Contracting in an Auto Body Shop
Body shops often make use of independent contractors, especially those who are experts in the field of paintless dent repair (PDR). When a large hail storm hits an area it is not uncommon for shops in the area to become overwhelmed. How do you get your foot in the door as an independent hail repair contractor and become the go-to for future jobs?
Hone Your Networking Skills
As a body shop contractor, you will need to be a salesman that will know how to both network and negotiate. To become successful in this skill, it is important to hone your people skills as well as your elevator pitch. So, if you are a talented PDR technician who prefers to work and avoid talking it is important that you begin practicing your social skills.
The best way to improve in this area is to attend networking events in your area, which could both help improve your confidence as well as your sales pitch.
Bring Strong References
For those experienced PDR techs, never go anywhere without a strong list of references. Think of this like a short job interview where there is more competition lining up every day. By showcasing that you have completed a large number of successful jobs for a variety of body shops throughout the country is sure to improve your chances of landing each job.
Be Willing to Help
While there are Hail Chasers who would prefer signing a contract for the “big bucks” prior to starting a job, going into a business for the first time with the primary intentions of making money could often lead to your not obtaining the job. Instead, go in the door with a real willingness to help prior to the negotiation process. Many PDR technicians who have walked in to a busy body shop, first thing in the morning, with a willingness to begin preparing estimates for a line of customers will be the more likely to continue the work at a pretty impressive rate.
It is also a good idea to gauge the vibe in each shop to assure that your personality doesn’t rub other employees the wrong way (we will cover this in greater extent in our next article).
Prove You Are a Professional
Just like any other job, it is important to behave like a professional. Even if you are returning to a body shop that you have worked with in the past, it is always best to showcase your most professional self. For those mobile hail chasers, there may also come a day when you have come into a shop with the most professional attitude possible and still be sent packing. If this happens, the last thing that you want to do is burn a bridge by leaving this shop with a bad attitude. Besides, this shop may not choose to use your skills on your selected time or day, but there may come a day when they are in need and with a professional attitude and skills you are sure to get a follow-up call.
Last but Not Least
As a contractor, it is in your best interest to show up with your own equipment and tools, should the shop not have a computer or even tools for you to use. It would also be a good idea to have a standard contract prepared that can be quickly edited and signed by both yourself and your client.
Be sure to stay tuned to this blog for this and tons of other PDR advice and business resources.