PDR Partnerships Can Be Profitable
With so many PDR providers available, learn what you need to ask before hiring the right one for your shop.
Paintless dent removal/repair (PDR) is the art of removing dents, dings, creases and hail damage from vehicles without the use of paint or putty and without damaging the factory finish. PDR technicians use specialized tools to resculpt the damaged metal back to the original shape by applying very precise pushes to the back of the damage. PDR is fast, effective and economical. A big plus to many consumers is PDR’s ability to be 100 percent green and environmentally friendly.
PDR technician is repairing a roof. Photo/Tommy Clayton
Is PDR right for you?
Most collision repair facilities have moved beyond the attitude that the “PDR guy is stealing my work,” which was prevalent in the industry’s early days. Many shops have found that a PDR partner can be extremely profitable and helpful to their shops.
Up-selling current customers to attract new ones is just one way to help your bottom line with PDR. Many times your customer may not even have to file an insurance claim on small damage. PDR can help your shop in ways that collision repairers may not have thought.
For instance, have you ever had that pesky dent in a blend panel that will ruin the look of a great job? PDR may just be the answer. Everyone has experienced a time when the car was all ready to go and be delivered, and you noticed a missed ding. Your PDR provider can be your shop’s best friend at a time like this. Hailstorms can prove a boost to your shop’s bottom line if you have a genuine partner in your PDR provider. How can you find a genuine PDR partner?
Finding a qualified PDR service provider
Finding a good PDR provider can be a challenge today. Every PDR technician and company claims to be the best in the world. A little research and due diligence can often bring the desired results. The first step is to determine your needs for a PDR provider. A shop in a hail-prone area needs to have a provider with the capabilities of handling a hail event. Many local technicians are able to network with good technicians across the country to handle any needs. Some local technicians are able to handle any ding problem, but unable to handle a hail catastrophe. In such a case your shop would need to look for a hail repair company to handle the hail repair. A few simple questions can easily aid your search for a great company with whom to partner – whether locally or nationally.
Consider whether the provider has liability insurance. General liability coverage by your provider technician is needed. Check to make sure coverage remains in force until all work is completed. Verify the amounts of the coverage.
A good PDR provider can bring happy customers. Photo Credit/Tommy Clayton
Some questions you should ask before selecting a quality provider include:
1) Is the provider legal?
2) Does the provider use certified technicians?
3) Does the PDR take shortcuts in repair damage?
4) Will they stay until every repair is complete?
5) What procedures are in place in case something goes wrong?
A great way to find a qualified technician or provider is to check with the NAPDRT’s technician locator at napdrt.org. Also check out TopTech Finder Inc., an online site matching body shops and paintless dent repair techs together. Visit TopTechFinder.com for more info.
A body shop sets up a drive-through claims service for hail accidents. Photo Credit/Mike Broughton
Integrating PDR into your business.
After you have found a qualified PDR service provider, you will need to test the quality of your individual technician. Some ways to test your local technician are on a used panel or on missed damage after paint. It has been a practice of some companies to obtain the work of an account with an extremely good technician who will be replaced with an underqualified technician in the future. Although at times your provider may be forced by circumstances to send different technicians, you will want to make sure these technicians have similar abilities. An often-overlooked area is your employees’ interaction with your PDR technician. It needs to be made clear to your employees that the PDR technician is not replacing them, but will be an asset to the shop.
A local PDR company servicing your shop needs to work with your estimators to help them understand the individual technician’s skill set and basic pricing. This will save you many calls and much time and effort on dents that are not “PDRable.”
Technicians vary with their skill set and work ethic. If your local company will be handling hail catastrophes, they will need to be familiar – as will you – with the hail matrix and hail estimation. Hail damage, door dings and large-dent PDR are three different animals and estimated differently. Hail estimation will include the ability to assist with a drive-in claims center as well as to work with your staff to properly manage and schedule claims and repairs in a professionally managed way.
Door dings are the most simple estimates compared to the other forms of PDR. The large-dent PDR estimates are the most complicated. Such variables as location, material (steel, aluminum, high-strength steels) and dent size will come into play. A technician’s skill set will play a large part in any PDR situation, but probably no more than in large dent PDR. A well-informed, quality technician should have the skill set to master these with proper networking with other quality technicians.
Marketing PDR’s availability in your shop can produce the results you would like. Your regular advertising should include a mention of PDR, as well as your social media advertising. Social media can be a great way to attract PDR customers to your shop, especially in hail catastrophes. An established shop in which local residents and adjusters are familiar can bring vehicles to your shop. Sales and pricing sheets are other marketing aids that prove helpful for your estimators to promote PDR in your shop. Brochures in the waiting area of your shop or in a nice display on the estimator’s desk can be effective. Some shops and PDR companies have collaborated to produce posters and hang them where appropriate.
PDR has become a regular fixture in most collision repair facilities. Repair facilities have realized the advantages of having a great PDR provider as their partner. Practicing due diligence in the beginning of this relationship can bring rich rewards later.
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