End of Audio]
Duration: 65 minutes