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PDR – Risks and Risk Management
There is no doubt this industry is expanding at an alarming rate because many have heard just how much PDR Technicians earn. But most will not know and may eventually find out themselves just how unreliable the cash flow can be. If not managed well, the advantages of cash flow may get wasted. So this indstry represents a risk to income flow from several factors:
- unreliable and dishonest employers
- disorganised technicians themselves in documenting and chasing the correct payments
- unreliable income
- outlay versus income cashflow
- weather and hailstorm unpredictability and uncertainty
- undercutting by other technicians particularly those that are fixed and not mobile
Furthermore, much of this industry works on word and mouth, trust and lack of written contract and perhaps more so verbal agreements. Being contractors, there is no permanent structure or agreements set in place given the short periods of time some technicians will work with certain employers. The gentleman’s hand shake may not always secure the cash.
Generally, technicians are not very organised and this may be taken advantage of if the technician is not alert. I have witnessed first hand technicians who were asked what colour was the car they were working on for the past 3 hours and they may not be able to tell you! Nevertheless, the unreliability of the income or cash flow has to be managed so that it can last the whole year. There is never a guarantee that storms will occur until next season for instance.
There were several seasons particularly from the 2006 to 2010 era where storms were more infrequent. This represented a testing time in the industry with work being scarce. It is therefore very important that a technician be vigilant in terms of news of hailstorms. You don’t get many opportunities each season to work in hailstorms and much less frequent catastrophic events such s the Melbourne hailstorms.
Non financial related risk
Given the contractual nature of PDR, technicians are still at risk of some injury. Taking insurance policy and self paid workers compensation can help relieve unfortunate circumstance arising due to injury together with a loss of income.
Undercutting and relatively low paid PDR technicians can sometimes impact on financial negotiations. Imagine PDR technicians working for $500 per car whereas the same vehicle could have netted $3000 to $4000!
Weather, Hailstorms and Hailstorm Chasing
There are few “hail chasers” (the name sometimes PDR Technicians are labelled) if any that have sufficient knowledge to forecast hailstorms. Generally, most PDR technicians are alert with their I-phones and laptop computers as well as in the know from other technicians as to when the next hailstorm has hit.
The risk becomes compounded when the hailstorm occurs with the PDR Technicians grabbing their toolkits and racing to the hail zone. Suddenly if they are to hire their own shed, the cost for rent could be significant – I have heard of $50000 for 6 months or yearly leases. That sort of outlay then has to attract ample work to break even.