Paintless Dent Repair Certifications

Wisdom is supreme--so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
Vale #10575
Master Craftsman
ARC: Hail & Retail
Bestowed, Only.
NAPDRT #6601
PDRNation #1140115
State Law: #MV99105
State Laws Florida
Military Service
Sergeant, OCS Officer
Formal Education
Think, Grow, Change

Vale Certification
The Only Third Party Verification

Unlike all of the other memberships, bestowed awards, and "certifications" from passing a workshop, Vale doesn't play favorites or care if you passed their test or not.
   The Vale Certification is not without its problems: 

  1. It doesn't account for work ethic.
  2. Bedside manner. The ability to communicate and resolve problems.
  3. Ability to perform in a team, which is how the majority of hail dent repairs are performed.
  4. The ability to remove and reinstallation of parts on vehicles or a general working knowledge of their components. 

However, it does one thing very well, it answers the question, "can this person fix a dent to perfect, under a computer gaze." In every profession, however, that's often not enough. We all know people who are qualified but lazy, which is in part why this certification has gotten lots of negative feedback within the Paintless Dent Repair community. Vale Certified technicians were hard to come by originally. They were sought after by insurance companies and there were a multitude of technicians who simply couldn't pass the exam. The price tag, along with the penalty for failure, made it a challenge for the young and hungry technicians, who wanted to make a name for themselves. The older generation of technicians initially loved the concept of Vale, it was also no surprise that they universally passed the exam. It seemed like a shoo-in for many generations to come.

Vale then made a fatal mistake
after it reached about 2500 technicians. They added three ranking stages to the hardest and final exam: Master Craftsman. This wouldn't have mattered very much if it actually had any real value, but it didn't. Essentially, during the exam, you can ask for a series of computer checks, before the final check. Think of it as a grade from the computer before the final grade. However, since the test is on a very tight timer, getting a check hurts you twice. Essentially, if you repaired all of the dents within the time allotted and you only needed three checks, you get Master Craftsman III. In contrast, if you did the same procedure with four checks, you get Master Craftsman II. With a maximum of five checks, Vale didn't really find the "break" point that added any value to the title. Furthermore, they further ostracized the older generations because they felt snubbed for joining at no small fee and time without the opportunity to earn the Master Craftsman II and III titles. Furthermore, it seems like VALE were just going for a money grab. As a result, the certification still holds value within the industry but at the moment, they are disliked within the community.

In conclusion:
Vale Certification at the Master Craftsman level has value on straight ability to repair dents and dings. However, we are looking for VALE to make some changes to how they do business.

ARC Certification

Bestowed Like The Michelin Star

ARC is not something that you can seek out and earn. Rather, it is bestowed by members within the community. It isn't just handed out for being good. It's designated by the PDR world for being amazing.

Where VALE falls short, ARC picks up the slack:

  1. It does account for work ethic.
  2. It ensures you have a good bedside manner and the ability to resolve complex problems on the fly.
  3. Teamwork is at the heart of a productive hail team. Peer evaluations are the core of what ARC is, and within the Paintless Dent Repair community, it's considered to be an actual gauge of ability.

ARC stands for Accountable, Reliable, and Credible. Quite simply, it is the only definitive way to know, without having met a technician that they are ready to work without additional guidance or support. 
It meets a very real need in an industry that is driven on trust. Often times when a large hail catastrophe hits a region, hundreds of Paintless Dent Repair technicians are mobilized. They arrive at the location and find a spot at a body shop or dealership, etc. With millions of dollars worth of damage, they waste no time and
 break into teams. A hail damaged car is typically processed in teams of two or three technicians working on one vehicle at a time, with another team of removal and reinstallation professionals on standby. 

Once the car has been broken down to its least common denominator, the real work of paintless dent removal begins. The interior is removed, hood off, trunk off, and anything else that might stand in the way of a tool touching the backside of metal. Then the dance of tapping and pushing begins, the sound is deafening with dozens of small taps and tinkering continues in the background as dents and dings are removed. None of the techs have spoken yet, other than a nod since they work in silence to protect their hearing.
One guy seems to be in his own world and you have completed 90% of the car by yourself on this 50/50 split pay. You look over at his 10% and it needs to be reworked. He is gone! He is not forgotten as word spreads throughout the ranks, he may get another shot next year, but not with this group. This is where VALE fails and ARC succeeds. 

Instead of a blacklist, its a whitelist of the very best, the guy that can stand toe-to-toe with you and earn his keep. The guy that understands that the mad dash to finish line of this storm, to get to the next one is the difference between a 200k year and a 500k year. There is no place for amateurs in this world, its dog eat dog, and it's not personal, it's about our families livelihood. 

ARC was instituted by David Haxton. He owns and operates a large paintless dent repair company that has grown to be one of the largest in North America. If quality per technician was the metric, they would be the largest by far. Unlike Vale and other memberships or certifications, ARC is bestowed not saught out. To take an example from the culinary arts, it is a Michelin star.
The technician receives this honor by secret shoppers and specifically being pointed out by another member of ARC.

NAPDRT Association 

The National Association of PDR Technicians, is less of certification and more of a legal collaboration.

The association that helps us protect customers and Paintless Dent Repair, technicians. We are a very small entity within the larger world of auto body repair and the bigger voices drowned out or concerns. 

In fact, we had no voice at all until the National Alliance of Paintless Dent Repair Technicians. If Vale answers the question, “Can you fix a dent” and ARC answers the question, “Can you work with others”, then NAPDRT answers the question, “If I'm being asked to do something unethical to your car, by big auto, where can I turn? 

In short, it helps us lobby for more comprehensive guidelines that are less arbitrary. 

   This includes an outdated pricing matrix that was built on a direct repair model in the mid-1980’s. In the 1980s, I could put a tool virtually anywhere on a vehicle without fear, today if I put a tool near your headlight and you have road tracking assistance, I just spent 1500$. As a result, we have had to master every year, make, and model of vehicle with zero fiscal motivation. Consequently,
many of the best technicians have moved away from hail damage and into other fields within the industry. There is no shortage of Paintless Dent Removal procedure technicians in the hail realm. They are being trained in record numbers, but there is no oversight. All that they seem to care about is the dollar sign at the end of the repair, and since most customers cannot tell the difference between an 80% repair and a 100% repair, the deck seems stacked against quality. Furthermore, those that are in power seem to like the 80% repairs more, since that feeds the body shop machine. We are seen as outsiders that have encroached into their very lucrative operation. Not only have we stepped on their profits, but we also have an unbeatable set of truths. 

  1. We can keep a car original, with the factory finish.
  2. We don’t affect carfax, protecting the value of a vehicle.
  3.  We are faster with virtually no turn around time or rental car uncharges for small dent repairs.
  4. We are more affordable saving customers thousands on insurance company premiums.

   Insurance companies are losing out on premiums by the millions almost approaching billions now. If the auto body industry can keep the Paintless Dent Repair industry with questionable car repair quality, they have lots to gain. They just need to hold out long enough until they can capture and control the PDR industry. Their push to hire and maintain their own PDR technicians has been a fruitless endeavor, thus far. The problem is a simple one, the just don’t have the resources to keep a PDR technician busy, year-round. Furthermore, this problem is compounded by the pluses of the dent wizard repair method. Primarily, that the body shop loses money by hiring out paintless. If they have a really good technician then they are losing profitability on automotive paint repairs. All of those little parking lot dents and dings are saving the factory paint. They say they want to keep the vehicle to its original painted surface, but in reality, they want something else, dollar signs. 

   Of course, there are always unicorns that exist in any dealership or body shop, where the relationship works, for a time. However, once a technician reaches a certain quality level, they simply cannot justify earning pennies when they could be earning dollars.

   In a nutshell, NAPDRT stands in the board room where the real decisions are made. We are championing and pushing back against a multitude of laws and to date,
 we have had virtually no impact. However, we hope that in time our voices will be heard. At the end of the day, it starts with us. It starts with me and your vehicle, the little things that I do when no one is looking. We are building a community with standards and practices, writing books, making videos and connecting through social media. It may take us another twenty years from this date in 2020, but we will be heard.

# PDR Nation

Like most good ideas *PDRNation started with some fairly lofty goals but fell short of actually doing anything of substantial value for the Paintless dent removal industry*. It does require some level of competence from the technician, by providing videos of current repairs. Primarily just small dents and hail damage repair. These repairs are reviewed and **the requester is virtually always accepted into the community**.

The initial idea was to unite all Paintless dent Repair technicians under a common goal but stopped short of actually doing anything with its members. As a result, **it's just a pay to play** dent wizard membership, into a community that adds no new content or ideas to improve our lot. Initially, it was going to confront poorly performed repairs head-on, but that failed to materialize. Removing dents is a science that saves customers money when done properly, but makes insurance companies and auto body shops money if they fail.

Since 2012, it has become more apparent that this entire enterprise was just a retirement fund for an influential technician's mother. Membership was boasted in the hopes of gaining his good graces. **Now in 2020, the membership is dying and although I agree with its initial precepts, it needs to be reborn.** If you have been reading any of my content to this point, I’m sure you can see I’m fairly opinionated.

Here is what needs to change within PDRNation for it to move forward.

1. It needs to reduce its membership costs until it starts adding value.

2. It needs to contact and become more involved in the lives of technicians.

3. Confront real problems that face the industry or at least have a plan to do so.

4. Target wrongful practices within the industry and speak without fear.

5. Remove current leadership and ownership, give it to the technicians where it belongs.

This opinion also comes with a warning. If you don't do this before to very long, you may still be an entity, but **you will be replaced** with an agency that actually has some relevancy. *Right now, it's just breathing oxygen.*