Paint Correction Class by DSMS, feeler!

Discussion in 'Compounds, Polishes, Paint Cleaners, and Glazes' started by dsms, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown Buff Daddy

    Quite some time ago, Jason Rose of Meguiar's and I hosted two, one-day training seminars.
    However, our situation was quite a bit different than Dave's.

    Our primary goal was to teach proper sanding and polishing techniques. We were actually attending the CES Show in Las Vegas, and had just wrapped a three hour training class at the local Meguiar's store. We got to chatting and thought, "Wouldn't it be GREAT to take a group of guys that truly want to learn sanding and polishing, and pack as much as we can into a one-day gig?"

    Our second goal was to do so using Meguiar's and Mirka products, for obvious reasons. At that time, Meguiar's and Mirka had combined forces to offer a kit sanding and polishing system consisting of a mix of their goods.

    Our third goal was to be efficient in our teaching because we would only have one day. We decided that the student to instructor ratio had to be low so we could be thorough. We aimed for 4:1 to 5:1 ratio.

    Our fourth goal was to host it somewhere appealing. We chose a couple of different car museums.

    I had a fifth goal, which was to turn a profit, and out of all of the goals, this was the hardest one to set and achieve. For these classes, I charged $500 per student, but included a kit worth over $500 retail. I made a fair profit on the goods. Out of that money, I had to pay for travel costs, food costs, demo product costs, and any other goods needed to host the class. In the end, I certainly did not come out of the class thinking, "I made a killing!", because in no way was that the case. I was able to make a few extra bucks in follow-up sales. In fact, had we not used Meguiar's and Mirka reps to teach the class, there would simply be no way to teach the class and pay all the instructors a respectable amount. Since I was supporting them through the purchase of goods, they were able to support me in hosting the class. The best part of the classes for me? I met some great people, I worked with high caliber instructors, and I was able to share some hard earned knowledge with some VERY appreciative guys.

    This is the point: What is your goal in teaching this class?

    If the goal is to TEACH because you wish to share knowledge and appreciate how much it would have helped you if you had access to similar knowledge early on in your detailing career, then charge accordingly.

    If the goal is to equal or rival what you typically earn doing something else with your time, charge accordingly.

    If the goal is to teach oodles of guys asking you for advice and you are tired of chatting on the phone or sending e-mails with no financial gain, charge accordingly.

    If the goal is to teach guys that are telling you, "Teach me, man... I'll pay!", then charge accordingly.

    My advice? Start at the point of what you might make in a typical day. Consider what you will need to make in order to cover your costs (food, product, whatever), and add your day of profit. It does not matter if you teach one guy or ten- that cost is easy to determine.

    With all the attention this thread has received, I think a group of guys would be willing to attend. They will learn from you, but they may also give you advice on teaching your next class. If I was looking to attend a class given by any particular chap, I'd immediately want to know what the class would cover, how long would the class be, and how many students would be attending. I could then better gauge the value.

    Once you get a class or two under your belt, there's a very high likelihood that you will know how much to charge in the long run. If you feel that teaching is more difficult and thus requires more profit than if you'd simply booked a detail for the day, charge more. If guys keep leaving saying, "Man- I would have paid two grand for this class- what a deal at only $200!", charge more.

    I think you are going to find that unless you are teaching only one or two guys at a time, you may need another instructor or two to run the class efficiently. You and Bob Willis could do it- but of course, more money would have to change hands so Bob could pocket some dough, too.

    Good luck.
  2. Erik Mejia

    Erik Mejia Obsessive Detailer

    I think a class taught by Dave and Bob Willis is a great idea, I would love to attend a class taught by these two fine detailers. Maybe they could do it in California instead of the east coast. Or do them on both sides of the country.

    I also wouldn't mind attending an NXTI class. Kevin, any chance these will be happening again?
  3. Auto Concierge

    Auto Concierge DB Pro Supporter

    Come on by.... but be prepared to "Pay" as I need to be "Monied up" if paying by check my friends call me "Cash".:2cents:
  4. ps3king

    ps3king Jedi Nuba

    Dave you're a great guy and kudos to you for the hard work you put into everything. You obviously take a great amount of passion in the work you do and it shows through your work. The fine exotics you work on is motivation for me to achieve a level like that.

    When I saw the thread title of attending a detail seminar held by you it really did catch my eye but unfortunately, for a price of ~ $600 it's something that I see no benefit (value) from. Somebody mentioned that it was a good ROI but I really can't see it. Perhaps you can help me with this because from what I understand this is open for all (beginners to advanced detailers) and you have listed a lot of topics to discuss but a beginner in the class who is merely learning the ropes is going to slow down the class of novice or advanced detailers who would really like to know the "secrets". You have listed a lot of things to discuss in 1 day, are you sure you'll be able to accomplish it all thoroughly within that time frame?

    Here's some other main questions that I was wondering:

    1. how is the class going to be structured to accomodate these differences amongst skill levels?
    2. Who is the seminar really for?
    3. What support will be availabe Pre-and Post Clinic if any?
    4. Why go to YOUR seminar over all others?

    Question 1 - Comments
    After reading your original post I get the notion that this clinic is for somebody who has recently started a detailing business and would like to know about all the various types so that he/she can be well prepared for all scenarios their business may endeavour (sticky clearcoat, hard/soft paint finishes, etc etc...) Is this also for the weekend warrior who only owns a couple cars in his/her garage?

    Question 2 - Comments
    Is this a class meant for the weekend warrior looking to keep his own vehicle looking prime or the business owner looking to expand? $600 is a price the rich pay or people with a thriving detailing business that can absorb it as an expense.

    Question 3 - Comments
    I have attended many different clinics/seminars/camps (not just detailing) and there's always some reading material, pamphlets or a preparation guide that is always sent out to help prepare for the clinic. These guides teache you what to expect and to be ready and well prepared before arrival. Also, once the clinic is done there's always some sort of video, or support line to refer back to with any questions. Afterall, there's only so much information that can be absorbed at one given time. I've heard the average human brain can only remember 6 things at a given period in time so I think this is one of the most important aspects of any seminar.

    Question 4 - Comments
    My argument really isn't in the price you set but rather the value attained from attending this seminar. Dave, nothing personal here, its obvious that you're a fantastic detailer and I respect your abilities but that says little about your "teaching" qualities. This is going to be your very first class so your inexperience (in hosting a clinic of 10 or more people) IS going to play its part. I know that when I look at other seminars seeing who the instructor is plays a key part in my decision. Some instructors have a natural ability to engage the whole audience and teach effectively while others simply do not. That still remains unknown as this is your first seminar and there is no feedback available.

    Ending Remarks

    I don't work on Lamborghinis, Ferraris or Maseratis. I currently detail daily drivers with hopes of one day attaining your level of success. Slowly my work is being noticed and I am getting some opportunities. There's a lot of improvement needed for my polishing skillset and attending a detail seminar is necessary on my to do list. Kevin Brown posted some very good points in an earlier post and your competition (other instructors hosting seminars) is doing the same thing you're doing at a fraction of the cost. If I was paying $600 for a seminar I would like to know how to deal with Ferrari's, Lamborghini's and other exotics inside out starting from their paint finish to the alcanatara leather inside. Messing up on such finishes will cost well over a mere $600 so that is justifiable. Paying $600 to learn how to deal with Hondas, Infinitis and Audi's is not worth it because fixing your mistakes is not as costly.

    Making mistakes on exotics is far more costly than making a mistake on DD's. So the knowledge to work on exotics is much more extensive...that is a niche. Teach that and in a couple years I will come knocking on your door to learn.

  5. dsms

    dsms DB Forum Supporter

    Great questions.

    The class is geared toward the professional detailer, someone who does this or wants to do this as a business. I would say ideally someone who has has just begun or is going to begin a detailing business where they will be doing paint correction is my primary target.

    If you have a business or have corrected 20+ cars already and really know what you are doing and are simply looking for some tips, then this class is not for you. A different variant later on may be more suited, and I am still contemplating different levels of classes.

    As for compensating for the different sklllsets of people in attendance I think all the demonstrations will be done slow enough and explained simply enough to be understood by anyone. Once everyone gets behind a buffer than the experience will show and you can either work at higher speeds using more aggressive combos or lower speeds with more gentle combos depending on your level of experience or maybe even how quickly you pick up what you just learned.

    Support after the class is a great point you brought up as everyone will be given my contact info and in exchange I will have theirs. Simple enough there, yet I want guys to be able to call me, shoot me and email or even a text if they have trouble on a certain car or a certain type of finish and I will do my best to help them out or walk them through a process.

    This seminar is different for a few reasons.

    I dont work for a product company, my best interest does not lie with turning a profit for X or Y brand. Different polishes, machines, pads etc will be used, whatever gets the best result for the task as hand regardless of brand.

    Class size will be small as I said before, this is not a room full of people. Everyone gets personal attention and everyone will be able to see demonstrations up close. I have seen some pictures of classes before and they seem a bit crowded and not every seems to have the best view of the demonstrations being done.

    Seat time! Everyone will get plenty of time using all different machines, both rotary and DA along with all kinds of pads and polishes. For me to tell you this works for this reason is not as effective as you performing the step first hand and seeing what results you get. Not only is this a really important part of the learning process but it also is a huge confidence builder.

    Teaching theory in addition to the correction work itself. I think in order for someone to be very good at paint correction they need to think outside the box. I want people to understand how to approach each car and paint finish differently and with that learn HOW TO MORE ACCURATELY quote clients simply based on questions asked over the phone. Black paint isnt just black paint!

    Product recommendations! This I feel will be really valuable for anyone in the early stages of their business. Obviously I will recommend which products I feel are best to use but also I have no problem telling people what products not to use and what has proven after testing to simply not work. I have bought tons of polishes, pads and even buffers than just were a disappointment so before they go out and buy them as well I can offer the pros and cons. Maybe what I didn't like in a particular machine they will find advantageous. I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the past few years on products and many of them proved to be garbage, if I had known ahead of time about some of them I obviously would have some some coin.

    Open talk. Dedicated time will be left for anyone to ask any question about anything. With only a few people in a class I think everyone can feel comfortable saying whatever it is they want. If there is something I didnt cover or you want to know more about, just ask and I will do my best to answer.

    Light sources. This is something I think is super important yet few if any detail classes really go into detail about. I have become somewhat of a light-whore over the years. I found that using some standing halogens just wont cut it. Without giving too much away, I will tell people what lights are most effective on what paint and how to use different light sources to most effectively inspect their work and obviously which lights are really worth your money. Again I think the controlled enviorments most of these classes are held in doesnt really warrant the need to use many different lights but when doing it at your home garage and especially mobile job, light sources can make or break your day!

    As for the value of the class I dont see how it cannot be beneficial. My goal is to cut down a serious chunk of the learning curve and advance someone's skills so that they can not only do a higher level of correction on a wider range of finishes but also be profitable while doing it.

    I rationalize it this way... if this was me, a few years back when I started or a little after I started and I had the opportunity to attend a class from a well respected detailer whos work I thought was very good and consistent, would I pay good money to attend?

    The answer is YES.

    I cant tell you how many nights I spent in my garage up until 3 or 4 am trying to figure out what works on what car. I literally would have to run through half a dozen pads and polishes, different machines, speeds etc. constantly checking my work to see if I was getting the desired results. If someone could have showed me that 80% of the combos I tested had basically no shot of working, I could have saved a lot of time and money!

    One last point Waseem you said this "Paying $600 to learn how to deal with Hondas, Infinitis and Audi's is not worth it because fixing your mistakes is not as costly."

    This is a very negative way to look at a business, any business. You never want to make mistakes, on any car for any client. Now not only can a burn through on a Audi costs way more than $600 thats the LEAST of your problems. Your reputation is on the line every single time you touch a buffer to paint!

    Most of my customers are gotten through word of mouth, if I damage even one panel on a Nissan 350z how many people do you think the owner will tell? What if hes in multiple car clubs, on multiple online forums? Do you have any idea the damage that can cause your business? Again the cost of a re-paint or fixing burned trim is pennies compared to the damage to reputation. Doesnt matter if its a Ferrari or Honda, people talk and word spreads fast, something like that cant be an isolated incident.
  6. maxepr1

    maxepr1 Jedi Nuba

    Alright Dave, you've strung us on for long enough. Let's get down to the meat and potato's....When..How ...Where and How much?? My bag is packed!! LOL
  7. trhland

    trhland Nuba Guru

    this sounds like it will be a great class . :thumb:
  8. ps3king

    ps3king Jedi Nuba

    Thanks for the reply Dave and it really sounds like you have all the topics any novice would need to know covered. Maybe if I could give you a few suggestions as a novice myself that you can take into consideration when instructing you class.

    I spent countless hours (hundreds maybe even thousands) just reading from different forums familiarizing myself with buffers, polishes, pads, and accessories. I always had a thread or tutorial to refer back to you because like everyone else, I forgot things. So will there be literature given out to the attendees to refer back to? perhaps a "cheat sheet" that outlines the combos you talked about or some of the contents of the seminar? Alternatively, it seems like you are making yourself available to answer their questions via phone, text or email but I warn you, 10 novices running a small business will keep you busy with texts and phone calls. And if you don't believe me just ask Bryan (bryanbestwax) how many questions I ask in our BBM group and he will tell you. Bryan has saved my ass and been there during estimates, burns, and much more! Having literature to refer back to makes it easier for both parties.

    Also, it sounds like this seminar is going to be very thorough and information packed...are you sure you will be able to finish it within 1 day? 10 people practicing with 1 rotary for 10minutes = 110minutes (1h 50min) gone right there. Also there is only so much information people can absorb in one day without being overloaded.

    Regarding the Audi and the paint being burned....yes you are correct (I stand corrected). Reputation is far more important in terms of cost/benefit than the cost to fix the burn itself. That being said mistakes are inevitable and its how you deal with them that matters. I personally think burning through paint is the only way to truly learn the limits of your machine to understand heat transfer etc...but thats just me. Anyways, the main point I was trying to make with that comment was that I would pay that kind of money to learn something that I otherwise can not learn/teach myself (working on exotic paint) due to the risks and costs associated with it.

    Best of luck to you and your class I hope you get the turn out you expected.

  9. dsms

    dsms DB Forum Supporter

    You are correct about people remembering information, that is if they were to be tested on it than sure the cram effect of a crash course may not be a great idea. However the class is more about understanding how things work and how to do them, sure lots of pieces of individual information will be given out but at the end of the day you either will know generally how to correct paint, or not. If someone forgets one or two pieces of information than it shouldn't hugely affect their ability to perform the work later on. And if someone (as they should be) is always practicing the craft than they should be fine.

    Another note on the "remembering" part of it, like I said earlier if people come with an open mind and are eager to learn they will find its something worthwhile. Nobody is forcing anyone to go, if your there its because you want to be :thumb:

    I cant tell you forumulas I learned in calculous, despite being drilled on it for months at a time in school... yet I can read a Road & Track magazine 1 time and recall the 0-60mph times between 3 different cars for the most part, why? Because I find that information far more interesting and I want to absorb it. Despite what you think we are all selective learners!

    As for a cheat sheet of info I'm not sure if thats such a great idea. The problem with guides or cheat sheets is that people tend to always think of them as the absolute end all solution to their problem and with paint correction, there are no absolutes. To have a list of pads matched with polish and speed on a chart could be useful but that is a bit counterproductive to me in teaching people how to perform paint correction using "outside the box" thinking. May still be something to consider.

    And for those who continue to ask about price, location etc. the details are still being worked out. I may have the ideal space to do this out of that everyone will be comfortable with. Will keep you posted!
  10. Auto Concierge

    Auto Concierge DB Pro Supporter


    Look how much info I was able to give you in one paragraph in a pm?, remember like any school you will get out what you put in and of course notes can be taken along with some printed info Dave could come up with and distribute among the class.

    The way I quote vehicle corrections is based upon how many hours I estimate the car will require and then quote the amount based upon my shop & mobile rate with a 40% gross profit margin maintained(not a 40% mark up from my cost btw).

    Think of not only the time saved on each job but more importantly the "Confidence" gained as at this point in my carrer I can on most cars look at them and in thirty seconds or so have the entire detail steps done in my head ad thus come up with a accurate quote.

    Rule of thumb for charging for this class is "Time spent" @ your current labor rate as if doing a correction, because Dave would be not only showing what to do,but "What not to do" which is just as important.
  11. Erik Mejia

    Erik Mejia Obsessive Detailer

    I may have to take you up on your offer. Thanks for the offer Bob. I had seen some threads of the classes you held for Glossit, and they seemed well worth it. Keep up the good work.

  12. pmb600

    pmb600 Virgin Detailer

    Dave, if you decide to offer different levels of classes, I would be very interested. I know the class you initially had in mind is for people who are starting out as "pro" detailers or who are new to the business, but it seems like there would be some demand for another class designed for the detailing hobbyist.
  13. dsms

    dsms DB Forum Supporter

    Seems to be a lot of demand for that. Definitely something I would be into!

    I'm going to do a beta class in the next few weeks with just 2 people. Do the entire class, see what they like, dont like, heard to much of, not enough of. I think this will really help to make the first public class a great success.

    Keep you updated.

  14. JCastro1085

    JCastro1085 Virgin Detailer


    Dave I have followed your work on Autopia reading every thread you have written & your videos on youtube, and even though I will not be able to attend a meet so far away, I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work and information that you have shared with us all. You and Barry Theal truly are an inspiration for me. Good luck with your class Bud!

    OG SHOWTIME Virgin Detailer

    I cant figure out why everyone is so eager to learn rotary, its so DAMN BORING and it takes forever to master, YEARS. Not to mention not very cost effective, sure you can charge 1000 for a paint correction but it takes days, sometimes weeks. Every time i send someone to my wheel guy he gets 2-4 hundred and is done in an HOUR OR LESS, makes me wanna learn how to spray more than spend another minute with a buffer.

    And why is everyone so quick to bash someone for raising the price bar!!!!!! That is exactly why people are still getting paid squat in our line of work because everyone wants to undercut the other guy.

    Please dave, establish that a rotary class should cost 1000 so i can do the same.

    PS im 23 and have already taken 6 jobs from old guys who thought experience was the name of the game, so dont let anyone knock you for being young.

    You can work at mcdonalds for 50 years but that doesnt make you a master chef.
  16. togwt

    togwt Nuba Guru

    Experience is a great teacher, but talent is something you have and has nothing to do with age (cue the three year old child prodgy Lang Lang playing piano)
  17. drew935

    drew935 Auto Salon Works

    Bob, has you scheduled another class yet? I remember the you did one at premier for the grand opening but watched from afar since i wasn't interested in detailing before. I would like to attend one :thumb:
  18. bryansbestwax

    bryansbestwax DB Forum Supporter

    i can add one good thing, if you as DaveKG nicely, he will let you reprint his rotary polishing guide, which in my opinion is a work of art in itself. Saves a lot of time in producing reading material for the boys.
  19. Rcrew

    Rcrew Wax on..Wax off


    Curious if you have held the rough draft class and how it went....will you still be putting on a full class?
  20. rfinkle2

    rfinkle2 DB Forum Supporter

    i'd like to attend a class if held in New Jersey. I'm always looking to learn something new.

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