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Light Up Your Life: New Technology

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I admit it. I’m not a huge fan of new technology. Heck, I only own seven – none which I actually bought. People keep giving them to me, hoping to inspire me to move forward into the new millennium (or at least into the ’90s).

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So trust me when I say I understand if you’re suspicious of new products or technologies. Nearly all of them claim to “speed the repair process,” so it’s natural to be skeptical about which ones actually do.

For example, lately I’ve been hearing a lot about ultraviolet (UV)-cured paint resins. “From wet spray to full cure in just two to five minutes, these resins offer significant improvement over even the fastest heat-assisted urethanes,” writes Mark Clark on pg. 72 of this issue. Sounds good, but if you’re using UV resins, you also need a UV light. (Unlike urethane paint, which eventually dries on its own, UV finishes won’t dry without application of UV waves).

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“Are the paint manufacturers nuts?” you exclaim. “My techs don’t use the infrared light they’ve already got. And now you expect me to spend $1,800 on another lamp I can’t even read with?”

Point taken. But there are lots of things you can do with it. You just have to see the possibilities.

This “light you can’t even read by” isn’t just a piece of equipment – it’s a profit center. Yes, it cures UV paint resins, but if that’s all you think it’s good for, then you’re grossly underestimating its potential. Consider the following often-overlooked profit centers for shop UV lights*:

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  1. Manicures & pedicures. Been trying to do a better job of marketing your shop to women? Problem solved. Invest in the newest colors available for UV-curable nail polishes, promote a current employee to “nail technician,” and you’re on your way. (FYI: Shop techs typically don’t make very good nail techs. It’s best to promote someone from the front office.)

  2. Dentistry. UV-cured resins also are used in fillings. Because you’ve already got the tools and the know-how (you drill and fill everyday), why not specialize in cut-rate dentistry? Says one tech, who’s thrilled by the prospect of performing back-alley dentistry: “Heck, we can even manufacture false teeth right on the premises! Sure, we’d cast them using automotive plastic filler and spray paint ’em with white car paint, but why pay thousands for false teeth when you can spend only hundreds for a set that looks almost as good?” The only downside (besides the legal liability, that is): insurer involvement.
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  • Tanning. Never mind that die-hard tanners wind up with a face like a fig and skin more suitable for a purse. Never mind that exposure to the sun’s rays causes cancer. These pesky problems are irrelevant to the droves of men and women who flock to tanning centers in the hopes of staying golden brown (or pinkish red) all year long.
  • So why not give them what they want while making a little extra money for yourself? Your UV light uses UV-A waves, just like tanning booths do – except your lamp is more powerful, entitling you to charge a premium for these “fast” tan sessions. Also a plus: You’ve already got a clientele – your collision customers. “Tan while you wait,” isn’t just a marketing slogan, but smart use of a customer’s time – especially if the car isn’t quite ready for delivery. Best of all, you set your tanning package prices. No insurer involvement here.

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    Georgina K. CarsonEditor* Disclaimer: BSB is not responsible for injuries and property damages done by and to those who actually attempt this stuff. For actual (and factual) information on UV curing, see “Paint Predictions (& Educated Guesses)” on pg. 72 of the magazine.

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