PDR Nation Tech Spotlight
I grew up in Yorktown, Virginia, which is between Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. I currently live just outside of Washington, DC in Arlington, Virginia. I married my wife, Alexis, in 2011. When I’m not pushing dents I love to mountain bike and snowboard. I love the peacefulness of turning off the phone and enjoying the outdoors. Plus, hauling ass down a powder face or wooded trail gets the adrenaline flowing.
PDR was actually my first real job. I graduated from college in 2003 and had a difficult time finding work in the field that I went to school for. I became friends with Paul Kordon, who worked for Dentmasters in Northern Virginia. (I’m sure you’ve seen his impressive work on big nasty dents all over social media.) I’ve always been interested in and worked around cars. I saw that PDR could provide a good living, and I liked the idea of working with my hands out in the field. Paul was able to get me an interview with the owner of the company, Brad Hodgson. Picture this, I show up to a PDR job interview wearing an ill fitting gray suit and shiny shoes, toting my portfolio of design work (my college major). That might be a PDR first by the way. I aced the interview and Brad gave me a shot. I was trained in-house by a group of veteran techs at Dentmasters. Six months later, I was out on the road trying to gain accounts and figure out PDR.
At Dentmasters we focus on staying local to the DC metro area, and keeping a balanced approach to all sectors of the industry. The majority of our revenue is produced from used car lots, service centers, body shops, and auto auctions. We also get a bump in production every 2-4 years, when a hail storm rolls through. Personally, I focus mostly on retail customers gained directly through our website and referrals from service centers and body shops. I also service one used car lot, a couple of luxury brand service lanes, and about 15 body shops.
As for changes needed in the PDR industry: I think public awareness, knowledge of the true value of PDR, and professionalism are key. The recent explosion of information shared on social media between dent guys along with the advances in tools and techniques have allowed us to repair damage that would have seemed impossible only 5 years ago. However, most of the general public, my wife included, have no idea what PDR is or what kind of damage we can repair. Some old school body shops and insurance adjusters still think we can’t fix dents on body lines. If individual techs and groups like PDR Nation and NAPDRT can help inform the general public, body shops, and insurance companies about the possibilities and advantages of high quality PDR, I think the growth potential in the retail and insurance markets is substantial. Technicians also need to realize the value of their repairs and price each job accordingly. When pricing a large retail collision job that you know you can repair to a high standard, consider all of the costs associated with a conventional repair (body work and paint costs, part replacement costs, cycle time, rental car fees, lost value in the vehicle, and the customer’s personal time). Professionalism is also very important. A client with a $100K+ vehicle is not going to trust his baby with a dude rocking cut-off sleeves, sandals, and jorts. If you market your company well, present yourself as a professional and deliver exceptional customer service and craftsmanship, the retail jobs will keep flowing.
I feel the PDR industry is at a crucial point right now, in the adolescent stage of its business arch. The hail circuit is very random and fractured, with no real set of standards for pricing or repair quality. Wholesale dealership and auction work has become a commodity driven to ever lower prices. In both cases, speed and and the ability to repair more severe damage are the only way to maximize both markets. As stated before, I think the untapped retail and insurance markets are where the growth potential is. Guys who can tackle “the big stuff” and glass it, will be rewarded. I think the evolution of PDR tools has been fantastic, and think it is only going to get better. Where is the PDR industry headed? I think the future is bright. When done correctly, PDR is a superior eco-friendly technology, that results in very happy customers. It’s up to the premier technicians to use their leadership and visionary skills to steer the industry towards a legitimate and sustainable existence. Hopefully, with open forums, solid business networking, and review systems, the highly skilled and motivated technicians who adhere to good business practices and ethics will rise to the top.
Richard Routson Tech #1440114 Dentmasters of Arlington
PDR Nation Visual Skills Test
PDR Nation has released its first visual skills test as a part of the PDR Nation Certification. The visual skills test is required for all current and future PDR Nation Certified Technicians. Designing a visual skills test that can be utilized internationally has been a controversial and daunting task. The logistics of testing technicians across the globe led us to designing a test using a video based test that the technicians can submit themselves or find a PDR Nation Certified Testing Center to set up and video for them. There are over 50 PDR companies across the world who have applied to become PDR Nation Certified Testing Centers. These centers will become available as they meet the criteria stated in the rules on the web site. Once the test is completed and passed, the finished video will be added to each Certified Technicians’ profile on the PDR Nation website. A complete list of instructions, questions and answers, and a video tutorial for the visual skills test is available under the “Certification Process” tab on www.pdrnation.org. Thank you to everyone who has helped put together this enormous undertaking. We look forward to seeing PDR Nation take another step in the direction of professionalizing your industry.
Egle’s Cross Fund
PDR Nation created the Egle’s Cross Fund in order to help fellow PDR technicians and their families in extreme crisis. It has been amazing to see the generosity of those in our industry when one of our own is in need. Recently fellow PDR technician, and father of 6 young children, Mike Meggs was working in France when he received the news his wife, Beth, had passed away in her sleep. We activated Egle’s Cross Fund for the Meggs Family on Sep. 30th and with the amazing generosity of the PDR community, we were able to send a check for $10,700 to Mike on Oct. 6th. Any donations made through the rest of October will go to Mike and his family in this devastating time. If you would like to donate to the Egle’s Cross Fund visit www.pdrnation.org/egles-cross/ . 100% of the proceeds go to the family in need. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Meggs family.