Be Valuable By Preparing For the Inevitable Aluminum Changes Part III


Training for certification with, for instance, Tesla, requires a new and open minded attitude. The concept is so different that most are inclined to reject the process.

The investment of both time and finances, while getting certified, will be well worth the effort as you can bring in twice the revenue a steel-bodied vehicle can bring. That’s just a starting point, in most cases, its triple the amount.

Since the aluminum repair market is still in its early stages, there are many shops and local groups that are holding clinics or workshops to educate customers and insurance companies. These types of workshops are popping up all over the US and can and quite often are including representatives from places like Tesla or others that are manufacturing these aluminum vehicles.

These workshops strive to really drive home just how serious the need for repairers is and just how important it is to know the risks in taking the vehicle to a shop or technician for repairs that they just aren’t equipped or educated to do.

If you take the time now to position yourself in these latest technologies, you can be certain that you can and will secure your position in the community as the go to expert in all things aluminum. Not a bad title to sport.

Fortunately for you, we offer courses on how to work with aluminum and are very much on the cutting edge of these changes. Our mission is to produce the best technicians available and give you every opportunity for success. If you are not already a student, give us a call so that we can discuss your future. Your choices and your dreams determine the rest of your life. If the collision industry is fascinating to you, as it is for many, this is the right place to put the ball in motion. Our staff are highly trained and experienced and can make this learning experience the best you have ever had.

Be Valuable By Preparing For the Inevitable Aluminum Changes Part II


Paying attention to your demographics and the amount of aluminum vehicles available to work on will let you know how demanding the need is for those technicians that can work on them. Still, even if it is slow now, it will increase. Take this time to get into classes and prepare yourself.

Another suggestion is to study nearby dealerships and watch their sales of aluminum-bodied vehicles. Next, you will want to gauge the local competition, i.e. other PDR technicians or shops. Dealerships are going to begin to demand work or repairs to be done on these vehicles and if possible, you need to get your foot in the door. The only way to do this is to get the education and certifications by car manufacturer’s giving you permission to work on their manufactured vehicles.

Programs such as Tesla are provided for the collision repair industry and will educate you on what you need to be able to work on their vehicles. This process will be the same for all such vehicles. Each manufacturer has its own set of requirements that must be followed.

Shops and dealerships everywhere are having a very difficult time finding qualified technicians. Pretty much, if you are trained and certified, your prices are your own. You can really stand to make quite a bit of money if you position yourself well.

Referring back to Tesla, they have a unique bonding process for paneling and structure components. They take a combination of speed and patience. If you mess up, you mess up the additional panels you’re connecting to. It has to be done right the first time which requires a trained eye to make sure the lines and fit are right.

Be Valuable By Preparing For the Inevitable Aluminum Changes Part I


In order to make true strides in this industry of collision repair, you need to further your knowledge and stay ahead by capitalizing on trends not yet widely known or understood by other technicians in the industry.

You need to study and learn as much as you possibly can and make adjustments where needed. Learn from your past mistakes, be observant when watching others and continually strive to improve your techniques.

Applying yourself to your future opens doors to gaining much more work. As I’ve spoken about before, the industry is shifting and shifting fast. Aluminum is the new black and you need to make yourself fully aware of the differences this will mean to your personal business. If you are shrugging off the inevitable, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Many body shops are making the changes needed to accommodate the changes and it may be in your best interest to see who is and go visit them. Get their ideas on where they are going with the changes and what they think it will mean to their future. I can’t imagine that they would kick you out because you are genuinely curious. Find out what the best time to stop by is and go and check it out.

Aluminum is the future so begin to focus in this direction. Some shops have been set up for quite a while because they only work on high-end cars, which means they have been dealing with the aluminum issues for a while. Even as far back as 2008 since that is when European cars such as the Mercedes S Class have been using aluminum paneling.

SCRS Study Reveals What Everyone Already Knew Part III


It’s a great example of how we can directly impact the consumer experience in a positive manner if the focus becomes on educating the vehicle owner on the realities of the repair process.”

It’s disappointing that there has been so many bad feelings created between collision repair shops and technicians and insurance companies. With the insurance company setting up the technicians to look bad, a lot of bad blood has been spilled. Insurance leaders that are directly responsible for training its own and third party companies to do the estimates need to make the changes from the top down. Start by training the new estimators and the current through a very progressive process. Perhaps swipe their brains clear so that they see the technicians and body shops a part of a team and collision family. Wouldn’t it be nice if just once the estimator backed you up? How about a claim estimator helping to find solutions instead of pointing the finger as has been done for decades?

It’s not rocket science, its sound and sage advice for insurance companies. We don’t have to be on opposing ends having a tug-a-war, we just need realistic expectations for both the customer and technicians. Expectations that the insurance companies can stand behind and trust that they too are a part of the solution not the problem. Do unto others and simple principles like this are the key to making the aggressive forward changes that must be changed. There’s no room in this society of completely transparent expectations for the bullying ways of old. Neither side of this coin should feel motivated to slander or destroy careers based on inaccurate demands. Know what you’re asking and know what your answer would be. How long will it take? Each individual case has different responses. There is no set in stone guide that insurers should go by because not every accident ends in the same way with the same damages. Seek solutions.

SCRS Study Reveals What Everyone Already Knew Part II


Recognizing these factors, all the results still confirmed that none of the numbers produced anything resembling the expectations being placed on repairers by some in the insurance industry.”

According to the SCRS, insurance companies using a six-hour-per-day calculation give customers an expectation that a 30-hour job will be completed in five days. Others using a five-hour-per-day benchmark, say that same job will be completed in six days.

“The resulting calculations demonstrate the huge level of disparity between reality and expectation,” added Schulenburg. “Unfortunately, these false levels of expectation add waste into the repair process by creating costly and unnecessary administration for both the repairer and the rental agency, and can almost assuredly factor in a level of frustration for the consumer that could be avoided if we used better information to set their expectation at the onset of the process. The objective should be to set an expectation that will produce a consumer experience that lives up to what was promised; unfortunately, if we use bad data to establish the metrics, we are setting ourselves up for failure from the beginning.”

SCRS national director Dusty Womble used the same methods to calculate repair expectation times in his own facility, Roger Beasley Collision Center in Austin, Texas. After the analysis, he determined that 2.0 hours per day was the appropriate expectation level to give his customers, citing the complexity and challenges involved in the repair process.

“Interestingly, the adjusted formula made a huge difference in our customer interactions,” Womble said. “Our Customer Service Index (CSI) scores shot up by about 7 percentage points, simply because the consumer perception regarding the vehicle being delivered ‘on time’ changed. We didn’t adjust anything else in our workflow, other than the expectation we were setting up front for the anticipated completion.

SCRS Study Reveals What Everyone Already Knew Part I


The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) performed a new study to determine where the facts are when the question of body shops not meeting insurance company’s expectations for the time it should take to repair a vehicle. This has always been imbalanced and PDR Technicians and body shops nationwide will always stand on opposite sides of what is a reasonable amount of time that it should take to repair a vehicle.

The survey was conducted by SCRS who analyzed repair data provided by CCC Information Services Inc. and Mitchell International, relative to hours per claim in the fourth quarter of 2014, and compared those statistics to the average length of rental from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and The Hertz Corporation over that same time period.

While cross referencing the data provided different results, no combination of data sets supported an expectation reaching 3.0 hours per day. (Results were obtained by dividing the average hours per claim by the average length of rental.) For example, comparing the CCC information with that of Enterprise showed that, on average, a 30 hour job took an estimated 15 days to produce—giving a median multiplier of 0.5.

The results were similar to those of Mitchell’s Auto Physical Damage report for first quarter 2013. In that study, the median multiplier across 49 states was 0.47 with a standard variation of 0.05.

“We recognize the challenges associated with drawing conclusions from two disparate data sources,” added Luis Alonso, SCRS industry issues committee chairman. “Our conclusions are going to have a higher standard of deviation because we are averaging averages rather than raw data, and also because the data sets may cover two different spans of information.

“For instance, [insurance provider] estimate data is based on overall uploaded estimates which will reflect some vehicles that may not be repaired, and rental company data is based on repaired vehicles that did utilize a rental.

Wooden Wheels To Alloy Wheels; What’s The Real Story? Part VII



In the US, wheel repair, specifically severely damaged wheels, started as a direct result of the insurance business. The first companies offering repairs did so from machine shops where they utilized welding and tracer lathes. Polished and painted wheels were then re-polished and re-painted to make the job complete. This repair process is referred to as re-manufacturing. Today’s shops, however, utilize sophisticated CNC lathes and, like the OEMs, they powder coat versus wet paint. Two of the early companies that provided re-manufacturing services have grown into multi-million dollar businesses and account for over 100 million USD in annual sales. Their specialty is core exchange programs –purchasing damaged cores from salvage yards and re-manufacturing them. Over the years they have accumulated tremendous inventories exchanging wheels held in inventory for damaged cores. Several hundred smaller companies around North America account for an additional 400 million USD in annual gross revenue.

Early pioneers offered on-the-car repairs, a process including sanding and crude paint matching on damages up to the tire wall. Early repair processes were slow and often neglected damage to the wheel’s interior. PDR technicians emerged as a mobile alternative to shop- based providers and “on-the-car” repair services. The mobile wheel repair industry was born and with it came created technologies that deliver shop- based quality cosmetic wheel repair in a mobile environment.

Just as the wheel has evolved, so will the concept of wheel repair. Complex designs and materials in alloy wheels are sure to continue, and so is the development of the tools and methods design to repair them. As a PDR Technician, you have the golden opportunity to make your own history. Heck, you may be the guy that comes up with the next great alloy wheel repair that will change the way we work with and look at alloy. While it’s said that the wheel industry has completely spun out and there is no more room or technology that would or could develop the next great wheel, I think if you want to, you can decide to do anything you want. Dare to dream.

Wooden Wheels To Alloy Wheels; What’s The Real Story? Part VI



Race cars use alloy wheels because they are lighter weight, cause less tire stress, and have much better balance; all of which tends to be beneficial for increased speed. The biggest concern that people have with alloy wheels, though, is the cost. Steel wheels are definitely less expensive to manufacture, so they are of course more affordable. In the long run however, the price you pay is offset by the fact that you are getting more for your money.

In today’s auto market, alloy wheels are an attractive selling feature in new and pre-owned vehicles. Whether it’s a set of 22” inch chrome aftermarket mags, or 17” OEM wheels apart of a luxury trim package, alloy wheels seem to be more popular than ever before. On the surface, the characteristics of alloy wheels seem largely cosmetic in nature, underlying features including improved handling and suspension, reduction of road mass and fuel consumption, and improved braking do add to vehicle safety and performance standards thereby becoming considerably more common in economy and subcompact vehicles.

The use of alloy wheels began in the mid-90s as a means to dress up high-end European cars. As these expensive wheels became more popular, the concept was duplicated by aftermarket specialty manufacturers offering wheels that were not only stylized, but looked sexy and sleek, too! Demand for their supply increased. Within five years, domestic and Japanese manufacturers had also begun installing alloys on their high-cars. Today, alloy wheels are the manufacturers’ wheel of choice. The price of aluminum and its lighter weight, as well as its good looks, provides a very reasonable alternative to outdated steel wheels and hubcaps. Unfortunately, with poor road conditions, debris, and increased traffic and accidents increased the damage or bends to alloys leading to costly wheel replacement. The need for wheel repair was born.

Why PDR Technology Is An Economical Solution For Tight Budgets Part II

piggy bank


Paintless Dent Repair isn’t free but you will find it to be significantly lower in price in comparison to a traditional body shop. In addition, there are quite a few that work with the insurance companies on your behalf if you have already paid your deductible for the year. Even if you have not, you will find that Paintless Dent Repairs will run you anywhere from 70-80% less than body shop repairs. Most of the time, body shops will replace the panel that is damaged. That saves them a lot of physical work but costs you more and keeps your car in the shop for longer than you had hoped for. You’ll still have to pay for labor so you can see how the bill can grow and grow without much effort.

In case you are unsure, Paintless Dent Repair basically molds the dents back into where they belong. This technology is far different than the usual way that body work is done and requires a skill set that most in the collision industry don’t possess. They need finesse to be able to manipulate a dent out of your bumper and more. Paintless Dent Repairers are able to not only come to you at your convenience but also don’t have any overhead that is passed on to the customer.

If you and your family are on a budget, Paintless Dent Repair may be your perfect answer. PDR technicians are highly trained and incredibly reliable. You don’t have to worry about spending more than is necessary. You can keep your budget intact and end up with professional results that make perfect sense to you and your family. At the end of the day you will be extremely pleased with the bottom line and you’ll still be able to feed your family.

Wooden Wheels To Alloy Wheels; What’s The Real Story? Part V



Since that first wooden wheel changed the world, man has been improving upon the concept with many different materials and ideas. History shows us that the first successful wheels were not actually solid, but were made from boards, fastened together and then the edges were rounded. The theory is that a solid wheel was just not strong enough to support any real weight, for long distances, over difficult ground. Many millennia later, someone dreamed of the incredible spoked wheel, which is essentially the basis for every wheel invented since.

Wrapping It Up

The improvements engineered for tires, as well as for rims has continued through the years, with the inventions and enhancements of nylon, cord, rubber, and other materials tried out for different types of tires. The actual rim or wheel has been experimented with and altered in design and material as the world discovered steel, iron, and aluminum, and variations of these metals, and also different types of plastics. Though for the record, plastics are not yet considered suitable for structure of a rim, but mostly for cosmetic purpose, to cover the rim and improve the appearance.

The most popular choice of wheels today, is the alloy wheel or the aluminum rim if you’d rather. And not only because they are so much prettier than steel rims, though they really are. However, the real reason that alloy is so much more popular, is because it is so much lighter, and structurally stronger. Steel wheels and hubcaps are heavy, and when riding in a car that has them, you feel every bump in the road. Aluminum wheels make for a much smoother ride; actually, it can feel like gliding over the road. That is why most luxury automobiles have them now.