Also, we answer a call in question from Australia regarding PDR Training. How long is training supposed to be?
Special Guest Sal Contreras here to help answer both questions!
Website urls mentioned on this show: (links open new tab / window)
www.blendinghammerpdr.com (Shane’s Jack Hammer)
www.blackplaguepdr.com (Keith’s awesome pull tabs)
www.designwithenergy.com (get a professional PDR Website, Logo or landing page)
www.automobiletechnologies.com (Go Paperless: ReconPro™)
Keith Cosentino: I’m Keith Cosentino; he’s Shane Jacks. And this is the PDR College podcast coming into your earholes once a week with PDR excellence that you can use in your local business to improve your efficiency and make more money. That’s what this thing is all about: stacking up piles and piles of cash and we are here to help you to that end. My man Shane is an expert in that department.
Shane Jacks: Yes. And we are gonna try to make Frisco money today, man. About that.
Keith Cosentino: I don’t know what that is. I get an image of super greasy money with – and I don’t know what the substance is.
Shane Jacks: That’s nasty. You’re always taking it a step above where I take it, man.
Keith Cosentino: Well, man, that’s what you put in my head. You put that stuff in there: Frisco money. I could have been making clam chowder in a bread bowl. I coulda been thinking Tesla. But instead that’s where I went.
Shane Jacks: There’s a reason I went there. It’s our guest today.
Keith Cosentino: Mr. Sal Contrares.
Shane Jacks: Hello, Sal.
Sal Contreras: Hi, guys. Good morning. Good morning. Good to talk with you guys. It’s exciting, I tell you. I’m kinda nervous.
Keith Cosentino: Well, you should be. We’re kind of a big deal.
Sal Contreras: You are.
Shane Jacks: Kind of a big deal.
Sal Contreras: Kind of a big deal. This is exciting.
Keith Cosentino: I am. He’s not.
Sal Contreras: You guys have a great program, I’ll tell you. I haven’t listened to all of them, and I gotta admit, and the ones I have listened to, they were absolutely fantastic. I just gotta take the time to do it. Most of the time, you need a good hour or so every day. I think I can do it, but so far, fantastic program, you guys.
Keith Cosentino: Thank you.
Shane Jacks: Hey, thanks.
Keith Cosentino: It is challenging, sometimes. I always listen while I’m working to podcasts, and it’s tough when the phone is ringing all day to get through a whole show.
Sal Contreras: It’s something you can do, especially with what we do. You’re always trying to drown out that [makes banging noises].
Keith Cosentino: Something that I’ve found that works if that doesn’t work. If you’re too busy to listen while you’re working, you just put in your earphones and listen while your wife is talking.
Shane Jacks: We can tell Keith’s wife does not listen to this show.
Keith Cosentino: No, she doesn’t. I confess everything to her on the PDR College podcast and it is safe.
Sal Contreras: I’m sure she’s like “You think you’re popular? You think you’re famous now? Is that what you think?”
Keith Cosentino: She’s like, “How many dent guys could there be? Really?”
Shane Jacks: Well, we know there’s 100,000, based on our listernership. Some guys are out there going, “Holy crap! Really?”
Sal Contreras: 100,000. I don’t know. There’s gotta be 40,000. That’s my guess.
Keith Cosentino: Oh, man, those estimates – we can’t get on that topic. We’re gonna be talking for an hour because everybody has a different idea about how many technicians there are. I think the people who actually know are keeping it close to the vest.
Shane Jacks: Yes. For sure.
Keith Cosentino: The reason, among others, but the main reason that we have Mr. Sal on the show today is because our topic today is Google AdWords for your PDR business. Not only does Sal physically live closest to Google out of everyone I know, he’s been using it as long or longer than anybody I personally know in his PDR business. Shane’s been using it for just about a year. Sal’s been on it, I think, since the IPO. We’re gonna put our heads together. I’m not on it at all, but I wanna learn some more about it, so I thought what better way to do it than get these guys together and see what’s working for either of them, compare notes, and see if we can come up with a game plan for everybody.
Sal Contreras: Sure. It’s important for technicians, if you’re looking to get work, absolutely. Especially fresh, new customers. It’s awesome.
Keith Cosentino: Have you been on that – how many years, Sal?
Sal Contreras: I probably – I think I can look it up. I think it’s maybe about eight years, nine years? It’s taken that long to learn it, in some respects because it’s a very, very complicated program. It’s something that – it’s a piece of software that thousands of people are putting together, and you as an individual have to go in there and try and figure it out. But they’re very good at explaining what each piece is because you have a little question mark. You can click on it. But the overall program is staggering as to try and figure it out. I didn’t wanna get into it being so technical today, but I have a great first way to start out and what to set up and I think guys will get something good out of this today.
Keith Cosentino: Hey, that’s great. Shane, how’s it been working for you? You feel like you’re busier after your year of AdWords?
Shane Jacks: Yes, I do, Keith. I started out using AdWords. Again, I didn’t realize it had been a year until I just looked on my history, and I’m about four days away from it being one year. At first, I set the amount of money, the cost per click, the maximum amount that I could – not cost per click but cost per day – that I was willing to pay. I had set it at a pretty low amount. I think I was at 3 bucks a day, which is pretty low. And I just learned from Sal – I guess we’ll learn this here in just a few minutes – that I’ve been overpaying any fricking way. Anyway, if I sound depressed, it’s because I’ve lost a few grand over the last year.
But anyway, I had my cost per day, my maximum amount was pretty low and I felt like there was a difference. Now, you never really know right off the bat on something like this. Keith, you, myself, Sal, and anybody that’s doing a good deal of retail work, the amount of calls are gonna vary day by day. They can be pretty big, pretty significant. So can you tell right away? Naah. I really couldn’t tell. So I upped my maximum amount per day and now I’m out there pretty high, but again, I’m still overpaying, as Sal pointed out and will point out later. You can rub my nose in it, Sal. I do not mind.
Sal Contreras: I think you should get – I’d throw that out there now. You’ve got to be prepared to spend and overpay, underpay. You gotta just get in there and figure it out.
Keith Cosentino: The learning curve.
Sal Contreras: Absolutely. Learning curve. But it depends on how you set up your settings and the main thing, always remember, is that Google will take your money if you give it to them. You really have to not believe them most of the time when they say “You need to do this.” You just have to kinda set it and not outsmart them, just think about your particular business. How many guys are in your area? That’s what you have to ask yourself. If I’m in San Francisco and there’s about 50 technicians around me, I think only three use AdWords. And you know it because you don’t see them.
Keith Cosentino: You’re just on there, clicking around, looking.
Sal Contreras: What you do is you end up thinking, “Okay. If there’s only three using it, and paintless dent removal or dent repair is $1.80 a click, that’s gonna blow me out if I’m $3.00 a day in two clicks. I started to think “What if I pay $0.80? Will Google pick me up?” I threw an $0.80 in there, and sure enough, I showed up No. 3. All right. I’ll take that. And then eventually, I saw the bid drop down to $0.80 and it surprised me. I thought, “Wait a minute. It was just $1.60.” What it is is, sure enough, it’ll drop to whoever’s paying what. Because if he’s getting clicked out at $1.80, and maybe he’s at $2.00 a day for his total budget, let’s say, he’s gone. There’s no one to compete. If you’re showing up at $0.80, they’ll take your $0.80.
So I thought, “What if I showed up at $0.08? I should show up more.” Right? Sure enough, I was showing up every hour on the hour and I wasn’t clicking out because it’s only $0.08. I was thinking, “How am I doing this?”
Shane Jacks: Back up just a second. Some people may not know anything about what we’re taking about.
Keith Cosentino: I was thinking the same thing –[Crosstalk]
Shane Jacks: So this clicking out and the guy getting out at $2.00 – let’s explain that, Sal.
Keith Cosentino: Let’s take it from the top. If you’ve never even heard of AdWords.
Shane Jacks: Right. Let’s take it from the very beginning.
Sal Contreras: I can do that if you want. Basically, AdWords is the Internet. It is the way Google gets customers’ names and businesses out into the Internet. They’re like the root. I look at it like, “Okay. I wanna go to the root and get my information into the root because the root feeds Yelp. They feed all these search domains.” You don’t have to pay for all those if you put yourself in the root. So that’s what I did. I went to Google.
If you go onto Google.com and you start clicking around. Look to your right hand side at the top and it’ll say there’s other services we have. You click on that and one of them is called AdWords. You click on that and you sign up. You fill out all the information to get involved in an account, and you put up your Visa card, and you get it all lined up. You now have a way of getting your business out there to the public and Google will do that for you in all kinds of ways, but the bottom line is they’ll put it on the right side of the Internet in that stack of five or six companies that show up as a paid listing. That’s where you wanna be if you can’t be on the left side. The left side would be the organic search.
Keith Cosentino: At the top of the organic search, there’s ads, right?
Sal Contreras: That’s a more expensive area and that is a paid area. I don’t really know if I’m showing up there. That’s kind of a different setup. It’s the right side, the stack of four or five listing. That’s kind of where AdWords puts you. That’s kind of “Hey, I have to think about it.” Because if you think about the very top above the organic – I don’t know. There are some big dollar guys in there.
Shane Jacks: That’s where I’m at.
Sal Contreras: Good for you.
Shane Jacks: I’m at the very – and I think that may have to do with going up on – again, I’m at a much higher cost per click right now than you are, Sal, and I’m showing up up top. I’m at the very top, actually, if you search dent repair Greenville or paintless dent repair Greenville, any of the search words that anybody would wanna search. I believe I’m No. 1 on the top up there. That is AdWords. That is definitely AdWords, for sure. But I guess it’s the amount. But if you’re getting return on showing up on the side, if you’re getting return, you’re getting return. That’s all that really matters.
Sal Contreras: The top above the organic search is part of AdWords and I’ve seen myself up there before, but I don’t – I guess I don’t quite understand why I showed up there. I think for guys listening to the show, just think about the right side for now and think about being stacked up in there. That’ll kind of help you understand AdWords more.
Basically, they’re gonna – Google is a directory company. They’re trying to provide information to the consumer, so on the right side, if you have a stack of five companies that’s relevant to the search, you’re kinda placed in there according to how much you bid based on the search terms. If dent repair or paintless dent removal and all of those words are valuable, you wanna be there. So when you set up your account, you have to pick up key words for your company or your business. They’ll give you all the words you want. But the main thing is to set your click rate or click bid as low as possible, like $0.15 across the board.
Make your first campaign. Establish an ad group within that campaign, but if you don’t, it’s fine. Just make your regular campaign.
Keith Cosentino: Let me pause you for just a second. Make sure I understand. You sign up to AdWords. You’re in the system. They have your payment information. Now you need to create an ad, which they call a campaign. Right? You have to decide what you want it to say. Then you have to give them a budget of how much you wanna spend per month. You say don’t bill me anything over X dollars per month. Shane, what did you say you started at?
Shane Jacks: It’s actually a per day thing. If you wanna spend 90 bucks a month, you wanna go $3.00 a day.
Keith Cosentino: You say don’t spend any more than $3.00 a day. Then it asks you how much do you wanna pay maximum per click, right? That’s what you were talking about, Sal?
Sal Contreras: What’ll happen is instead of you finding your own key words, they’ll find them all for you, and they’ll actually put in next to it how much that key word is worth in the space.
Shane Jacks: In their mind.
Sal Contreras: Exactly. When a customer types in ‘dent repair,’ everybody’s wanting to get in on that search and Google might say that’s worth $1.60. It’ll bring up all those numbers. Don’t get confused with that. Just set across the board your settings at $0.15 and they’ll lock it in. They won’t take your money, at least for now.
You set up your campaign. Then under your campaign, you can have an ad group of a photo ad, a text ad, or a YouTube ad or a video ad. You can set up your ad group under your campaign. But if you haven’t done that, that’s fine. You can just set it up as a campaign –[Crosstalk]
Keith Cosentino: And if you pick a YouTube, it’ll use a YouTube thumbnail in the ad?
Sal Contreras: Yep.
Keith Cosentino: That’s cool.
Shane Jacks: I didn’t know that.
Sal Contreras: So your campaign is like the overall title and then underneath that you would have an ad group. For Shane, it would be maybe an ad group for his local business, and then he might have an ad group for a larger regional search for hail, where he wants to travel, and then another ad group would be for his hammer and getting that going. You can divide all that up into segments and turn them on and off any time you want. So if you’re traveling, you can turn off your local ad group and turn on your traveling ad group.
Shane Jacks: That’s cool. I’m learning something here.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, I’m learning a lot already.
Sal Contreras: But the main thing I can tell you is don’t – at least, that’s kinda what I’m learning lately, is don’t sign up where you’re part of their search partners – include search partners in the network search. Don’t sign up for that and turn off that click. That’s the main thing I wanna do.
Keith Cosentino: That is when people have AdWords activated on their websites or their blogs or something, and someone’s there; it’ll show your ad. If somebody clicks on it, that person gets a commission.
Sal Contreras: You know, I don’t know what it is. It’s very, very convoluted and very complicated, but basically, the search partners are gonna be, let’s say, somebody’s searching for auto parts. Down below under autoparts.com, they have a search. Somebody goes down into there, searches for a part, and all of a sudden there’s ads showing up on the right or left. That may be you. They’re basically saying you’re an automotive and this search directory, automotivepartssearch.com, they’re our search partner. If someone’s looking for auto parts, maybe they’re interested in hail. And there is where, if somebody clicks on you, you just paid $0.80. Sometimes it’s not relevant, but somehow – I always think of it like a little kid just pressed on it and cost me $0.80. I wasn’t too happy with it. I’m thinking, “Who are these people clicking on me and I’m not getting the calls?”
Keith Cosentino: It could be the same strategy one of my friends uses, and that is when you’re slow, you’re just get online and click all your competitors a thousand times.
Sal Contreras: It doesn’t work because, I guess, it clicks them out after so many clicks because they can kinda tell.
Shane Jacks: I actually thought that in the beginning, Keith, so there is a way of telling where your clicks are coming from. “Let’s see if some of my competitors are trying to click me out.” But I was thinking there’s no way they are. There’s no way that Google would allow that to happen from the same address.
Sal Contreras: It could happen, though. It could happen. That’s where I think people listening should know that if they’re paying $0.80 and their competitor presses on them twice, it could happen where you’re locked out for the day just because they know what they’re doing. That’s why I was so scared of that. I just set my clicks at $0.05. I started doing that because I market more internationally and I couldn’t afford anything over $0.20, it seemed. I was still showing up. I was thinking, “I got picked up at $0.08 when somebody just paid $0.80, and it’s because I’m the only other guy in the space.” That’s the way to think about AdWords.
If there’s two companies in your region, why would you wanna pay the going rate? You should pay as low as possible and you’ll still show up because it’s a directory listing. They have to show you.
Keith Cosentino: So I guess I gotta get on the ball here and I gotta do some AdWords stuff. I’ve been pretty complacent with my Internet placement and my phone traffic, but now I’m feeling like I’m behind because of you guys. I got all this money in my pockets. I need to spend some of it on Google.
Sal Contreras: You know what the best part of the settings are is the targeted locations. You gotta set that one up. You go – I just took some notes here because we were gonna do the show. I’m just kinda going down my notes, if you don’t mind.
You go to settings and you set up your campaign name, and you basically set up your search network and display, and you basically get yourself out there. But you make sure you leave it blank when it says do you want to be included in the search partners. Don’t fall for that. Only go for the search network of Google. Basically, when somebody goes onto Google and types in the search, that’s what you want. You don’t want it to where somebody’s searching around and they find a search directory under autoparts.com. That’s the one you don’t want.
Once you set that up, then you go to the fun stuff. That’s the targeted locations, where you start typing in where you wanna serve – and that’s where you break down your ad groups. There’s a great little area that you can actually expand this circle and only hit a certain radius around you. That’s what I wanted because in San Francisco there’s bridges that you have to cross to reach certain areas and I don’t like to cross any of them. I like to stay in my little strip of the peninsula and really concentrate on that. When I did my settings for targeted locations, I made sure that that circle only encompassed that peninsula. I didn’t wanna pay for anything outside of that. I come to find out you don’t have to pay for clicks outside that circle.
Keith Cosentino: Even if they see the ad.
Sal Contreras: That’s right. That’s right.
Keith Cosentino: That’s cool.
Sal Contreras: That was a big one for me.
Keith Cosentino: What’s the term for that? Targeted locations?
Sal Contreras: That’s right. When you press Settings, you’ll see all these different modules that you can get into and fix, but that’s a really good one for guys that are – I always thought it was a very fair thing, AdWords, when I looked at it because there’s all kinds of advertising, radio, whatever you can do, but if you wanna get picked up in your region, and you don’t even have a shop, you’re just a mobile guy, why not show up in the Internet as a website, as a company, for $0.10, $0.15, why not?
Keith Cosentino: That’s really cool. I didn’t know you could do so much. I guess I should have thought Google is just about as advanced as any company on the Earth, but I didn’t know that you could get that detailed with the settings. That’s really kind of exciting.
Shane Jacks: What kind of a radius? Did you just do a radius around yours, Sal, or did you actually –?
Sal Contreras: Yes.
Shane Jacks: What kind of radius are you running? Ten mile?[Crosstalk]
Sal Contreras: 20 miles.
Shane Jacks: 20 miles? Okay.
Sal Contreras: It’s a 20-mile radius, and then sometimes they – there’s a couple of different ways to set it up. You can set it up by zip code and region. They might say – in my area, it’s the San Francisco peninsula and some other areas, and they already have it down. You just click on that. But I noticed that that included an area I didn’t wanna get into too much. So I used this other area, and what it is, it’s called a scroll map. You want to always get into the scroll map and press on it. It’s a actual map. Just kinda drag that circle. That circle will expand wherever you want. You can’t make it oblong, unfortunately.
Shane Jacks: That’s kind of what I was getting at. Is there any way to make it oblong?
Sal Contreras: No.
Shane Jacks: I set mine 30 miles around where I’m at.
Keith Cosentino: You picked up Chicken Lips?
Shane Jacks: You’re like, “Ah, man. It hit that area.” Actually, I was at 40 miles and then I said, “Screw that.”
Sal Contreras: Make sure that you do the exclude. Go down to your settings and exclude a particular area because you can dial it in that well to where you’re not going to certain areas and you’re not paying for those clicks. Look for that. Look for how to exclude a certain zip code or a certain city. You can do all kinds of stuff like that so you don’t pay for it. They wanna be fair. Honestly.
Keith Cosentino: You can, in effect, make it oblong. You pick a round area and then exclude other areas.
Sal Contreras: That’s right.
Keith Cosentino: Have Swiss cheese.
Shane Jacks: That’s what Greenville would look like.
Sal Contreras: Really. Yours within 30 miles is not round. There’s certain spots you wanna get around.
Shane Jacks: Mine’s Swiss cheese. Honestly. Yeah. It’d be octagonal Swiss cheese.
Keith Cosentino: Man, I learned a lot already in 20 minutes from you guys. Mostly from Sal. I don’t learn anything from Shane.
Shane Jacks: Nobody ever learns anything from me.
Sal Contreras: Let’s see, what was next. People in the search listing and your viewing target. That’s the people you wanna reach. You can click on nobody under 18 or 21, I think it was. Make sure you click – you don’t want kids clicking on you. Make sure you set that.
Shane Jacks: That’s under what? Audiences? Is that correct?
Sal Contreras: I think it’s – no. This is all under Settings. When you go to Settings, and you scroll down, you’ll see that they ask you what kind of age group are you looking at.
Manual clicks. Here we go to the bidding. Once you set up your region, once you’ve set up your campaign, then you’re ready for bidding. Basically, it’s like gambling. You really are gambling, trying to figure out what you’re willing to pay for words. That’s what the Internet’s about. Searching is about words. In our business, it’s dent repair, paintless dent repair, whatever. Google will help you with that. You basically just type in a few words and then they say, “Oh! There’s a bunch of words over here that match that.” You click that, and then it floods your whole campaign with hundreds of search words.
Once you get all of that set up, then you set manual clicks and you go into each one of those words and you look at it and you think, “Bumper repair. What do I wanna pay for that and is that a popular thing?” You just think about it. If Google is saying it’s worth $0.80, and you’re thinking nobody else in this area does bumper repair, just bid it as low as you can. I don’t go $0.03, $0.05 anymore. I seem to be at $0.15 as my best number, it seems. Go $0.15.
Keith Cosentino: $0.15 is a good place to start.
Sal Contreras: It is. When you start getting a report back or you start looking at your results, you’ll notice that you’re showing up No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, next page and you were at $0.15. Now you have to kind of dial it in. I always look at they want me to pay $0.80. 15 was too low. I’m gonna go 45. And I never go full rate. Always go just below it. Because what I’m trying to do is pull the bid down.
Keith Cosentino: I see. That report you get will tell you where you’ve been showing up?
Sal Contreras: Yeah. It just shows up right on your campaign settings. It’ll tell you how you showed up on the stack of four or five companies on the right side. It’ll show average position is three, five, four, two, whatever.
Shane Jacks: It will also show you by key word. If you click on key words, it’ll show you – can I just give a quick example here, guys? Dent removal. That’s No. 1 on mine. That has the most clicks. It shows you what your average position is for those key words. It shows you how many clicks you’ve had, how much cost per click, and that varies. Dent removal, I’ve had X amount of clicks on theat. The next one is dent repair. The next one is dent removal Greenville, and on down the list.
Another thing, I’m sure, that Sal has done, also, is that you can – I can’t say the names of the companies, but type in the name of the big companies. You know what I mean? When people type them in there, you’re gonna show up.
Sal Contreras: That’s right. There’s so many variations of that. There’s auto body dent removal. There’s auto dent removal. You have to think what would somebody who doesn’t know what they’re searching for type in. It’s funny. It’s all based on the culture of your area. It’s funny. You really have to think about all the variations that could relate. It could be 300 or 400. It’s crazy, if you really wanted to get into it.
Keith Cosentino: It’s nuts.
Sal Contreras: And there’s a misspelling setting, where if you set it to where if somebody misspells it you’ll still show up. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t believe in it, so I just go to exact spellings because I don’t want anybody who doesn’t know how to spell.
Shane Jacks: That’s solid. I like that.
Keith Cosentino: You won’t get any calls from Temecula.
Shane Jacks: I do have dentless repair on mine.
Sal Contreras: Yeah. There you go. That’s a good one.
Shane Jacks: I don’t know about you guys, but I hear that – it’s every third customer. “You do that dentless repair?”
Sal Contreras: And it makes sense. It really does. Dentless because you just made the care dentless.
Shane Jacks: But a lot of them say dentless paint repair.
Keith Cosentino: I hear that a lot, too.
Sal Contreras: The last thing I have is the key words. I think what’s important about key words is they will tell you it’s worth so much to be on the first page. What you wanna do is go below it maybe $0.20 and try it out, and see if it tells you you’re on the first page or not. What happens is that if you check it a week later, you are now on the first page, whereas the first time you did it, you were not. That is the best thing you can find out because what you’ve done is you’ve pulled the bid down because you’re the only guy now bidding and the others have dropped out. Do you follow me?
Keith Cosentino: I think so.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. Yeah.
Keith Cosentino: By keeping it low, the other guys click out. They’re at maximum and then nobody’s left but you.
Shane Jacks: That’s another good point that I don’t think we’ve made. The clicking out thing. Can you explain that, Sal? Explain that because that may be confusing some guys that don’t have any idea what AdWords is.
Sal Contreras: Let’s say all three of us, Shane, Keith, and I are all in the space of Greenville, North Carolina. We’re the only guys working there. Shane’s got a lot of money and he doesn’t care what he spends. So he’s –
Shane Jacks: That’s my wife you’re talking about.
Sal Contreras: So Google says, Shane, paintless dent repair or dent repair is $1.80, and he goes for it. He says, “All right. I’ll pay whatever to be number one.” He sets his daily maximum at, let’s say, $4.00. He now has enough money to spend before he gets clicked out, right? If he spends all his four bucks, he doesn’t show up on the Internet anymore. That dent repair key word is worth $1.50. He’s clicked out in what, three clicks? Four clicks? What’ll happen is I’m in the second position and Keith is in the third position. We’re gonna show up regardless of what we pay because Shane’s out now. And Google, they have to show the customer something.
If I’m at $0.50, I’m gonna show up and I’ll be No. 2. And if I’m at 5 bucks a day, I’m gonna show up a lot longer than Shane is. But Keith, saving money, he figures out that if he puts it at $0.15, he can get clicked all day long and still show up because as soon as I get clicked out, he’s the only guy around. And that’s the way it works.
So whoever you’re looking at, you really have to think who’s a regional player? Who’s an international company? Will a customer call an international 800 number or are they gonna call a guy who’s down the road? That’s the way you have to look at it.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a really great strategy. I wanted to ask you about one thing that one of my friends brought up to me, my friend Dave. He was saying there’s some setting whether you’re going to show your ads on a mobile device or not.
Sal Contreras: That’s right.
Keith Cosentino: That was a big deal. I guess he got burned pretty hard by not deselecting that and spent all his money in a matter of moments on mobile clicks or something like that.
Sal Contreras: That’s your ad groups. When you’re in ad groups, you can customize it to where it’s showing up on a mobile device, in a mobile way. They have it to where your ads have to be configured to where it shows up on a mobile device properly. Or not. That’s what you have to do, your ad groups. You have to set it up to where you’re really catering to the mobile customer, which everybody is these days. Or a computer, or a what do you call it, a iPad thing. You know.
Keith Cosentino: Tablet.
Sal Contreras: Tablet. That’s it. Those are the three settings. That’s what the guy from AdWords just got me set up on. I guess I spend enough money and these guys call you up once in a while and they say, “How can we help you get a better return?” Just last week, that’s what I did. I woke up in the morning and talked to the guy. He really did a good job of helping me understand how to go in there and set up the different ad groups so I’m turning off computer and going to mobile, lately. I’ve been getting a ton of calls.
Keith Cosentino: Really. So your focusing now on mobile and tablet and getting off of the desktop. Interesting.
Sal Contreras: Absolutely. And that’s a new thing they put together, and that’s why they’re calling up their customers. You can turn this off and turn that on. That’s what’s been really helping me. Because I haven’t been seeing a great return lately and two main things that I did that is helping me now is turning off the search partners – don’t fall for that – and turning on and customizing your ad groups to where you can now cater to a computer and a mobile device. So my YouTube videos and that type of campaign is geared for computers because people on a computer are gonna see a video a lot faster than on the phone. That’s kinda what I do, is I make sure that my international campaigns and marketing is set up more for a computer than a mobile device, and my Dent Expert local dents fixing is more for the mobile person.
Keith Cosentino: You know what. I just realized that we didn’t give you a proper introduction for people who may not know who you are. You’re talking about international stuff. They’re like, “What? Is this guy flying to France to fix a car?” Not only does Sal fix cars but he also builds tools. You can explain it better than anybody, Sal. Tell us what you do with tools.
Sal Contreras: I started out selling DVDs. That’s been really, really strong for many, many years. That’s kinda how I started out with AdWords. How am I gonna sell DVDs to people in Poland? That’s what was really nice. To get it dialed in to where I kinda excluded some nations and went after some other nations. The DVDs got me involved in AdWords pretty well.
After that, I came up with a tool that eventually got online and got set up and it’s called the Dent Dial. That’s another product that I’m pretty proud of. It sells all over the world. It just got some growing pains recently, but overall it’s been a great ride.
Keith Cosentino: I’ve got one. Shane’s got one. I have a couple of them.
Sal Contreras: I’m happy with the tool. It’s just one of things that as time goes on it gets better and better, but you always want it to be better. I’m sure. Shane’s hammer is perfect. But if he had a way of making it more perfect, I’m sure he would.
Keith Cosentino: Oh, yeah. Listen. I go through that with my tabs all the time. I’m always thinking, “Gosh. If I could just make this a little different, this a little different, it’d be even better and even better.” But the fact of the matter is as long as they’re great in the first place, you’re in good shape. And it’s a good mindset to have to always want to make them better, but it can kind of be a trap, honestly, too.
Shane Jacks: It’s also – we’re getting a little idealistic here, but I think, honestly, that’s the reason the three of us have succeeded and the reason a lot of other guys succeed and some don’t is always wanting to make things better. Sal, with your tools, with your repairs, pushing the limits on the size of things. You’re the same way, Keith. You do it with your repairs and with your tabs. You see what I’m saying? We’re always pushing to make things – not stopping and resting. Resting is just a recipe for disaster. In my opinion.
Sal Contreras: And you gotta look at it like we – I look at it like I like the industry. I’m passionate about the craft, the skill. I think that – I’ve been looking at it lately online and just kinda looking around. That’s what you have to look for if you’re gonna put time into anything. Find people who are interested in it. I’m almost burned out on the people that aren’t. Get out!
Keith Cosentino: There’s very few people that are really passionate about it, and those who are are usually at the top of their market, whether it’s tools or repairs or whatever. That passion, it can’t help but bleed through and everybody sees it.
Sal Contreras: That’s why when you asked me about AdWords, to me it’s the most fair way of finding work to somebody who is running into that whole thing, where it’s like, “Oh my gosh. Dent Wizard’s got everything tied up. My broker’s got this tied up. I can’t find any work.” A guy right now, anybody, who’s got tools in a trunk and they’re working out of a car, they, basically, can get out there and compete with anybody else using AdWords. You do need a website, though. You need a landing page for people to actually – once they click on it, they wanna land somewhere that looks fairly professional. That’s probably most important. People should get in a website, as simple as possible. And then set up your AdWords account.
Keith Cosentino: If you don’t have a website yet, you can check out our guy, Nathan Pizzo at designwithenergy.com. He’s the guy that does all of our stuff. He’s done quite a few PDR websites already, so he knows the business. He knows the sites. Get with him if you don’t have one. Most of you do. If you don’t, that’s the guy.
Keith Cosentino: Are you trying to stay on the cutting edge of paintless dent removal when it comes to your tools? Well, if so, you need to make sure you have two things in your arsenal. One is a Shane Jacks Jack hammer blending hammer. Find it at blendinghammerpdr.com. If you wanna learn blending, we’ve got an awesome tutorial to go along with the hammer right there on the site. You’re gonna love it. You’re gonna learn something and you’re gonna get better and make money.
In addition to the hammer, if you are doing any glue pulling you need to have the Blackplague crease tabs. It’s a six-piece crease pulling set. The two largest are absolute monsters. They are gonna pull out collision damage like nothing else you’ve got available, and the smaller sizes are gonna be for the normal, everyday kind of door edges and minor, minor collision dents and a dogleg in a bottom of a door. I’m telling you guys, it is going to change the way you do your repairs when you have the cutting edge tools. These are two of them.
Blackplaguepdr.com. Blendinghammerpdr.com. Check out the sites, guys. Bring yourselves into the 21st century.
Shane Jacks: I got quiet there for a second. I’m looking at my – this shows you how I kind of set it up and let it go, you know what I mean? Which is not a good thing to do.
Sal Contreras: No. No. No. That’s the thing. I think guys listening to this are gonna be “Oh my gosh. I really got –” No. Let it go. Spend the money but with a –
Shane Jacks: Yeah, but knowledge is power. I’m sitting here looking at – I had no idea about the mobile devices and all that. I’m like, “I wonder if I have mine turned on or off.” So I’ve got it turned on. All right. My mobile devices –
Keith Cosentino: Was it turned on the whole time?
Shane Jacks: Yes. My mobile devices, I’ve got 3500 clicks from mobile devices and 400 from computers. That’s a huge gap.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a big difference, isn’t it?
Shane Jacks: Yeah. And I wouldn’t have thought that. But it shows that everybody’s using that cell phone to find stuff.
Keith Cosentino: You know what. Sometimes when I’m at home and the computer’s here, I’m still looking on my phone because it’s in my hand in the chair.
Shane Jacks: It’s convenient, yup.
Sal Contreras: And if you set up an AdWords ad that is gonna show up on a mobile device, it’s amazing how much you can customize it to where it shows up properly on the screen. If you could spend some time doing that, that’s really helpful because they know, now, that a mobile device has to have the pictures show in a certain way, whether it’s elongated or vertical. That’s where if you build an ad group and you set it up to mobile devices, it really, really works. I found a huge audience in mobile devices. But I didn’t know it until I started setting up a different ad group for it.
I think it’s complicated, the ad groups, but just remember: you can turn them on and off any time. So once you start building one and you haven’t finished it, just put it on pause until it’s completely done. Once it’s done, let it fly.
Keith Cosentino: Man. I have learned a ton about AdWords already, just in this short time. I’m gonna put something into work and then in the next few months we’ll revisit it and see if I’m noticing any difference in my business here locally.
Sal Contreras: If I could say anything, it would be try to get on a – what is it – a tutorial phone call with a Google representative because they will help you set up way better than you can on your own. There’s this one thing the guy explained the other day, where you know how you have, Shane, you have your text ad that you have to type in. You have three lines for your business.
Shane Jacks: Right.
Sal Contreras: Right. He explained that the first and second line shows up in a certain way on a mobile device or in a computer. It could show up as one line or two separate lines. He said, “Put this period right here.” So I pushed the period right there and it showed up so differently on the mobile when I put the period separating both those texts. You have three lines of text. On the first line, if you set a period it does something and it illustrates it differently on a mobile device just because of the period. He said, “Now take the period off. This is how it looks.” Completely different; looks awful.
I would suggest that you talk to a representative, anybody out there listening. Try and get a hold of a representative of Google is like this big monster in the closet. They don’t wanna talk to anybody. But if you’re spending enough money they will start talking to you.
Keith Cosentino: Great advice, Sal. Thanks for being so open about it. A lot of guys are really guarded about their strategies, but you can really tell when a guy’s got a win/win mentality and knows if I do better and the other guy does better, we’re all gonna do better. It’s not if he does better then I automatically lose. I appreciate that mindset because it’s rare. It really is.
Sal Contreras: That’s great, thanks. It’s something that I firmly believe in because if there’s only two guys in a particular region, it doesn’t affect – a guy getting business in Missouri is not gonna affect me in California. So why not show him a way to find work and not have to worry about putting out ads and radio spots and yellow pages and all of that. AdWords is there for anybody to use. It’s just kinda scary, and people think it’s gonna take their money. It will, but at some point, if you really, really sit down once a week and just kinda stare at it, and go into all the features and try and just read – I always tell people when you’re reading AdWords, at some point, you just have to walk away from it. You can’t keep trying to figure it out.
Keith Cosentino: It’s too complex.
Sal Contreras: It is. But that’s why I was telling Shane you can’t regret all that money you spent because it was working. You just now have to go forward and try and maximize it. But it’s easy to spend a ton of money.
Keith Cosentino: I think if I do it, when I do it, I’m gonna set up a separate phone number so I can track on that phone log exactly how many phone calls I’m getting through those ads.
Sal Contreras: That’s a good idea.
Shane Jacks: That’s what I want to do. I just haven’t taken the time to do it.
Keith Cosentino: There’s a couple ways to do that. I think that if you’re savvy, you can use a Google phone number, a Google voice number, and have it forward directly to your cell phone. Another way that’s a little more old-school is you could buy one of those Magic Jacks. You never even plug the thing in. You register it and then you can go onto the Magic Jack website and tell it to automatically forward to another number. That number is live and it always will go just straight somewhere else. The Magic Jack never gets plugged in. You’re just kind of using it as a VIP phone.
Sal Contreras: You can either do that or you can set it up to where you have your click version rate and your converted click rate, all of that tied to your website. That’s where you really see your return properly. And I had never done that, but in AdWords you can do that to where in your website, you put a code in the coding that helps AdWords understand when somebody went to your site from their ads, and when they were at your site, did they press the phone number or did they click on a certain area that’s getting to your phone number. They’ll be able to track that to where you really can see, “Okay. The guy got to my site but he logged off.” Or “the guy got to my site and he clicked on my address module and he got that far.” That’s the best thing to do, is figure how far they got into your site.
Keith Cosentino: That’s Jedi stuff there that I don’t know anything about, but maybe –
Shane Jacks: I would imagine you would have to have a different link if you’re – we’ll get into that later.
Keith Cosentino: We don’t know. Everything’s possible with computers and I have to tell you –
Sal Contreras: It’s the code.
Keith Cosentino: – I’m no expert at writing code or even looking at it. I’m sure what you’re saying is totally possible and some guy could whip it out in 30 seconds, but I don’t know anything about it.
Sal Contreras: Yeah, it is complicated. We don’t wanna get on that on the radio, no way.
Keith Cosentino: What I do wanna get on is ReconPro and I am on it. It is the software solution I use to run my paintless dent removal company. The website is automobiletechnologies.com. Sal, I bet you you’re still on paper because you are an analog kind of dude. Am I right?
Sal Contreras: Yeah. I am.
Keith Cosentino: We gotta bring you into the 21st century. Imagine you come up, you have no paperwork. You just whip out your phone. You take a photo of the VIN. All the information of the car is populated in there. You pick the panels, pick the prices. All that stuff is customizable, how you set it up. Enter the customer’s information. You enter their email address because everything’s paperless and you can email them a copy of the invoice. It’s done.
Now listen. After that, you also now have your customer’s email address. That’s kind of useful if you wanna communicate with them in the next one, two, three, four, or five years. And you’ve got it collected if you wanna send them an invoice.
That’s something we haven’t touched on much, but, man, if you wanna start building your customer database that you can communicate with and say, “Hey. It’s Christmas. Merry Christmas.” Whatever you wanna tell them, you can do it through email. That’s a great way to capture it. It doesn’t feel that forceful, either. You’re not saying, “Hey, can I have your email so I can send you crap?” You’re saying, “If you’d like a copy of your invoice, it comes in your email.” They say, “Okay.”
Check them out if you are done chiseling your invoices on a stone tablet, like Sal here. Automobiletechnologies.com, ReconPro.
Sal Contreras: I do. I have a whole stack and it’s got one of those big, thick paper clips, and it’s just grabbing all of them and I throw it on the floor of the car and I grab it when I need it.
Keith Cosentino: You probably didn’t listen to our show last week. We were both talking about times when paper invoices have cost us hundreds if not thousands of dollars by losing the paper.
Shane Jacks: I’ve got a check sitting in my truck that wasn’t cashed.
Sal Contreras: Oh my god. Don’t say that online.
Shane Jacks: Did we talk about that last week?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. We did.
Shane Jacks: I’ve got a $1200.00 check that I keep in my truck that I keep right in front of my face at all times to remind me that I’m an idiot by nature.
Keith Cosentino: And Sal, you’re feeling all smug. You don’t have any of them but just because you don’t know about them. He didn’t know he had that check, either, until he found it.
Shane Jacks: Automobiletechnologies would have come up “Hey. Ping! This thing hasn’t been paid. You haven’t deposited.”
Sal Contreras: No. My wife, she’s “Where’s the money?”[Crosstalk]
Shane Jacks: My wife is the same way, Sal. I promise.
Sal Contreras: She’s just looking for – “Okay. Where is it?” I know – “Oh, that’s right. It must have fell –”
Shane Jacks: I think it’s in a different frame when my wife says it. She’s got her hand out, and I don’t think she’s asking “Where’s the money from the customer?” She’s just saying, “Where’s your money, pal?”
Sal Contreras: No. She does all of my bookkeeping and paying bills and stuff like that. She knows I’m gonna come home with, literally, checks, and if I forget to pull it out of the car, she’s reminding me of it. I’ll pull it out of the car, and she’ll go, “Is that it?” I’ll go back in there. “Oh, that’s right. I forgot this one.” “Where’s the invoice for it? It’s just a check.” “Oh. I didn’t give him an invoice.” I am a mess, absolute mess.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, my wife keeps me together like that, too. She has to do less, honestly, with ReconPro than she did when we were on paper. But she does keep me honest.
We’ve got two other things we’re gonna cover on the show today. One is the tool review like we always do. But the other one is we got a pretty cool call-in question about training and we’re gonna get to that in a minute. Sal, you can kinda – we’ll do a little round table on that and see what we think is a great answer for this fella.
But I wanna give everybody an update on the Blackplague tabs that are coming out, the new ones, which I’m calling the smooth series. Everybody’s been waiting patiently as I’ve been teasing them out for the last few months. But it’s because there’s been a lot of little changes like we were talking about earlier. When we’re making tools I just want them perfect. They’re really good but a couple things I just didn’t love, so I’m gonna go back and just tweak them a little more. And I’ve got one more last series of tweaks to do to just a couple of the tabs, but most of them in the set are perfect.
What’s different about these, when I call them the smooth series, is the face of the tabs are completely smooth. There’s no fancy design or dimpling or anything like that. The reason is that after so many years of glue pulling, I’ve had a theory and it’s proving true because everyone who’s used these tabs is telling me they pull better than anything they’re using. I know I’m not the only guy with a smooth tab on the market. The Bloehm crease tabs have been out forever and Ultra makes a smooth tab. I like the Bloehm’s better than the Ultras. In fact, the little Bloehm crease tab is fantastic. Even though I’m in the business of selling crease tabs, that little Bloehm tab is still in my box. It’s a fantastic little guy.
What you’ve got, when you’ve got a tab with a bunch of designs and face, people think the theory is more surface area on the tab means more glue; it means it’s gonna stick better. In reality, more surface area on the tab with all these little pits and grooves and lines, all it’s doing is inviting air and dirt between the glue and the tab. That’s all it’s doing, fellas. So I set out to design a tab that doesn’t deal with that.
If you think about gluing two surfaces together, I like to think about things in extremes when I’m trying to figure out – solve a problem in my mind. Is something heavier than the other? I think about it in extreme. You go, “Of course that’s heavier.” It helps me decipher which direction is the right way. So when I’m thinking about gluing two surfaces together, I think, “What’s better, smooth or rough?” At first you think rough because you kind of sand things to make them stick. But then I think, “Okay, let’s look at the extreme angle. What if the surface has a bunch of super long spikes on it? That’s real rough. Then the other one has some kind of spikes on it. That’s not gonna glue together very well at all, like two pieces of carpet that has lots of surface area.” But it’s not gonna stick as clean. There’s gonna be air. There’s gonna be cavities in there.
But if you think about two perfectly smooth surfaces that are pushed together so the only thing touching in there is a thin layer of glue doing its job acting as glue, not as a big chunky rubber bump in between the dent and the tab, that’s when you really get a good adhesion. You can tell because these tabs will always give you that pop when they come off. They don’t kind of just fffft and tear off like some of the other tabs. They pop, and the reason is because that seal is nice and strong and tight and the bottom is flat.
Where you’re really seeing the benefit is in the smaller tabs. We’ve got a 9 millimeter tab and a 12 millimeter tab that are pretty tiny, but they are popping up nice, little, sharp, high spots right in the center of these little tiny sharp dents that no other tab’s been doing for me, and there are some really good small tabs.
I thought, “Is it just me because I love them?” So I sent some out to fellas around the country. Shane, I sent some to you. Have they been working for you?
Shane Jacks: They hook up absolutely awesome, man. Like you said, the pop. I put that little one – which I don’t even have the smallest one yet. I just learned that a little while ago, that you didn’t send me the smallest one.
Keith Cosentino: That was one of the things I was tweaking. It wasn’t just right. The tabs all have a model number on the shaft so you can identify which one is which, and they screwed the number up on that one so I had to have them redo it.
Shane Jacks: Man, these things are really – I’ve had it three months, now, maybe, Keith, that I’ve been trying them out?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, something like that.
Shane Jacks: Man, the hookup and the pop – and when you hear that pop, that’s one of the best sounds as a – especially as a hail guy, I would guess, especially. You’ve got these sharp little dents in the rails and you’re on dent number 42 and Keith sends me this brand new, freaking, awesome 12 millimeter tab that’s smooth that I’m like, “This thing is not going to stick.” Then I put it on that 42nd dent, and I’ve been struggling with the rail, and it pops and it pulls the center like nothing else has yet. I immediately call him. I was skeptical at first, just like I was about the Blackplague crease tabs. As soon as I used it, I’m like, “The guy’s a freaking genius.”
And I’m not just saying that. I swear to you. One of the reasons Keith sends me stuff is because I’m going to be brutally honest with him.
Keith Cosentino: That’s one of the things I knew about you before we even met. It’s like, “Man, this dude is gonna tell you the truth whether you like it or not.” I’m like, “All right, man. I’m gonna send you these tools, but just be honest.”
Shane Jacks: He crossed his fingers.
Sal Contreras: That was your original concept, right, remember? It was just smooth.
Keith Cosentino: Yep. Just smooth and it’s working fantastic. If you’re interested in these tabs and you wanna get your hands on some, I’m going to offer them first to the PDR College listeners because you guys have been super loyal, so I wanna give you something cool. If you want to know about them, you can be in two places. You can either enter your email on the Blackplague website, which is probably the best place to do it because that’s where you’re gonna actually be able to buy on. That’s deadrattabs.com or Blackplaguepdr.com. There’s a spot to opt into our email list there. If you’re on that list, you’ll get offered them as soon as they’re on the market. Really before they’re on the market, before they’re at any of the dent tool companies. Or you can just make sure you’re in the PDR College email but the Blackplague is probably better. They’re gonna hear about it first with the link to buy them.
That’s coming up pretty darn soon. Not just yet but pretty soon. They’re almost all ready. Just a couple little, tiny tweak, like I said. But there’s a series of round tabs that are essentially in the same sizes you’ve been using and that you use every day. Then there’s a series of rectangle tabs that I hesitate to call them a crease tab because they’re not made for pulling a sharp crease like the Blackplague are. They’re more for a longer, hot dog kind of dent. Shout out to my man John Hiley for actually fixing [inaudible] [00:59:39] there. It’s the kind of stuff you use all the time or you wanna use all the time, but they’re bigger than most of the stuff that’s on the market. I think our longest one is 83 millimeters. To Americans that means nothing, but get out your tape measure and figure that out. It’s like the length of your middle finger.
Sal Contreras: That’s so hard to know. The hardest thing for me is laying it down right along the darned crease.
Keith Cosentino: That is challenging. I still screw up once in a while myself.
Sal Contreras: Yesterday I was using the – I think it was the four-inch one with the single screw, but it was the bigger, heavier-duty. I finally figured it out. I gotta lay that one side down. I gotta see the glue actually go in that little crevice of the dent. And then as I lay the other side down, I just gotta kinda bring my head over and really look at the angle and then I lay it down. I think I was just too lazy before. I was just kinda plopping it on there, thinking “Ah, that’s close enough.” No way.
Keith Cosentino: They’ve gotta be right on the money. What I do, I take a wax pencil or a china marker and I draw a line down the center of the crease. Then I extend it to the left and right of the crease farther out. I’m into the flat part of the panel. Then I’ll make perpendicular dividing lines where the actual dent starts and stops. Now I’ve got, basically, a big kind of weird-looking H. Then I can look straight at the panel and line those lines that are sticking out into the flat panel, I can line those up with the center rib on the crease tab so I know I’m right on the money.
Sal Contreras: Everybody should be listening to that because you’ve told me that before and I’ve never done it.
Keith Cosentino: When I don’t do that is when I make a mistake and I pull it to the left or right because, like you’re saying, you kinda get close and you go, “Ah, the glue’s squishy. That’s good enough.” That’s nonsense. If you think about getting behind it with a tool, you would never say “That’s close. I’ll just push that.”
Sal Contreras: Exactly. That’s the thing. The nature of the technician thinking that “I got it down. I just put it down. I’m accurate.” No. Listen to Keith, what he’s saying. Definitely. I don’t listen the first time and that makes so much sense. I still didn’t do it yesterday, and I was having you in my head saying, “Draw the line.” But I didn’t know what marker it was. Now I know. It’s not a grease pencil? What is it?
Keith Cosentino: It’s a wax pencil. They call it a china marker but it’s a piece of wax wrapped in paper with a little string at the end that you can pull the string down. You get them at an OfficeMax or Staples.
Sal Contreras: It doesn’t affect the glue.
Keith Cosentino: No. Probably in a lab it does, but for all working conditions, I don’t find any difference. You would think with a bunch of wax on it would affect it but it doesn’t.
Sal Contreras: Good to know, man. Great tabs, man. I tell you, that space is getting bigger. Everybody’s jumping into it. “Oh, crease tabs, crease, crease. Let’s all do it!” But the man right here, he came up with it and you gotta stick with him because he’s probably ahead of everybody right now. That’s what you gotta be in the tool business. You gotta be ahead.
Keith Cosentino: I appreciate that. All my customers have been real loyal. Even if we’ve had a tab break here or there they’ve stuck with me. Everybody continues to love them. I appreciate all you guys that have been buying them. You’re gonna love these other tabs. I hesitate to say it, but I think you’re gonna like these even more than the Blackplague tabs because you can use these all day, every day. These are all I’m using now on a regular basis to fix cars. I wanted to make sure I could actually switch to these and be successful. So far, so good.
Make sure you’re on the deadrattabs.com email list if you are interested in those. Also, same site, we’re gonna start carrying the new pink glue and the green glue from Anson, which is now called cactus green and the other stuff is called pink bubble gum or something like that. I’ve got that stuff ready to go. I just have to add it to the website. You wanna try out the new glue, that’s a place to get it.
Let’s get to this call-in question. Just give me a moment to cue it up here. Shane, you can kind of tell us what’s going on while I pull it up.
Shane Jacks: We had a call recently about training from a gentleman in Australia. I can’t remember his name, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: Brent.
Shane Jacks: Brent, yes. His name escaped me there for a second. We had a question from Brent about training, basically as it pertains to the length of training and how long proper training should last. That’s what this question is that Keith is gonna have for us here. Let’s take a listen at that.
Keith Cosentino: All right.
Brent: Hi, guys. Great show. This is Brent calling from Australia and I have an issue regarding training. I’ve been doing a bit of research for a good few months now, and I’ve talked to a few trainers here in Australia and researched trainers in the U.S. One of the things I’ve found is that there’s a big difference of opinion on how long proper training should be. I’ve heard Mark Toledo at Dent Time Eric and it’s four weeks is the minimum. Go with Marty Grunig at Top Gun; I think his course is two weeks. But here in Australia, believe it or not, it’s generally only five days with the option of extending, sometimes. I think I’ve only found one that does a two-week course straight up.
Obviously, I know you must go off and practice, practice, practice after training. That’s a given. But surely five days is not long enough for proper, meaningful training. Is this a topic you guys could go over in your show? I’m sure there is quite a few people out there that would love to hear your opinion on this. Thanks again, guys. Take care. Bye.
Sal Contreras: That was a good question.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a really great question. I think my answer to that has changed in the last couple of years. Shane and I were talking about it a little bit before, when we first got the message. Shane, I think your opinion’s changed, too.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. It has. It has. You want me to explain why it’s changed the most?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah.
Shane Jacks: All right. Because honestly, you do need to learn the basics and you do need to know what you’re doing performing dent repair. This craft that Sal was speaking of earlier, but, man, that’s such a small part of it, really. Don’t you think so, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: When you first start, you think that’s all you need. I need the technical skills to fix a car, fix a dent, and I am in business. That’s what I need to do. Once you gain that skill, you can fix a dent, then you realize how really ill-prepared you are for the business of dent removal. That’s a huge part of why we’re thinking how long does it take to train? Well, I used to think it would take a year. That’s how long I would take to train a ‘technician.’ But really what I was saying is, “That’s how long it takes me to teach a guy the entire business of dent removal.”
I think five days is no good, no matter who’s training you. It’s not enough. Four weeks is a decent amount of time, and if you’re a really talented guy, two weeks would do a lot for you. But I don’t think two weeks is the answer. I think it’s closer to four. But it really depends on what kind of work you wanna get into. And it depends even more – this is the largest deciding factor in how effective your training is – is how excited are you about dent removal and how deep are you jumping in after that training? That’s when your training really starts.
You’re gonna be shown a couple basic things in a couple basic scenarios. It doesn’t matter if it’s two weeks or four weeks. After that, that is when the real training starts. That’s when you start putting in the reps.
It’s like if somebody took you to the gym and said, “Okay. You’ve never been in a gym before? Here’s how you bench press. Here’s how you squat. Here’s how you curl.” There’s 500 exercises that you need to be shown in there and it would take two weeks, probably, of every day showing you the nuances of every exercise. But you’re still a flabby piece of garbage at the end of those two weeks. It takes a year of doing those reps before you look like you go to a gym.
Sal Contreras: And the diet you have to be on to do those reps. That’s the thing. There’s a lot more involved to think outside – I have big opinions on training, though. I’ll let you guys keep going.
Keith Cosentino: I used to think it takes all day every year. Shane and I really have had a lot of talks about this. Shane has trained a couple guys in the last year or so, Shane?
Shane Jacks: Yeah. In the last year, I’ve trained two, yes. From scratch.
Keith Cosentino: From scratch. Not dent repair guys. We’ve talked about is it possible to get them up to speed with minimal over-the-shoulder instruction, all day, every day. Tell us your results with that, Shane.
Shane Jacks: In my opinion, yes, you can. I started out training these guys – you do have to give the basics, but after you give the basics, they have to run with that. This is my opinion, all right? I can show someone – if you could break it down, if you could – if I had a guy here in Greenville –
Keith Cosentino: Let me interrupt you for just a moment for people who don’t know Shane’s history. How many guys do you figure you’ve trained at the BMW plant?
Shane Jacks: Over 20. There were more than 20 there.
Keith Cosentino: You didn’t just start training people yesterday is the point I wanna make.
Shane Jacks: That is correct.
Keith Cosentino: Shane has trained a lot of people. So tell us what you’re doing now.
Shane Jacks: Let me give you my training. My training was with these German guys that couldn’t speak a word of freaking English. They were telling me “boily and telly.” Boily is a high spot; telly is a dent. When I pushed a high spot, they would say, “Boily is here. Telly is here.” I’m sitting there and I’m trying to – after that, they were gone after a month. Here I am, stuck with a bunch of bent coat hangers, which is in ’94, Sal, which is, basically, what dent repair was back then. Primitive tools. So I had some basic over-the-shoulder training with limited English.
Ideally, for me to train someone is give them little bits of information. Let them go with it. A little bit of information, let them go with it. And you perfect it over time. That’s the problem with flying from California to South Carolina to train with Shane, and I give you a two-week or four-week or six-week course. I’ve got to, on day three, move on from what I taught you on day one if we’re going to complete that course. Does that make sense? That is really hard to do.
Ideally, the guy would live three minutes from my shop. I train him this on this day. “Okay. Now, you go home. You do this for three days. I’m not charging you for the three days coming up. You come back and I’m gonna teach you step number two.” That’s the problem with training, in my opinion. You guys feel the same way?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah. I really do. If you’re in the business of training people one-on-one –
Shane Jacks: That view is not going to go over well.
Keith Cosentino: No. And not really from a greedy standpoint, but if the guy’s not gonna go home and do the work, he’s not gonna turn into a technician. And if he’s not gonna do the first three days, he’s not gonna do the subsequent 30 or 50 days. If you were to go, “Here’s exercise one. Go home and do it for three days,” and the guy comes back on the fifth day and he hasn’t done it, he’s not gonna get it. He’s not gonna turn into the guy who’s gonna work hard tomorrow. You might lose your customers or your clients one day into your 20-day program. So you wanna teach them all back to back to back, and they think they wanna learn it all back to back to back.
Sal Contreras: It’s amazing how you can customize training and make it work for them in the moment. They feel like, “Hey, I’m learning a lot here.” Because you’re the trainer, you’re the one that has kind of set up this program that is razzle-dazzle and dadadada. You got it all – this is how you’re going to train to them, but it’s a show. And then at some point, they go into the real world and then they realize, “Wow. That dent I did all those days with my trainer – it’s in a different spot on a different car on a different color on a different –” Everything changes in that moment and you realize “I’m not prepared for that dent. But I was doing a bunch of them over here. How did that happen?” That’s the razzle-dazzle and I see that constantly.
In my opinion, that’s so true, what’s Shane’s saying. You really have to give them certain direction and then let them go. Like, you said, three days. After three days, come on back. “Let’s see what you can do. Okay. That makes sense. You went from there to there. All right. Now we can move on.”
I get a lot of constant contact regarding training. I tell people I just don’t train the basics because you’ll just waste your money with me. You literally will come out here. You’ll watch me fix all these dents and then at some point you’re gonna say, “Can I get in there and do that?” All right. Go in there and do that. Hit that spot right there. And if you miss, you’ve just ruined my day. So I have to put you on this type of dent and on a separate panel. What happens is they spend so much time just trying to hit the basics, all the training time is gone.
Shane Jacks: Right. Practice, practice time.
Sal Contreras: Exactly. Practice time is a huge part of training because at some point, you need them to get their knuckles bloody, their nose bloody, to where when you tell them, no, you’ve gotta do this because you know what it’s like to make the mistake. You were just telling me how you were struggling for five hours on that used car lot because you did it wrong. So now you’re gonna avoid that, right? Yes. Okay. That means you need to set up your tools this way and do it this way. You won’t forget now, right? And they really – it burns into their head because they got their nose bloody over here. You can’t do that in five days.
Keith Cosentino: No. And that’s why Shane is taking this new approach. And we’ve been really talking a lot about it back and forth, when he said, “Keith, I’m gonna try this new program where I’m gonna set him on course and I’m gonna leave him alone. And I’m gonna check in on him in a couple of days.” So he’s at your shop working in the corner and he might hit you with a question here or there, but he’s doing the work. You’re, basically, training him remotely. Your experiment was, correct me if I’m wrong, but to see if you could train him, basically, without being there.
Shane Jacks: That’s basically it.
Keith Cosentino: As you’ve told me, you’ve been keeping really good records on the things that are working and things that aren’t. It sounds like you’ve kinda got a system going on that you can start plugging people into.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. Like you said, it’s kind of the way, the whole idea behind this, was kind of the way I was trained, honestly. Like I said, it was – I was trained with about 40 English words and 4,000 German. I can tell you, I don’t know any German. I know very little. I know what a boily and telly is. And I know how to say I have to use the toilet or I’m hungry. That is pretty much it. That is the extent of my German.
Keith Cosentino: And men use hammers and girls use tap downs.
Shane Jacks: Oh. Yes, that is correct. That’s in a whole – I think we’ve told that story, actually, on here. And I figured, “You know what? If I could do it and get it” and I’m not being conceited here. But if I can take PDR to the level that I’ve taken it to, then somebody else can, also. And honestly, I learned a lot of some of the advanced stuff remotely, also, due to – five years ago, I thought “I am at the top of the dent world game. I am it.” And then I get on some websites and I’m like, “I am not quite as good as I thought I were.” I use ‘were’ on purpose there. As good as I thought I was.
So I start “You know what? I can learn this.” A lot of it was self-taught. A lot of it was reading and seeing what other guys were doing.
Keith Cosentino: That’s a great point we had never thought about because I think all three of us have that in common. We’ve all come online and we were all at a high level before, but I think the three of us are all at a level much higher now than when we first encountered each other online.
Shane Jacks: Way higher.
Sal Contreras: I got a question for you guys. When you’re training – I’ve done my share of training and you always run into this. Do you let a student keep trying to fix the mangled mess or do you have him abandon it and start a fresh one?
Keith Cosentino: To me –
Shane Jacks: I have them – it depends on – go ahead, Keith. I’m sorry.
Keith Cosentino: To me it depends on what stage they’re at in their training. If they’re brand new, I gotta get them off of it and start fresh because they don’t have the skills to fix it. But if they’ve been at it for a while and they’ve done some successful repairs and then they mangled this one, I’d say maybe they’re three months in or something like that, and they mangle a dent, you’re gonna fix it. But early on, if you’ve chewed it up, it’s nobody’s – even me will take an hour to bring it back to life, so how can I expect this guy to do it. It’s done. It’s smoked. What do you think, Shane?
Shane Jacks: You took the words right out of my mouth. If they’re into it, if they’re a few months or – well, it doesn’t even matter timewise, it matters where they’re at on their skillset. Again, that goes back to the problem of conventional training. Some guys may pick that first day up, the first – let’s say the first segment of information. They may pick that first segment of information up, run with it, and eight hours later, they’ve nailed that first segment. Other techs may take two days to learn that segment and then we’re behind on our training. Make sense?
Keith Cosentino: Oh, yeah.
Shane Jacks: I think that’s where, again, it can’t be – I can’t say at three months in if he mangles it, then I have him fix it. It depends on where he’s at on the level. With my current guy that I’m training, yeah. There’s some stuff I won’t let him – if he gets into a really big dent, yes, he can get into some trouble. But being able to fix your own mess, man, that teaches you so much about metal reaction.
Keith Cosentino: It sure does.
Shane Jacks: Because if he pushes a really nasty high spot and he’s at X level, and I think he should be able to repair that mess that he’s made? There’s your stretched high spot. Here’s what you’re gonna do to repair that to get this thing back to the original level before you screwed it up, and this is gonna teach you about metal later on. If you just come in and save them, you’re not learning anything. I think that’s one of the reasons I got to the level that I’m at. I had to fix all of my own messes.
Sal Contreras: I wonder, when you think about larger dents and small dents, do you train somebody to absolutely glass small, easy dents before they even move on or – who knows? Maybe in some of these training programs they’re having them make the easy dent look pretty good and they immediately go on to something larger? To me, I wonder what is the approach? Do you have somebody glass, glass, glass, an easy one before they even move on to something bigger or do you not mess with that and you go right into challenging stuff?
Shane Jacks: Total glass? I think before they move on, this is my opinion; they have to be glassing them at times. That shows me that their eyes are in tune with – they’re seeing what the finished product should look like and they can capture that at times. But I will move them on. This is me personally. I will move my trainees a little higher to test them because I believe – let’s go back to the working out analogy, Keith. All right? When you’re working out at the gym, if you’re doing ten reps every single time of X amount of weight, and you’re not trying something heavier, and you’re having to go down in your reps, you’re not gonna get any stronger. It’s just not going to happen. I believe the same thing with dent repair.
Glassing every single one, no. But you’ve gotta give them a little more weight just to test those muscles, to test your eyes, to test everything. The deeper dents, the bigger dents will show you what’s going on with the smaller dents. Does that make sense? It’ll teach you about something you were missing on the smaller dents.
Sal Contreras: But at the same time, if you have – I’m not talking about super, super easy dents. I’m talking about in between super easy and medium size. There’s a point in there where you, the instructor, walk up to the dent and it’s not perfect. At some point, you see a spot that they have to get into. I’ve experienced this where all you gotta do is get right in there. I’ll put a little dot in there with the little grease pencil. They don’t realize they have to push that hard to get to that spot. They feel like, “It’s flat. It looks great from here.” But it’s like, “No. I still see that little spot.” “That little thing?” “Yes. Go in there and not miss.” That’s the main thing, right? You wanna go after that spot and not hit – and not make two high spots on your way in.
That to me is critical that they’re able to absolutely glass it to my eye before they move on. Then when they get up to a larger one, it’s like, “Oh my gosh. This is crazy.” But they’ve done the glass.
I used to not do that, years ago. I noticed a difference. That’s just from my experience. I made sure that they was absolutely able to glass an easy one to my eye, to where I’m like, “Okay. Now you’re done.” Then they would always look at me like, “It has to be that perfect?” “Yes! Yes! It has to be that perfect.”
Shane Jacks: We could go on for six days. We’ll actually have guys trained by the time we get done. Verbally, without showing them a thing, so we’ll have to wrap this bad boy up.
Keith Cosentino: But I think what we have shown is that three guys who are all at a really high level with fairly different techniques all pretty much agree on what it takes to get there, and it’s not two weeks of training. Brent, I hope that helps you put – get on the right track.
Guys, we’re so late on time today we are going to skip our tool review and we’re gonna add that next week, so tune in if you wanna hear our tool review next week. It’ll be here.
Sal, thanks for coming on the show with us. We appreciate it.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, thanks, Sal. It was great.[Crosstalk]
Sal Contreras: Thank you, guys. Enjoyed it.
Keith Cosentino: Okay, fellas. Until then –
Shane Jacks: Get better.
Sal Contreras: Get better. I like that one.[End of Audio]
Duration: 84 minutes