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Paintless Dent Removal Technicians in Demand in a Niche Market
PDR Technician Salary – Fact or Fiction?
Yes, that’s right – some PDR technicians claim that experienced PDR technicians can make as much money as surgeons! The paintless dent removal industry has existed in Australia for the past 30 years, but few people know it exists! I estimate that very few – maybe 1% or 2% of Australians have ever heard of the industry. Knowledge of those who do is often vague – referring to “suction dents”. Industry technology has progressed!
So when it is claimed that someone trains for a year or two and starts making that money within 5 years, the reaction is often swift and hostile. I often get blank looks – friends nodding and smiling politely knowing that I usually don’t lie. Alas, few people accept these claims.
After all how is it possible for an industry like this to exist for so many years and yet not seem to be in the media? How can word of mouth not be known! The paintless dent removal industry has been fairly stealthy for years, and on purpose! Why would anyone want others to know how much money you make let alone how!
You might be surprised that the media has actually covered this industry.After controversial bad practice claims
“Overseas Hail Chasers” was made after the 2011 Christmas Melbourne hailstorm. Check the Times News paper. In fact, it was this media hype that finally thrust the paint-free dent removal industry into the spotlight!
“… Chaser is estimated to be earning $5,000 to $10,000 a week. All pocketed, no insurance, no workplace insurance, no taxes, no liability.”
Whatever the article intends to achieve, it ultimately underestimates the public’s reaction. Inquiries for PDR training skyrocket!
Surgeons and PDR technicians
Analyzing revenues in the medical industry cited by Business Insider – $250,000 to $500,000 per year. Let’s not forget the investment in education and the years to achieve it! After HECS alone, education costs can reach $10,000 per year! We haven’t considered insurance yet. Well, PDR technicians who are early in the industry pay $10,000 to $40,000 for training or a business franchise in the paintless dent removal industry. Today, however, the cost of training PDR technicians has dropped significantly, to as little as $2,900 for a 5-day PDR course. Can it go any lower? Maybe in the future – currently it has stabilized, limited by the income of the PDR technicians themselves. Currently, any price below that and a PDR technician is probably only repairing the car instead of training other people – they can get a lot more!
Income from paintless dent removal can be substantial
Learn more about what paintless dent removal is and how much they earn – in short, it’s the art of removing dents from your vehicle without painting it. In theory, it’s important to keep the original factory paint job. PDR technicians complete a common hail damaged car in one day. Ok, so how do PDR technicians clear 250K a year?
Consider the average vehicle quoted around $2000-3000 during a hailstorm. Between 60% and 70% of that quote goes to PDR technicians. So even if you spend an average of $1,000 a day to underestimate lost time, you’re getting the equivalent of $200,000 to $300,000 a year!
Still don’t believe it? Well, isn’t everyone okay with leaving their family behind to chase hailstones across the country? An understanding must be reached between the spouse and the PDR technician to allow them to be away from their families for weeks or even months at a time!
Benefits for PDR technicians and the retail sector
Then there is the retail market too. In the retail industry, paintless dent removal technicians contract with car sales floors, auction houses, car rental fleets, and private clients to remove accidental vehicle damage such as parking lots and door dents. While this often requires more effort to come close to the larger gains of standard hail repair, it’s still achievable! That’s why…
The average cost of repairing a dent is $80 to $130 per dent, depending on size or difficulty (not exaggerating when you factor in plumber and electrician home visits). Repairing a dent even costs $80. Fixing 5 dents a day could net you $400! As a rule of thumb, a dent can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes to heal. So hypothetically, even one client could net $146,000 per year! It’s not uncommon to have several clients in a day, but not every day. However, when factoring in repeat customers and sporadic customers wanting their cars ‘cleaned’ of dents (cars are the second most important commodity in Australia), and further referrals to good PDR technicians, the numbers start to add up to $250,000 per annum. Let’s face it, the next time you’re stuck in traffic, you’ll check yourself and check the side of your car for dents – you’ll be surprised how many dents there are all around! A third of the readers of this article should have a dent in their vehicle…
So who qualifies for paintless dent removal?
The next most common question I get asked is does it matter if I’m not a panel beater? The answer is no. Well, yes, panel beaters have knowledge of vehicles – models, panels, parts – and they’ve spent at least four years learning the trade during TAFE and apprenticeships. But so are the painters. How about the mechanics and their knowledge of cars. Join car scratch restorers, car detailers, window colorists and paint preservation technicians. Yes, panel beaters are the most frequent customers who attend paintless dent removal training courses. However, PDR courses can adopt other related industries.
What if I am not in a transaction?
The course offered in 2012 attracted a man who worked in an administrative role in a bank. Yes banker. This is our first non-industry person to be trained. We took on the challenge of training him, but so is he! After practicing for a few hours on the first day, not only did he retire with success, but he was also outstanding! Among his colleagues, it is evident that he has consistently produced the best dents in his group, which includes panel beaters! How could this be? He has never touched a car in his life! He had to be taught how to remove and replace parts. Well, it’s often said that attitude has a lot to do with success in a PDR course. He can have it all.
“Sometimes if they come in with the wrong attitude, impatient or two bums, they’re harder to teach.”
Are there female PDR technicians?
It is well known that a paintless dent repair industry like the auto repair industry is going to be dominated by men. Talked to a PDR trainer in 2015 who trained mostly men but also a few women. But in general, the women seemed to be doing better, perhaps because they were less ‘bumbling’ and perhaps had some added ‘determination’. There is no reason or barrier for women to be in the paintless dent repair industry.
A client’s first call tells me a lot about the applicant, their plans, and the root cause. Some are subtle, others try to control the phone – others just know what they’ve researched and worked hard for it! However, I immediately disprove one of the myths that this is not a “job” career change. Paintless dent removal is a business, a contract business. Whether you work for yourself or contract with others, it’s still a business operation – no wages or salaries. As a result, the sense of security, as well as the challenges of finding work clients, disappears. But there is a sense of freedom to work on your own time and choose your own clients once established. Despite pros and cons, those companies that thrive are often known for their quality.
Can anyone do paintless dent removal?
In extensive research on the internet and reading the many thoughts of PDR technicians themselves, there is a unique set of circumstances and conditions that drive PDR technicians to approach and succeed in the industry. PDR technicians have the following qualities:
Confidence to succeed no matter what
Ability to work alone or in teams
Ability to work in a variety of conditions
Most of the older generation of PDR technicians were lucky enough to know or meet another PDR technician for training. More and more people are entering the industry through PDR training companies. The qualities listed above are still important.
success doesn’t come easy
Becoming a PDR Technician requires total determination and perseverance as it is not easy to get started. The first few hours of the paintless dent removal training session quickly made it clear: metal tools on metal panels are not a good combination. Paintless dent removal requires ultimate skill, determination and perseverance. Too easy to go wrong, too easy to quit! Hundreds of hours of practice make it through and get comfortable. In fact, two different sources “training on a hood rack in the lounge, next to their wives watching TV” says it all. Just like intense and determined training has brought some Olympians to gold medals – it takes practice and determination to succeed in PDR.
supply and demand
The old rules of “supply and demand” have a lot to do with how much a PDR technician earns. There are conflicting reports about too many PDR technicians out there. Are they just trying to protect the industry for themselves? Because every time there is a major hailstorm, vehicle repairs often take as long as 12 to 18 months to complete! Why? Supply and Demand – The country simply lacks quality PDR technicians to do a lot of work. Also, should we allow overseas PDR technicians to do jobs that Australians can? In April 1999, Sydney, with a population of 5 million, was hit by hail again! It’s unbelievable why we still have car loving mechanics doing painting and panel beating when there is an opportunity to get into the paint dent removal business!
Conclusion: Who will ride the lucrative roller coaster?
Convincing anyone to enter this industry is like taking blood from a stone! Making change is difficult and requires planning and commitment. Are the risks greater than the odds of success? You never know if you have what it takes to break into this industry. Judging by the writing on the wall, if you pass, whoever rides the roller coaster could be in for a lucrative and rewarding career! You never know if you have what it takes to break into this industry. To this day, I have not seen a dissatisfied PDR technician!
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