Tech of the Month
Hello fellas! My name is David Craig Reid, known to you all as Craig Reid, owner of Dentology Paintless Dent Removal Belfast.
I was born and raised in the East of Belfast in a little housing estate called Tullycarnet, a strict loyalist and working class estate. Let’s just say it was a bit ruff, the dogs even had to walk around in pairs! I had a very good upbringing from when I was 7 years old. I spent all my evenings working with my late father on carpentry jobs all over the place and I loved every minute of it. My mother and my father where both workaholics which gave me no choice but to be honest and then to go with my father. As I said, I loved it!
I left school at 16 years old with a few qualifications, nothing to shout about though. I knew what I wanted to do; follow in my father’s footsteps and become a carpenter and that’s what I did. A couple of years later I ended up being self-employed fitting double glazed windows and conservatories, sub-contracting to a company. It wasn’t the ideal job but it paid the bills. During my time in that job, in my late teens, I found myself running with the wrong crowd. Part of growing up for us all I think. When I say “running with the wrong crowd” I mean bad news, getting up to no good, and always on the wrong side of the law. Something I’m not proud of! Before I knew it, I was up to my neck in trouble!
A couple of years later, I thought I was the man. Life was good, too good, it had to end sometime I thought and yep, it happened! I found myself standing in front of a judge and jury facing a 10 year jail sentence! I had finally brought the ultimate shame on myself and most of all my family. Gladly I never ended up in jail, long story! So deep down I knew I had to change. Go to jail or wind up in the graveyard!
A few months after I got all that settled, my boy was born. Aaron Reid! This was the time in my life that I seriously needed to take a good look at myself and workout what I needed to do and go from here. I was a 21 year old father stuck in a dead end job with no prospects at all. I needed to provide for Diane, who later became my wife, and of course, my son!
I spent a few more years chasing the ace looking for that opportunity to arise while keeping my head straight and working within the law. Those days were well and truly over for me!
I ended up working full time in an ice rink and bowling alley as an engineer, which I hated, but it was keeping me going and paying my bills. I worked the dead man shift from 4pm to 3am and most evenings I spent my time trolling the newspaper job section looking for that dream job and perfect opportunity! Then boom……..there it was!!!!! Dentmaster Uk was looking for a rep for Belfast! Lo and behold I got the job and off to Lyon in France for 2 months! Beaut! That was the year, 2000, my introduction to the art of Paintless Dent Removal!
I spent the next 5 years working for Dentmaster who was taken over, as we know, by Dentwizard in late 2000-2001. Best days of my life were working there, it was outstanding. I did all my training there with some outstanding guys, to this day I’m still in contact with, and I passed my Masters with them in 2004! In 2005 the company turned into a franchise base selling off franchises to whoever. I was offered but declined, it just wasn’t for me! So that was the birth of Dentology Belfast 2005!
2014, I’m still going from strength to strength with the addition of my son Aaron working alongside his old man, and my wife Diane looking after the paperwork and the behind the scenes running of the company! Life couldn’t be better.
We currently live about 15 miles outside Belfast in a country village called Ballyclare, but will be moving back to East Belfast in a few weeks, my wife can’t settle here at all.
Aaron and I work every day in central Belfast and surrounding areas in the wholesale market, a route that I have built up over 14 years. Just one of our customers consists of 20 dealerships on the one site alone. They alone keep us on our toes; also with all our other customers in the area.
This year I hope to employ another technician and concentrate in tapping into the retail market, its virgin territory for us and we don’t have the time to do it. Maybe add a retail shop as well. That’s our goal!
Over the years the PDR industry has been real good to me and my family, but we’ve worked hard at it. The area I work has a good steady market and prices are stable. Problem I see is people need to change their whole attitude towards PDR. We are here to make it easier and cheaper for the customer compared to the body shops conventional repair. There is an ignorance out there towards technicians. The old, we “earn too much” and this and that which then attracts the guys who go on a week or two training course hoping to get a slice of the market, those I feel it for! Training mills; they’re everywhere. I’ve nothing against training at all but guys need to be taught right. That’s where the problem lies. Mainland Uk is flooded with guys working for as low as £25 per car, my oh my! But that isn’t entirely their fault. They’ve been roped into a training course, told they’re going to do this, and get that, and a couple of weeks later they’re on the road trying to make a living with no help or support. So first thing they do is work for peanuts out of pure desperation and then it can never be stopped. We will always be fighting against it, as long as there are training mills! We will always have this race to be the cheapest. Giving customers in retail and trade a massive selection of cheap technicians and then guys will drop prices outta that desperation!!!! The only thing I can see in helping them is educating them. Help them get their skills better and be more competitive in their field with skills. I just don’t get it sometimes why people sell themselves so cheaply! We are saving customers loads of money, so why do it so cheap?
This is why I became a member of PDRNATION. I don’t have those issues in my area, but others do. PDR has been good to me and by becoming a member it gives me a voice; an input to help the industry. We need to protect it for the future of others, stabilize the market, and get some form of structure in place. Stop the race to be the cheapest! Time to give something back to the industry that’s been so good to me! We even have seasoned techs showing ignorance, thinking this organization, PDRNATION, is an organization for the boys. You know what I mean! They can’t see we are building this to help everyone across the board. Structure, better prices, quality skills, and education. Letting our customers and insurance companies see what they’re getting for their money, highly skilled technicians! There’s no point at all in sitting behind your keyboard, blaming this company or that for the state of the market. Nobody listens to one person and one person can’t change the whole industry. Stand together as group of a few hundred? They’re going to listen and we have a better chance. I’m tired and I’m sure everyone is sick and tired of hearing complaining about the industry. Stuff like; that deal sucks, that company did this, that company did that, he owes me this amount, he owes me that, they’re hacks. All that stuff is endless, totally endless. There’s no point in waving fingers about in people’s direction. Nobody is listening at all! It’s a simple formula; let’s all stand together on this platform we are building and start fixing and addressing these issues together! Put something back into the industry that you love. Let there be an industry still there for our children and grandchildren. We can do it!
At the end of the day, if we don’t stand together? The industries future is grim, going to jobs working for a minimum wage or hourly rate? Just because we did nothing!
Meet Our New Advisors and Tech Representative
We would like to introduce you to our two new Advisors, Mike Chitwood and Dave Streen and our new Tech Representative, Keith Shapiro. We are excited to have these gentlemen aboard and helping to move PDR Nation forward!
Mike Chitwood started doing PDR IN 1992 with a company in Kansas City, MO called Dr. Dent. Mike left there in 1997 and founded his own touchup company, and within 2 years he had 5 employees and serviced 40 accounts. After several years of servicing dealer and body shop accounts Mike decided to scale back. He now has a retail shop located in Harrisonville, MO. He no longer has employees and services only a few local dealers and body shops. Most of his work these days is hail on the road, where he has managed to make some really good friends in major cities across the US. They usually keep him busy when he’s not working at home. Mike has been married for 24 years and has a 9 year old daughter Grace. “I joined PDRN, simply for the fact that I don’t like the direction our industry is heading and liked a lot of things that PDR Nation was talking about, is it perfect? No? But I think with the insight of PDR techs getting involved and getting opinions from a broad base of different techs, in different areas that are busy in a multitude of different ways, that it can be the best certification for what we do. I’m happy to be on board and look forward to working with PDR Nation.”
Dave Streen grew up in Chicago and started working when he was 15 years old at Delta Sonic Car Wash. Dave graduated from the University of Kansas where he met his wife when he was 19 years old. They have a 13 year old daughter. Dave worked in the car wash industry for 16 years for 4 of the top 5 US companies in key positions. He began his PDR career in 2003 and started a local route. By the end of 2003 Dave started chasing hail part time and by 2005 he was a full time hail chaser. After the 2010 storm in Phoenix, he enjoyed the area so much that he and his family relocated to Chandler, AZ in 2012 where his wife’s brother & family live.
Keith Shapiro started doing PDR in 1994 and went to work for the local Dent Wizard franchise in 1996. He stayed with Dent Wizard until 2000 and then he became independent. Keith went back to work for the Dent Wizard hail team in 2002. He left Dent Wizard in 2005 and relocated to Wichita, KS in 2006 and opened up a small retail store while chasing hail. Keith has returned back to Florida to open up another small retail center and still focusing on hail. He primarily likes to chase hail overseas and limit his work in the States.
I had the opportunity to speak with John Highley and Myke Toledo about their new project Dent Trainer. We’ve all been seeing teasers and great give-a-ways on Facebook about it and I wanted to get the inside scoop on what Dent Trainer was all about. Here is the interview I did with John and Myke.
Tell me about Dent Trainer and what it’s offering?
Dent Trainer is a video based E-Learning system that is designed to further technicians learning within the paintless dent removal and auto reconditioning industry. Our course curriculums include all levels of education and is available via video, PDF, and some audio. The friendly learning platform within denttrainer.com is widely used in professional collages & universities. This platform allows the users to track their progress and keep themselves organized within a simple friendly interface. We have also put a tremendous amount of effort on the business end of things from marketing, estimating, and professionalism.
How did you two guys get together for this project?
I knew that Myke already had mentioned doing this on his Dent Time blog years ago, we then worked together on the PDR Nation board and decided it was time for a joint venture! It defiantly helped that we worked together on several different project. Both of us being hard workers, that are dedicated to achieving perfection, it was easy to know what to expect within our new partnership.
What is offered by Dent Trainer and who is it designed to serve?
DentTrainer.com is designed to serve every technician that is looking to better themselves. One thing I’ve learned in the past is that you should never stop evolving in this industry. The moment you think you know it all something new comes along and proves you wrong. We truly feel that this site will be an invaluable resource for every technician. We also have other industry leaders such as Daniel Gromm, Gene Fetty, and Robert Keppel. As Dent Trainer grows, so will the industry leaders from all over the world. These guys all bring something unique to the table!
On another note, Dent Trainer wants to offer the technician different point of views from other techs and techniques. This is what will truly give the subscriber an ultimate learning experience.
What are the details for joining or gaining access to Dent Trainer? How does someone sign up?
DentTrainer.com will be opening the gates on June 20th and at that point anybody will be able to sign up through our website. This is a monthly subscription based service and requires no long term commitment. Our system will accept payment from every country, this will make our education accessible all over the world.
What is the goal of Dent Trainer? What are your visions for it to accomplish?
Our vision is to properly educate technicians all over the globe by creating the largest library of PDR and Auto Reconditioning educational videos in the world. To top that we are doubling our efforts by creating downloadable guides that will aid technicians during their work days! Our videos will be available on any mobile device and some will be available as audio files. The bottom line is, we want to help our subscribers make more money and raise the industry standard through our educational experience!