Top 10 PDR Training Questions. What questions should I ask a paintless dent repair trainer before committing to training? Many want to learn paintless dent repair and realize that they need to take PDR training. But, many do not know what questions to ask during their research for quality PDR training. This is a shortlist of questions you should ask while evaluating PDR training companies or PDR Training Instructors.

1. Do they train with LED Lights?

I start with this point because of the revolutionary nature of this technology in the PDR Industry, specifically training. The new style LED light is a different light wavelength than the old-style fluorescent lights. The result of this light makes learning PDR much easier. The learning curve is reduced by more than half. I can have students perform tasks in minutes where before it was days, if not weeks with fluorescent lights. The likelihood of failure is much higher with the old-style lights. Ask your prospective trainer if they are using LED lights for training, if not, DO NOT USE THAT TRAINER!

2. Do they have a PDR industry certification?

A PDR trainer should be individually industry certified in the PDR skill. It does not make sense to be trained by an expert if the trainer is not a certified industry expert. There are two organizations that certify in our industry, Vale and PDR Nation. If the trainer in not certified by one of these institutions, then find one that is.

If a training company says they use certified trainers but will not furnish the trainers’ name and certification numbers, then find a trainer that will furnish this information. There are training companies that happen to train PDR but do not use PDR professionals. So a conversation with a PDR trainer should sound like this, “My name is Rob McDowell and I am Vale Master Craftsman certified and my certification number is 108.”

The membership in PDR industry organizations is important because industry recommended standards. Industry trainers not only hold to these standards as well as train and promote them to their students. The end result being students trained and equipped to provide service at a high level.

3. What is their PDR industry reputation?

The PDR industry is small and the cadre of trainers is smaller. The good trainers are known within our industry due to the quality of our graduates. It’s not the graduation rate but the success rates of our graduates that counts. The reputation of our graduates is what reflects on the quality of trainer. This is difficult to determine unless you know good PDR technicians that you can ask, since they would know. Another way to ask for references which is covered by another point.

4. What is their teaching ability?

Every PDR technician thinks they can teach someone PDR because they can perform the skills of the trade. Not so, teaching PDR skills is a challenge due to the learning curve. To convey the technical aspects of metallurgy and theoretical concepts of moving metal takes a skilled instructor to bring these down to a practical application level. It takes a master instructor to assist students up the learning curve to become a successful PDR technician. Usually, a master instructor has or is instructing in other areas such as public speaking, coaching, or other teaching activities. Just ask your prospective trainer if they are instructing in other areas.

5. Will they give or finish alumni references?

This is very important in selecting a PDR trainer. If they say they have taught students effectively then you should find out from graduates how successful was the training. Your prospective trainer should give a couple of graduates to contact or post on a website, like I have, references of graduates. It is also helpful to talk to owners or managers that have sent technicians for training. If your prospective trainer gets offended or won’t furnish references, find another prospective trainer.

Don’t use the quotes or video clips from training as valid references due to the graduate not having applied his training to the real world. It’s after they experience real world PDR environment that they see if they were trained properly and can give you proper assessment and referral.

6. Is their training curriculum clearly stated?

The course expectations “what repairs can I fix after training?” should be clear defined. Daily class course work should be detailed. These are usually spelled out either on the trainers website or via printed material. If your prospective trainer is vague then find another trainer. A clear training system, i.e. curriculum, will help ensure successful training.

7. Is their training hands-on training?

Hands-on training is the only way to become a successful PDR technician. The failure rate is higher than 90% when being self or video instructed. The testimony to this failure rate is shops across the country full of abandoned PDR tools. You are doing research for a hands-on trainer, so make sure they do hands on training. There are training companies that make students do video or “watch me fix” training. Find out percentage of technician hands-on learning. You can usually tell from the curriculum but if it unclear, ask questions. If the answers are less then 80% hands-on, then find another trainer.

8. What are their training guarantees?

Due to no PDR industry training standards, the guarantee becomes important. The problem with guarantees in the PDR training industry is that the PDR trainer can always blame the student for the failure. It is not immediate, that the student finds out that the training was faulty or not. Usually, guarantees are never acted upon even though there has been justification. The money back guarantee is usually circumvented by this excuse. The come back again or training continuance guarantee is better since it helps the student learn PDR. If your prospective trainer doesn’t have a clearly defined guarantee with conditions for applying the guarantee, find another trainer.

9. Are they a professional?

Image says many things about an individual or a business. You can tell the quality of the instructor partially by the professionalism that they display. Your trainer should be well-spoken, clean cut, and be professional. You can see this by their websites and when you communicate with them. The trainer you don’t want to deal with is the grungy tee shirt, hat on backwards, cargo short, flip flop wearing PDR dude training out of his cave like garage. You want a professional trainer with a quality training system instructing you in a well lighted, climate controlled professional training facilities.

10. What is their PDR training costs?

Pricing is a difficult aspect of PDR training due to the variety of ways it is priced. The easiest way to determine price is to take the components of training experience by its parts. Price the training, tools, travel, and accommodations separately to establish value. Quality trainers, like myself, are interested in training students, not making profits on everything from tools to travel. The package deal is easier but usually not cheaper.

Check out the type and quality of the tools your prospective instructor is promoting. You are the customer and the shopper. If they can’t provide a name brand and retail prices for the tools, then don’t get them. Do research and find out what quality PDR tools are.