In a sea of reality TV stars, Dave Kindig surely stands out from the others for his talent at creating the most marvelous builds and restorations. As seen in shows such as “Bitchin’ Rides” and “Best Of Top Gear”, Dave’s popularity as one of the most innovative and risky designers in the car industry is more than well-earned, gaining him not only huge international recognition, but also quite a good fortune.
So while we know money isn’t the most interesting thing about Dave’s decades-long career in the automotive field, it’s never not interesting to know how much he has earned from his career on TV and his business.
Do you want to know all about Dave’s earnings from TV and businesses, on top of other interesting details about his career? Then stay with us!
How Rich Is Dave?
Considering how long Dave Kindig has been in the automotive business and his status as an internationally famous TV star, it’s not shocking to know he has accumulated a small fortune from it. According to online reports, Dave Kindig has an estimated net worth of $3 million, resulting from his several businesses, television personality career and brand sponsorships.
Although it’s also often questioned how much he earns for his show “Bitchin’ Rides”, the truth is that MotorTrend keeps this information in secrecy. While the average salary for the network’s common employees is around $98,483 according to Salary.com, the only hint of how much MotorTrend’s stars get paid comes from a 2016’s Business Insider article which stated that docu-series type of shows, usually starring non-celebrities, pay stars around ‘$1,500 an episode, to $3,000’, fitting to Dave’s show description. This is of course solely an estimation, but it’s enough to get an idea of what the actual financial situation of people in the reality show industry might be.
How Much Do Dave’s Cars Cost?
While many reality stars often show off their luxury lifestyles and how much they make, it’s evident that Dave Kindig is different from them even when it comes to revealing the cost of his restoration jobs. As he affirmed on his Twitter back in 2017, ‘we never tell how much a build costs, we keep (them) confidential with our customers!’ he wrote in response to a fan addressing the subject.
While we can’t obtain a real cost estimation of specific restorations done in “Bitchin’ Rides”, it’s for certain that Dave’s customizations are meant for deep pockets clients due to the level of dedication required, as he told Street Trucks Mag in 2020: ‘we have one level of quality and operate on one speed, and that’s perfection’.
When you're talking about Dream Cruise highlights, it's got to be all about the cars. Thanks again to everyone that parked it with us on Saturday. Until next year!#AkzoNobel #WoodwardDreamCruise @OfficialWDC @Kindigitdesigns @davekindigit pic.twitter.com/uLCKdVbKG4
— AkzoNobel Refinish (@AkzoNobel_AACNA) August 21, 2019
Besides money, Dave insists that patience is a necessary trait his Kindig-it Designs’ customers must have: ‘a good majority of (them) have the budgets for rather expensive cars, but they also have a good understanding of how this all works’.
With that cleared up, his business’ website also offers their most impatient clients a limited variety of originally designed and restored autos, though the price range of these is as high as expected.
Dave Kindig’s main source of income is definitely his business Kindig-it Design. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company was established by Dave in 1999 using his 401k savings.
Although not everyone is bold enough to risk their life’s savings to start a business, Dave was rightfully convinced that starting his own design agency was the right choice. After quitting his 60-hours-a-week job and having the approval of his wife Charity, a 28 years old Dave followed his dreams by putting his whole energy on growing his career: ‘I figured that I could spend more time doing that at home as well as peddling parts I was making for friends’, he said to Street Trucks Mag in reference to the extra works he did on his garage before starting his business.
Soon enough, Dave’s designs and skillful restorations took people’s attention, but the real work was done behind closed doors as he continually put all the money back on the business to make it bigger: ‘I honestly didn’t start noticing the light at the end of the tunnel until I stopped spending so much money on growing’, he admitted. His efforts and business-wise nature were well compensated in the end, as nowadays Kindig-it Design is internationally renowned for all the good reasons.
Academy & Other Projects
Unlike many other experts, Dave Kindig is actually interested in passing down his knowledge to other professionals in the field. That’s why in January 2022 he launched the Kindig Academy at Lincoln Tech, which offers study programs for car builders who wish to learn the advanced techniques used by Kindig-it Design’s workers.
The academy offers a weekend introductory course meant for beginners in the area with no previous experience, while the advanced Custom Design and Fabrication course is meant for those who are already experienced in the car building industry but want to further their knowledge in the Kindig style.
Of course, given the nature of the course and the fact that Kindig Academy is the first of its field in the country to lead such a project, the courses are in no way cheap.
Other than that, Dave usually puts in a big effort to bring his work closer to people. Not only can his fans visit his shop’s showroom in Utah and online through the 360° vision room, but his exclusively-designed auto parts selling division is available as well. His company also sells apparel and distributes Modern Classik, his carefully curated automotive paint brand.
All in all, Dave has too many projects in his hands but somehow he makes it all work in the end.
Unlike most masters and pioneers in the automotive industry, Dave Kindig surprisingly didn’t think he would dedicate his life to cars when he was a young child. As it happens, design was his earliest love, one he pursued by catching bugs and drawing them.
Come and see some of your favorite people from Velocity! Dave & Kevin will be at Motor Mondays and Motor Trend at Motor…
Despite not being surrounded by real cars, he always loved them as well, so as soon as he realized that insects weren’t for him, he fully embraced that second love: ‘I loved Legos and Hot Wheels cars, and that morphed to putting together plastic model cars. I loved drawing, too, so I went from drawing bugs to drawing hot rods’, he told Fuel Curve in 2019.
Although Dave apparently never enrolled in a professional school, he acquired enough skills to work for High Performance Coatings and obtained his first experiences in the automotive industry there. However, the work was extremely demanding time-wise there, leaving him scarce time to pursue his designing and car-building aspirations for eight years.
Nonetheless, Dave knew what his talents were as soon as independent clients started paying him for his rendered designs. The next big step was opening his own shop, for which he used his life savings: ‘The way I went about it may not be the exact method I’d recommend to everyone out there, but if I had to, I would do it all over again’, he told Street Trucks Mag.
Years before “Bitchin’ Rides” came alive, Dave Kindig and his business were already featured on TV. Although it’s unclear when exactly Dave made his TV debut, making a ‘media blitz’ for his shop back in the early 2010s inevitable took the attention of executives in the now-disappeared Speed Channel, who asked him to film a five-minutes video about his shop: ‘We did it and I guess we must have checked off all their boxes because they loved it’, he told Fuel Curve.
That short video eventually landed them a special feature in a 2013’s “My Classic Car” episode, but Dave wasn’t quite ready to become a TV star back then. Accepting to have his own show wasn’t the kind of attention he was looking for given all the risks it implied, as he confessed: ‘I went through all this, built this team, had everything set into place and if something went wrong, I’d lose it all because we’re filming a TV show’.
Being cautious definitely set his path to success. Wanting to keep his business’ reputation, Dave made sure that the focus of his show would be what he really wanted when he signed the deal: ‘We’re not building cars for a TV show, we’re building them for our customers’, as he confessed. In the end, “Bitchin’ Rides” indeed became known for the work its crew does and not for personal dramas or scandals, which is a feat in itself.
Work Process on TV
One of the biggest challenges for car builders on TV is to make their work processes fit the small screen in a compelling way. Knowing this very well, Dave Kindig agreed with the show’s producers about making “Bitchin’ Rides” a show completely focused on what’s most important in a car shop: ‘they’re here to capture that process and be a fly on the wall. We don’t start and stop for sake of TV, which makes us different’, he told Fuel Curve.
Given the format of “Bitchin’ Rides”, 44 minutes are clearly not enough to show in detail what really happens in the Kindig-it Design garage when its crew puts their hands on a project. As Dave affirmed in an interview with Take To The Road, on average a car takes his team around 4,000 to 5,000 hours of work, so the show’s priority is to feature the interesting parts of that process. As well, there’s a whole planning phase that we never see on screen but it’s evident after seeing the final work: ‘it’s almost like a patient race to get to the end and finally see the results of what we dreamed about maybe 14 months earlier’, he admitted and the analogy couldn’t fit better.
Episode 3 of season 3 of Bitchin Rides is on tomorrow. Who's ready for it? The episode is called- If Your Car Ain't…
Who Works With Him?
Clearly enough, “Bitchin’ Rides” not only shows us a small part of the work processes done in Dave’s shop, but also only introduces us to a couple of his main collaborators and team members.
Starting with his wife Charity, as Kindig-it Design’s Vice-president and co-owner, the company owes lots of its success to her business wisdom. Just as Dave told Take To The Road, he’s a ‘go go go’ type of person, while Charity is more of a ‘wo wo wo’ one, as the voice of reason: ‘She’s a wonderful person and Charity and I have been married 28 years this year. She’s awesome and we do everything together’.
Dave and Charity’s daughter Baylee is all about keeping the family business alive, taking care of the apparel line and website, while their son Drew’s love for metal building made him the right guy to go when it comes to door handles. Then it comes Kevin Schiele, Kindig-it Design shop foreman and the guy overlooks the job done in it. Other important crew members are the business manager Valerie Gillies and Will Lockwood, the expert engineer who has known Dave from his years as an full-time employee. All in all, Kindig-it Design has around 34 employees nowadays and they make sure that each one of them is appropriately credited.
His Dream Car
Dave Kindig can proudly say he has put his hands in a wide variety of cars from all around the world and knows more about those than the common folk. However, while his website states that his favorite build is always ‘the next one’, even an extremely experienced guy such as Dave admits to having his preferences when it comes to the cars featured in “Bitchin’ Rides”: ‘if I have to pick it would be the ’55 Mercedes Gullwing’. (…) ‘Everything about that car is exactly what I would build for myself’, he admitted to Fuel Curve.
That being said, Dave has also confessed what other cars he wants to work on in the future. For starters, some of the European models he has in mind are old Jaguars, Ferraris, Pontiac GTOs and the 1969 Lamborghini Miura S: ‘They are not necessarily tangibly in reach at the moment but yeah… long time fan but not a player just yet!’, he told Take To The Road.
Knowing that Dave is a man of action, you shouldn’t be surprised if one of the aforementioned cars gets featured sooner than later in “Bitchin’ Rides”.
What Happened To “Bitchin’ Rides”?
It’s well known that reality shows aren’t necessarily a stable TV niche, but given the huge success of “Bitchin’ Rides”, it’s understandable how long it has run on TV.
While the show hasn’t been renewed yet since wrapping up its seventh season in 2021, Kindig-it Design website states that new information regarding its new season would be released in 2022’s summer. Although to date no further information has been said about it, it’s for sure that we haven’t seen the last of “Bitchin’ Rides” yet and that makes us inevitably happy.