By Walt Gorman
Q. I recently refused a job at one of my auto dealers because there were three star breaks in a cluster and all the legs were connected. I felt that I could not draw a vacuum to clear out the moisture because air would be sucked in through the other breaks as fast as I drew it from the one that my injector was on.
A competitor of mine successfully completed the job, and, as a result, has taken over the account. How would you have handled this?
A. It is this type of unusual break that gives you the chance to stand out from the crowd. Practice this technique several times so that when it comes up again you can handle it easily.
First, using your probe, flex all the breaks carefully to open all the legs so that resin will flow through them easily. Next, drill and pop a bullseye and place your injector over one pit and put a drop of resin and a film tab over the other two pits. This will allow you to pull a vacuum without pulling air through them.
Next inject resin. It will flow into the other connected stars. Use your probe to flex and open any legs that are not filling. If a leg is still not filling, remove the injector from the first pit and put a film over it. Then, drill into the pit with the leg or legs that are not filling and pop a bullseye. Place your injector on that pit, pull a vacuum to remove any remaining air, then inject the resin and continue as usual.
Q. A customer claims that I scratched her hood and has not only refused to pay for the repair but wants me to pay for a paint job. I noticed the scratch before I started the job. She insists that it was not there, and is threatening to call the Better Business Bureau and her insurance agent. It is a matter of principle with me and I refuse to be taken advantage of! What should I do in this case?
A. You can stick to your guns if you wish. This is called “winning the battle, but losing the war!” The smartest thing you can do is to settle with the customer amicably. An unhappy customer will bad mouth you every chance he or she gets and cost you a loss of business and reputation. Instead, consider this a valuable lesson.
Prevention is your best defense against this type of situation. When you rent a car at the airport a rental company employee examines it and notes any existing damage on the contract. If you are wise you will make your own inspection before signing because any damage not noted is your responsibility.
The average driver does not do this with his car before the repair. Once the repair has been completed, he sometimes spots damage that he had not seen previously and assumes you caused it. Whether the scratch or other damage was there before, or not, hardly matters—it is what your customer believes that you have to deal with.
Your best tactic is to look the car over and call attention to any existing damage you have noted before starting the job. Some technicians even write it on the invoice and have the owner initial it. Paint scratches and blotches as well as burns and tears on upholstery and the dashboard are obvious things to review.
Previously repaired breaks and other windshield damages should also be called to the customer’s attention. Additionally, it is your duty as a professional to protect your owner’s investment and your own reputation.
A heavy towel or hood and fender protector should be spread over the area you are working on. This will help protect the finish from scratches and resin spills. Large belt buckles have scratched many a fender.
Resin spills should be blotted up immediately. Resins with high acrylic acid content will blister paint almost immediately. Prevention is your best course. Do not fill your resin injector over the hood.
Damage to the vehicle’s interior is usually done to the upholstery or the dashboard. Open flames should be avoided. If you use heat on a repair, the car’s own lighter is the safest source. Greasy uniforms or tools in your back pocket are sure to mess up the car’s upholstery. Sit on a heavy towel to protect the car.
Last but not least, do not drive a customer’s vehicle! Simply tell him that your insurance prohibits it. Remember, when you protect your customer’s vehicle, you are protecting yourself.
Walt Gorman is the owner and founder of A-1Windshield Doctor in Seekonk, Mass. He has 17 years experience in windshield repair and runs a training school for technicians. Email your questions to email@example.com.
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