Going forward, more and more conventional repairs will be written for PDR as the industry matures and insurance companies see the increased viability of its capabilities. It will be up to the PDR schools to be on the cutting edge of improvements and then provide that information to the graduated technicians. As long as our industry continues to get smarter, we can be sure that insurance company’s will continue to view us as a professional industry.
Fortunately for students of The Ding King Training Institute, we are recognized, industry wide, as being the most up to date, cutting edge school with advanced trending foresight and forecasting. Not only are our trainers superb, but what they are training is in a league of their own. Once graduated, you can keep your fingers on the pulse of change by following our blog, which delivers a thorough examination of all changes by researching so that you don’t have to.
PDR is only limited by the physics of stretched metal, impossible or difficult access points, and the technicians’ individual skill level. There are several niche areas within PDR such as Route Techs who service auto dealers and become very knowledgeable side panel damage. Then you also have the hail techs who specialize and become experts at top panel repairs.
As it applies to insurance, most don’t allow drilling for PDR access. Hail specialists have learned how to perform PDR following the insurance company’s guidelines. They have learned how to detrim panels for easy access, using advanced tooling designs and using glue-pulling procedures. Route Tech’s will not be as familiar with no-drill techniques because drilling is largely acceptable at auto dealers and wholesalers.
When PDR work is done correctly, technicians can bring a car back to, or close to, its original condition and wipes out any issues with diminished value. Again, as long as PDR technicians continue to grow in their skills and seek out updated and informative ongoing training, the insurance company’s will continue to accept PDR Technology.
Here’s a story about a guy that took his BMW M5 into the dealership for an oil change and for brakes. Apparently, the 20 year old technician crashed the car during a test drive. The car dealership so graciously offered him $2,500 in parts so kind. However, there was $30,000 in damages.
Following is the story as reported by the car owner. You can find the entire story and comments here.
Dealership rags my car and wrecks it on a test drive!
Took my car into dealership this morning for a oil/brake change. I get a call a few hours later (not even from the manager of the dealership) that my car had an “accident” while being test driven. They stated the driver hit a patch of sand and slid into the curb at 20mph. Damage…Wheel cracked, tire blown, front end will need repaint and the strut is cracked open. Immediately called B.S. on the story and it was obvious temp manager knew what really happened when I got there but would not admit it. I asked where it happened and he said a few streets behind the dealership. So, I go check out the area and it didn’t take long to find it. Around a turn was 30ft of tire marks (no sand) and not only one but two separate curb impacts and coming to rest in a puddle of strut fluid. Total distance from first curb impact to strut puddle was about 120ft! So, it is obvious what happened, the mechanic was out ragging my car and lost control. Manager on duty actually had the balls to mention the lack of treadwear left on my rear tires as being a possible cause! We are talking a 100 degree day and dry as hell! He had nothing to say as to why the mechanic test drove in M mode (full dynamic off)! No M mode, no accident.
I have already told them to not touch anything and do not order anything until I contact them. I have already documented the crash site with video/pictures. Police told me they could not take a report because BMW had moved the car before I got there.
Here is yet another one, and the last of this series. My point in these posts is that there are many things to consider when taking on a car dealership on a regular basis. It’s unfortunate, but most dealerships are a prime example of how they have such a negative affect on people. As history proves, and is still proving, a car dealership is very cut throat. You may think that you are an accepted part of dealership gang, but you will soon discover that this industry is one of the most competitive and the only thing on their minds is the bottom line. This isn’t a bad thing overall, but in the case of dealerships, it’s the bottom line no matter who they have to screw to get it. I mean this literally and figuratively. Here’s yet another story for you:
The Dealership Wrecked My Car
I took my 2006 Rendezvous over to a servicing dealership for a minor repair. The car doesn’t even have 20,000 miles on it and has never been in an accident. When the dealership took it for a test drive to see what could be wrong, they got into an accident. the damages are a little over $8,000 and my car is worth $16,000 (well it was). They’ve given me a rental car and are going to repair all of the damages. However, now my car will never be the same, and hasn’t it depreciated in value due to the accident? When I originally took it in, the service guy told me that I needed a front left tire because of the threading. The front right one is good because I just replaced it six months ago. However, he said that if you replace one you need to replace both and out the door the cost would be $510. Well, now since the accident, the tire that I had replaced not too long ago was ruined in the accident and refuses to replace the other one because it’s not covered.
As a PDR Technician, you may find yourself at the end or in the middle of a really bad experience for the customer of a car dealership. I am going to share a few stories with you about what happens and the horrors that customers have to go through. Getting work from a dealership is usually a good thing but you need to be aware of your potential in a lawsuit pending repairs. The dealerships have a really bad reputation for not just their over confident Salesmen but also their underhanded ways of dealing with honesty and integrity. Following, in the next few posts, are some horror stories by customers experiences in these environments. Let’s get started.
This first story is written from experience. My son was buying his first car. We did the usual dealership hopping to find it and finally decided on one dealership and went online to see the choices. He found the care of his dreams. Their online site offered pictures from every direction and a multitude on interior photos as well. We went down to the dealership, put a hold on the car, and would be back in two days to pay cash for it. We came back in the two days, signed the paperwork as they were driving the car up to us. The back left panel had a huge dent in it. The dealership denied any responsibility but if we would like to fix it, they had a great PDR Technician who could manage it for us. I argued of course that we didn’t buy it with a dent. They responded that we would have to prove it.
We went home, printed off the pictures of the vehicle that THEY took, and proved that the dent was not there when we put a deposit on it. Cutting to the chase, they had to fix it and we got a fabulous car. Oh, I also got some of the money refunded for the price of the car because I proved that the car had depreciated because of the damage caused by them. Excellent end to the day.
Not everyone is so lucky. Follow me to the next post for another Horror story.
Some PDR Technicians make the mistake of focusing on only one or the other, Retail or Wholesale. You need to start thinking of doing both. Unless you have a permanent position with a dealership and making plenty of money in wholesale, you will want to dabble in both. Most wholesalers are weather chasers. This means that they are wholly depending on the weather to bring a good hailstorm to make their money. This idea could work if you live in an area that has daily hailstorms, but what happens when hailstorm season passes?
You can do both. There are some that would think this is forward thinking, but why not? Why couldn’t you do both? If you want to keep your skills up and excel at the services that you offer and the quality of those services, you will have to do both. Yet another thing to think about is that the weather chasing wholesalers are competing with many other wholesalers. It’s the most cutthroat type of business that you will ever encounter. Everyone around you is doing it cheaper than you which causes you to drop your prices. Soon, there really is no profit and the time spent is grueling.
Your retail customers are loyal! Once they have found you and they like you, your business will grow exponentially for your efforts. Be patient and give your business the chance to grow. It will take time but you could always throw a wholesale deal or two to make up for any slack. Remember too, that dealerships are just as cutthroat. Don’t let them bully you into working for free just because they say that Johnny does it for half the price. You have to know when to walk away from a low potential customer. Not every job is the same and your flexibility will go a long way. When hailstorms do come, well heck yeah see if you can score, just don’t be afraid to look for retail customers too.
While living in a rural area isn’t a sin, it can make business harder for you. Unfortunately, farmers don’t really care about small dings in their personal vehicles and especially don’t care about the dings in their farm equipment. If you’re lucky, they will have a wife who doesn’t think in that same way, and they would like their vehicle looking beautiful. They do after all have friends at the Club.
So, once you have done all of the wives vehicles, what will you do? You will have to really get creative to make it work. That’s just the hard truth of it. How you wonder? Well hopefully you are within two to three hours from the closest metropolitan area. You will have to solicit by way of your computer and set appointments for once a week when you will make the trip and stay over for a day or two. Hopefully, you will have a friend or family member that will allow you to stay with them so that you don’t have to suffer the cost of a Hotel room.
Next, you are going to have to invest a great deal of time in social media and get your brand recognized in your targeted demographic. It will take you quite a bit more energy but if you are dedicated to your success, then the effort will be minimal in comparison. Depending on whether you are targeting high end clientele within a specialty market, if you make it and strike the mother lode, you may find that having a small apartment for the days that you are in town will serve you well.
Even if you are just starting and have not yet struck the mother lode, consider everything that you do as an adventure, and gets you one step closer to where you want to be. It’s all worth it and it can be done.
The last and final post for this series. Let’s get started.
When shopping for insurance, be sure to get two or three quotes, and don’t be afraid to go to a brokerage house that deals with many different carriers. You ultimately want a carrier with an A, A+, or A- rating. Most often this type of carrier is familiar with your needs as they write premium policies for repair shops, car washes, limousine companies and other automotive types of businesses. Start with your current insurance company, if they can’t provide you a quote, they will point you in the right direction. Once you have this process under your belt, you should go back and shop two or three again after two to three years. This ensures that you are paying a competitive price for your policy.
When your business takes off, and it will, you may find that you are going to need additional insurance if your mobile detailing operation begins to work at airports, parking structures, parking lots of office buildings, condo properties and at car dealerships. You will want to keep a copy of your policy with you and your vehicle at all times in case the property management team wants to confirm your coverage and the amount.
Finally, as you begin to hire employees, you will want to have your insurance carrier check their driving record before you decide to hire them. If they have a poor driving record and history, you may not be able to extend an employment offer to them. It’s not worth the risk.
Questions? The Ding King Training Institute.
Hopefully, you understand that you need insurance by now. What I would like to address next is that while you have the insurance company on the line or in their office, you have their undivided attention, you hope. Now you need to suggest insurance for your tools. If they are really good they will suggest this to you anyway, otherwise, you will need to address it. The insurance that you want needs to be against theft. Imagine someone walking up and grabbing one of your work machines, perhaps a buffer, vapor steamer, or polisher, these items are expensive to replace without any insurance. The cost of getting this type of coverage is nominal depending on how high you go, and even then the amounts on coverage at the highest amount of a million are still very little. Add this to your policy premium package by getting an umbrella policy which will include everything you need, such as covering the vehicle you are working on against damage and theft, coverage for your equipment and coverage for pick-up and delivery of any vehicle.
Working in a mobile detailing business costs less annually in insurance than a stationary garage would pay. That makes sense right? So let’s say you were to get $500,000 worth of coverage for a mobile detailing business, you would pay around $1,800 per year, or about $150 per month. You will probably need to pay at least 20% of the $1,800 as a down payment to get you up and running. If you really do have a stationary garage, then you should plan on paying at least 25% more for your premium package. Still, far less than you would pay for a lawsuit. Heck, just the cost of the Attorney could potentially wipe out your business.
Bottom line? Get insurance, NOW! You can’t afford not to. Questions? The Ding King Training Institute.