Killer Tools Attacks Pandemic with Mr. Fogger

Killer Tools Attacks Pandemic with Mr. Fogger

During the pandemic, some companies have succeeded while others have paused or closed their doors completely. Those who can pivot have been able to not only survive, but thrive during these uncertain times.

Such is the case with Killer Tools in Orangevale, CA, and its owner and inventor, Gerry Trueit, 72.

Trueit's company has conceived and designed more than 50 products, and estimates at least one or two are being used in every body shop in North America right now.

When Trueit saw a definite need for a tool that would help the collision repair industry as the pandemic continued, he and his team developed a system to accommodate both body shops and their insurance partners.

With a pivot move that even LeBron James would be proud of, Killer Tools developed a machine that generates ozone to completely disinfect interiors of vehicles before and after repairs. Offered in 110V and 12V, they have become top sellers.

Most recently, Killer Tools also unveiled a cordless sanitizing tool named Mr. Fogger, so technicians or car detailers can sanitize touchpoints and vehicle interiors more quickly and efficiently using the least amount of disinfectant.

Killer Tools sells Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution, which uses thymol, an all-natural antimicrobial agent derived from the thyme plant, registered by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

When the pandemic hit in March, Trueit gave his crew two weeks off, but then came up with his idea for Mr. Fogger, and all of his nine employees came back to work in order to make and distribute it.

“We wanted to create tools that would enable technicians to sanitize cars thoroughly so that shops wouldn’t have to worry about the health of their employees and customers,” Trueit said. “Insurance companies are allotting 60 to 90 minutes to sanitize these cars, so this has become the new normal way and will likely continue long after this thing passes.”

More than two decades ago, Trueit discovered a pneumatic door skin tool, and that’s when the story began. He bought a motorhome, and with his wife and his dog, they hit the road to visit as many body shops as they could.

"We sold so many that we were forced to get off the road so that we could focus on manufacturing them," Trueit said.

“We chose the name Killer Tools because I would show up in a collision shop and people would tell me that I always had the ‘killer’ tools,” Trueit said. “So, we adopted the name and incorporated. Since we began back in 2002, we have sold more than 50,000 of these tools, and they keep rolling off the shelves because they work and make technicians' lives easier.”

Killer Tools is now a household name in the world of collision repair, with products like The Dent Killer, a self-leveling door lift, the family of Shark welders, Cordless Tool Garage, the Painter’s Helper and the largest variety of tram gauges in the industry.

Killer Tools sells its tools through more than 10,000 distributors worldwide.

The main question Trueit asks before developing any tool is if will it be used by the industry enough to make it worthwhile.

That’s why he and his team are always soliciting feedback on any tool or piece of equipment they release to the world of collision. He works closely with a skilled management team, consisting of his General Manager Mario Harders---formerly with DentFix---and a fellow tool inventor and former body man, Tim Gerhards.

“We sit down and determine if there are a definite need and a viable market for any tool we decide to pursue,” Trueit said. “You can make something that works well, but if it’s not accepted by the industry, it will just sit on shelves.”

In many cases, Trueit has been able to find great ideas from body technicians that eventually lead to inventions being used today.

“We have built a reputation for being a company where if you have a concept and we think it will work, we’re not afraid to pursue it," Trueit said. "They conceive it, and we test it and then manufacture it and sell it. One technician who came up with a great idea for a tool has made more than $300,000 within the last decade.

“Technicians are not afraid to think outside of the box, and most of the tools we sell were designed in order to complete a task,” he said.. “That is why I like being a part of this industry. Knowing that many of our tools are in shops is very satisfying.”

Trueit prides himself on making tools that will last and withstand heavy use, he said.

“We use attention to detail and stress things like quality and safety. I have had to reject several ideas because I thought that the tools would be too dangerous. As a result, all of our tools last.

"We are here to repair anything we make. Our phone does not ring and I’m usually the one to answer it, which is a good thing. I tell my people that if the phone isn’t ringing, that means we are doing a good job.”

The King of Killer Tools---or Head Shark---still loves what he’s doing and isn’t thinking about retiring any time soon.

“We have created a niche for us by taking people's ideas and making them happen,” Trueit said. “If we can come up with a new tool and sell it for the right price---we already have a customer base waiting to buy it.”

Sounds like a killer situation.

Ed Attanasio

Columnist
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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