The Art of the Upsell: How Keith almost Ruined a Dent
The Upsell opportunity is there waiting for you on EVERY job you take. Use these guidelines to help remember how when and where to capture additional revenue.
Also, Learn how Keith almost ruined a dent and what he did to save it!
I’m Keith Cosentino. He’s Shane Jacks. And this is the PDR College Podcast. The only place in the world dedicated to your success in the dent removal business. We are here with you every week talking PDR tools, PDR techniques and the PDR business which is the part of the entire equation that we spend the majority of our time on because that is what generates the money. And that’s what we need to stay in business. Be in business, stay in business. You need the money and that’s what we’re here to help you make. More of it.
Now as some of you have keenly recognized we missed a super witty joke from Mr. Shane Jacks right here at this most opportune moment. Shane is not with us just for today. He’s alive and well and he doing the PDR College thing full-speed ahead but when Burt Bacharach come to town and it’s on the same night we’re supposed to do a Podcast, you know what to do. You go see the show and Keith does the show by himself. So, Shane we miss you tonight but we’ll see you back here next week, same time.
All right so we are on the Podcast today and we are talking about what we always talk about and that is making money in the dent removal business. How are you doing out there? How is your biz? Is it where you want it to be? Have you gotten better since you’ve been taking some of our advice or all of our advice? Where are you?
Chances are you’ve done something. Chances are also good you’ve done nothing. If you’ve done nothing, don’t feel bad. It’s not just you. It’s very hard to change what you’ve doing on a daily basis. When you’ve got stuff going on and you’re busy enough to stay busy change sounds like a great idea and you get a bunch of awesome inspiration but then you turn off the Podcast and you go back to your regular life. That is so common for everybody. So, don’t beat yourself up if that’s the boat you’re in but I do want you to think twice about it and pick one area where you know you can improve. Something you can do today without spending money. Coincidentally, very few of the things we’ve suggested will cost you money but pick something that won’t cost you money and just focus of that with a laser-like accuracy. Pick that thing and run with it and see if you can change that thing. See if you can change the one thing.
And if you don’t know where to start let’s pick something that we’ve already talked about in the Podcast in the past and let’s just go over that a little bit today. And what we’re gonna go over is the art of the upsell.
Now, why do we call it an art? What’s so artful about it? Well, it’s an art because you approach it differently for every situation you’re in. Sometimes it’s a lay-down deal. It isn’t even really and upsell. You’re just mentioning something else to a customer. But other times you really have to take a strategic approach and craft your offer in a certain manner to make it sound appealing or to make it sound like something that fits the situation for that customer.
Another reason I bring up the upsell for – the reason I picked the one thing that you can work on is the upsell is because it can be applied in any situation of PDR. It can be applied in a retail situation which is the area where I mostly take advantage of it, and it can be applied in a wholesale situation with a dealer and it can be applied in a hail situation and everything in between. There’s always room to go for an upsell and if you do it right, you risk nothing but you have potential reward for a great gain.
And I know some of you hardcore listeners who’ve listened to every single episode two or three times, you know exactly how we do this here and you’ve listened to it plenty of times. We’ve touched on it a couple of different times and we’ve spent some time on it too. But it’s the kind of thing that you can’t over too often. Because you can always find an opportunity to make a little bit more money. But you can also always find an opportunity to get lazy and stop upselling.
And I’m telling you this from experience. One of the reasons I’m bringing it up now is I just missed an opportunity that I had for a slam-dunk upsell and I didn’t take it. I did not take it. I was kicking myself for it afterwards because it was right there and I was just so preoccupied with the particular dent that I was working on that I didn’t every bring it up as an option. So, I’ll set the state for you on this job and then we’ll go back and talk about what I should’ve done and what you can do.
So, of course, this is in a retail environment, a retail situation. So, what I was dealing with was a 2011 Mustang 5.0 and it was the type of owner you would imagine with a car like that. He’s a Mustang guy. This is his car. He’s got a garage full of cleaning supplies and magazines and everything. He was nuts for this car and it was a nice car. Pretty stock. I think maybe he had some springs on it, but tasteful modifications and the car was super clean, with a big giant whack on the lower body line you guys have all seen a thousand times. It’s really common for those cars to get hit.
So, he had initially contacted us about the dent, we gave him a ballpark figure because he was maybe 45 minutes away from what I’ll call our home base. Where we are normally. So it was a decent drive. We’re not gonna drive out there just to do an estimate if we can avoid it. So, we got some photos and we gave him a ball park figure based on that to make sure we’re not driving for nothing. Now that number was a little too high for him so he started shopping around. That’s fine. If you want the bargain deal we’re not the guys for you and that’s a position that I think everybody who’s serious enough to be listening to a dent removal Podcast, that’s the position I think you should be in in your market. But you gotta do what you do. But that’s what we do here.
So we let him shop and sure enough he came back once he saw what his other options were and probably got some other prices that were a third of what we charged him, or what we quoted him. So, we got the job. He said you know, you guys are the most expensive but I want it done right so I want you to come out and do it. Great.
So, I come out there to do it. It was a $300.00 repair. It wasn’t the worst thing you’ve ever seen but it was nice little whack in the body line and it needed some time to come up right. Well, we talked about the body line dent. How it’s gonna turn out and he said, great. Sounds great. I’m gonna go inside. Knock yourself out.
So, I was so focused on this dent. It wasn’t even until halfway through the repair that I realized there was a nickel-sized dent maybe a foot forward and five, six inched up in the flat part of the door. This car was perfect otherwise except for that one ding. But I broke my normal routine, and that is after we talk about the one dent, we settle on it, I start chit-chatting about the car just a little bit and it gives me an opportunity to look around the rest of it. Say hey, how is the rest of the car? Is it perfect? Yeah, I think it’s perfect. And then I can point out you have this and this. If you’re interested in fixing these we can cut you a fantastic deal on these while I’m here. And I’ll just kind of set that in front of him and see what he does with it.
If he says, you know, I’m not really worried about those, sounds great. I’ll get to working on this one and that’s it’. You’re not gonna upsell that guy. In some cases, actually that’s an area, I’ll go back and fix those dents just for free. Just to say you know what? It makes me happy to make the car perfect. With hopes that he’s gonna write a nice review for me or something like that. It’s something that I can do that’s not gonna cost me anything except a couple minutes.
If he does say, well, how much would you charge me for something like that? Then we can throw just a deal out there that’s so ridiculous of course he’s gonna take it. Why wouldn’t he take it? And if he’s on the fence we make sure we repeat to him that we can never recreate this deal. For example, if I’m doing this one other nickel-sized dent on the same door as a $300.00 repair, I can do it for thirty bucks. Takes me two minutes. My tools are already in the door. But I can’t come back out to his house for thirty bucks. That’s never happening.
So, I make sure I tell them that if they’re kind of on the fence, but most the time, another ten percent and the car’s gonna be perfect when you leave. They’re into it. Pretty easy sale if you approach it right. But I just didn’t bring it up. I robbed this guy the opportunity he had to take care of a crazy, stupid, cheap deal and I robbed myself of the ability to add ten percent to this job in pure profit to this job.
So, I was kind of beating myself up after it for being such a rookie on this job but you know, you get busy. Your mind gets starting to think of the second and third and the fourth job after that and making sure you have time to get to them and you’re worried about that, but you’ve gotta remember you’ve gotta take the work that is right in front of you now, and not pass that up for the hope of more work possibly later. Even if you have an appointment. Everything is set. Nothing is set until you fix the car. Especially when you’ve got jobs you haven’t seen yet. So, not upselling a car because you have others to do is silly. If it’s something that’s gonna take you three time longer, think about it. Maybe you don’t do it. Maybe you don’t even offer it. But if you got something that’s gonna take you an extra ten minutes, five minutes, two minutes, ridiculous not take that deal. You’ve gotta push for it.
So, I was bummed out with myself for not doing that. And like I said, it’s just – it’s not just me and my greed, that I wanna make more money. I could’ve given this guy and opportunity that no one else can give. No one else can give him my level of service for that little of a cost but I could do it in that situation, only. But that situation’s gone so he can’t ever get that deal again. I can’t ever give that deal again. And I can’t make that money. So, that one-shot opportunity is gone.
So, I thought it’d be good for everybody. Good if I bring it up for you and good for me. If I can talk about it a little more, maybe I’ll remember it and maybe be a little more hard-core on the next job.
If you talk about ten percent as an increase, that is a ridiculously good increase for doing a small amount of work. I mean if you’re doing a four digit-day, averaging a four-digit day around a thousand bucks is where you should have no problem being if you’ve taken all our advice and put it into play. If you’re there another ten percent is another a hundred bucks a day and depending on how many working days you’re working with in that particular month, plus a little more. 24k, 25k a year. Just for asking a couple extra questions and doing a couple extra minutes’ worth of work. It’s a ridiculous payoff for what you’re doing.
And on top of that, you’re making people happy because you’re giving them a better deal. And I’m not saying everything needs to be cheap. But the upsell is those things that they weren’t necessarily concerned with. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and you’re hungry and they hit you with the dessert, or did you want this or that added to your meal? It’s not something you were shopping for in the first place but in the current situation it’s something that sounds enticing so you’ll go forward with it.
So that is something that is free, the upsell. It’s something you can use to make money. Let’s talk about something for a moment that isn’t free but still helps you make money for your business. And that’s the software that I use to run my dent removal business. Recon Pro by Automobiletechnologies.com.
This is the stuff that allows me to run the nuts and bolts of my company every day right on my IPhone. Very convenient. I was worried at first, about having all the information running through my phone because you’re always worried you’re gonna drop it or break it or it gets lost or stolen. But the reality is I don’t ever lose my phone and I don’t break it because I have the giant stupid Otterbox case on it, that you couldn’t lose it if you wanted to. You can’t hardly get it through a door. But it’s a legit concern. Is your phone gonna get broken or is it gonna get stolen? But once you learn the way the software works, you’re automatically less worried about that.
Because what it does is you enter all the information, you use the camera, the phone’s camera to scan the VIN, it auto-populates all the information about the car. You enter in the stuff you need to know. Dent removal prices, locations, stock numbers, etc. And when you press finish, that thing beams up to the mothership and all the information is on another computer in Chicken Lips, Arkansas. And your phone is no longer in the game. So you can make the invoice, chuck the phone and you’re not gonna lose any data. You’re gonna have a tough time making invoices for the rest of the day if your phone is in the hands of some homeless dude but you’re not gonna lose any of the information you’ve already made.
So I was all of a sudden – once I learned how it worked I was less worried about that. But man it’s been awesome with all my techs and myself running around town, scanning cars, all my information is coming in in real-time. So at any point during the day I can go online and see where we are as far as production goes. I can see where we are for the month at a moment’s notice whereas before it was kind of a guessing game asking the guys to tally up their numbers if they haven’t been keeping close watch on them. But I’ve got all the information like a true business owner should have now and I recommend you guys do the same thing. Get out of the Stone Age, get into the Computer Age with Recon Pro Automobiletecnologies.com.
So, the upsell for retail is something I’m most passionate about. That’s where I spend most my time thinking about it and how to do it. And like I said earlier, a lot of you guys have – a lot of you hard-core guys have listened to all the stuff from me already but let’s just go over a quick refresher on how and when to approach it on a retail call.
So, if you’ve got the one dent that they called you out on, the one thing that you’re there to fix, my term for that particular dent is the anchor dent. That’s the one thing that they’re worried about. They may have fifty other things on the car, but that’s the one thing that they’re worried about. That’s the one thing they called you up. That’s the anchor dent. You’ve gotta get that right before you can ever consider upselling them on anything. Because if you just come out of the gates and start talking about this and that and this and that, you’re gonna overwhelm them and blow the whole deal. You’re gonna go way too far, way too fast.
So, ideally you want to get to that vehicle before the customer’s there. It’s not always possible because sometimes it’s in a garage or something like that, but if you can, get to the car first, do an assessment, walk around the thing and see what you find. Make some paper notes if you need to but most of the time you can just make some mental notes about what’s on the car, what you see and start considering how cheap can I do these dents? Are there some easy ones, are there hard ones? What can I do the whole car for? What can I do just the anchor dent for?
So, when you meet them you don’t talk about any of that other stuff. You talk about the anchor dent. That’s why they called you. Get that thing sorted out. Get to a point where you’re both happy with the price there, and once that deal is made, then you’re gonna start with the upsell on the other dents that you think are pertinent.
Now I like to approach these in order of ugliness. I wanna bring up the grossest looking ones first and talk about getting those out of there. Now, sometimes a really gross dent is really hard to do. If it’s a difficult dent that I don’t wanna do or it’s gonna add too much complexity or too much cost, we’re just gonna ignore that and talk about something else. Unless it doesn’t make sense. Every car is of course, different. You guys know that. But I’m looking for stuff that I can do easily with less time generally than the anchor dent is gonna take. Something that is gonna be quick that isn’t gonna triple or quadruple the time spent on this job, but can add ten to fifty percent more money.
And you’ll be surprised. If you can price it right, and give them a sweet enough deal and make sure that you let them know that this deal is going away as soon as you leave. And there’s no way you can recreate this deal under any other circumstances but since your tools are out, the drive is taken care of, you can do them crazy cheap if we do them today. Just wanted to give you that opportunity. It’s fine if we don’t don them at all and we just concentrate on the one that you called me about, but I wanted to offer that discount to you if you wanted to take it.
It’s super low-pressure. I don’t push anybody to do it. I just give them the option and most of the time they bite. Because if they called you, if they wanted the dent out bad enough to call you in the first place they don’t like dents. So, if you can give them such a sweetheart deal on the other stuff, they’re gonna bite more often than not.
I know I said ten percent but ten percent is gonna be kind of an average. So, really if you can get fifty on some, you’re not gonna sell all of them, you’re gonna get zero on others. You’re gonna probably average out somewhere around ten or fifteen percent if you’re doing a really good job. Maybe you can do way more than that. Surprise me.
But it’s not always extra dents that you’re gonna upsell. You’ve got other things that we do that are an upsell as well. One of them is gonna be handled just a little bit differently because one of the things I consider an upsell is an R&I charge for access. Because most of the time we’ve got an opportunity to drill a hole somewhere and get to the dent a lot faster and a lot cheaper. But you can upsell a more premium repair by taking everything apart. But you’re not gonna take the trim out of a quarter panel in a coupe in two seconds compared to the time you could drill and get on that dent.
So, that’s something that’s gonna add a ton of cost to the repair and you’ve gotta handle it as an upsell. There’s another way to handle it. You can price it that way first, you can ask their options or their opinions rather about how perfect do you want this repair? Do you want it done like a show car, spare no expense or do you just wanna make it look as nice as possible, as cheaply as possible, or something like that, and kind of give them a couple different options? Drilling or pulling stuff apart.
Personally, I don’t like taking stuff apart. I’d rather not do it. If the customer’s happy to buzz a hole in there and get through this repair, that’s usually the path I’m gonna take because I don’t like taking stuff apart. I mean, if it’s a relatively straightforward R&I I’m fine with it but the quarter trim out of a Suburban or a two-door coupe when you gotta take the seats out and all that, it’s not my favorite thing to do. Some of you guys love it. Knock yourselves out. I don’t. But I’ll always give them the option because I’m not gonna do something to their car they don’t want done. So, I’ll say hey, we can do this, It’s gonna be expensive, but it’ll be done right. Or, we can do this. It’ll still be done right but it’s gonna be done a little bit differently.
But if you set up the price first and you wanna hit the R&I as an upcharge later, you can do that but it’s kind of out of order. I guess you kind of have to handle the R&I upsell up front. But other stuff we do that we’d normally kind of do for free, you can charge money for a lot of this stuff. Think about removing a transfer. Normally, you’re just gonna grab a rag, through some lacquer -thinner on it and wipe off the transfer and that’s the end of that.
But, if you consider everything you do as work, everything you grab, and come to the car and work with is part of the labor. It’s part of what you’re doing. It’s part of the labor. It’s part of what you’re doing to be paid for. So, if you look at it like that, it doesn’t matter that it’s easy. What matters is that you’re gonna produce a result. If they’ve got some transfers that need to be removed, and you’re gonna have to hit that with a little bit of polish afterwards to is you’re gonna use lacquer thinner, there’s a few steps that are involved. So, if you don’t bother going into the steps on how it’s gonna be done, you just give them the option of hey, if you wanna remove these marks, and polish the paint afterwards, we can do that for almost nothing. You know, $22.00 extra dollars. It’s not a lot of money. It’s just gonna cover your costs in material but you’re gonna make twenty-two bucks for another two, three, four, minutes’ worth of work on top of the repair.
It doesn’t seem like a lot and sometimes you might think it’s not even worth having this conversation for twenty bucks or thirty bucks. And I would agree with you sometimes. But if you start doing it on every single job that 25 or 30 or 50 bucks times 200, we’re starting to talk about some real money at the end of the month. So if you’re gonna be on board man, go all in and get on board.
You can sand and polish scratches in addition to removing transfers and most of you guys are fairly proficient at that. As long as you claim to do perfect work, that means you’re pretty good with the sandpaper, so consider upselling for that too. It’s easy for us so we tend to give it away for free and sometimes it’s even fun, but there’s value there. Capture some of that value. You can still give the customer a great deal. Where else are they gonna take the car and have a scratch sanded out and polished for 30 bucks? Nowhere. But you can do it because you’re already there making money on a dent.
So, those are a couple of the things that I use as an upsell. Mostly it’s dents. 95 percent of the time. But the other stuff is viable as well. I don’t advertise scratch removal in any place at any time anywhere in my company. But of course, we all know that we can do it a little bit. It’s just that I don’t want that business. That’s not what I’m in the business for, but if there’s a scratch there I’ll polish it.
I mean half the time if I’m doing a repair with a scruff or scratch in the middle, if you don’t remove that scuff before you even start pushing the dent, you’re gonna do a bad repair, or at least a repair that’s not as nice as what you could’ve done. When I train a guy that’s the first thing I tell them. When you approach a dent and it’s got any kind of obstruction in the bottom of it, you gotta polish it first. Don’t sand it. You need that paint there for when you’re finished in case you screw something up. But do use some lacquer thinner if you can or a little bit of polish and clean that thing up so you can see what you’re doing. Step one. You gotta do that. If you don’t do that, start doing that today. Your repairs are gonna get way better.
So, what about wholesale upselling? Most guys that I know don’t bother with this at all. But this is a huge profit center for your wholesale accounts. Now it’s not something you can change overnight if you’ve never done it before. You’ve gotta work them into expecting this more and more and make it a little more commonplace so they’re not freaking out on you. Because if you just go overnight, you have 52 cars you need to charge extra for, they’re gonna freak out. But if you start early and start often enough, you can make a comfortable relationship for both of you and start getting a little more money for the stuff that’s worth more money.
Stuff like, again R&I. Now usually this is easy because you have a set price or a set pricing schedule for a dealer. But say you have a nice car, or you have a dent that really requires you to take fender liner, taillight, interior trim all off to get some huge tools behind it and do a minor collision or something. There’s no reason not to charge extra for that stuff. Because guess what? If they throw it into their own shop they’re gonna get their heads ripped off by their in-house service department who is looking to make a living off that one car.
I consistently up-charge for my R&I. That’s some our best accounts and I’m getting great money for extra part removal, but I’m still charging half of what their in-house guys would charge them. So it’s a win-win for everybody. You don’t need to do it for free. You’re gonna fix the dent maybe at the prescribed price or agreement you’ve made. But you don’t need to be taking half of a car apart for that same price. Be comfortable with that and let them know what’s going on. Hey, I can do X, Y and Z with the car together. I can loophole it and buzz it and get it close or I can make it really nice. But to do that I’ve got to do A, B and C. And to do that it’s gonna be another hundred and twenty-five bucks because it’s another hour of labor. Whatever it is. But you’ve gotta give them that opportunity and if they say no, we got one deal. That’s great. We’ve got a deal. I’ll do everything I can working around the parameters of that deal which is to do, you know, drill it and bill it.
It kinda works. So don’t let them bully you. If you have an account that’s trying to bully you, you probably wanna get out of it anyway but don’t feel like that’s the relationship you’ve gotta have with them. If there’s more work to be done, someone needs to be paid for that work and it might as well be you.
The other thing I upcharge for, dealer’s is obviously, bigger dents. The normal rates we give them are for normal door dings, but if I get a crease or a big dent that requires getting the heat gun out and getting 50 different tools out and setting it up, moving the car to a special spot, all that’s gonna be charged extra. And I would recommend everybody to do the same. Don’t feel like you’ve agreed to do every car, no matter what, for a price you’ve agreed to for a wholesale account. You don’t need to. It’s crazy talk. Don’t let them talk you into it and if you’ve expressly signed a deal like that you probably made a mistake if you’re doing every dent you can do or you’re doing crappier work now because you don’t want to get burned on the big stuff. You’re just saying you can’t fix it or you’re pretending you don’t see it.
Yeah, I’m talking about you. We’ve all been through that, I think at one point or another. You can fix it but don’t paint yourself into a corner. If you guys are in that situation now or you’re getting into it now, don’t’ make those mistakes.
So, upselling in the hail world is a completely different animal. There’s a lot of different avenues to it and I’d be lying to you if I told you I had a ton of experience with it because I don’t chase hail. I’m here at home doing retail and wholesale. We do get hail cars here and I do deal with insurance companies but it’s more the exception than the rule. They’re all people who are traveling, got blasted and came home. And then I deal with the insurance companies once they’re back. So, it’s not a catastrophe situation. It’s a bunch of adjustors who don’t know how to write hail because we don’t have it in Cali, so it’s totally different.
But you can consider a thorough estimate kind of like an upsell. I mean you’re gonna go through and pick out every single thing that’s damaged with lighting, with documentation and present that properly. And you can consider that a type of upsell. Really, you’re not upselling anything. You’re just getting the proper amount of compensation for the damage that’s there on the car.
But that’s kind of step one. What I’m talking about when I talk about upsell’s are the remaining door-dings that are on the car that the insurance company isn’t going to pay for, nor are they obligated to pay for, but the customer probably wants out. If you’re coming in for the 500 dents of the roof, you probably want the door-dings out at the same time. Now a lot of guy’s will do them for free as an act of good will. I’ve done it myself. But there’s no reason to not do those same repairs for half of what you would normally do it which is still a smoking deal. You’re doing them a favor but you’re gathering just a little more compensation for that job than you would have before.
Who is going to look down on half-off work if it’s in addition to something else? If you go and buy something somewhere and they say, hey you know since you’re buying this, if you’re interested in this, we’ll give it to you half -off. You’re not gonna feel slighted. That’s a cool deal no matter what you’ re shopping for but we all have the impression that these customers are going to feel obligate for us to do something for free or if we make an offer at them for some money, that it’s gonna be like an insult. It isn’t. It’s a great offer to give them. Half-off of anything. So, make a run at them. And I know a lot of times if you guys are in a body shop you don’t have direct contact with the customer and it’s more of a hassle when you have 52 cars stacked up. You’re not gonna be making phone calls to try to capture a couple hundred bucks here and there. But, if you look at it from two different perspectives. One is you’re gonna capture a little more revenue on that car and two is that you’re gonna be doing a great service for that customer. You’re not gonna be screwing them for more money. You’re actually gonna be giving them something by charging them for these repairs.
And I know that’s probably a tough concept for some of you to wrap your heads around but if you think about putting yourself in those same shoes, you’re shopping for something you need and they say hey, since you’re here you can have anything on this wall for half-off, that doesn’t sound like a shot to the groin. That sounds cool. It makes you excited.
Like if you’re in Best Buy and they say hey, since you’re buying this stereo, you can buy one other thing for half-off. You’re gonna go find something to buy. So, give them the opportunity to say no because they’re probably gonna say yes.
Now, like I said, you probably don’t have direct contact with every customer and I can’t solve that equation for you, honestly because I don’t deal with it that often. In the body shops that I deal with, I know all the guys. They’d be happy to give me the personal info and I could call them. But I know if you’re blowing into town, working a body shop that maybe you haven’t been to before, you probably don’t have that same connection that are running the shop. But if you do I think that’s pretty cool. I would do that if I was in your shoes.
So, those are just a few things that I use to generate a few more bucks on every repair or most repairs because I screwed up that Mustang job. But that’s what I do to try to maximize my profit for each job. Now something that I’ll do at the end, which I have also talked about before but I want to remind you about is to actively refer complimentary businesses that you have good relationships with or friendships with.
Now, what I’m talking about is a detailer or a wheel repair guy or an interior repair guy or a bumper painter or something like that. I’m sure everybody knows one of these guys. If you have guys that you can stand behind their quality or at least stand next to and you like referring them, carry their cards and what I mean when I say actively refer them is ask the customer, do you have a good detailer? Are you concerned with having these wheels repaired? You know, I know a guy who can fix the hole in that seat. Actively refer them. I don’t give them all four guys to every job. I’ll pick the one thing that I think fits the best and I’ll actively refer them to my guys.
Why am I doing that? I don’t ask my guys that I refer for a penny. I don’t want their money. I don’t want a part of their business. I just want to do a favor for my customer by putting them in touch with quality people and I wanna do a favor for my buddies who run these other companies. Because obviously if I do this enough for them they’re gonna do it for me as well, and they do all the time. So you have two or three other sales guys out in the town all the time actively promoting you.
Now, sometimes you’ve gotta coach them on how you do it and what to do and how to approach the customer and ask them to actively refer you the way you actively refer them. It’s not just when you’re waiting for someone to say, hey, do you know a detailer? And you go, yeah, let me give you a card. It’s it my truck. It’s not that. You’re actually bringing it up in a positive way and you’re not pressuring them in any way. You’re just saying hey, if you need a really good detailer to get this thing shined completely up after you’ve polished one five-inch spot to perfection, this guy can make it happen. Here’s your guy. And that’s it. But make sure your buddies who you’re referring know you’re doing that and get them to reciprocate for you. It’s a great way for you to grow your business. You just need to make sure you’ve got some quality guys that you’re referring.
I only refer guys that I’ve known for a handful of years and have proven to me that they’re not gonna screw my customers or do a bad job. It takes a little while to find them but once you find those guys, man lean on those referrals. Actively refer. It’s a great thing to do for everybody.
So let me know how this goes for you guy. Stay in touch. Leave some comments either or Facebook or on our voicemail system on PDRCollege.com. That little bar on the right side of the screen where you can leave an audio message right on the site via your computer mike or in the comments in PDRCollege,com. Let me know how the upsell is going for you. I wanna hear about some guys making some more money today. The same day you listen to the Podcast. Let’s see who can make the most in one day. Get after it. Remember why you’re at work is to bring home as much money as possible while still providing an awesome service to people and you’re in a great position to do it.
So let’s switch gears a little bit here and talk about some technical dent removal stuff. While we’re on the theme of me screwing things up let’s talk about another one of my screw-ups and I don’t know why. Something finally, like the stars aligned for me on this particular type of repair and something that I should’ve known, all right, maybe even did know, finally just kind of like boiled up to the surface and my mind was clear and open as to what was happening in the situation.
And some of you are gonna say, of course I knew that. And I would’ve said that when you told me this too. Yeah, of course I know that. But the truth of the matter is I wasn’t really considering everything that was going on with this type of dent. And what I had to do to fix it and what I had to do to avoid it.
So here’s the scenario. 2014 Lexus ES. Brand-new, unsold. Whacked at the dealership with a door about, I’d say two inches from the front door. Rather two inches from the fender on the right front door. So, right in the center of the door top to bottom. So right underneath the raised flange. Not a bad dent really. Piece of cake. I was worried about the car having the laminated glass. It was standard glass. That was a piece of cake. I’m on the dent in like five seconds. But it had like a little crease dent with a scuff and that high ridge from the skin being pulled over the frame of the door. Something we’ve all dealt with thousands of times.
My method for repairing those is to get the dent to perfection or 99 percent then tap down that ridge and depending on the color or how severe that ridge is, I’ll either sand it flat the rest of the way or just roll it.
So, I fixed the dent. The ridge was pretty mellow on this one. You could see between the ridge and the dent there was just a slight low. Really slight. But they were really worried about this thing being perfect. In fact, as a funny side note, the estimator from the body shop said hey, we need you to have a look at this thing and as long as you can make it perfect, we want you to do it. So, I said, oh, okay. And I had a little laugh and I looked at the dent. I said shoot, I can fix this. This is pretty easy. I thought it was gonna be something hard.
So, I went inside and I talked to the manager who I have a pretty good relationship with and I said, hey so I looked at the Lexus. I can absolutely fix it but I’m concerned because my man over here said it needs to be perfect. Can you guys make it perfect? He kinda gets like this nervous laugh like ahhhh. And the guy who told me to make it perfect was in the background. He closed his eyes and shook his head no. You guys can’t make it perfect. You’re a fragging butcher. You’re gonna paint a fender and a door. That’s why you called me. Let me go fix it. It’ll look right but get outta here with this perfect stuff. Nobody’s making it perfect.
Of course in my mind I’m gonna try to make it perfect. That’s what I wanna do and this dent I can make perfect. It’s not a huge deal. So in about ten minutes the dent is up clean. Like I said it wasn’t a huge deal. But then I had to deal with that ridge and I thought, you know what? We’re shooting for perfect on this thing. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna put a black plague right next to that ridge and just put a little bit of tension off of it in that low spot and then I’m gonna go back and knock it down.
Well, the glue hooked up like crazy and I wasn’t really focused in on what I was doing and I over-pulled it with a slide hammer. I mean, I really wasn’t yanking on it. I just gave it a couple little tugs. But I could tell on the second tug that it hooked up hard. And I though oh shoot. So I peel the tab off and now I’ve ruined this dent.
What I did was I pulled that ridge up but it created a new sharp crease between the tab and the front edge of the door. So just in that little half-inch or three-quarter-inch wide section where it’s double-paneled. Where the skin is pinched and glued to the body. The body of the door. The frame of the door. Whatever you wanna call it. And it was a sharp, nasty little crease. So I thought oh man. What the heck is going on here?
So I’ve gotta pull that crease now, because you can’t get a tool on it. It’s too tight in there. You gotta glue-pull it. So I pull it, nothing. Pull it, nothing. Pull, pull, pull and I’m not moving it basically. I’m making really minor adjustments here and there, but for the all intents and purposes, I haven’t touched the dent. It’s smoked. So the rest of the thing if fine, but there’s this crease, and it’s not a normal crease that you would get from something hitting it. It’s a sharp-edged, deep but skinny crease. It’s really kind of tough to explain. It looks like a crease that was really deep and you didn’t actually fix it. You kind of color-sanded it and what’s left is the bottom of this crease.
Now, some of you are saying Keith, I know exactly what you’re talking about already. I know why that crease is there. And like I said earlier, once I thought through the process, I knew why it was there too. But in the middle I didn’t know exactly what was going on. I knew what I needed to do to fix it because I have a method for fixing this type of damage and what I do is get to the back of the metal. All three pieces. The outside skin doubled over around the inside door shell and I can strike it through the back through all three pieces and bring it up that way.
So, the tool I use for that is a screw-on whale tale tip from PDR Finesse. It’s one of the few PDR Finesse tools I use. Nothing against them, I just don’t use a lot of them. But this tool I picked up at the Mobile Tech Expo last year and it’s really a great, great tool. I would recommend anybody who does normal retail work to go and pick this thing up. I think I saved the sight here. I can tell you what his model number is. It’s a model name. WTTIP, whale-tale tip. It’s 25 bucks which might seem expensive for a whale-tale with a bolt welded to the back and a nut but what you get with this thing is really hard to re-create.
So I put it on the end of a tap-down and what I’m using it for is to line up behind that little crease and of course, with lots of heat at the surface to strike though all three pieces and knock that crease out from the back. So, that’s what I had to start doing and I was at a body shop so I was able to get the help of a body guy to move the door because it’s on the front edge, set it on a stand, and then I could go to fixing that crease from the back.
So, I took what would’ve been a 10, 15-minute repair and turned it into an hour and a half and I had to deal with all this extra garbage of taking the door on and off just because I made this mistake.
So, why did it happen, is the question? Well, once the body guy was helping me take it off we were just talking about it and that’s when I had the aha, clarity moment. Now I don’t know enough about re-skinning doors to know how every single manufacturer puts the door together. However, as far as I understand it, the majority of then use adhesive between the skin and the body. So, they glue the door skin at the edge and crimp it over on the shell.
I know I keep using different names for the inside part of the door but I don’t know what the proper name is. Shell or body or whatever, but it’s the part of the door that’s not the skin.
So that glue is crazy, crazy strong and it’s put on in just a thin little area. What I did when I glue-pulled is the part of the skin that was glued to itself, to the door, it’s not moving. That adhesive is ten time stronger than hot glue. But the part that’s open, the part that the hot glue could hook up to, I’m pulling sky-high. And that other glue is so strong, and the crease tab is so strong that it’s pulling the metal right up against the edge that isn’t moving. So I’m yanking one area up and one area is staying glued down flat and you’re making this solid up-down transition that you can’t get a tool in and fix because that glue that’s holding it down is also too strong and thick to get a tool in between the two and wedge it open. And before you start thinking like oh, Keith, you just didn’t have a thin enough tool and all that, do you know who the hell I am? I’ve got every tool I could possibly need to get into a thin area of any car. No tool is getting in there. I’ve got stupid-thin tools and it’s not fitting. That wasn’t the issue. No tool is fitting in this part because the two piece are glued together to stay that way. It’s a structural-type adhesive.
So the body guy was saying yeah, even once I cut the door skin off these things and I’ve cut the edge all the way around, I’ve still gotta go in with a putty knife and a hammer and cut the fragging skin loose because this stuff is wicked strong. So, once I had that visual and I thought, of course that’s what’s going on. It’s glued to itself. You’re not gonna pull that glue apart with hot glue.
And that’s why I say yeah, did I know what was going on? Yeah, I knew they’re glued on but I didn’t noodle it through all the way. So, now hopefully I can save some of you guys from making the same mistake I did. If you have any question about the thing needing to be perfect, don’t go and glue-pull that crease up. Just knock it down with a knock-down like you always do. If you need to, sand it to completely flatten it and polish it and be done with it. Don’t get tricky and glue-pull it. Because of that structural adhesive that’s underneath it, so if you run into the problem, what I do with that whale-tale tip is, like I said get access to the back of it. Be ready if it needs to be perfect to reapply the seam sealer because the knock-down is gonna beat heck out of it and probably make it all ugly-looking or make it fall off. Because the seam sealer if right where you need to be striking.
But I put a piece of leather over that whale-tale tip. Crank it right in the tap-down so it doesn’t spin around because the orientation is important you might wanna put the whale-tale lined up with the crease, and switch my hammer to something a little more stout like a straight metal blow for my regular tap-down work. And make sure it’s hot, make sure it’s lined up, bringing that thing up tap by tap. It’s not a normal way we do a repair but it is an effective way to finish that.
So, you can use it with less fanfare on the back edge if you have that kind of dent or if you just have any kind of dent that’s in that section and you can’t get to the back, you can use that same method. Know you’re gonna have a little collateral damage on the back. It’s gonna beat it up. That’s one of the purposes of using the leather. That, and it distributes the strike a little bit better so you don’t get a sharp, nasty high spot. You just get a nice little bumped area that’s nice and smooth.
Buy that tap-down tip from Ike and get to using that. The other place you’ll use that tip, and I think I’ve talked about it on the show once is on an interchangeable double-bend tool on fenders. When you’re rebuilding a body line you put a nice big thick piece of leather on the whale-tale tip and you’ve got nice big, what my man Sal Contraras would call directional pushes on that body line. You’re bringing that body line up in lined section versus pokes with one round tool. So, I like that for rebuilding a sharp body line as well.
Because I’ll start with a big steep ball with leather to bring up a big fender dent, but once you get to that line, the ball is too spherical to fit in an angular body line crevice. So you’re never going to get that sharpness in the body line in back without something sharp unless you are really skilled with a bare steel tool, you’ re gonna bump it up a little bit So, I switched to that whale-tale with leather. I can make big structural type pushes and get that shape almost perfect and then go in with a bare tool and tune it up. But not try to recreate structure with a bare steel tool, so that’s the other place I use it.
I was a little skeptical of spending 25 bucks for a tip but it’s worth twice that. So, I would buy it tomorrow or today if I was you. And I don’t receive anything for that recommendation, just go make your game better.
What I’m gonna end the show with is a tip I got from one of my repeat customers and I thought this was pretty cool. I’m not in a position to utilize this tip but I’m kind of excited about it, and I think it’s the real deal if you’re just getting ready to start a retail business and you don’t know where to go physically and how to do it if you’re kind of on the fence of mobile or fixed location this might be the answer to your questions.
So, this fella , this dude has planes and a couple nice SUV’s. He’s got his act together. He’s in commercial real estate. So, we’re talking about what I do. He’s one of those customers we just get along real well and you start making a nice conversation and we were talking about being mobile and being at a fixed location and he said, you know, have you ever considered setting up a fixed location?
I said, you know I’ve thought about it quite a bit but we’re very busy on a mobile basis and I’m not excited about taking on another 8000 bucks a month in expenses. Our real estate is a little more expensive here in Cali than most other places. For a place that I’d want it’s about five grand a month just for the rent. So you’ve got another three grand a month in related expenses just to have the thing open. So, I said I haven’t been real excited about that because I don’t need the work.
And he said, you know, I totally understand that and you make a good point that you’re busy now but let me tell you about something. My specialty is high-end malls. My family actually does this in other states and I do it here. I know all the decision-makers at these malls. And in our area there’s – some of them are outdoor, some of them are indoor, but they have high-end stores inside of them and a couple of nice restaurants. It’s a nice place. People go there to hang out and sometimes they have a water feature or something like that.
So, he says I know these guys. These are my friends and my contacts. Their entire world is how do I get people here longer? That’s what they want to solve. Their problem is to get people to be at the mall longer. That’s why they have the water feature. That’s why they have the train to ride. That’s why they have the carousel, so people will stay there. Come and stay. If they’re staying longer, they’re shopping more.
So he says, they all have an excess of parking. If you could tell them that for no added cost, you can bring people here and keep them for an hour or two hours a piece that’s a slam-dunk for them. All you gotta do is make that handshake agreement and these guys would be happy to give you a spot. And I thought wow, what a cool bridge between a mobile and a fixed location is to have one or two, or even three days, or half-days or however you chose to structure it where you are always at XYZ Fashion Mall. If you’ve got two or three dedicated parking spots and people can come there, drop the car, do some shopping and come back, that is killer and it’s a great way to market your retail business if people want to come by for estimates. This is where you’re going to be and man if it’s free, that’s amazing.
So, I was really excited by that but I don’t have the manpower in my biz to even consider. You can give me three free spots and I don’t have guys to put there. My guys are all tapped out. I need guys. So, I was kind of bummed that I couldn’t go and put this to work tomorrow because I was really excited about it and there’s a handful of malls in my serviceable area that this could be a possibility at. And I thought, I’m really excited for somebody to put this to use.
So, I wanted to share it here on the show and I want some of you to put this to work and tell us how it goes. Go make that phone call. Talk to the manager of the mall and get yourself a spot at one of these malls and let us know how it goes. It might be the best new thing in retail. It might suck on ice. I have a feeling it’s gonna be good. Because those are our exact customers are at these type of malls. They’ve got disposable income. The cars are generally nicer than average and they’re in a place where they’re gonna be hanging out for a while anyways. So, man I really like that idea.
Again, if some of you decide to use it or one of you, or hopefully at least one of you, please share it with us. Put some comments in there and let us know you’re gonna make a run at it and keep us informed and let us know how it works. It might be a new trend we start.
So, man we love the interaction from guys. We want to hear more of it. Keep us in the loop. Let us know you’re doing with all this stuff. If you have a question that pops up and you wanna have that question answered but maybe you don’t want it tied to your name. I know sometimes not everybody wants to be on a worldwide Podcast, but maybe you still want your question answered. Put it up there and just don’t tell us who you are. We’ll answer it. It’s fun. We love hearing those. And you can email us anytime if you have the same kind of question and we’ll try to help you out either directly in the email or include it in a show. It’s PRD College online. We’re just all about helping everybody be more successful in the dent business. That’s what we’re about and when you guys are more successful, we’re happy.
So, thanks for listening. Make sure to tune in next Monday morning for a new episode and in the meantime get better.[End of Audio]
Duration: 54 minutes