Your Name: Doug Hillius
Your Business: Dent Solutions (http://www.dentsolutionsnw.com)
How did you start your business? What did you do before?
I started in 1999 as a dent tech for another company. Spent 5 years working for them and then created my business in 2004. Prior to the dent business, I had a plethora of jobs. I spent time with my dad as a drywaller, outside sales, and many years waiting tables to pay my way through college.
What makes your business different / better than your competition?
First off, i would say that I’m a car guy! Having a passion for cars pushes me to treat every car I work on like its my own. It doesn’t matter if your car is a Honda or a Rolls Royce, I like them all. If you care about it, then I care about it. Going into my 20th year of dent repair, I still like it as much now as the day I started.
Second, I have never shied away from extreme dent repairs. Over the years I have succeeded and failed at them. But each one has been a learning experience. So pushing myself to be a better tech and pushing the limits of PDR has separated me from other techs in the region. I have repaired hundreds of dents that other techs claimed were not repairable. I still challenge myself daily to be better than the day before.
Tools and training. I stay on top of every new tool and training possible. I travel to get master tech training and education every year.
Lastly, my employees. I have selected some amazing guys with a ton of experience who care as much as I do. And that to me is a hard thing to find. Guys who really care
What has been the biggest challenge that your business has faced over the past few years?
Honestly, I would say keeping up with demand and growth. Both great things, but both challenges. I would love to fix every dent for everyone immediately, but only so many hours in a day. It used to be pretty simple just answering a few calls a day and running a mobile business out of my work rig. Now it can be multiple hours of quotes from online requests and messages. I never want to lose the personal contact and attention to my clients. They can choose to go anywhere and I want that to be us.
What is one surprising thing about your business?
It’s much more artistic and tedious than people realize. It may look easy to watch someone with experience repair a dent in minutes but it took years PLUS those minutes to perfect this craft. It’s like holding a yoga pose for an hour and not losing concentration on the job at hand. You’d be surprised how many time I've heard “if I had the tools, I’d do it myself”.
What was your first really special car?
I think most would say the first car they owned. My 1972 Honda N600. A two cylinder air cooled car rolling on 10” wheels that looked very similar to an original Mini Cooper. I loved that little car and cant count how many times I came out to the parking lot and it was missing. It would only take 4 guys to pick it up and carry it around the building.
If you didn't work in the automotive field, what would you do for a living?
That’s a tough one. If I’m not at work fixing cars, I’m usually at home messing around with them. In college my focus was on legal studies and pre-law, But realized that I’m not a office kind of guy.
I’m not sure to be honest. I like building and creating with my hands. So I’d probably be back in construction or metal fabrication.
Is there anything else that Avants members might want to know?
I am and incredibly competitive person. I was an avid soccer player for 35 years all thru college and thought that was where my future was going to be until I had multiple knee surgeries. I roadraced for 14 years in Washington, Oregon and Northern Cali. So when most guys say they like to go fast, I can relate. I miss it every day. But don't miss the injuries and life-flight helicopter rides nearly as much.
I have been building a car for over 10 years and am starting to get close on it. A 1956 Bel Air on a Speedtech chassis powered by a supercharged LSA that I hope to compete in Optima Street Car Challenge and autocross events. So, as I trasnsition away from motorcycle racing I hope to get more time to do a little “speed” and fun on four wheels.
13421 Northeast 20th ST Suite A
Bellevue, WA, 98005