PDR Articles

NOTE:  If you are reading through this site to get general information on PDR Training it is not necessary to read any articles on this page. It is highly recommended that you do read the rest of this site however for a complete overview of PDR Training.

What can I do if I have already been defrauded by a Paintless Dent Repair training school? Can I get any of my money back?

We hear this question all the time. You may be able to get part or all of your money back depending on these factors:

#1 The state where the training school is located. Paintless dent repair training schools are called vocational institutions by most states. In many states there is a government run bureau that will arbitrate between you and the vocational school that gave you poor training. You do not need a lawyer. These bureaus generally favor the student if you have your reciepts, and have any witnesses that were there at the time of your training such as another student that can verify the poor quality of the training. The witness will be interviewed by phone so there is no need to travel. You will be asked to fill out some paperwork, and the whole process can take anywhere from 4 weeks to several months depending on the state.

If the state does have a vocational bureau, and the paintless dent removal training school is not registered with the state, you may be entitled to a full refund of all tuition because the school falied to register with the state, and is conducting an illegal business.

In states where there is no government bureau the chances of getting a refund are poor. Hiring a lawyer can easily exceed the costs of a refund, and the training school counts on this fact.

The best way to determine if your state has such a bureau is to do a google search using the words "vocational education bureau" and the name of your state. This should bring up the state agency responsible to help you.

#2 The contract you signed. This of course varies widely. If the school has state approval to operate, the contract will state the specific rights you have. Many contracts contain little about what happens if a student is unhappy about the training afterwards but the state bureau can still help you if you act soon enough.

Many paintless dent repair training schools try and get you to sign something saying you were satisfied with the training, and as you already know you don't really realize you have had bad training untill months after you have been trained. In many states this statement you may have signed means nothing legally and is meant to try and discourage you from sueing after you realize you were taken. Some conditions set forth in the contract with the school may not be binding on you because the conditions of the contract are not applicable in that state.

What you can do to prepare for Paintless Dent Repair training at Top Gun

There are several things you can do to prepare for Paintless Dent Repair training. But first lets talk about a few things you should NOT do.

#1 Don't practice! It is ALWAYS easier to train a person that knows nothing about paintless dent repair than to train someone that has practiced on their own. Practicing incorrectly only leads to bad habits. The fewer bad habits you have the quicker you will learn.

If you have already trained at a mill type school, or with a training video, stop practicing and just relax until your training begins with us.

#2 Don't worry. It is my responsibility to teach you paintless dent removal. As long as you have better than average hand eye coordination, good eyesight, and patience, I guarantee you will learn this art.

#3 Don't buy any tools. Even if someone offers you a great deal. Most tools out there are junk, please don't waste your money!

Now for the dos

#1 Get your marketing plan going now. Most techs wait too long to start this most important step. Plan your domain name, website layout, and basic marketing strategy before you train if at all possible. I am always available to help with this, and there is a special section on TopGun to help you prepare your marketing plan. Call me for details.

#2 Exercise and stretch daily. This may seem trivial but it is very important. Most people tire quickly in the forearms, and shoulders when first practicing paintless dent repair. The following exercises will help you to develop the muscles you will need. It isn't necessary to bulk up, or lift heavy weights, just do a moderate amount of these exercises.

Squeezing a rubber ball. Do this for 5-10 minutes a day with each hand.

Wrist curls both front and reverse with a light weight ot barbell

Back Stretches especially for lower and mid back.

Light push ups for shoulder and back muscles

#3 Prepare your family. As mentioned elsewhere on this site, learning Paintless Dent Repair takes a commitment to practice regularly after training for 2 to 3 months. It really helps if your family is ready to support you, and realizes that your free time will be limited for a while.

What is the best type of reflection system to use?

by Marty Runik
TOP GUN Paintless Dent Repair Training Schools

In paintless dent repair we use a reflection on the surface of the panel to show us information about the dent, where our tool tip is, and how to fix the dent. The most important thing to have while your learning PDR is the right reflection for your eyes. There are many types of reflections such as fogs, lines, bare bulb, natural reflections, etc. Each of these reflection types have advantages and disadvantages for each individual tech. Also, each of these types have several variations. For example, we use 44 different fog variations when we are dialing in a student who needs a fog board, so we can find the perfect reflection for that student.

So which reflection method is the best? The answer is, there is NO BEST REFLECTION. What works for one tech may often not work for another because everyone sees things differently. So how do you find the reflection that works best for you? The only way is to experiment with every type to determine what is best for you. It also greatly helps to have someone experienced in using all types of reflections to guide you through this process. Most techs end up with a combination of two reflection types that works best for them in most situations. There are also times when a tech may need to use two or more reflections to see everything they need to see to get a quality repair.

Unfortunately almost all trainers will teach with the relection that they use. If you don't see the same things the trainer sees with his reflection, you can be in for a very frustrating experience. At TopGun this is one of our specialities. We take the time and effort necessary to find you the reflection, or combination of reflections that work best for you. So when you hear a PDR trainer say that the reflection he uses is the best one out there, and is the only one you should use, this is not a good sign of a competent trainer. What can be even more confusing is using a fog that is borderline for your eyes. This is because you can see enough visual information to fix most dents, but not enough information to do a clean and fast repair. This is a very common problem with many newer techs who were ony exposed to one reflection type during training.

In addition you must know how to adjust the reflection that is best for you to get the most visual information from it. Many techs use a good reflection for their eyes, but never really see all that it can show them because they don't know the fine points of how to adjust and use it. A good trainer will know the fine points of every type of reflection so he can help any student to find his perfect reflection.

The single most important tool is the right reflection for your eyes because you can't fix what you can't see. Techs using the wrong or borderline reflection to repair dents is probably the #1 reason many techs do poor quality work.



by Marty Runik
Top Gun Paintless Dent Repair Training Schools

Any experienced tech knows there is nothing that will screw up a dent worse than not seeing your tip until its too late. If there are even a couple bad over pushes in your dent, especially in the sweet spot, ( impact point ) the chances of a true 100% finish or even a fast repair are gone. But what if you know your eyesight is fine or is corrected to as good as its going to get, and you still can’t see your tip before making over pushes inside your deeper dents and creases? The next step is usually determining if you are using the right reflection type for your eyes and brain. This may get a bit technical but we’ll try and keep things as simple as possible.

Believe it or not, the way your brain processes visual information has more to do with the type of reflection you need than you eyes do. Two people with identical vision in every way may still need two completely different reflection types. A good example of this is the old fight between techs that like a traditional fog board vs. those that use a line board. A line board tech may ONLY be able to use a line board because his brain will not process what are called analog visual signals, but he can easily process digital information. Such a tech can spend years trying to see things in a fog board that his brain will never allow him to see. I’ve found that about 2-3% of techs absolutely need a line board to get the best visual info for them. On the other hand, a person whose brain can not process digital info but only sees analog information will never see a thing in a line board no matter how much time he spends working with it. Such a tech will need some type of fog reflection or possibly a hybrid fog to see the visual info he needs.

Now most people can process both types of visual info, but will tend to be more analog visually. These people can use either reflection but will usually see best from some type of fog reflection. If this person is more over on the digital side of the scale though, he will do best with a combination board made of a wide hard line stripe with just a small fog on both edges of the line.

So how do you know which type you are? Its fairly easy to find out.

#1 If looking at a properly adjusted standard fog reflection in a panel does not show you variations of shading from dark to light grey in and around the dent, and you don’t see these shades change as you move the board or your head slightly, then chances are you will need a line board or straight fluorescent reflection. Also, if you do not see a gradual fade in the fogged area of the reflection board itself, but instead see a fuzzy thick line or even a hard line, then a fog reflection probably will not work for you.

If you fall into this category, a video on how to read a line board, or some personal instruction should very quickly make things click for you. You will probably feel a line board just makes perfect sense to you and you almost intuitively know what your looking at with just a little instruction.

#2 If looking at a line board any more than 5 minutes gives you a headache, makes you slightly dizzy,  feel something like a buzzing in your head, or in extreme cases makes you feel like throwing up, you are almost entirely an analog person. You will need some type of fog reflection, and will probably never be able to use a line board. One notable exception to this is in extreme cases such as heavy UV damage to the eye from too much arc welding or long term sun exposure. This type of tech, even though he would probably benefit from some type of standard fog may need a bright fluorescent light type of fog or even a straight fluorescent tube light with no fog at all. This would be a bright hard edge reflection. But even in this extreme case, the tech will not be able to use a line board successfully.

#3 If looking at a line board for a while only confuses you, or you don’t know what your looking at you are probably both analog and digital and just need to understand the line reflection better to use it. This is BY FAR the most common type of tech. In my opinion this tech will usually benefit most from some type of fog reflection. For these techs, a line reflection does have some limited uses which we will discuss in a future article.

Again, in my opinion most techs can learn to use some type of fog. There are MANY different types out there now, and I think this reflection type will show the most detail and visual information to techs that can use it. But what about those techs who know their eyes are fine and who have been trained with every reflection out there and still don’t feel like they see things the way they should. Don’t give up until you find some one who knows the visual side of a technique called Brain Gym. You can find these specialists in almost every part of the country now as the techniques are gaining in popularity rapidly. If you bring the different types of reflections to these people they can test you and give you certain exercises that will help you determine which reflection works best for your brain and eyes together.

Of course sometimes no matter what any one does there are some people that despite all efforts, who seemingly should be good candidates for this trade, still can not learn PDR. Brain Gym is not 100% effective for some people. But with this technique, you will almost always know immediately if you have a problem that can be helped or not. If this sounds like you, you can save months of agony and wasted money by looking up one of these specialists first.

There are other possible causes of not being able to make sense of any reflection. Most of these are more obvious though. Learning or processing disabilities are by far the most common.. If you have been diagnosed with an input or output category type of learning problem, PDR will be extremely difficult or even impossible for you to learn. If you were diagnosed with problems in the integration or storage category you should still be able to learn PDR but at a slower pace. Other problems such as dyslexia, ADD, etc can be worked with to a point. Past head or eye trauma can also make PDR a bad fit for you. If you even suspect something like a disability is hindering your progress, you will of course want to get examined by a specialist before going any further.