Paintless In-House Guide | Think, Grow, Educate PDR
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Paintless In-House Guide


How to Go in-house with Small Dent Repair for Your Auto Body Shop or Dealership

Is My Organization Ready To Go In House To Lower Dent Repair Cost?

120,000$ is the minimum you should be spending on your current car door dent repair vendors, before even considering an in-house option. If your totals are not at least close to this figure, stop reading and close this article. It is a hard truth, but those that attempt to push past this fact almost always end in failure within the first two years of implementation. As a Business mindset, you're looking at this and thinking, "I can have cheap dent repair near me, by doing what I always do. This would be especially great for hail dent repair!" You're not wrong, but think clearly before just diving in.

*I can hire someone for 35,000$
*Send them to Paintless Dent Repair Training for 15,000$
*Purchase tools for 7,000$ 
*Then have a 35-50k, in house operation for my Paintless Dent Repair needs.

Murphy's Law

This is a huge investment for a big “maybe”. Maybe this person will stay with my company. Maybe they will actually be good enough to do the work. Maybe if they can actually do the work, they will be fast enough to be profitable. Maybe, they don’t own a calculator and realize three years in, that they can earn over 200k a year doing hail repair damage, working only six months out of the year. Maybe they won’t realize that they could go full retail and work three days a week and still do 1,500-4,000$ per week. 

Your organization is investing lots of cash and taking on a significant risk, just face the fact that at some point they are going to leave you. You can mitigate your risk with a contract but that isn't a total solution. Even the most ironclad contract won’t be enforceable in most cases. If it is enforceable, the largest judgment that I have ever seen, was a two week cease and desist letter. Even a two week cease and desist letter will be hard to come by from any judge in a “right-to-work” state. In the end, the only value of contact is the fear that you can and will enforce it. This leads us to the most important portion.

What Am I looking For In A Candidate? 

You want to avoid anyone with any type of higher education, military service, has ever run their own business, or has aspirations to do any of the above in the future. It would be wise to shut those down right out of the gate. If possible try to get someone around thirty years old, that you know has a track record of outdoor labor for over five years, and gets paid less than 35k. Pluses are people that are married, with spouses that have local jobs or general ties to your community.

Essentially, you want someone that would have a difficult time, to pick up and leave easily. Also, you want to ensure that your candidate will be able to take orders, won’t question your authority, and is a good problem solver. This is why hiring military personnel, for this specific job is a bad idea: they are tailored to follow orders, but the people handling those orders down are highly ordered and qualified leaders. Over time, they will resent orders from people who should be their subordinates (Im not talking bad about them, I was an Army Officer Once). Problem solving and being a self starter without having to ask someone else is key. A PDR techs entire job is problem solving. Every vehicle is different along with location of the dent, type of dent, type of metal, gauge, ductility and many other factors. They will need to process this information quickly and implement the correct course of action. In essence, you want someone who is smart enough to solve basic math problems, but not algebraic equations. This should buy you at least 5 years with this technician. 

Now that you have the right candidate, let's move onto training.

Most of the training mills are going to be a waste of your time. First, you need to identify the kind of technician that you want to create. More than likely, you want a commercial technician that can perform retail quality work. This is a smash tech or auto body paintless dent technician. They will be able to perform, mobile dent repair, bumper dent repair, and act as a dent repair cost estimator, for your service lanes, body shop, and lot work.

Even if some local school advertises Paintless Dent Repair courses, they are not training technicians for this type of work. I have another explaining why this is a true statement: here. The only way to get the kind of training that you actually need, is by approaching a working technician. Also you can send me an email and I will help you find what your looking for. I will try to locate the right kind of technician for you within 100 miles of your operation, for a fee of 100$. I personally offer training courses, the first week of November, training others is a money loser for any working technician, however in the down season, some are open to it. I charge 780$ a day to train: it takes three weeks to get a technician to basic levels, you need. I will package these into 15k, deals. [No cell phones of any kind from 9 am to 6 pm every day: seven days a week. No lunch breaks, no bad attitudes, and if they don’t “have it” in the first week, I will show them the door.] I'm not going to waste our time, for any amount of money teaching someone who “may” eventually “get it” but won’t be a good long-term fit for your organization. None of this works, if they can fix a dent, but can't do it fast enough to be profitable. 

What Kinds of Paintless Dent Repair Tools and Dent Repair Kits, Do You need?

Each technician and type have different tools. I grew up on a ranch, so Im going to use a horse analogy: every bit in a horse's mouth is different, If you have the wrong bit, in the wrong horse's mouth, expect them to underperform. Most of the time, if you get this little thing wrong, your horse won’t even move, no matter how much you kick or fuss. The only way to know which “bit” your technician will need, is by placing hundreds of tools in their hands. They need to work with them on a variety of different metal and dent types. Most kits are going to cost 6k-7k. We do not buy these tools or gain any revenue from them, this is separate from training costs.

What To Expect to Pay Once Your Tech Is Trained?

You cannot treat a Paintless Dent Repair technician like the rest of the employees, in your typical operation or repair services. This means they need to operate independently, be given far more leeway, payed well, and never be tied to clocking in or out. Suffice it to say, you want to build an artist, not an employee. You're going to get far more work out of a PDR technician by giving them a large berth. If you tighten them up, you cant control their speed. So make them drive to finish with quality fast. Reward them with more time off, when the job is complete. As they get better, they will be able to “turn it on," which means turning your profits up.

The problem with PDR techs is that once they get good enough they can command paychecks much higher than you can pay, typically triple. If you want to retain them, you need to pay at least 37% of the ticket before taxes. That number is not random, its the sweet spot that we found to be not only profitable for the dealership/body shop, but plenty of room for the technician to grow. The main thing is that they feel they are earning enough, to go out of their way to tackle more advanced repairs. You need to set aside, 3500$ additionally every year for tooling and training. You're max out on a technician is 55%, but it might be wise to add bonus’ to hit specific goals (They should be there in five years). Furthermore, you need to have a guaranteed draw for the first two years at the percentage lower rates (i.e. you have a set amount that they will be guaranteed to earn, no matter what. When the season picks up, you draw your money back.) 

If you try to do this on your own and don’t heed this advice, just remember: Carmax spent millions along with dozens of other Fortune 500 companies and failed. You may not listen at first, but you will listen. If done right you will have a mobile paintless dent repair near me and you will significantly lower your car dent repair cost!