PDR Tech of the Month Woody Koss

Woody Koss, a 27 year old male who loves Channing Tatum movies and walking in the rain… at least that’s what he told me before I reminded him this was for PDRN not Match.com. But seriously, Woody lives in Tallahassee FL with his wife and two sons ages 18 months and 5 weeks. Woody is originally from Michigan where he grew up on a farm. He grew up in the country having horses, cows, pigs, and chickens, but got sick of the snow and decided to move south.

Woody became really interested in PDR when he was painting in a body shop in Fort Myers, FL. He tried to get a guy there to train him, but that guy just wanted Woody to paint for him. Woody moved to Tallahassee and was painting at a Toyota dealership when he met Jeremy Smith. Woody was trained by Jeremy and, with the help from the popcorn trick on YouTube, has now been doing PDR fulltime for 1 year. Woody is mainly a route tech, but did have a small hailstorm there this spring.

As anyone who reads Woody’s posts on Facebook knows, he’s kind of a class clown in the PDR forums. You can see him wearing daisy dukes, photo-shopping people’s pictures, and his antics on YouTube in the Druz Toolz video from MTE. He told me it was fun watching Shane Jacks glue pull with water in his alcohol bottle. Woody has always been a bit of a prankster. When he was 12 he had to go to court for mooning the elementary school bus and ended up with 6 months probation for indecent exposure.

Woody enjoys spending time with his family when he’s not pushing dents. His oldest son, Mason, is into everything right now. If he’s anything like his Dad, Woody has his hands full. Woody also enjoys giving fishing lessons to anyone who is interested and the occasional Madden beat down. Cameron Cornist was his latest victim.

I asked Woody for his thoughts on the direction of the industry and this is what he said, “Honestly I don’t think the industry is going in a good direction. When I was painting in the body shop, insurance companies started to tell the shops what they would pay and the shops just went along with it. Over the 7 years I was painting, times dramatically changed. I seen that and said I had to get out now. People just want to give it away. I’m glad there are people like Ryan Hampton that want to do something about it. He is a class act and I have nothing but good things to say about him.”

By Woody Koss

The Art of Smash Repair By Sal Contreras. 

Since there is no hail damage in San Francisco. CA nor do I chase hail, I chose collision PDR because I like everything about it.  The money, the quiet time away from everyone, the challenge of each unique smash, the satisfaction I get, and mostly the look on my customer’s faces. It started out as a way of pleasing the car lot manager who bought cars with larger damage just for me. It helped me hold onto accounts and I increased my skills on every one I attempted. The money got better and better as the complexity of the dents increased, however so did the time involved because of my willingness to make it more perfect each time.

I had a plan, I would practice on the used cars with large damage at night to increase my skills so as to not interfere with the smaller money making dents during the day.  I thought eventually I would get good enough at collision damage and offer my service to retail customers on their way to the body shop.  It worked and I was soon saying YES to many dents shown to me by retail customers who were willing to pay 3-4 times what the dealer was giving me for the same dent.

Smash PDR repair involves many aspects of the way I repair small dents and I just applied same strategy to the large cave-in damage.  With small dents, I read all the directions of the low spots and position my body accordingly along with tool tip direction and mostly stay away from sharp or round tools. I lift the dent out in the least amount of pushes as possible and concentrate more on how I flatten the metal and crowns.  Applying this to large dents was easy, but it did require different tools designed for more power pushing and wide slapping for my knockdown technique.  I steer away from using LED lights or line boards because I learned there is a simple formula in reflection as you pass multi angled hard edges through the damage.  This formula taught me how to bring a mangled section of metal back to near perfection by just following it.

In the beginning I thought PDR was more art and I couldn’t explain why I pushed here as opposed to there, or why I knocked this area down before another.  Once I learned the sequence I just followed it and it always brought me to the same result. Collision PDR requires different pushing strategies and many times I use the age old technique of off-dolly pushing and slapping. However it’s not done with heavy dollys or traditional auto body tools, but tools I developed with accurate directional force behind sheet metal as I slap over the top. If someone were to watch me perform my particular style of Collision PDR, they would see lots of time in setting up just one push. It’s a critical push for me to begin a particular section as to not beat it up. They would see me R&I the panel or remove the glass in order to apply the greatest amount of force I can generate with my two arms. From experience I know when to change positions as I cross check constantly. The big crowns are slapped down with great force and vibration and I change pushing tips constantly for the correct direction as to not chop up the big lows with unnecessary pushes that only add to your time of repair.

Overall I try to think about how to bring it up as smooth and wide as possible with firm yet padded directional tips, follow the simple reflection formula, and just take my time. I have found over the years that the hurried series of incorrect pushes I put in the dent, in the beginning, were only staring at me in the end as I struggled to finish. If I avoided them and I was at the finish product, the results were profoundly cleaner. That feeling alone would motivate me even more to finish it out and take a video. This is how I avoid the dreaded UV killing wet sanding finale that many take. I am fairly fast at these big smashes and can sometimes do two a day if all goes well and along with a strong internet presence that sprinkles in my fair share of easy dents……this is my dent life.

By Sal Contreras

The Tale of two storms.

I spoke with Jeremy Smith from Precision Dent Removal in Tallahassee, FL and with Scott Clark from X-A-Dent in New Orleans, LA. Both of their areas received damage from the first storms of the season. I wanted to see how their experiences were and get their point of view as a local tech in an early storm. New Orleans was all over the radar in the hail world, while Tallahassee was a smaller storm that kind of got looked over by most hail chasers.

Scott, who has been working in New Orleans since 03, said there was a large area with damage and the damage ranged from “beat” to some really nice work. “Everyone and their mother showed up. I had 20-30 calls per day for a couple of weeks. Being the 1st major storm of the year brings the dent guys out of hibernation.

Jeremy, who has been working in Tallahassee for the last 6 years, told me the storm came through the center of town but only did damage on the far east residential area. 90% of the damage was repairable. Other than the occasional push to paint, it was a sweet storm. When asked if a lot of dent companies showed up he said, “Not really, for a while we had the best kept secret out there. There’s one out of town company going door to door but that’s all.”

Loyalty of accounts can come into question when a storm hits as we all know. Jeremy services 14 of the 17 body shops in the area and held onto 13 of them exclusively through the storm. A franchise company came in to one of his shops promising to bring in huge amounts of work. The shop bought in to it and ended up only doing 8 vehicles in 5 weeks, none of which was brought in by the franchise company.

Scott said most of his accounts stayed loyal. A few strayed including one he has serviced for 10 years and through 3 storms. They strayed over 5%. “I kept my % the same because I will get them back when everyone else leaves. Otherwise you are now stuck at that % from now on. I’m busy enough to wait for the work.”

There was not any dealer damage for Jeremy in Tallahassee this storm, but there was in New Orleans. Scott said, “I was able to get some great work and keep my prices up. Others did not! Someone dropped his pants for the dealer and forgot he had to have techs to fix that crap! The Nissan dealer was bid for half of what it should’ve been.”

Scott summarized his overall experience with the storm, “Can a fixable hail storm be bad? It’s been great! I gained some great accounts and kept great relationships moving forward. I will be able to grow in the future due to this storm.” Jeremy gave some advice for other PDR companies on how to be prepared for a storm, “Always be prepping your accounts on the “if this happens”. Have local shop rental availability and transport worked out ahead of time. Prep shops against tactics from competitors and reassure them that when it does happen, you will be able to handle it. And the best advice, fight for what is yours, you have been the one putting in the time, you deserve the reward!”

By Jeremy Smith

Next Month Oil Can Stabilizer Technique by John Highley

Newsletter By Stephen Padgett