How it Works: PACE Paint Finishing System
STATS: Colby Body and Fender Works Location: Albany, N.Y. Website: prestaproducts.com Cost: $160 for the kit Uses: Paint finishing Training Required: On-site training available
Clint Fluegge grew up in a body shop. After he got out of the Marine Corps in 1993, he entered the industry as a field adjuster for an insurance company. After that, he ran an MSO before purchasing his shop, Colby Body and Fender Works, in 2012.
Colby Body and Fender Works in Albany, N.Y., has been family owned and operated since 1974. Fluegge purchased the shop from the founder. The 7,400-square-foot shop employs 12 and puts an emphasis on customer service. Because of this, Fluegge’s local sales representative, Kurt Zimmermann from Upstate Auto Body Warehouse, is always on the lookout for products that will improve the quality of the vehicles that he returns to customers.
Fluegge says that his shop, like most, was dealing with post-refinish issues. It often took extra work to get everything blended just right. Zimmerman introduced Fluegge to the Presta's PACE Paint Finishing System. Because it would cut down on steps and deliver a cleaner finishing job, Fluegge decided to make the investment. He’s used the system for close to six months.
How It Works:
The PACE system allows users to cut and polish and achieve a swirl-free finish in one step. The system is designed to be used with an orbital polisher. The system comes with two compounds (heavy and medium cut), an optional polish and an optional glaze.
First, decide which of the compounds should be used. The heavy-cut compound removes severe defects and P1500 sand scratches. The medium cut should be used on dirt nibs or P2500 sand scratches. After that, select the appropriate pad. The gray foam and the purple foam both go with the heavy-cut compound. The gray should be used with softer clears, and the purple, which has wool in it, should be used with harder clears. The orange pad is used with the medium-cut compound. Once the pad is selected, place the orbital on and apply the compound. Then begin polishing. As soon as it’s dry, wipe off.
Fluegge says that it’s helped simplify the process and eliminate steps.
Fluegge says that the system has saved him time and materials. The shop uses it on almost every panel job and has seen a 10-minute decrease in the time it takes to finish a job. This extra time can now be used to clean out the interior of a customer’s vehicle, which customers appreciate.
John Weichel, head detailer, mentioned that he doesn’t use the heavy-cut compound or pad because he hasn’t found that there’s a real need for it at Colby’s. Weichel also mentioned that when he did use this step, he noticed that on darker color cars, it looked blended, but then under natural light, there were still some light scratches or haze. Overall, though, Weichel says that the product has been a time saver and improved the quality of the finish.
In addition to the system, Fluegge also had to buy an orbital for his shop, so the initial investment was around $500. He estimates that he spends anywhere from $75–$100 per month to replace the pads or compounds. With all of that considered, he says that it paid for itself within the first six weeks.
“With all of that time savings, we were able to get more work in,” Fluegge says.
In addition, Fluegge also says that it’s saved him in material costs.
“This is product we’d have to buy anyways and this system does it all in one step, which cuts a product out,” Fluegge says. “It saves us money on purchasing pads and compounds because we’re able to use them for longer. The water bill is also cut down because you don’t have to wash vehicles as often.”
Fluegge estimates that the system has saved the shop at least $100 per month in material costs.