Lets be perfectly honest here, if you want to be, and continue to be successful then you should never consider yourself fully trained. In PDR there are always new techniques, new tools, and new marketing strategies that need to be learned or employed to keep you up to date and relevant. Having said that there will come a point when, as a Paintless Dent Removal trainee, you will need to make the transition to being paid for your services. This article is a check list or run down of actions and pointers that will help you to operate as a professional Paintless Dent Removal Technician.
It stands to reason that before you start to sell your service that you will need to have had some training. You will be far more progressive and skilful if you have some organised PDR training from recognised experts. Once you’ve had that training then you will need to be assessed. It’s all well and good having one weeks training and then going straight out as a technician, but clearly this is a recipe for failure. After your initial training you should be practicing and getting assessed regularly to gauge your progress. Here at TDN we offer free assessment sessions for that very purpose. We want to see every one who starts out in PDR succeed, so we are always willing to help you along.
Yes thats right, more training. All too often we see ‘ technicians ‘ operating in the market place who clearly haven’t had enough training. Often all they need are some pointers or tweaks to get them to where they need to be. This could also mean sales training, yes whether you admit it or not, being a PDR technician means you are primarily a salesman, if you can’t sell your service, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. Then there’s business training, social media training, phone training, pricing training. Rushing out at the beginning of your new career before you’re ready could be detrimental to your long term success.
There’s always time, despite what you may think. 10 or 20 minutes a day is better than no minutes at all. You must practice. You will have to come home from work, and even when you don’t feel like it pick up that tool and go and press some metal. Even setting up mock phone calls, or having scripts rehearsed for different scenarios. Practice, practice, practice. Put the time in early on to reap the rewards later.
Find a Mentor
This can be hard to do as often established PDR technicians don’t want to ‘ share their secrets ‘ with newbies. There are PDR techs out there who will help though, but be prepared to pay. Don’t forget, some of these guys have put some serious time in to their business to get it running perfectly, it is money well spent even on just a ride along, you will learn so much. Pick up the phone, send emails or turn up where you know they’ll be and shake some hands. You will get some knock backs, but persist. Carry their tools, wipe cars down for them, anything to be around them. It’ll be worth your time and if needs be your money.
In yourself and your equipment and tooling. If you fail to put enough time into your new business as a PDR tech it will be a long slow road. Put as much effort and time as you can into learning all aspects of your trade. Buy the right tools for the job from legitimate tool outlets. Ask opinions on which tools to buy. Yes it’s going to cost money, but all new businesses do. Start from the out set like a business and continue in that manner, that way it becomes habit.
Put in the ground work
It can be hard to get traction as the new tech on the block, but persistence is key here. You must get out of your living room and go and knock on some doors. Cold call dealerships, offer your services to body shops, hand out leaflets at the supermarket, pick up the phone, ask friends and family, to work on their cars, ask friends of friends of family friends to show what you can do. Get creative, find ways to show people your skills. Keep doing it, day in, day out, week in, week out. Slowly what will happen is your name will start to be associated with what potential customers need and the phone will start to ring.
You will need a website, and if you don’t have facebook, Twitter or Instagram or any of the social platforms you’re going to need them. Social media is now a search engine and people will look for your services there. You can join groups, share before and after photo’s of your work, offer opinions on our trade and connect with potential customers. Set up a business page and advertise! You can also ask your customers to leave reviews on your service on your social platforms and website letting other prospects know about you. Also Google now recognises social activity and will propel your website higher up rankings if you’re active on social media. Get connected!
If you’re contemplating an open day at TDN or you’re thinking about going to Auto 365, or the MTE in Orlando, our advice would be to go. Go with an open mind and mix with people of the same mindset They are an excellent place to further expand your knowledge in a neutral environment. You’re not trying to connect with the other experienced dent man on his own turf. They’re more likely to offer up help and get you connected to the right people at an open day or trade show. Share your knowledge back, you know more than you think you do.
Be the Expert
At all times. Even if it’s your first week, or even day of trading, you still know more than your customer regarding the technicalities of PDR. Having said that it is not advisable to tell your customer they don’t know what they’re talking about if you don’t agree with their expectations, or they’re pushing you for a repair you know you can’t deliver. Things can be worded in a non confrontational manner to let them know, or advise them on the best course of action. If you can’t do a repair due to your current skill level, or lack of confidence, be honest with your customer and tell them, but also offer up a solution. Maybe connect them to a technician who can do it. They will appreciate your honesty and your help to get the job done, and the other technician will remember you too, and in time work will start to flow back your way.
Be the professional
Once you start your PDR business you have set out on the path as a professional tradesman. With that come responsibilities if you want to succeed and progress. In this socially connected world it is very easy for people to share their experiences, or have an opinion on anything, good and bad. So with that in mind it pays to remain professional across the board. Be polite and courteous and offer help where and when needed. Lead by example and offer your service with value in mind. Once you start picking up customers and gaining traction you may pick up the odd hater, ignore them, use their negative energy to propel you forward safe in the knowledge you’re doing something right, you must be other wise they’d pay you no attention. Do not engage in petty squabbles or the running down of competition on media platforms or forums, it’ll make you look petty and insecure, and you’re only a screen shot and share away from your own possible demise. Keep your social pages clean and free from bad language and inappropriate images, customers will investigate you across all your platforms before they make a decision on whether to use your service and hire you.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully its a useful guide if you’re thinking about hitting that first dealership or body shop, or if you’re un sure whether you’re ready to take that leap.
We understand that pricing, route management, invoicing procedures, vehicle inspections and sales are all valid and important subjects that haven’t been covered here. We wanted to give a basic over view of some of the things that you should be considering before, or once you’ve started to trade.
Here at TDN, we are committed to your success and you can reach out to any of us any time for any help or guidance on any aspect of Paintless Dent Removal. If we don’t know the answer to a question or topic we will know some one who can help you and will happily point you in their direction. Feel free to drop into our shop in Peterborough at any time for a coffee and a chat, we will happily show you round and our advice is free.
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Thanks for reading.