SEBRING — Carl Bradley, who has been doing paintless dent removal in Highlands County since 2000, said the process has been around since the 1970s.
But the owner of Invincident Inc. said he is amazed how many people don’t know about repairing dents that way. He says he mentions it and the reply is, “What’s that?”
“I think I have a little market that I could tap into here because nobody else is really doing it,” Bradley said. “There is no other shops in town that specialize in paintless dent removal.”
Bradley opened a shop for Invincident Inc., at 4021 U.S. 27 S. in Sebring, last July. He is there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Bradley said he uses special tools — and no paint or body fillers — to take out dents and dings. He added that he goes behind the panel in the car or truck and pushes the dent out.
“A conventional repair would require sanding, body fillers and repainting,” he said.
Most people think that to repair a dent they have to take the vehicle to a body shop or go to the dealer. Those places will then call Bradley to do the job.
“I decided I will just set up a shop so the people can come directly to me,” he said, noting that Invincident began as a mobile business.
Bradley said the repair can be done while the customer waits. Paintless dent removal can also make a difference in the value of the vehicle when it is either traded or sold.
“When you go to trade your car in, managers are trained to look for paint repair,” Bradley said. “When they see any type of paint repair it’s an automatic deduction because they don’t know if the car has been hit hard or if it was just a light, little scratch or something that somebody had repaired.”
A welder by trade, Bradley said he was getting tired of it and decided in the late 1990s that it was time for a change. A friend of his in Lakeland had been doing paintless dent removal and wanted Bradley to work for him. Bradley worked with his friend for a couple of years and then went out on his own.
Bradley said “the degree of difficulty” in removing dents varies from car to car.
European cars are the easiest to fix because the alloys they use in their metal are different from the alloys in the United States.
“Pickup trucks generally have a little thicker steel so they are a little tougher to fix,” he said.
Bradley said if the paint has been chipped away, he can push the dent out but the chip will still remain and painting will be required.
Bradley said sometimes a dent is so deep that the paint will not take the flexing, and when he pushes it back out, there will be some minor spider-web cracking. He added that he always tells the customer up-front when he thinks something like that might happen.
“I always under-promise and over-perform,” he said. “I believe (in) getting all of the possibilities out there, let the customer know, and if it comes out better, then they are happy and I’m happy.”
Bradley said the professionals in the business save insurance companies millions of dollars every year.
He recently repaired a car damaged by hail that had more than 700 dents. He believes he charged the body shop $3,800 to do the job.
Bradley said a conventional repair would involve replacing the roof and probably the hood.
“They would have to paint the whole car, basically, in order to do that repair,” he said, noting that he thinks the cost would have between $7,000 to $7,500. In that situation, Bradley said the customer can generally get the car in a few days as opposed to a few weeks. He added that since the car is not painted, the diminished value is not there.
The telephone number is 863-602-8408.