Hooray for Ohio! House Bill 526, which is jointly sponsored by Rep. Matt Lynch (R), and Robert Hagan,(D) has been submitted for approval. What does this mean? Well to you, a PDR Technician, in short, this Bill protects you and anyone in the Collision Repair Industry, from being snubbed by insurance companies and gives you an equal chance at receiving claimant’s vehicles for repair.
Up until now, in case this has not affected you as of yet, insurance company’s have a list of the body shops and PDR Technicians who are willing to work for just about nothing. The DRP programs that some shops have signed up for, wish that they had never signed up for them in the first place. There are body shops and PDR technicians that have an agreement that restricts the money made, meaning that everything that comes to them is quoted much lower than anyone else would quote it. They aren’t even making any money on parts or supplies and are working for an extremely low hourly amount. How the insurance company convinced them to sign such an agreement baffles the entire industry.
If that wasn’t enough of a shock, these businesses that have been swindled by the insurance companies, also have to do their administrative work. For example, what is normally the work of the appraisers has become the work of the collision repairers. This begins with the taking photos, providing quotes, and declaring total losses where applicable.
To perform such a task would mean that extra help would have to be hired to take on the additional paperwork and never would there be any compensation for the tasks. Then finally, to add insult to injury, the shops or PDR technicians caught up in this sick cycle have also signed off on liability. Meaning, that if something happens to the vehicle and there is a lawsuit as a result, the insurance company isn’t liable for a single thing. Why would someone do all of this? Are these businesses that have no self-respect? This type of activity is the exact thing that destroys the collision repair industry and waters down professional tradesmen.
- Soaking your gun for the whole evening or day is not a good idea. Thinner is a chemical after all and that chemical will eat away at your seals. There really is no room for laziness when it comes to all of your tools. Your tools are as important as your work that you receive, if your tools are dirty or damaged then you can’t honestly offer exceptional work to your customer’s. You MUST clean your spray gun immediately after applying waterborne base coats. Anything waterborne is extremely difficult to clean when it sets too long in the gun nozzle.
- Make it a part of your cleaning routine to break down the spray gun and give it a thorough cleaning to ensure trouble-free operation and perfect finishes.
- There are a few considerations to weigh before cleaning your spray gun. For instance, does your state allow this? Meaning what chemicals you would be using to clean the gun. You would still want to unscrew your air cap to allow the air to back flush or “percolate” the fluid passages of the gun. You can find some products that have incorporated solvent and water to offer a one-step procedure for manual cleaning or flushing the gun. You must protect the air channels from these types of solutions. They do make the manual cleaning much quicker though. These products are for manual cleaning only! Dry the gun after cleaning and DO NOT soak the gun in this type of waterborne cleaning solution.
- Do Not allow your guns to soak in the waterborne cleaning solutions.
- Remember that cleaning the gun is a necessity, there are no negotiations on this point. How you clean it and with what makes a lot of difference to the longevity of the gun. Don’t take the chance of throwing away hard earned money by mistreating your spray gun. If you treat it right it will last almost forever.
If you are a new graduate of The Ding King Training Institute, then you probably know full well how to clean your paint guns because you just had intensive training. However, it never hurts to have a list of how to’s on the gun so I am going to give you one. This will be common sense to a lot of people, but there are those that have not taken a comprehensive course with us who will be able to benefit from this information. So with that in mind, let’s get to your list.
- If you have a clogged spray gun, the next time you go to use it, you may have some very big problems. To clean your gun you should only use fresh thinner. Never use old or dirty thinner as they can have dried up residue from your last cleaning. In this case, you would just be adding insult to injury. The quality of your work is a direct result of any laziness or forgetfulness and it will be evident the next time you go to use the gun, so just make it a habit to clean it after each use, period.
- Purchase your own blow dryer or use a significant others to blow dry your spray gun after cleaning it. The price to purchase one is nominal so to save an argument later, just buy one for your tool kit. Now you can get paint on it and not have to worry about shortening your life.
- Make sure that you are using the correct brushes for cleaning your gun. A spray gun is a precision made instrument and your brushes should be precision brushes made for this type of cleaning.
Further to the two-bay separate area; it has to have separate air conditioning and separate heating. But here comes yet another kicker, vehicle manufacturers are going to require that any body shop that is going to be working on their vehicles will have to go through their provided training and inspection of site. So, those that have the Jaguar seal of approval will not be able to work on the F-150. This type of a strong hold is going to make it increasingly difficult as a PDR Technician to work on these vehicles. It’s just a matter of time before the repairs become mainstream because as mentioned, there are other vehicles like GM that are jumping on board to the aluminum alloy bodies.
As mentioned in Part I, the reason and urgency for such a huge change to aluminum alloy bodies is the “Gas Guzzler Tax” imposed by our government onto manufacturers annually is eating up profits, by millions. So for some time, manufacturer’s have been dedicated to finding ways to make their vehicles more efficient. This Ford F-150 alone dropped its body weight by 750 pounds. That’s a substantial difference. Of course, I always thought that it was the weight and ruggedness that made the F-150 so meaty. So will the boat pull the truck?
Body shops are caught between a rock and a hard place. If they don’t invest in the new equipment for their aluminum customers, then they will fall behind and lose a profound amount of business. On the other hand, if they invest in the equipment and space, they are taking a calculated risk. The risk is in more than just the finances but also in the insurance. How hard is it to get approval? If you get it, how much does it pay? Once again, it will be the shops that will suffer while the kinks are being worked out, at a snails pace.
Even the shops, the 20%, that are equipped to do the work because of the training they had received from Jaguar, doubt their total ability to manage the F-150’s. The certification took an extraordinarily long time and the investment was beyond imagination. This is before we even talk about the cost of the equipment. The true concern is, even after all of that, will what they have already done as far as investment in time and training, be enough? Will there have to be a retraining with Ford’s specific type of aluminum? Will more equipment need to be bought?
The one question that I am sure some of you are asking is what and how the insurance companies are viewing this and what type of fee are they willing to pay for these services? So far? They are not nearly close to what they should be paying out. This is where the body shop outrage is coming from. As a matter of fact, many are suggesting boycotting the work until there is at least enough value to offset the absorbent cost of adding the service.
It’s not just the service but it is also the space. You need an entirely different location with different air ventilation than that of the rest of the body shop. You have to make absolutely sure that the metals don’t mix. One shop owner, who already had a separate two-bay area, paid $25,000 to get aluminum ready. This was three years ago. The cost for an average body shop, who has to build or lease a two-bay building separate from their own, and then pay for the training and time loss of a least one of the body shop employees is easily three times or more the original $25,000 that this other body shop owner paid.
The response to Fords new Aluminum F-150 has spurred many outbursts some are cheers and some are pure outrage. Outrage belongs to the body shops, and for good reason; this new aluminum body will require purchasing the proper equipment to repair the aluminum vehicle collision damage and will demand a significant investment. It’s tough to justify the investment without having first having a client come in and need the services.
The fear is that the body shops will have to add the special equipment, pay for the proper training, and then only to discover that the expectation of being able to do more is higher and the returns are lower than in normal body work. Basically, the shop owner is not realizing a full value for the money expended so the time to pay it all off is doubled if not tripled. The industry expectations are completely unrealistic which is why only 20% of the industry is ready to perform structural repairs on aluminum vehicles.
To be completely fair, Ford is not the first vehicle manufacturer to introduce the aluminum design. For instance, brands like Jaguar and BMW have been using aluminum parts since the early 2000’s and GM is only just around the corner from sticking its finger in the pie.
Jaguar had offered its own certification program about three years ago so those shops that got on board then are pretty pleased with themselves now. Of course, to still not have earned your initial investment back after three years is a hard pill to swallow and a pill that not many have body shops are willing to consider yet. As a matter of fact, most of the shops are going to wait until they actually have a customer who needs the service, which they will farm out until they bring their shop up to standard.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I tell you that PDR Technology is an infant in the automobile industry. PDR Technology is more of an offshoot of the Body Shop industry. Whichever, there are some things that are going to come in the future that you will not be able to manage, at least not right away. This industry is full of many brilliant people, especially The Ding King Training Institute. This training institute has it’s finger on the pulse of trends and technology that they are dedicated to staying in the forefront of, especially for you, its graduates. Not only is this evident in their top-notch training but also in their cutting edge design and development of the tools used to perform the technology. These tools are so revered that even Snap-On carries them on their tool trucks.
But what is on the minds of the auto body shop industry as of late is Ford’s release of its new F-150. The topic of conversation is the fact that these new F-150’s are made of aluminum. Manufacturer’s have been pushed into the need to come up with technology that will create a more fuel-efficient vehicle wholly because of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards requiring it. So, as a result, Ford has taken its most popular model, the F-150, and traded its standard metal body for a military grade aluminum alloy which caused the truck to drop its overall weight by 750 lbs.
Manufacturers have been paying a “Gas Guzzler” tax for every vehicle created that doesn’t follow the CAFE standards. These are issues that the industry has been aware of for some time. How does it affect body shops? Even more important if you are a PDR Technician, how does it affect you? These are good questions and ones that I will cover in this series of Posts.