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Friday, 29 February 2008 17:00

Is New Legislation the Answer to Shop Woes?

Written by Dick Strom

A cartoon I remember from the '60s pictured a young couple getting it on in a grassy field. What made it memorable was the expression on the face of the guy as his female partner of the moment, stoically looked up into his eyes, saying something like "I’m doing this for nuclear disarmament, free love, and world peace… What are you doing this for?"

Monday, 31 December 2007 17:00

How Foxy Todd Fox Was Outfoxed by Elements of His Own Devices

Written by Dick Strom
The old Eagles song, Hotel California, has lyrics that once heard, reverberate in the brain for days. It’s ironic how well the lyrics of Hotel California describe the corner into which so many in the collision industry have painted themselves, how they got there, and how they can possibly get out.
Friday, 30 November 2007 17:00

Barons in the Buff 2007

Written by Dick Strom
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Dick Strom 

It’s time for the latest installment of Barons In The Buff, a collage of candid quotes from the mind-trust of insurance personnel, those who once walked in their shoes, and from those of us who know them all too well. We trust you will find these quotes educational and entertaining, and encourage you to send any notable quotes you’ve received to my e-mail listed above. No fabricated or embellished quips, please: the truth is always “stranger than fiction.”


Wednesday, 31 October 2007 17:00

Profiling - How Do Vehicle Owners Categorize You?

Written by Dick Strom

For years my wife and I have been cleaning up the roadside where we live. One major reason we do this is for the exercise it provides… a couple miles of brisk walking plus back and knee bending that keeps us fairly limber despite arthritis issues. Generally speaking, on the relatively upscale, bedroom community of Seattle island where we live, what little trash along our road is Starbucks cups, McDonalds wrappers and plastic salad containers, cigarette wrappers and butts, an occasional beer can or pop bottle, some of those little liquor bottles from plane flights (someone down our road obviously works for an airline), and an occasional syringe. The roads around our home are frequented by spandex-covered bicyclists with their butts high in the air expressing, I can only assume,  their opinion of the rest of us. 

Sunday, 30 September 2007 17:00

Defining Industry Accepted Standards

Written by Dick Strom

The term – industry accepted standards – is used by both insurers and repairers as it serves their purposes to earn the consumer’s trust. Industry accepted standards, relative to collision repair, is the feel-good lure of choice – cast out to convince the gullible. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2007 17:00

Despite innocence, you can be hanged

Written by Dick Strom

Chris and Carol Ferrante,  the former  owners of Gilbert Collision Center in Gilbert, Arizona, have had their lives turned upside down since May from a lawsuit brought against them by Infinity Insurance. (See Autobodynews,com for a profile on the collision repair shop when the Ferrante's owned it in  2002). 

Monday, 02 July 2007 13:56

Protect yourself from lawsuits and Internet slander by disgruntled customers

Written by Dick Strom and Mike Orso
    History has proven that the larger and more prominent a shop and its owner, the easier target they   are for lawsuits and other attacks by disgruntled customers. Mike Orso, owner of Nick Orso’s Body Shop in Syracuse, New York, fits this description. He owns a large collision shop named after his late father, who owned and operated it for years before him. Mike has earned his place of respect in the collision industry, as president of the New York Auto Collision Technicians Association (NYACTA) and as a longtime member in good standing of the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence (CCRE).
Wednesday, 02 May 2007 10:33

Remove the big S from your shirt and charge full cost of repair

Written by Dick Strom
    One of Gary Larson’s Far Side comics depicts an elderly Clark Kent lounging at home as his elderly wife busies herself stitching the letters “…tupid” next to the big “S” on his Superman shirt. Stupid with a great big “S” precisely describes the position in which collision shop owners place themselves when attempting to shield their customers from every pain of dealing with insurers. Insurers use your customer loyalty as a huge profit center for their own enrichment. Read on.
Tuesday, 31 October 2000 17:00

Taking care of business... and the family: a delicate balance

Written by Dick Strom
My wife and I recently became first-time grandparents. Hannah Lee Strom is her name, and flirting with my emotions is her game! This little beauty, with her pink skin so soft it defies my sense of touch, dark, wispy hair, soft facial features, cute little button nose, and tiny, delicate fingers and toes, has enchanted me.
Wednesday, 31 January 2001 17:00

Shops profit from being environmentally responsible

Written by Dick Strom

A friend who once drove a bread-route told of a true incident involving one of his customers of former days who was the proprietor of an old country store with the typical outhouse alongside. One day, as the storekeeper sat in his privy leisurely finishing a cigar while reading a newspaper, he dropped the cigar butt into the depths below. In an explosive flash, he was propelled through the privy's wall and deposited on the nearby road, black and blue and, shall we say, exposed. Seems a backyard mechanic, employing disposal methods common to that era, had dumped several gallons of stale gasoline down this outhouse. In addition to public exposure, today the consequences of waste disposal impropriety often include serious fines, restitution and even imprisonment.