Shop leaders should work to motivate technicians on educational value, and instill a more positive outlook. They can do that by explaining why training is good for the health and stability of the business. Use phrases such as “Please attend this training and bring back as many things as possible to share with your colleagues.” Even if a course is known to be basic, challenge technicians to find one thing to bring back and discuss. This promotes a sense of excitement that there will be value, and motivates them to retain information.
Leading by example may be what it takes to set the tone and show the importance of consistent, steady training. You may just need to attend trainings to convey that message.
Once information is learned, it has to be applied in the real world before it’s lost and forgotten. You need to have a process that allows technicians to quickly apply new skills.
Develop an environment that isn’t afraid to discuss things a technician learned from a training effort. Many technicians feel that admitting they learned something will expose that they did not know the information to begin with. Work to dispel that mindset and challenge your technicians to come back and talk about it.
For example, say a technician just completed a class on ultra-high-strength steel. Find an example of that on a job already in your shop. Have your technicians huddle around it, discuss the course material, and identify how the learned information can be used for that situation.
Take it even further by creating a positive type of group learning, in which technicians learn information from one another. Training in that fashion ensures that technicians share accurate and up-to-date material in an organized environment.
Sometimes, shop owners during the interview, misunderstand the potential technician’s capabilities or the technician lies about what they really know. This happens across any industry but soon flushes itself out with time. Assuming that a technician has all skills needed to achieve accurate and efficient repairs on a vehicle can get you in trouble.
Shop owners should seriously consider testing their technicians before hiring them. It has been found with other shops doing just this, that only 46% of its applicants can actually pass the test. That’s pretty scary but very proactive of the shop to eliminate technicians that will end up costing them more in costly, uneducated mistakes.
It’s extremely difficult to find young, well-trained technicians. One shop spends roughly $14,000 annually for technician training initiatives. Quarterly, 10 to 12 hours are scheduled and booked for classes for each technician, and posts on an Excel spreadsheet are used in the shop that outlines each of the technicians training requirements for the year. Every technician takes at least five to seven classes annually.
As a shop owner, you have to ask yourself how you see providing training for your technicians. Do you find it to be a burden? Or do you see training as a way of solving problems proactively?
Using phrases like “You have to go to training, it’s not an option!” or “Just get through it, you won’t have to do it again for another month.” These don’t promote positivity and set you up for failure right from the start. If you are doing these trainings just to get on with an outside manufacturer or insurance program, then I can tell you already, you’ve failed yourself, your shop and above all, your technician.
Lack of proper knowledge and education is a problem that has plagued the industry for years. Now, with the complexity of new cars, it has become downright dangerous for both the technicians and car owners. It’s not only the technicians fault though if they were improperly trained. There are several key things that can derail the value of training and some of that lays squarely on the shoulders of some industry professionals that have a negative attitude about training. Shops need to cultivate an environment that supports and even offers additional training for technicians. A simple offering of pizza and training during the lunch hour or just after work can increase production. Now instead of flying with blind folds, you have technicians that have at the very least, heard of these new changes in the industry.
Training is the very least that should be offered to technicians and it should be conducted in a motivated way so that the technicians are more willing and able to retain the information. If you go into a training feeling like this whole thing is stupid, so will your technicians think. You want to encourage changed behaviors and training initiatives.
Creating structure within your shop or within yourself if you are a PDR technician is your first goal. Sign up for industry news through onsite spots like FenderBender and more. There are many to choose from and any new education is better than none. Say you spend Sundays, if in business for yourself, searching all industry news. Not just collision but also the automotive industry overall. How else will you learn about electrical systems that could affect your overall finished product? Maybe you won’t have such an unrelated situation as the previous story, but you may find that you accidentally disconnect wires while performing your duties in dent repair. If you don’t understand the intricacies of that particular car, you’ll be sorry.
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Here’s a story that I think every shop owner, PDR technician and shop technicians can appreciate. If this hasn’t happened to you, be warned, it very well could.
A shop owner shared this alarming story and it will hopefully serve as a wakeup call for all technicians. This is why, we here at Paintless Dent Academy Training Institute, work exhaustively to give you the latest news, even if it doesn’t apply directly to fixing a dent. Your continued quest for knowledge is paramount in your success. Here’s why:
The repair technicians at this particular shop, repaired a very high-end vehicle. This vehicle was equipped with electronic safety systems and lane departure warnings that the technicians were not aware of. After completing the repairs, the technicians took it for a test drive and noticed an unfamiliar vibration in the steering system. Many hours were spent trying to figure out what they messed up before the customer came back to claim their vehicle. They ended up taking a trip to the dealership seeking their help in the matter.
As it turned out, there was no problem to be found, the vehicle’s steering wheel was designed to vibrate to alert drivers of unintentional lane departure. These technicians and the shop owner chased down a nonexistent problem because not one of them knew about the technology.
So take a moment to reflect on this story, these technicians had inadequate knowledge of its systems and therefore wasted time and money resulting in a loss towards the shops bottom line. These type of mistakes will happen over and over again with so many new and interconnected safety components on modern vehicles. These changes are happening to both the electronic and structural developments and serious mistakes can be made due to inadequate levels of knowledge and training.
Here at Paintless Dent Repair Academy, we receive testimonials from our past students on a daily basis. Overall the comments are words of thanks and accounts of their personal success stories. The one that we love the most are the ones that the students have either trained from another online source before, or spent a great deal of time researching before taking our courses. When these students are finished with their training, they will emphatically say that they had received the best training ever. This is because of the hands-on training they received, which the trainer would work with each student individually working through any learning blocks. It can get quite frustrating for students in the beginning when most everything is description in a lecture setting. Definition must come before trial. We teach our students the foundation of the business and then move out to the shop where all students have the opportunity to get their hands dirty.
Our students never feel that they are sinking or alone. Our trainers are highly qualified and can quickly detect a struggling student and help them past their frustration without drawing attention. Each student has a learning curve which is generally common sense but as we all know, in small classes which are predominantly men, it becomes a competition in no time at all. While this is healthy and fun, it can be detrimental to the students that are taking a little longer with their learning curve.
Our Training Campus is the best in the industry. Our trainers are also the best in the industry. In fact, we are the only truly licensed PDR training facility and our students benefit from this by the Certificate they earn at the end of training. This isn’t a fake computer generated Certificate that anyone that knows how to create one can print. This is the real deal, and will benefit you for years to come. If you need any help signing up for courses, get a free catalog at Paintless Dent Repair Academy. We’re here to help.
A true story. In the Paintless Dent Repair industry you will have plenty of opportunities to meet car enthusiasts. This is a hot market, so if you have not yet tapped into this stream of income, then you will need to right away. Go to car shows which you will soon find, is a goldmine for business. So, back to this story about a man and his ‘Woodie”.
One of the most exciting vehicles to come out of the historic age was the 1939 Ford Standard Woodie Wagon. Back in the 50’s and 60’s you couldn’t give away a ‘Woodie’ but now, 75 years after its inception, the beauty and craftsmanship of these otherwise unwanted vehicles has become an icon rising out of the ashes. You may remember them as being the vehicle of choice for the surfers coast to coast. It takes a talented cabinet maker to bring the wood back to life or replaced, on this iconic vehicle.
“Just over a year after the beginning of the restoration, the wood paneling was complete. Fortunately, after having met this man at a car show, I was permitted to help during this year process and was amazed at the progress and change it made. I of course was hired to fix the interior, removing the old and dingy odors, some smelling like the sea lived and died right there in the entire vehicle. Fortunately, the back part of the ‘Woodie” was also created out of wood, so the bulk of my work was done in the front.”
“Included in this project was the Headlight Renewal, Paintless Dent Repair, Interior Repair, Windshield Repair, and anything else that needed work. This was the most exciting project I have ever worked on and because of it I am getting phone calls left and right from car enthusiasts all over the country. This job was the best decision I have ever made.” James B.
If you haven’t checked out a Car Show yet, what are you waiting for? Questions? Contact Paintless Dent Repair Academy to receive your free enrollment catalog.
If you are a PDR Technician already, then you know that it takes time to build a customer following. To build your reputation, you will need to prove to your customers that you know what you’re talking about. This can be easily done through your monthly newsletters. The example below will give you one scenario of what types of information you would like to address.
Perhaps you could write about what should be in your trunk during the cold, frostbitten, snow laden winter months. This shows your concern for safety and life and sits well within the readers mind. Remind your reader of the basics that should always be in the trunk, year round. Such as jumper cables, tools, tow strap, gloves, first-aid kit, flashlight, and duct tape. To this they will want to add the following winter supplies: to your newsletter and watch the positive comments start to pour in:
1. Snow Socks to add traction to your tires to prevent sliding.
2. A spare phone charger can go a long way when help is needed. Plug it into the lighter or if the battery has died, there is also a hand crank phone charger that will be very useful.
3. Hand warmers and a big wool blanket.
4. LED flashers and flares are imperative. Make sure to add at least three to four of the old style flares that require you to lite them. These can be used to keep you warm, and since they put out heat, they also resist the snow getting stuck to them thereby keeping a bright glow for all to see. Remember to keep a lighter and matches so that you can lite one.
5. Add protein energy bars to your trunk and Gatorade. The Gatorade won’t freeze up so easily because of the sugar content.
Finally, keep a folding shovel and window d-icer. You should have at least two d-icers in your trunk, these work miracles when trying to d-ice your windshield and any other car part or road that is frozen and needs to melt quickly.
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