by Bob Beranek
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Last week we talked about the protection every technician should do to prolong his or her career and reduce the chances of pain and injury. This week let’s talk about protecting the vehicle from possible damage.

During my training courses for new entrepreneurs or technicians, I always say that vehicle damage is inevitable. Tools slip, blades break and mistakes happen. The only thing you can do is to try and make the damage superficial rather than serious and pay attention to what you are doing and the condition of your tools. However, our minds wander and attention can be diverted to the point where mistakes occur. We must do our best to protect from that eventuality.

Protecting the vehicle starts with a pre-inspection that recognizes possible weaknesses in the vehicle’s condition. For example, is there aftermarket paint that could peal when protective tape is removed? Or, are there cracks on the dashboard that will become bigger or more noticeable after the installation? Obviously, these must be discussed with the owner and precautions taken to eliminate the possibility of the damage being made worst.

We use protective coverings for the vehicle’s paint and for our bodies as well while we’re working on the vehicle, and that is something we should do automatically. However, pressure to get the job done as soon as possible sometimes leads us to forget or forego proper vehicle protection. We cannot do that. We must, for everyone’s best interest, protect the vehicle.

How you do that is primarily up to you and your employer’s policies. I recommend:

  • Drop cloths;
  • Fender covers;
  • Protective tape;
  • Buckle-less belts;
  • Aprons; and
  • Removing jewelry.

No matter what you do to protect the car the point is to do so.

If a mistake happens and damage occurs because of your actions, it is in your best interest to admit your mistake and offer to fix the problem immediately. Nine times out of ten, the customer will take less than you were willing to offer because of your honesty. If you try to hide the mistake or ignore the damage, they will make you pay everything they can get and then some. Human nature is to forgive when things go wrong and a person is repentant and honest. Be up front and honest. It will pay off.

Why give your profits away? Protect the vehicle. Acquire what is necessary and manage yourself and your employees to use those protections. It will pay you in the long run with added profits and loyal customers.