KC: I’m Keith Cosentino, he’s Shane Jacks, and this is the PDR College Podcast, where we are here to help you get better at PDR. We’re gonna teach you things that you didn’t think you need to know, but they are vital – business skills, tool recommendations, techniques for PDR – but I’ll be honest, most of the time we are going to be spending time talking about the business techniques of PDR. Shane, why are we gonna tell these boys so much about the business?
SJ: Because it’s still called Fort Knox, not Fort Shane.
KC: For now, for now. All right, so we have an interesting topic tonight, as you noticed by the title of the episode tonight, “How to Lose Business.” I think most of you clowns out there are already pros at losing business.
Shane Jacks: That’s awesome. Let’s break them down before we build them up tonight.
Keith Cosentino: Hey, that’s why they’re listening to the PDR College Podcast, to try to learn a little bit more than you knew yesterday.
But what I’m talking about when I’m talking about losing business is losing the right kind of business, or I guess you could say the wrong business. When you first start any kind of business, especially a PDR business, you don’t want to let go of anything. You’re like a dog with table scraps. You’re gonna run around and try to chew up everything that’s on the floor and consume it. So when somebody says, “Will you fix this? Will you fix that?” what’s your answer, Shane?
Shane Jacks: Yes.
Keith Cosentino: Yes. “Can you do it for this?”
Shane Jacks: Yes.
Keith Cosentino: “Can you be here today?”
Shane Jacks: Yes.
Keith Cosentino: That’s always the answer, and to some degree, that should be your attitude, but once you – and honestly, for your first two, three weeks, months, if you’re not busy, it needs to be yes, “Yes, I’ll do it.” “Will you get inside of this trunk and kick it out with your feet and make me happy for 50.00 bucks?” If you got nothing else going, “Yes, I’ll do it.”
But once you start getting some – what I’ll call – critical mass, when you have enough volume, enough phone calls, enough people asking you for work, you need to shift your focus big-time. I’m sure this happened to you, Shane. We haven’t talked about this before the episode tonight, but I know when it happened to me, and I’m sure you remember when it happened to you.
Shane Jacks: Honestly, a certain time period? No, I honestly don’t remember. It’s kind of a thing that went on and just happened, and I think it continues to happen. You continue to change that as time goes on. Do you, Keith?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I remember when I made a shift, and we’ve talked about the kind of paradigm shift I had in my career when I went from 90 percent wholesale, and then getting burned and having to realize the hard way that this was a bad business model for me. And that’s when I really started changing.
And once – you’re right, you do continue to adapt your attitude and your methods – but when you start chasing after everything that’s presented to you, you leave a lot of money on the table, and you work a lot harder than you really need to work.
It’s really, really simple in retrospect, but when you’re stuck in the middle of it, you can really fool yourself into thinking that this is what I’ve gotta do to stay busy. I mean, I hear it all the time from guys that we talk to about this stuff. They want help. They say, “Hey, I need help with my pricing. You guys are really knocking it out of the park with your pricing, and I need some help.” And then we talk to them a little bit deeper, and they give you this bit about, “Well, I just can’t get those prices here. I’ve gotta compete. We have 20 other dent repair guys.” I literally have 30 competitors in my town.
Shane Jacks: That you know of.
Keith Cosentino: Right, that I know of.
Shane Jacks: How many – this is as a side note, Keith, because I’m trying to figure out. I honestly have no idea how many guys are in my area because it’s constantly I’m hearing of a new tech. “Yeah, Bob, Bob Spilkas.” Who is this guy? I never heard of him.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, well, he just got out of chicken lips because the economy was so bad.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, so I’m constantly hearing these new guys that are – and I’ll hear that, “Yeah, he’s been around for five years,” and I’m like, “I haven’t heard of him, but he’s doing work at a car lot as a manager that I see or a salesman coming from another dealer to one of the very few dealers that I do. So, I would guess there are 20 in my area, Keith, 20 or 30 also. If you were to take basically the combined statistical area that’s around, there are probably 30 or 40, I would guess.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, in like the serviceable area, I would call it.
Shane Jacks: Correct, yeah.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, so there’s a ton of guys, and if you know that and you think, “Oh my gosh,” and you’re not confident in your position in the market, you think you’re the low man on the totem pole or you’re near the bottom, whether you believe that or it’s true or whatever. But if that’s crossing your mind at all, you’re gonna immediately get into this low-price war and say, “I can’t get those prices here because there’s an alternative. They could do something else. Why would I do that?”
And I know this isn’t the main topic tonight, pricing, but anybody who’s listened to me for a couple hours on this show knows how passionate I am about this topic, this pricing. It’s the basis of everything we do. The whole freaking point of this endeavor is to bring home money, and you’re setting what that dollar figure is that you bring home. So I mean, to me, it’s like without the pricing, it’s not even worth talking about or doing. Why even get out of bed if your pricing’s all jacked up?
So, I talk about it a lot because I think about it a lot, and I talk about it a lot when I’m not on a podcast. It’s just a big deal to me.
Shane Jacks: Tell me about it. And again, I think we’ve spoken about this back story, Keith, too, to you guys. Keith called me and asked me why I chased hail, and I was like – I believe I was in Tennessee driving, Keith, when you called. “Why do you chase hail?” “Well, because of the money.” And I got an extreme tongue-lashing from Keith at that time, and he has not let up in the last three years.
Keith Cosentino: No, I haven’t. And I’m not naïve enough to think that there aren’t guys out in the hail business that are just making me look like a paper-route guy, and I’m cool with that. I’m happy for those guys. Rock on. Make as much money as you can. But to me, and I know you, and I know we’re family guys, and that’s not a lifestyle that we want, but you were making a sacrifice because of the money, so I was all up in your stuff. But I couldn’t do that business with a family. If I was single, I would probably enjoy it, but I couldn’t do it. Even if I could make 50 percent more money, I wouldn’t do it. So, I’ve chosen to just try and crush it as hard as I can at home, and that’s my deal.
But when we were first having this debate, and I know we’ve hit this story a few times, but for those who haven’t heard it, I was telling you my prices and you were saying I’m crazy, you can’t get those prices in the rural town where you’re in, etc., etc. So, for you, that story when we were talking and you were in the car, that was your most memorable moment, but mine was the day that I decided we were gonna do a ride-along and we were gonna share pictures of every repair that day that I did, and you were gonna bid them and I was gonna bid them, and we were gonna talk about what was different in what the prices were. You remember that day?
Shane Jacks: I do, I do.
Keith Cosentino: To me, I think that’s when you finally said, “Okay, fine, just tell me what I’m supposed to be doing.” I think towards the end of the day, you were getting the prices closer, but you were 40, 50 percent off earlier in the day. You were like, “This is crazy. It doesn’t make any sense.”
And to all you guys who are thinking, “I can’t get those prices in my town,” etc., etc., just remember this, okay? Almost everyone you talk to, it’s their very first experience with PDR. You are setting the reality. Forget about the fact that you know there’s 25 other guys who would do it for 40.00 bucks. Just forget it, and just deal with that person like you and that person are the only two people in the world, and they’re asking can you do this thing, and you’re gonna tell them what the reality is for that scenario.
That’s it. Forget about all that other stuff. You are gonna set the stage for everything that’s gonna happen. Some people are gonna shop you. Fine. Assume they’re not, and just be friendly. Make friends with them first on the phone, if you can, even if it takes five seconds. Ask a bunch of questions. Once you have a scenario, tell them what the roundabout cost is gonna be, and proceed to try to get in front of them in person. It’s a pretty simple –
Shane Jacks: Trust. Trust in yourself, Keith.
Keith Cosentino: Don’t trust yourself. You’ve screwed it up already bad enough. Trust me and trust Shane.
Shane Jacks: Well, let me elaborate on that. Trust in your abilities, okay? And put your faith in your abilities and what you’re doing. Zig Ziglar – if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, you’re not going to sell it.
Keith Cosentino: Yes, my favorite story, when he tells that story, and I’ll probably screw it up and miss a few things, but if you’ve heard the story pulled by Zig, it’s a hundred times better than I can say it.
Shane Jacks: It’s because he has a Southern accent. That’s why it’s better than you say it.
Keith Cosentino: He’s such a good storyteller. But he was selling cookware in like the ‘60s or something, door to door. And he’s killing it, and he’s got a buddy in the same exact town selling the same exact product who’s telling him, “Oh, it’s so bad out there. I can’t sell any cookware. Nobody’s got the money for it. It’s real expensive,” and he’s giving him this sob story. And Zig’s at his house, listening to the story.
And then once he lets him finish the story, and he goes, “You don’t believe in the product.” And he goes, “Oh, that’s nonsense. Of course I believe in the product. This is the best cookware. I left a management position to come be a salesperson just to sell this cookware.” And he goes, “Now, come on, man. You’re giving me a line. This is old Zig. You can’t give me this stuff. I know that you don’t believe it, and I know that I know.” And he goes, “Oh, come on now.”
So he says, “I know that you don’t believe in it, and I can prove it to you,” and he points over to the kitchen. And the guy says, “Oh, you mean because I’m cooking in a competitive set of cookware? Now come on, I just need to save up the money and I’ll get the cookware. It’s the best cookware.” But it was a hilarious story, but his point was, “You don’t believe it, and you can’t sell it.”
So, he had his buddy scrape together the money, buy the cookware, and prove that even in a tough financial circumstance that he was in, it was still a good buy to buy the cookware, and he was able to transfer that feeling to his customers, and ended up making some records for himself in the process, selling cookware.
So, it’s the same way. If you have dents in your truck and you show up to somebody’s house who’s never met you before, it’s not very confidence-inspiring. And if you don’t really believe that what you’re doing is valuable and the best thing, good luck selling it to somebody else. Good luck. It’s not gonna come across.
Shane Jacks: And that’s how a lot of y’all will come at this is, “It’s not worth that.” That is horse crap. You’ve set yourself up for failure when you immediately say it’s not worth what it’s proven that it is worth.
The one thing that really stuck, Keith, you said the ride-along thing stuck with you – and I didn’t completely buy in until that day, but you asked me what a E320 costs in Greenville, and I said, “Oh, I don’t know the exact sticker price,” and Keith said, “It’s the same freaking price as out here in Sacramento, California.”
And I didn’t want to admit he was right. For any of you guys that know me or have argued with me, I’m never wrong. Ever. So, me admitting to him… I still had another excuse after that. But that sank in with me, and man, now, guys, I believe in what I’m selling. I believe I’m one of the best at this trade. But not only that, I believe that our trade, what we do for a living, is worth what we’re charging, period. It’s worth it. Because we’re not just selling a service – we’re really selling an emotion to the customer. That dent in their car is playing on their emotions is all it’s doing. It drives, it runs, it’s fine.
Keith Cosentino: You know how I like to think about it? It is a time machine. Everything else you do to a car, auto body-wise, the car is different. It may look nice, or it may even look better, but it’s different. It’s not the same car anymore. We’re going back in time to the original body with the original shape, original paint. It’s like magic.
Shane Jacks: Unless you break a window.
Keith Cosentino: Even then, you can replace the glass, and it’s like magic again. But, I mean, it’s really cool. There’s no other thing that you can do that reverses the damage that way. I mean, you can paint stuff, but it’s different. It’s not the original paint anymore. So, I’m in love with it. If I lost the skills and abilities to do a PDR repair, I would pay for it from somebody else because there’s no equivalent. It’s fantastic.
So, I’m in. I can talk to somebody for three hours straight about how it’s so great because I believe it. And that’s probably one of the reasons I can sell it so well.
Shane Jacks: For sure, Keith, that – I know we’re off on a tangent here, but –
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, we are.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. One last thing, you sparked something in my mind. If you were to take away your abilities right now, and just like Keith just said, if you were to take away your abilities but you still knew everything you knew, you just didn’t have the ability to do it – you knew the benefits of PDR over paintwork – would you still pay somebody else the same amount, or three-quarters of what they could get it painted for, would you still pay for it? I would, for sure, because it’s so much better for the car. Look at it that way, if you have to.
Keith Cosentino: I would, if there’s a guy that’d do it for 50.00 bucks, I wouldn’t paint it.
Shane Jacks: True, but he may not be good.
Keith Cosentino: No, when he’s done, it looks a little bumpy and stuff, but when you’re done, it looks real smooth.
Shane Jacks: I have wholesalers ask me that. I had one ask me that a few weeks ago. He says, “Let me ask you something, man, honestly.” And the question he asks, I’m like, “Well, what do you mean, ‘honestly’? I don’t know any other way to explain it.” “Let me ask you something, man. I bring my cars over here. When you get done with them, they’re flat. Why can’t anybody else do that?” And my response wanted to be from this particular wholesaler, “It’s because you’re buying train wrecks constantly.”
Keith Cosentino: “And you want them fixed for 85.00 bucks.”
Shane Jacks: Yeah, that doesn’t happen with me, but it’s – again, we’re off on a tangent. Let’s get going. Let’s get to the meat of this thing.
Keith Cosentino: All right, so the meat of this thing today is how to give up the crappy business so you can keep and grow the good business.
Shane Jacks: So, we keep all retail and get rid of all of our wholesale.
Keith Cosentino: No, no, we gotta ditch some retail too, man.
Shane Jacks: That’s right.
Keith Cosentino: We gotta ditch these bottom-feeders. There’s a lot of them, and you gotta feel okay about it. Now, I’m not saying don’t –
Shane Jacks: It’s hard to do. It’s easier said than done.
Keith Cosentino: Yes, absolutely, and especially when you are starting out. And in fact, if you have dead time in your schedule, you don’t want to send anybody away, even if they’re really cheap. Here’s what I want you to do with them. I want you to use them as practice for your selling. Forget about the job, whether you get it or don’t get it, but I want you to go get in front of those people.
I’m speaking to you guys who have dead time, who would consider going to a movie in the middle of the workday or gonna power wash your dirt bike during work. You guys, you take every call you get, and you go there in person. I don’t care what it is because you’re gonna learn something, and if you have an open mind about treating it as a proving ground for your selling and your closing, you’re gonna make much more money than the money you do or don’t make on that job, if you really pay attention to what you’re saying and treat it like a game and try to win. Take those calls.
But you guys who are busy all day but aren’t quite happy with how much money you’re making, you are the guys I’m really speaking to on this subject. You guys stand to gain the most by ditching the slugs and taking the cherries.
So, one of the things that gives me a signal that I should consider ditching these people are people who come to the question of price really early in the conversation, like they’ve already done some shopping, and they want to know, “Hey, how cheap can you do it?” Well, I already know a few seconds in we’re probably not gonna do business. Sometimes I can turn them around because they’re not really price shoppers, but sometimes they just straight up are price shoppers. They don’t care about a difference in quality. They’re not trying to hear it. They just wanna know, “Somebody told me X. I’m shopping around. Everybody, can you beat X?”
And sometimes you have a little bit of a sting in your ego, like you’re gonna get a phone call and you’re not gonna get the job, someone else is gonna get it, so your instinct is to say, “Well, we can probably match that price, or, shoot, we might even be able to beat it.” And keep in mind; I want you to remember who I’m speaking to. I’m speaking to guys who are busy all day, for the most part, but you hate your work. You have too much wholesale and it sucks, or you’re driving around looking at stuff and you can’t do it. You’re busy all day, but it’s busy work, and you’re not making the numbers.
If you’re slow, go. Say, “Yeah, I’ll match it,” and get out there and see if you can raise it. See if you can double what you told them and make them happy about it.
But don’t be afraid to lose these guys if they’re shopping on price. Be polite, be easy on them, but let them go. Let them go. Oftentimes – Shane, you’ve mentioned this before – they’ll come back around. Once they’ve gone out and talked to other crappy dent guys, and they’ve seen your reputation or they know about you, sometimes they come back and they’re ready to pay the money. And sometimes, they never come back.
I just had one the other day. It was a Subaru fender. It was a nice little collision hit, probably like the size of a cantaloupe. For you guys in Temecula, that’s like three avocados. But it was an easy dent. It looked kinda ugly, but it was easy. Easy to make good, relatively challenging to make perfect, but probably an hour and a half repair time for me. And I said, “Okay, we need to talk in person,” because this gal sent me an email right off the bat. Well, that’s a red flag for me, No. 1. Sending me an email as a first correspondence, they’re probably price shopping.
So, this is a job I wanted, though, because I like fender jobs. Who doesn’t? So I said, “I’d really like to talk to you in person,” so she called me, and I said, “Okay, here’s what you got going on. Here’s what we’re gonna do to repair it.” I think I told her somewhere between 325.00, no, $300.00 and $375.00, something like that.
And she said, “Well, someone else told me 200.00. Could you do it for 200.00?” and I said, “No, I can’t. Lots of people can do things and work on your car cheaper than I can, but nobody can make it look as nice as I can.” And she didn’t care about that at all, and she had to go. And she said, “Well, okay, well, if I can’t find anybody to do it any cheaper or I change my mind, I’ll call you back,” and I said, “Sounds great.”
And it stings a little bit to let one go, especially that you know you can do a great job. And honestly, if it was right in front of me, I could make money at $200.00 on that car, but it was 40 minutes away. Well, so that’s now a three-hour repair, right, assuming she doesn’t talk to me at all, she just walks out, gives me the keys, walks out, gives me the check. If we’re gonna have a 15-minute conversation at the front and at the back, this is half my day. Half your day on one job if it’s 40 minutes away, for an hour-and-a-half job, right? It’s three hours plus another hour of B.S.
You can’t make money at 200.00 bucks for half your day. This is a job you have to let go. I had to let go. And once I thought about it for a moment, I was happy about that and what made me think of this topic for this episode, but you’ve got to let that stuff go. It’s not the right job.
I give this example. My wife and I were having this conversation the other day. You can only take the deals in life that you are equipped to take advantage of. Something might be a fantastic deal, but you are not in the right position to take advantage of it. And I’m gonna give you a little scenario that’ll help you understand what I’m talking about.
A lot of times when I’m having trouble deciding where I stand on a certain scenario, I’ll think of the extremes, the high and low extremes of a scenario, and it helps me understand where my position is. So, to illustrate this point, I think about this.
Shane, if I gave you as a gift free and clear, but you could not sell it, a $190 million yacht, if I just gave it to you, flat-out you own it, only condition is you can’t sell it, you couldn’t take that gift.
Shane Jacks: I can’t afford to run it.
Keith Cosentino: You can’t support it. You can’t store it. You can’t transport it. You can’t staff it. I mean, that’s a giant machine that requires a staff of four or five just for it to not rot out. You can’t take that deal. $190 million gift that you don’t have the capacity to take that.
So, I mean, you would scramble around and think about selling your children and whatever you could do to keep it because when else does somebody give you $190 million? But at the end of the day, you have to come to the realization that, as good as an opportunity as it may be, it’s not the opportunity for you. You can’t utilize that.
And that’s what some of these jobs are. Can you make money on the job? Yeah, probably, if it’s right in front of you, but you have other things to consider, that you’re gonna let your ego or your greed cloud your judgment on. So, you’re gonna run across town and hustle this fender out, in as fast as you can, and then you’re screwed. You made 400.00 bucks, or $200.000 for half your day, and now you’re the low-price guy, so she’s gonna tell all her friends, “Hey, whatever quote you get, call this guy after. He’ll match it or beat it, and he’s really nice.”
So, those are bad deals to take. That’s not how you establish your position as the market leader in your town. That is not the way to do it. And I’m not saying don’t negotiate. Negotiating is good, it’s fun to do if you do it right, and you’ll learn something every time. Negotiating is totally cool, but –
Shane Jacks: I struggle with this, Keith, honestly, because I go back and forth on the whole fact that I have a shop. You mentioned the 40 minutes across town, 40 minutes back, so you’ve got an hour and a half worth of travel time. You’ve got 15-minute conversation on each end. You’ve got an hour-and-a-half repair. Again, you’ve got three and a half, four hours in your day. You turn around and put that in a retail facility like mine and you’re down to two hours tops.
So, I don’t want to leave any money on the table, so I want to get that 350.00 or the 375.00 that you just spoke about, but I also don’t want to lose the job.
Today, I had a gentleman call me, “Hey, I’ve got a dent in a 3 Series BMW.” I asked him, “Is it a four-door or two-door?” That’s a critical question on BMW 3 Series.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and as a side note, usually when they say it’s a BMW and you say, “What model?” “3 Series,” they’re hiding their hand, and it’s an M3.
Shane Jacks: Yeah. When he said 3 Series, my butthole tightened up really, really tight because I knew it was a two-door. So he says, “Four-door,” and the entire universe lined back up again. I was pretty sure that the Earth was about to explode until he said four-door. I asked him what size. He says it’s a quarter to a half, which means it’s half the fist probably. And then comes the question. Well, actually, it sounded really promising because he said, “Is there any way you could do it today?” and I’m like – the new Shane come out in me – and I said, “Man, you gotta squeeze this in today somehow, some way.”
So I said, “If you, sir, if you can bring it between 2 and 3:00, I will definitely be able to do that for you. It sounds doable unless it’s worse than what I have envisioned in my mind right now.” He goes, “Oh, that sounds good. Well, what do you think the cost will be?” “Sir, I really don’t know until we really lay eyes on it because there are a lot of factors.” I go through that whole spiel. And he says, “Well, do you just got a roundabout?” So I’m like, “Oh, man, here we go.”
And I said, “Well, I need to look at it. If it’s a quarter to a half-dollar, you’re probably looking in the 140.00 to 160.00 range,” and his entire voice just changed. He said – because I had already written him down – he said, “I’ll be there between 2 and 3:00. I will make it somehow, man. I’ll make it up there.” So then he goes, “Oh, well, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a call back if I’m not gonna be able to make it between 2 and 3, and we’ll just reschedule it for Monday.” And I knew then what he was doing. He calls –
Keith Cosentino: What year model was it?
Shane Jacks: ’08, I believe he said. I think it was an ’08. So it’s like 30 minutes later, he calls me, “Hey, man, I’m not gonna be able to make it up there today,” and I could tell by his voice. Should I have asked him and pushed him to reschedule for Monday like he had said earlier? Yeah, but you know what? I knew what his answer was gonna be, and I didn’t even ask him. I said, “Well, if I can help you, just give me a call back.” “Okay, okay, I appreciate it.”
And so I hang up the phone, and I feel good at myself for standing my ground, but I also feel bad that this may have been a 15- to 20-minute dent at my shop with a 10-minute conversation on each end.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, but you don’t know what he was expecting, which is an important question to ask when you hear that, “Uh, uh, uh,” just that little hesitation. “What were you expecting?”
Shane Jacks: “What were you expecting?” Yeah.
Keith Cosentino: You might have been 40.00 bucks away. You might have been 140.00 bucks away.
Shane Jacks: With this guy, it was probably 80.00 to 100.00 bucks away.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, so you just gotta let him go.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, yeah, true. But could I have made money at 100.00 bucks?
Keith Cosentino: Okay, well, listen. You’re segueing perfectly into my most favorite statement of this whole show.
Shane Jacks: Let’s do it.
Keith Cosentino: Think about this for a second. I will give you a moment of silence so you can get your mind in the right place to absorb this information.
When you say yes to something, you are also saying no to something else.
When you say yes to this dude to bring this car back to your shop, you are saying no to any other profitable work you could be doing in that same time. You gotta remember that. That’s really, really important. It’s more important for a mobile guy than it is for a shop guy, but for everything you agree to, you’re also saying no to something else. If you agree to go to that pain-in-the-butt wholesaler that we all have, who somehow has your number like some weird ex-girlfriend, and they call you and you just don’t know how to say no – we all have one, for whatever reason –
Shane Jacks: Is it wrong that I have nine of those?
Keith Cosentino: But when you say yes to him, you’re saying, “No, retail people, I am not available for three hours today.” That’s what you’re saying. You gotta remember that, and when you remember that, it’s gonna help you say no to the right things so that you can say yes to the right things. But for everything you agree to, you are taking yourself out of the game for something else, and oftentimes, that something else is gonna be better, otherwise you wouldn’t be thinking about, “Should I say no?”
When someone tells me they have a $400.00 fender repair, I’m not thinking, “Should I say no to it?” But when somebody says, “Can you come across town and work on my three 1993 Accord LX’s?” I think I should say no.
Shane Jacks: Understood. However, as I have expressed on here, I use wholesale work that gets brought to me. 95 percent of what I do is brought to my shop. Well, 90 to 95 percent is what I would guess is brought to me, wholesalers included. So, they bring me these projects. I’ve got one’s been sitting there for a week and a half. Okay, I’ve got a goal of X amount of dollars per hour on a wholesaler’s car. It’s 100.00 bucks an hour. That’s my goal.
I’m sorry. Let me rephrase that. That is not my goal. That is my minimum. And I’ll look at it, and I use it as filler at times, which ends up half the time being me staying way too late to do these cars because I’m a little scared that I’m not gonna have the retail body shop good stuff.
But anyway, so I am giving up something. I’m giving up family time, is one of the things that I’m giving up. But let me finish my thought really quick here. So, I’m sitting there and I’m going, “And what am I giving up between 2 and 3:00?” I’m giving up working on a wholesaler’s car that I may make 100.00 to 200.00 bucks in an hour on, when I could have made 100.00 in 30 minutes on that 3 Series. Does that make sense? So I struggle with that constantly in my mind.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, but you’re still speculating.
Shane Jacks: Oh, yeah, I’m still speculating, but you have to.
Keith Cosentino: Yes, you have to, but you can’t give yourself a lashing over that job unless you’ve seen it.
One thing I wanted to talk to you about a minute ago when you were talking about you were asking him what size is the dent on the phone. Maybe it just was the way you were talking, but always give them choices. “Would you say it’s more like the size of a baseball or more like the size of a cantaloupe?” Don’t say, “How big is it?”
Shane Jacks: No, no, that’s actually – well, here’s what I said. He said, “It’s small,” and I said, “Small? Are we talking around the size of a half-dollar?” and he said, “Yeah, a quarter to a half-dollar.”
Keith Cosentino: I know, but if you give them the one size, they’ll always say yes. “Would you say it’s like a quarter?” Yes, in the middle, and then it’s like, “Yeah, it’s mostly like a quarter.” I spend a lot of time with this. I have this perfectly figured out, and I don’t say that about a lot of things. Give them a normal size to a relatively large size to a ridiculous size, like I say watermelon or basketball. Most panels it doesn’t even fit. So, when I say that, they’re all of a sudden thinking – those are all capable repairs, and I found they’re most likely to give you a realistic answer.
But if I say, “How big is it?” that was a terrible disaster because some people tell me 2” and it’s 2’, or somebody tells me it’s 9” and it’s 2”. Nobody can measure. I mean, even guys like us who are brilliant, I can’t tell you the difference between 8” and 9” just eyeballing it. I think I do, but I’m probably off.
So, give them the normal sizes that you wanna fix, and give them that big option. And if the big option is close, they’ll tell you realistically what it is, but if you don’t give them –
Shane Jacks: Because anything is possible at that point, where going into it, they may not have known that.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, and they want you to do it. They’re desperate for you to even look at it, so they’re not gonna tell you, “Oh, it’s gigantic. I don’t even know how you’re gonna even think about fixing it. It looks terrible.” If you say, “Well, is it like a baseball or a quarter?” “Ooh, I guess baseball? It’s like a baseball or maybe just a little bit bigger.” But when you say, “Is it like a baseball or a cantaloupe or like a watermelon?” they’ll go, “Oh, it’s probably like between the cantaloupe and a watermelon or whatever,” so you’re getting much more realistic answers by giving them those two or three or four choices. Don’t go to more than four – obviously that would be ridiculous – but don’t go under two. Give them two at least.
Shane Jacks: See, I’ve learned something here tonight, so that’s pretty cool. I never ask, “How big is it?” I did learn that a while back, but I rarely give more than one or two. And it’s normally, honestly, normally I say, “Are you talking the size of a quarter or the size of your palm?” That’s normally my statement, my question that I ask.
Keith Cosentino: Right, and every single answer is gonna be one of those two.
Shane Jacks: Yeah, you’re right. Well, it depends. Down here in the South… That’s what I was gonna say. I think I’m gonna change that a little bit. Instead of asking for sizes, I’m gonna ask if it looks like a cow kicked it, or if a unicorn tooth fell on it, or if a green-eyed monkey come flying at it with monkey fists.
Keith Cosentino: “Was it in a trailer park?”
Shane Jacks: “When the aliens landed?”
Keith Cosentino: “Minding my own business, watching Jenny Jones…”
Shane Jacks: “Eating bon-bons. Cousin Jimmy was outside drinking Budweiser. That’s how I know that, yes.”
Keith Cosentino: So, we were talking about, earlier, matching prices, and I wanted to talk about this as well. Most guys who are running a PDR business are sucking wind bad, right? They may be doing well compared to their jobs they had before, but as far as the performance capabilities of these little companies, they suck. And their prices and their repairs are what make them suck. We on the same page so far?
Shane Jacks: Oh, yeah.
Keith Cosentino: Okay, so if their business sucks and you’re trying to have a successful business, why in the world would you consider copying their pricing strategy? And that is what you’re doing when you’re matching prices. If some other guy, whose business is failing and is probably a drunk or a drug addict, gave a guy a price, what in the world would you think is gonna happen to your business if you match his price? Just think about that, please.
The next time I hear somebody say, “Oh, you can’t get that money around here. That’s what people pay,” that’s the price that people who are failing at business are using. If you wanna fail too, copy everything they do. Use their pricing, listen to their podcast, and run your company that way.
But they’re sucking, and you don’t want to suck, so don’t copy the stuff from the guys that suck. Don’t copy my football routes. They suck.
Shane Jacks: For sure. Keith, this is something that hits home for me, hits home with me, because there are a couple of guys in my area that will do things for just stupid cheap. One of the guys, over the period of the last several years, we actually worked together for a while on just one project. But anyway, alcohol, drugs, just emotional problems, and everything’s going wrong. And I have people constantly ask me, constantly tell me, “Well” – I’m not gonna say his name, his real name – “Well, Phil” –
Keith Cosentino: Aloysius.
Shane Jacks: “Aloysius, he did some dents for me a while back, and he charged me $50.00 for three dents on three different panels.” And it’s only the people that get a little bit defensive with me. I kindly ask. And I said, “Do you know where he’s at right now?” And the answer is always, “Well, no, I couldn’t get a hold of him. The number I had five years ago is not the same number. His brother told me that he moved up to Connecticut, but his brother said he came back a couple years ago for a while.”
And I went, “That’s why I’m a little more expensive. I’m here now, I was here five years ago, and I’m gonna be here ten years from now. If you want that as your service provider for what you’re wanting to do right now, and you want the best there is in this business, you’re gonna pay me now. If you want unreliable, if you want not being able to find me, I’ll drop my prices.” I’m saying it sarcastically to them, of course, but –
Keith Cosentino: No, that’s an awesome close.
Shane Jacks: But it resonates with people. People understand that. I’d use the same thing with the – and again, we’re dent guy to dent guy here, so it’s totally cool saying this. I have no problem with route guys. I used to be a route – not a route guy, a mobile guy. I used to be a mobile guy, but, man, I use that shop like it is the golden arches.
Keith Cosentino: You have to.
Shane Jacks: I turn around and I say, “You see that? That says that I’m here. That says that I’m not working out of the back of a truck, Mr. Smith. That says that I care enough about you and about the rest of my customers and about my business that I’m going to invest in a future. Come inside and look at my shop. Come inside and look at the showroom. Come inside and look at what other have said about me at” – not showroom, waiting room – and that drives it home to people.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I would do the same exact thing if I had a shop. I would talk about the superior working conditions and all that kind of stuff.
Shane Jacks: Oh, yeah, a lot of people ask, “Well, why does he come out and you won’t?” “Well, sir, I used to come out, but I am in a static situation when I’m in the shop. The lighting’s the same at all times. You’re gonna get the same exact repair. I’ve got that lighting.” And again, this is the truth but not completely the truth because the lighting that we use, we move. They’re mobile lighting. The lighting is moveable, of course, so we’re moving it to put it in the optimum situation.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, but listen. I’ll prove it to you right now that it’s better. If you’re at a mobile job and the person says, “Would you like it in the garage or in the driveway?” what do you –?
Shane Jacks: In the garage.
Keith Cosentino: Every time, right?
Shane Jacks: And it’s not just the climate. It’s the light.
Keith Cosentino: No, it’s the lighting. It’s better. It’s better in a shop, no doubt, so don’t feel bad about that. It is the truth. And I fix a lot of cars outside.
Shane Jacks: How much have you told me to feel bad about?
Keith Cosentino: Besides your hairline?
Shane Jacks: Oh, man, that was rough. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.
Keith Cosentino: Hey, I’m strapping with you.
So, don’t match these clowns. Don’t price match. Please don’t. If you don’t wanna suck, don’t price match. It’s pretty easy.
So, when we’re talking about what to let go, I want you to think about those jobs that you know they aren’t quite the right fit for you, or you’re kinda stretching to make it a reality and you’re thinking you want to do it just to keep it, let them go. Or try to renegotiate with them, make a better run at them, but don’t just drop your pants and run and do it. Resist the urge to snap up every scrap on the floor like that dog we talked about under the table before somebody comes and grabs his collar. Don’t just try to snatch them all up. Eat the filet and run out the door before you’re caught by your owner.
Something we didn’t talk about in previous shows but that’s really important. For me, it’s one of the ways I make as much money as I do, and that is scheduling jobs – how and when to schedule them. It’s really important.
When you give somebody an appointment time, you are pigeonholing yourself into that schedule. And nobody likes to be waiting for somebody who doesn’t show up, and nobody likes to be given a I’ll-call-you-sometime-during-the-day schedule, and nobody even likes to be given a window of time. But the only hard appointment I make is my first appointment. I’m gonna be right there on time.
After that, everybody gets a minimum two-hour window, and I’m really polite about it, and if their schedule doesn’t accommodate, I’ll make concessions for them, but I’ll say, “Is your schedule flexible enough that you could accommodate a window of time on this day, between 10:30 and 12:30?” And I’m real polite and open about it like that, and most of the time, this kind of service that we provide is a luxury and the people have a little bit of flexibility in their schedules, generally. So, 9 times out of 10, they say, “Yeah, that’s fine.”
And if it’s not fine, then we say, “Okay, you know what? If you need to do it at this time, I will do my very best to accommodate that and be right on the money. I want to be on time every time I’m working for people such as you. I just don’t know what I’m getting into on my first job, which is right before yours, and I’m afraid if I get caught on a repair that takes me longer than I think, I’m gonna be late for you, and I don’t want you waiting around for me, thinking I’m gonna be right on time if I can’t do that. So, I’m gonna try like heck to be on time, but I’m gonna call you if I’m running a little early or a little bit late. Does that sound okay?” Always put that question too, “Does that sound all right with you?” so they’re agreeing to whatever you’re saying. “Yeah, that sounds great.” “Okay, deal.”
But, you wanna stick with that two-hour window, and here is the main reason. Yes, some repairs are gonna run longer, and then you’re gonna need that time to get over there. But the main reason is I now have some flexibility in my schedule to accommodate another golden job that drops into my lap right on the moment, right then. If I book my first appointment at 9:30, and say I’ve seen the dent, right, Shane? I know exactly what it is. I know how long it’ll take me. It’s nothing crazy. I’ve seen it, so I’m gonna book it at 9 or 8:30 or whatever, and I’m gonna book my next job at 10, and then I get a guy that calls me or a neighbor that comes by and says, “Hey, do you have time to do another one?” You have to say, “Oh, I don’t have time. I’ve got another appointment right now. Shoot. Okay, why don’t I come back later today?”
Well, now your schedule’s just a mess. You’re gonna run around to the other part of town and then go back again. Or even if you reschedule for another day, you’re giving that job opportunity to go away. You’re double-driving to the same place. It goes from a fantastic deal, because you’re already close by and you’re gonna double your money, to just another job, which is nothing terrible, but it could be so much better if you did it when you see it, right on the spot.
So by giving these windows of time, you can take those jobs that pop up. You can take a body shop job that says, “Hey, are you gonna be in the area?” You’re like, “Oh, yeah, shoot, I’m driving right by.” You don’t have to say, “Oh, I’m driving by, but let me call my guy and see if I can make him later,” and that’s a terrible experience for your customer, versus making a two-hour window, being there in the middle or near the end, or making a set time and calling and saying, “Hey, I have an opportunity to do work that I find to be more important than yours right now. How would you like it if I just showed up later?” That’s a terrible call to make, but by giving the window, you don’t have to make that call.
The other thing I do is when I have a farther-away appointment that I’m gonna book for my morning appointment, I will tell them, “I will be there sometime between 9 and 11,” so that as I’m driving all the way across town, if something pops up, I can swing in and grab that and still be on time to Job No. 2.
This is the equivalent, if you’ve ever known anybody who does hair for a living. Well, they double-book themselves. So while some gal is having her hair dried, another gal’s getting the color on. They’re working two people at once, back and forth. And the reason they do that is because they can make more…
Shane Jacks: Money.
Keith Cosentino: Money. It’s a very simple concept, but I want you to take that concept from a hair salon and apply it to what we’re doing.
One of the reasons I outperform my guys at my company is not because I’m a better tech. It’s because I will cram my schedule chockfull to everything I can do plus 5 percent. I’m always leaving a little something on the table, and that’s how I know I’m running at redline all day and making as much as I possibly can. My other guys are a little more timid with their schedule. They don’t like having that anxiety of knowing I’m supposed to be in two different places right now. They’re getting there. They’re starting to push themselves harder, but really, that’s my deal, and I don’t fault them for that. That’s how I like to run my day, but they want to be a little more under control.
But that’s why I overproduce, because I’m pushing as much as I can into that schedule. Almost never am I saying no if it’s even possible that I can be there. “Yeah, yeah, I can do it.” “Can you do another dent on this car?” “Yes, absolutely.” I can pack all my tools up, be ready to leave, and they say, “Oh, you know what I forgot to tell you? There’s another dent on this car. Do you have time?” Yes, I always have time.
Shane Jacks: No, you roll your eyes and sigh real big.
Keith Cosentino: This leads me to my next point which is also really important. Let me give you the scenario. You had a morning appointment. You had stats on it, you knew kinda what it was, you went there, or you’re gonna go there to do it. You have Appointment No. 2 you haven’t seen, okay, and you haven’t agreed to anything specific yet because you couldn’t get a photo or you didn’t get a photo, and you haven’t seen it, so you’re not positive you can fix it. You’re going, so there’s an understanding that you’re planning on fixing it, but it’s an unknown, right?
So, first job you finish, and then they guy says, “Oh, by the way, I have this other car. Do you have time to look at it?” Okay, the real answer is no, you don’t have time to look at it because you have another guy waiting for you. But the other one is an unknown. This one is now in front of you, and he shows it to you, you know exactly what it is because it’s right in front of you, and you give it the proper estimate, and he’s happy to do it. Which job do you take?
Shane Jacks: Take the known.
Keith Cosentino: You take the known one every single time. This the thousand-year-old “bird in the hand, bird in the bush.” Take the bird in hand every single time. It’s a known quantity. If you pass that up and go to the second job and get burned, you’ve now burned yourself out of two jobs because the other guy might change his mind later, or you might not get back to it, or you gotta double-drive back again.
Always take that job that’s a known quantity every single time, even if it means calling that customer with your hat in your hands and saying, “I’m really sorry. I didn’t properly anticipate how much time I was gonna need on this job. I just can’t stop working on it until it’s perfect. It’s the same attention I’m gonna give to your car, but unfortunately, this circumstance has played out not in your favor. But I promise you, when I get my hands on your car, I’m gonna make it look as nice as I’m making this one look.”
You never wanna make that call, but if you have to, that’s how you make it.
Shane Jacks: 90 percent of the time, they’re going to understand.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, they might not be happy, but they’re gonna be understanding. And make the call. Don’t no-show or call the next day or something. It’s over with if you do that.
Shane Jacks: Worst thing you can possibly do.
Keith Cosentino: There’s more bad online reviews about no-shows than anything else.
So, man, this is a really big deal. I feel like we haven’t spent that much time on it, but we’re coming up on 54 minutes. But, man, know what to say no to. Don’t be afraid to say no. And remember, everything you say yes to, you are saying no to something else.
And that just reminded me. You were starting to bring up your family in that scenario as well, and it’s 100 percent true. That statement is almost more true with your family life than it is for work because for every time you say, “Yes, I’ll go to work,” you’re saying, “No, I will not hang out with my kids.”
And it’s really important, guys, to remember that. I’m guilty of this a lot. I work a lot, and I work hard, but I got beautiful little kids at home who wanna play dollies with me, and they wanna hang out, and they want me to go to their gymnastics classes. And sometimes I make it, but sometimes I don’t, and it’s really important for me to remember that every time I say, “Yes, I’ll do another car,” I’m also saying, “No, you’ll have to start dinner without me, guys. I’m not gonna be there.” And that kinda sucks sometimes, but sometimes the best advice you give to somebody else is the best advice you can take as well.
Shane Jacks: For sure.
Keith Cosentino: Well, as we like to say, it would not be a PDR College Podcast without a tool review. And today, what’s the tool, Shane?
Shane Jacks: It is the Dent-Gear Devil-Tip Flat Bar.
Keith Cosentino: [Inaudible] [00:53:05] chrome one? Shiny?
Shane Jacks: [Inaudible] chrome-plated tip rods things. Yeah, it’s like a 1” wide, and it’s pretty thick too. 24” long and ¼” thick, yeah. 1” wide. The thing is heavy-duty, and I’ll let Keith describe the tip to you.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it’s tough to describe, but –
Shane Jacks: That’s why I’m letting you do it.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, so, a normal flat bar just has like a 45-degree tip with a triangular point, or something like that, on the end. But this thing turns 90 for about an inch and change, and then a 45 back up towards the handle, so it’s like a hook, like you could reach up and hook it on a closet rod and like hang it there.
So, we use this hook – I use this hook for fender lips. This is almost the only reason I use this tool, fender lips that are crushed almost all the way down to the bottom lip, closest to the tire. And the way this thing bends is it comes back down towards that bottom lip so you can just shove it all the way down in the bottom corner. Normally if you don’t have this tool, what you’ll do is use like a J-hook or something flat on the tire, and come up and then back down, and put that down into the kink of the fender to get down in that corner, which works fine. It’s what I did for ten years, but this tool will get a nice big wide tip down in there.
Now, the tip itself – they call it a “devil tip” because it has a big radiused –It’s hard to describe. It’s a big radiused, wide cut, and the edges are cut in, so it has like a whale-tail type shape with a round leading edge, but then that leading edge is also ground to like a knife edge. So it’s relatively sharp, even though it’s big and wide. So, I’ll take to padding that tip quite often with a little piece of leather or some tape.
I got a tip on some new tape from a friend of mine, Arturus. It’s this tape that comes from Mercedes-Benz. It’s a cloth tape that they use to like wrap wire looms with. You’ve seen in like the trunk compartment, like the looming’s exposed, but it just goes around and around it. You know what I’m talking about?
Shane Jacks: Oh, yeah.
Keith Cosentino: You can buy that tape on a roll for like anywhere between 19.00 and 30.00 bucks at the dealership. And I don’t have the part number handy, but I can post it up if enough people are concerned to find it.
Shane Jacks: Is it made by Tesa?
Keith Cosentino: It is made by Tesa.
Shane Jacks: That’s what I thought. We had the same – we didn’t call it “gaffer’s tape,” I don’t think. We had a name for it, but we had some at the BMW plant, same stuff. Good stuff, really good stuff.
Keith Cosentino: Super cool, yeah. It doesn’t break through as easy because there’s not as much thick adhesive as like Gorilla Tape, which is really good too. Gorilla Tape’s good if there’s no heat involved, but if you’re heating –
Shane Jacks: I honestly hate Gorilla Tape, personally.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, it’s probably something about gorillas that freaks you out because I love that tape.
Shane Jacks: No, no, not at all.
Keith Cosentino: Do you love gorillas?
Shane Jacks: I love all of God’s creatures. I just don’t like that tape. It’s too thick. It’s not flexible at all.
Keith Cosentino: I can tell you right now, I freaking hate gorillas.
Shane Jacks: Do you?
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, they would try to freaking rip my face off if we got in the same area. Why would I like anybody like that?
Shane Jacks: It’s weird. You kinda look like one, so–
Keith Cosentino: It’s a dumb question to ask why I would hate gorillas. They would try to kill me. Would you like anyone else that would try to kill you at a moment’s notice? Do you even think about some of these answers?
Shane Jacks: You know what? Probably the best thing for you to do right now would be just to review this tool. Do I even think about these answers?
Keith Cosentino: Anyways, this tool, Model No. FB-DT, devil tail flat bar. Really cool. Dent-Gear. I believe it’s a chrome plating that they put over their tools, which at first, when I first saw it, I thought it was kinda gimmicky. It’s like, “Oh, why are they so shiny? This is kinda dumb.” But it is the only tool in my box, the only flat bar in my box that’s not, to some degree, rusty from being outside. It’s nice and shiny just like the day I bought it, so I’m a believer in the chrome plating now.
Shane Jacks: Not only that, it’s a pretty slick – when you’re in PDR for quite some time, you will understand that that coating is a little slicker than a lot of the other coatings. It slides in braces. This tool, it’s not gonna matter, but on some of their brace tools, it’s really good because it’s more slippery than other tools, some other tools.
Keith Cosentino: Yeah, great, great, great tool.
Okay, guys, that’s another episode in the books. We’re really excited to hear all the comments you guys keep sharing. Please keep them coming. We’re always up to suggestions for future episodes, as well. If there’s a lot of questions on your mind about a certain topic, put it in the discussion area on PDRCollege.com, and if we get enough people asking about it, we will make an episode about it.
So, to recap. Do not be afraid to let those crappy jobs go. Say no to the crap so you can say yes to the cream. Remember that, remember that lesson, and go get you a Dent-Gear flat bar. Until next time –
Shane Jacks: Get better.[End of Audio]
Duration: 60 minutes