Q&A with Dan Ridley, Owner & Operator At Dent Revolution
Up close and a little more personal with the team at Dent Revolution, specifically with Dan Ridley, who talks about their passion for cars and their commitment to excellent customer satisfaction.
How long have you been working as a Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) specialist?
I’m into my 8th year now and started back in 2010.
What made you get into this business?
I had the opportunity to work in the family business with my Dad and also work for myself after having been in the IT and banking industry for a long time. I work a lot harder now but I love tinkering with cars, it’s a big change from sitting behind a desk to now working with my hands and interacting more with people.
How long did it take to learn the technique?
It takes 6 months just to grasp the basics of PDR, then 5-6 years to really master the skills. It is an ever-evolving industry and there are always new techniques to learn; it's a continuous learning environment.
How do you keep yourself up to date with new ways of fixing dents?
Having an ongoing and open dialogue with other dent technicians not just within Dent Rev but interstate and internationally. Always discussing things with them and researching, watching videos, reading, staying in touch with tool manufacturers and keeping our ears to the ground. There is also an element of trial and error and trying new approaches and developing our own techniques that stem from experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have had experienced mentors around me teaching me and can now help pass this down to others.
What kind of dents are fixable? Are they all fixable? If not, how do you decide? What about scratches?
With PDR we are generally repairing dents on a small scale, such as door dings, car park dents, hail damage, shopping trolley dents etc. When we get larger dents like car on car, or a car hitting a post, a trained eye will determine whether we can fix it.
We know the types of metals used by different manufacturs and can guage how much stress has been placed on the paintwork and whether PDR will work. A lot of jobs come to us with large damage and we know immediately if this is beyond our capabilities so we will refer the client to a reputable crash repair. We might end up working on the repairs with the crash repairer if this will provide the best outcome for the client.
What does it cost and how does it compare to traditional methods of crash repair?
The average cost for a dent in a panel is around $150 and it maintains the original paint finish of the panel. It's a lot quicker to repair than traditional crash repairs which can involve stripping back, panel beating and repainting where costs can quickly add up to upwards of $500.
What can go wrong with dent repair?
If it is not tackled initially in the correct way, a lot can go wrong with a dent repair, such as cracked paint or pulled paint, or a loss of integrity in the metal which creates a problem called “oil canning” where the dent flops in and out when touched. These things are almost always determined by how you initially repair the dent. If not approached correctly right at the start you have a much lower success rate at fixing the dent.
Do most people still think that a crash repairer is the only option?
A fair majority will still visit a crash repairer for small dents and hail damage first where hopefully they are pointed in the right direction of using PDR where appropriate, so that is certainly the case but the younger generation do tend to Google around first and then make contact with a PDR company.
How often will crash repairers refer people to dent repair businesses such as yours if they can see that PDR will be a better option?
We get a lot of referrals from crash shops and do a lot of work onsite at crash shops, and likewise we refer people to smash shops. The better crash repairers will utilise a PDR company and not cost their customers unnecessary money. They use us to complement their services, where some of the old school repairers have traditionally fought against us as they think we are taking work away from them and prefer the old style of repairing dents which generally costs the client much more.
What makes you specialists in prestige or classic cars?
I guess it’s the experience we have fixing them, through our prestige dealership network and private clientel in handling these sorts of cars. We have a long history and high standards of quality assurance. We handle these cars with great care and therefore get a lot of word of mouth work amongst classic car enthusiasts and our prestige network.
How far do your mobile fleet travel in Adelaide?
We travel all across greater Adelaide to all corners of town, and we venture beyond Adelaide from time to time into regional areas for general dent and hail repairs. Having 5 vehicles allows us to cover all sides of Adelaide quite quickly/promptly as well.
Do they provide as good a job as your repair workshop?
Yes. The standard is always just as high on the road through our mobile fleet as it is in our workshop. There are some extreme dent repairs that may need to be tackled in the workshop, but we will advise there and then that the vehicle needs to go to the workshop.
Where was PDR developed and how long has it been around?
It was developed in the USA in the 1960’s where the large majority of PDR tool creation and development still stems from here. This is where we buy our tools from. But a lot of the metal working concepts have been around for many decades prior, particularly through the long history through car manufacturing in America and Europe, but as a craft it came about in the US in the 60’s.
How is the technology developing to become better?
It is evolving toward tackling larger and harder dents. The integration of technology this decade into our tools and skillsets, such as magnetic induction and direct current electrical systems, mean we can do larger and harder dent removals. These techniques improve the PDR and metal tightening abilities to achieve the perfect result on such bigger and harder dents.
What other services do you offer at your Vehicle Cosmetic Repair Centre?
We offer high quality cut and polishing and paint corrections, permanent paint protections, scratch and scuff repairs, vehicle detailing, mag repairs, bumper repairs, window tinting and other services.
If someone comes in with a couple of dents around their car, we take a look at the rest of their car, they might have scuffed or scratched mags, or a scratched bumper, so we offer an option to tidy it up for them. If someone wants to sell their car, we can also organise pre-sale details such as a cut and polish, so it’s a good opportunity to go a little further and restore some of the value to their car.
Why would people come to Dent Revolution over another PDR company?
Primarily it's the genuine quality of our work and the integrity with which we go about it. People know or can guage that we can deliver on a high quality of repair to their pride and joy. A lot of people have been burnt by other dent removers or hail repairers where corners have been cut and poor results achieved.
We firmly believe in being open and honest in acting with integrity on customer vehicles as if they were our own. This is evident in the quality of our work and the transparency we take with our clients in describing the repair process with them. There's no smoke and mirrors. People are free to come and watch us do the repairs if they want.
For a long time PDR was just about the small dents but now, because of new techniques, our company is more often tackling larger, pushed in dents which traditionally have been a crash repairer job. For vehicle owners they are saving more money and time through us being able to do more challenging PDR.
Our broader automotive advice is also well received, as we have a strong network of automotive repairers of like mind who deliver high quality repairs and we will bring them in when needed to get jobs done the right way.
What do you love about working in this industry?
It woud be the people overall. We love finding and associating with other like minded automotive businesses who share our passion in doing things the right way and the best way. We take a lot of pride in being a genuine resource for vehicle owners who love their cars. We love cars and we love seeing their satisfaction over a job well done, especially when it has challenged us because of the nature of repair. We love sharing our industry and what it is capable of everyday.
Frequently Asked Questions
Prestige and Classic Vehicle Specialists
Visit Us or We Can Visit You
Drop in and visit us at our new dent and hail repair centre at 118 Magill Road, Norwood, next door to The Republic Hotel. Walk-ins and drive-ins are welcome but please phone or email ahead to book where possible. We can also come to you.
Fill out the form below, describing your vehicle make & model and what services you require for a quote or booking. Attach images of the repair work required using the "Choose Files" button below.