By Starrla Cray
WAVERLY, MN When a hailstorm pokes golf ball grooves into a vehicle, Bill Hulett knows how to make the dents and dings disappear.
“With paintless dent removal [PDR], we bend the metal without disturbing the original finish,” said Hulett, the owner and founder of ProPDR Solutions, which recently relocated to 318 Pacific Ave. in Waverly.
“What we do is make special lighting and tooling, primarily for the paintless dent repair industry. We also build stands to hold lights and tools,” Hulett said. “We’ve been revolutionary in the industry.”
ProPDR Solutions was born out of Hulett’s personal desire to make the automotive repair industry safer and more efficient.
“I’m trying to make it less hazardous for the people who choose to work in the industry,” he said.
Years ago, before he became involved in paintless dent repair, Hulett owned his own body shop specializing in work on exotic cars.
“We did a lot of work on Ferraris,” Hulett said. “People from all over the world would bring them to us.”
Fixing and enhancing cars also meant that Hulett was exposed to chemicals in exterior vehicle paint, however, and he started to have trouble breathing at night.
“It was isocyanate poisoning,” Hulett said. “The chemicals build up in your body and never go away.”
Hulett didn’t want to give up his career, but he didn’t know what else to do.
“The doctor said I had two choices change careers or die young,” he said.
Hulett tried working as an insurance adjuster and appraiser for a while, but he couldn’t forget his passion for cars.
“It’s been my mission ever since to improve the industry,” he said.
Hulett discovered that paintless dent removal (PDR) is an effective way to undo car damage, without using so many harmful chemicals.
“It’s a far less invasive procedure,” Hulett said. “It’s also less expensive, as a whole, if you can fix the dent without having to repaint it.”
He made the transition to the paintless dent repair industry in 2000, and quickly established himself in the “top 40 techs of all time,” as rated by the Dent Network.
After searching for equipment to perform paintless dent repairs, Hulett discovered an unmet need in the industry, and began designing and building tools and products specifically for the PDR specialist.
His tool carts, light stands, LED lights, and other accessories have become prevalent in several countries worldwide.
LED lights are increasing in popularity in the PDR industry because they’re environmentally-sound, long lasting, and less expensive to run than fluorescent bulbs, Hulett said.
“Last year, demand was so huge for lighting that I didn’t really even have time to do paintless dent repair,” said Hulett, who was named the 2011 “accessory person of the year” at a Texas trade show.
Originally, Hulett’s company was located in Crystal. The recent move to Waverly has greatly reduced travel time for Hulett, who lives between Buffalo and Maple Lake.
Pro PDR Solutions currently employs two part-time and two full-time people, including Hulett’s youngest son, Jesse.
Hulett said he might need seasonal help soon, since his busiest time is during warm months (when hail is more likely).
In addition to PDR services and tools, Hulett also offers PDR classes for auto body professionals.
“We do individual training as well as group training,” he said.
ProPDR is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (612) 741-0930 or go to www.propdrsolutions.us.