February 2014 Issue #15

PDR Tech of the Month

Tim Rapa

Tim Rapa lives in his hometown of Agawam, a suburb on the outskirts of Springfield, Massachusetts with his wife Callie and his 2 dogs of Puggle breed (half Pug- half Beagle). Before Tim began working in the PDR industry he held down numerous jobs prior to graduating from high school, such as newspaper delivery, picking tobacco, and in the restaurant business. After high school Tim briefly attended college but chose to take a different route into the Armed Forces. After his time in the Air Force, Tim reentered college but it didn’t seem like a good fit for him. Tim fell back into the workforce and accumulated jobs in several areas of work but nothing seemed to be satisfying.

During his few years of working various jobs, Tim’s uncle who was reconditioning bumpers at the time was asked to work for a well-known national PDR company looking to expand their business. In 1998 the company approached Tim’s uncle wondering if he knew anybody looking for a new career path, which was PDR. After long consideration and loading his last pallet on the truck Tim decided to explore this new opportunity. The company provided extensive training and Tim continued to work with this company for 9 years. Tim felt like PDR was what he was looking for in a career. Tim excelled quickly at it and enjoyed it. Eventually in 2007 Tim decided to take his experience and skills and turn them it into his own business.

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Tim’s market predominantly is route based, servicing various body shops, dealerships, and wholesale venders. Since he does not have a brick and mortar shop for retail business, Tim utilizes his most well known body shop and largest account, for this area of work. Since he began working with this shop he has been able to help them upsell PDR for additional revenue. This also saves their customers money by not sending their cars through the traditional body shop for repairs.

Tim’s thoughts on the industry and its future, “I think there are several things that could be changed in the PDR industry. However, in my area the only major change I would implement would be to educate the public more about what exactly we do and how it can benefit the customer. Many people don’t clearly understand what PDR is and that it is not only used to repair hail damage. In the south and mid-west PDR is well known but not as much in the Northeast. In my many years in PDR I have only seen about 3 workable hail storms in my area.”

“In my opinion the future of PDR is this; as long as cars are still being made out of metal, we all have a profitable and rewarding career. It’s all about promoting yourself and your quality, never selling yourself short, and providing workmanship to the best of our abilities. In hindsight of the advent of PDR Nation this is only a step forward in our progress in the success of PDR worldwide. THANK YOU VERY MUCH and keep on pushing!”

Tim Rapa


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Success Story

When Success Happens, What’s Next?

By Raymond Sapp

We are one month into the new year and have already witnessed PDR Nation’s membership numbers exceed one-hundred. We have seen PDR Nation Egle’s Cross Fund help families in the PDR community who faced difficult times or suffered great loss. We see the unique marketing tool provided by the PDR Nation Tech Finder CSI. Just to name a few. While some of us would like to reminisce about what we have accomplished and how great it was to achieve these goals, we should not linger in this spot for too long. Capturing the momentum of positive force is lost if one sits for very long to relish in it’s warm fuzzy feeling. We need to continue building on that success and do something else just as good or even better than before. We should be asking “What’s next?” and then go do it.

I was asked to write about these positive, warm and aloft feelings on what PDR Nation has accomplished in its recent history. I find myself asking “What’s next?” because all I can see is that it has yet to reach its potential. That no matter how great these warm feelings are, this is only the beginning for PDR Nation and there is just too much to do right now for me to give a feel good story on the outstanding accomplishments it has already made, in such short time. This does not mean I find the work of the Membership, Board of Directors and Officers trivial or lackluster. They deserve much appreciation for providing a solid foundation for the PDR community to build upon.

Who should ask “What’s next?”? You, the PDR technician, member, officer, or director. There is a good chance you have already asked yourself this question, probably more than once or twice. You may have even made it a topic of discussion somewhere. Well, let’s go do it, until we have it done, then let’s figure out ‘What’s next?” and continue creating these success stories.

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Push Like A Girl!

By Jennifer Lehl

My name is Jennifer Lehl. I own the Dent Couple with my husband Michael. “Yes I push Dents!” is the answer to the most common question I get asked in the dent business.

A lot of PDR techs are surprised when we pull up to a storm and I start setting up my tools. I get lots of “Hey, I need my headliners done too.” Then when I tell them I push and start working on the Jag in the stall next to them, they tend to get a little more serious! It’s very hard to be a woman tech in the dent biz! Most guys feel that a woman cannot do as well in this business as they do. Once they get to know me, and my quality of work, then it’s, “Wow! First round is on me!”

I really enjoy traveling and working in new cities, learning about the culture, meeting new friends, and hearing all the old dent stories from all the new dent friends we meet.

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As a mother and a technician, traveling does have its downfalls, too. Being away from my children and family is one of the hardest things I’ve had to cope with. But on the other hand it makes it easier working with my husband. Having 4 children, you miss some of the kids stepping stones and hardships as they grow older. Luckily we are blessed with awesome grandparents!

How do we work together all the time? Headphones! Hahaha! We are a great team! We know each other’s routine pretty well. I think that’s why we are efficient and produce great quality work! If you’ve worked with me in the past you know how picky I am about my work. In my opinion, the few women in this business that I have met are very meticulous. I don’t let my husband get away with anything! Hahaha!

I grew up as a gear head and love pushing dents. I started pushing when I met my husband 8 years ago. I like the direction the industry is moving. There are so many hard working techs out there it’s good to see them all moving forward and accepting more women in a man’s profession. I hope to see more women techs getting involved in the future.



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Social Media

By Myke Toledo

Social media is not only a powerful way to keep your audience up to date but very effective to promote your company presence. I use social media on a daily bases like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Social media builds interest and a following that can grow your company in different ways. If you have interesting content that people like, they share it. When they share it, more people like it. It’s a chain reaction and then catches on with search engines.

YouTube is an example how this works. More popular the video, the more likely YouTube itself promotes your video to relative videos and searches. Google even crawls your post on YouTube and adds it to the search engine. This has a huge advantage over just a text search even when it’s not at the top of the page.

Even Facebook, is now my blog as you would say. I see it rank on the search engines for my own city. That’s a huge benefit because my customers search for certain terms like “mobile dent repair San Diego” or “bumper repair San Diego.” It’s a great tool and free. Of course you could pay to boost your posts or page but do your research before you blow $20-$60.

Instagram I like a lot. I can post a photo or 15 second video and send it to my Twitter or Facebook account in one shot. Just be aware it goes to your personal FB page and not a business page. That should be added separately. Hash tags (#) are like key words that others can track specific posts that relate. So don’t forget to #hash tag your twitter or Instagram posts. I find it a little annoying and not useful for FB though.

Once you have a good following, keep them interested. Offer them free tips, discounts or video clips that offer attraction. People want different and there’s no place better to show how different your company can be than social media.