If you are within 7 degrees of the auto collision industry, you know who runs the show: Big Insurance.
Yes there is still money to be made as a autobody collision repair provider, but insurance has carved out a nice piece of the pie with parts, and other very clever methods to extract dollars wherever possible.
Enter PDR. Paintless Dent Repair was originally shunned by auto collision experts. With “persuasion” from insurance, body shop owners agreed to accept PDR as a viable method for hail repair. With billions of dollars at stake each year worldwide, this acceptance was originally a bitter pill to swallow. This put millions..probably billions back in favor once again with insurance over the years with hail repair, since PDR is more cost effective than conventional repair.
Now big insurance has taken notice of PDR 2.0 :
A technique called gluepulling has opened new doors for accomplished PDR technicians, and for those with extensive experience, we are now seeing repairs where panels were deemed not only PDR unfriendly, but also replacement candidates for bodyshops; PDR techs are saving them. That’s not all folks. Corrosion is a big issue in the insurance business too- welding inner structures is a sure fire way to provoke rust issues in years to come. PDR reduces and often eliminates rust events. Once again, win win for PDR businesses and insurance. Bodyshops not so much. So now, insurance companies such as Allstate and others are beginning to nudge collision shops to start moving in the direction of PDR where possible. But that often means reduced revenue (read: bodyshops are pushing back).
If you like to wager, bet on Big Insurance. They will win. The trick here is, these repairs are not easily quantifiable and adjusters need to be trained to know where PDR may apply.
PDR techs are already killing it with hail repair, and aide bodyshops with blend panel dents, replacement part dents, upsells and giveaways to garner the customer from competing shops, but conventional repair applications are tricky: What dents are repairable via the PDR method and what are best for conventional? Sometimes only a skilled PDR tech will know what is possible, and even then sometimes it might be a borderline repair where PDR may be viable.
So where do we go from here? Better training and coordinating between insurance and PDR companies is a good first step. Working with the shops and communicating is a good second step, and hopefully the auto collision industry can utilize PDR in combination with conventional to derive profits while doing what is most important: giving the client the best repair method available.