2019 was a big year for PDR technician Dan Ontrop. His PDR company, Dan O Dents, exceed 3 million in gross revenue last year (thanks in part to the Mobile Tech RX hail damage car repair estimate). He also launched a PDR directory and networking platform called PDRcontractors.com. Dan has clearly made a name for himself in the PDR world, but it’s taken a lot of patience and perseverance for him to get there. We spent a few minutes with Dan to hear his story and asked him to share some words of wisdom. We hope PDR technicians with the same dream to start successful businesses will benefit from hearing from Dan.
From BMW Master Tech to PDR Technician
Dan started out as a BMW master technician working for one of its dealerships in Charlotte, North Carolina. After he transferred to another smaller dealership in Dayton, Ohio, he started rethinking his career. Not only had he taken a pretty significant pay cut, but he was working long hours and commuting an hour each way to work.
The time to look for a new career path was pressing, but Dan had no idea which way to turn. One day a car came into the dealership for service and hail repair. After performing R&I on the vehicle for the PDR technician, he saw the invoice for the dent repair. It was then that he first thought of pursuing PDR as a career. Dan spent the next 9 months researching the industry to decide if it made sense for him to make a switch. He talked to a lot of techs to get an understanding of the industry. This meant learning the market landscape and evaluating potential competition. He also researched the kind of training he would need to be successful. He wanted to know if this career switch would offer him freedom and give him more time with his family.
9 months later, he decided to go all in. He booked a trip to California for one-on-one training with Myke Toledo of Dent Time LLC, a 20-year PDR veteran. After completing his training with Myke, Dan’s dreams of having his own PDR business started to become a reality. Unfortunately, the reality wasn’t what he had hoped.
Starting out as a Paintless Dent Repair Technician
Dan started out on a local route, trying to pick up retail and dealer accounts. Unfortunately, as hard as he tried, he couldn’t break into many of them. People were loyal to the PDR tech who was already servicing those accounts. If not, they wanted to pay less than Dan was willing to charge. Dan was committed to quality work, not cheap work. In the long run, staking a claim on quality was a huge benefit to the business. In the short-term, unfortunately, it hurt. Just a year into the new business venture, Dan was struggling.
“I made about $5,000 gross in that first year. Our net was way in the red,” he said.
But then a fateful storm would change the trajectory of Dan’s business and his career.
The Hail Storm that Saved Dan O Dents & Hail Damage Car Repair Estimate Technology
In the Spring of 2011, a hailstorm hit the only dealership and body shop that Dan had been regularly servicing. This one catastrophic event produced a constant flow of work for the next 6 months. It allowed Dan to cut his teeth repairing hail damage and finally make the necessary financial gains to stabilize the business. At that point, Dan decided to hit the hail trail full time in the summer of 2012. He’s been chasing hail ever since.
In 2019, Dan O Dents completed its second 7 figure hail season – a huge leap from his humble beginnings of $5,000 just years earlier.
Dan started using Mobile Tech RX to calculate hail damage car repair costs and create a hail damage car repair estimate in the 2015 season. This was right after the first product was released. It really was a perfect tool to help him prove the quality of his work so he didn’t have to compete on price.
“Mobile Tech RX is a tool that helps PDR technicians be consistently professional. There’s data and science behind the pricing tool. It’s justified, not something I came up with in my head. This is huge in shifting the conversation with customers or insurance adjusters from something that’s personal and emotional to something that’s unquestionably professional and polished.”
How Dan Made Over $100,000 in Extra Revenue with the Mobile Tech RX Hail Damage Car Repair Estimate
This past year, the town of Celina, Ohio, took a direct hit by a big hailstorm. Dan made his way to the area and prepared for a months-long stretch of work. Thanks to Mobile Tech RX Analytics, Dan was able to dive into the numbers from the storm and compare the revenue he made between different pricing models.
Dan wanted to know how much extra money a Mobile Tech RX hail damage car repair estimate was actually helping him make out in the field. In this Celina storm, Dan knew that he completed 254 hail damage repairs with the Mobile Tech RX standard pricing PDR matrix. He then compared his actual numbers with an alternative: how much more did he make by choosing the Mobile Tech RX standard pricing PDR matrix instead of the DRP pricing matrix? (The DRP pricing matrix is about 20% lower.) The numbers were astounding. In one 6-month period, Dan made an extra $146,215 in revenue for the same amount of work thanks to Mobile Tech RX.
Dan made an extra $146,215 in revenue with Mobile Tech RX.
“It was a huge storm,” Dan said, “so there were multiple insurance companies involved: local agencies, regional agencies, national agencies. You name it, they were there. They all accepted Mobile Tech RX hail damage estimates.”
From PDR Technician to Tech Founder: Launching PDRcontractors.com
Not only is Dan using Mobile Tech RX for his personal hail repair and PDR business at Dan O Dents, but the estimating and invoicing app is getting to play a major role in PDRcontractors.com. PDRcontractors.com is an online directory and networking platform – created by Dan – for PDR professionals. Consumers can search for services and PDR professionals can source technicians and update their current location.
“Mobile Tech RX really was the inspiration and role model for my own tech brainchild. Just like how Eric and Daimen saw problems that they decided to solve with technology, I’m doing that with PDRcontractors.com.”
Just a year after launch, PDRcontractors.com is already approaching 300 members, and it’s growing quickly.
Mobile Tech RX and PDRcontractors.com: Technology for PDR Technicians
According to Dan, over 82% of technicians on PDRcontractors.com are using Mobile Tech RX for digital estimating and invoicing. In fact, Dan even built out a feature on PDRcontractors.com that maps all of the techs using Mobile Tech RX and the standard pricing matrix. Over 69% of Mobile Tech RX users on PDRcontractors.com are using the standard matrix pricing guide. This helps serve as real-time data justification for PDR techs who need to make an argument to an insurance adjuster that their pricing is within the market standards.
Dan O Dents in particular processed 90% of all retail hail claims in 2019 on the standard matrix. This is all thanks to Mobile Tech RX and PDRcontractors.com working in tandem. Dan sees a huge synergy between the two organizations and how they are both working to move the industry forward while increasing revenue.
“Where Mobile Tech RX helps us price a job and make more money, PDRcontractors.com offers the market validation and safety net that help techs have the confidence to use the higher pricing matrix. Both of these tools give technicians the courage and real-time data they need to negotiate with insurance companies. The end result is more revenue!”
Insights and Advice for PDR Technicians
It’s not lost on Dan that there is huge potential for new IT and technology to impact the auto recon industry. Technology is the most important tool that will help business owners in the reconditioning industry exude professionalism. It even takes them to the next level.
To close, we asked Dan to share the advice he would give a new PDR technician just starting out in the industry. His answer was simple, but clear. “In three words: Trust, Hustle, Rest. You must trust in yourself to start a business, hustle harder than anyone to grow the business, and rest long enough to appreciate that business.” Dan has given a lot to make Dan O Dents and now PDRcontractors success stories. We applaud him as a great representative of the hail and PDR industries!