Transformation Of Paintless Dent Repair…

By Keith Shapiro, Factory Finish PDR Inc., NAPDRT Board Member

My story begins in 1994. That’s when I started down this path we all know as the paintless dent repair industry.

Let’s fast forward to 1996, when I became a corporate tech for a big box company and was given the chance to “fix” my first hail-damaged vehicle. Other techs who were around then can attest to the brutally long hours spent slaving away with mediocre tools at best, the utterly horrible reflection boards and, even worse, those good old  “lights of America,” two-bulb fluorescent light fixtures that we knew and loved.

In those days, the prices were consistently high and fair because we worked directly off the conventional hail damage estimate, and we didn’t have to give away a percentage. And how could we ever forget the dealerships greeting us with open arms and begging us to fix their “unsellable” units!

Well, now it’s the year 2000, and I decided it was time to spread my wings and go out on my own. 

So the big Y2K thing didn’t happen, but, inevitably, I did find myself back with the big box by 2001. I worked there until 2005.

It’s crazy to think that the only real changes we had gained by then were newer corded fluorescent mini lights (yeah, that was exciting!), a larger whale tail set and glue pulling was just being introduced, with a lot of skepticism from techs. After 11 years in the profession, these were the “game changers” that I can remember, and the tech base wasn’t growing much then either.

So what has changed from then until now? An influx of new techs have hit the market. There are consistently more and more companies and techs alike trying to get that corner of the industry. But just because the tech base has gotten larger, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.

Today’s World

Let’s fast forward to 2019. Today there is such an abundance of tool sources out there that it can easily make your head spin. The tools of today are constantly being revamped to make them more comfortable in our hands, more specific to the damage that needs repaired, and also to help us to be more profitable. 

Never before have we had access to the wealth of knowledge that can be so easily attained than right now. We have seasoned techs willing to share their insights with others by putting on seminars, webinars, one-on-one classes and media marketing venues.

Today’s tech can now do their day-to-day operations using mobile invoicing and tracking programs. Vehicles can be tracked at all times and programs can tell you how to get to the next location in a timely and safe manner.

Technology has made us more reliable. I remember the days of the beeper, then we upgraded to the two-way pager.  Smartphones can now help us target areas and keep us more reachable by our customers.  Today we can have a potential customer send us photos of the damage to help us pre-qualify if the damage is even repairable. What a time to be alive, huh?

Yes, we can all argue that the prices have been stagnant. But with the advancement of all these new and continuing resources and tools, we can now work faster, smarter and more efficiently. Which in my eyes, gives me the ability to generate more income better than ever before. And this is why I say we are in a PDR renaissance.

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