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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. 

Friday, 31 August 2001 17:00

Managed care - out of sight, out of mind, out of control

Written by Dick Strom

I just had my yearly physical. One reason I rely heavily on the advice of the doctor I've chosen is that he takes good care of himself, and emphasizes preventative medicine. Since I turned 50, physicals have taken on a new character - sinister-appearing devices for early detection of prostate and colon cancer have been added to the regular regimen. Although the procedures involved are sometimes uncomfortable, the temporary inconveniences far outweigh the risk of physical molehills turning into mountains. We want to spend our days on this earth as free of undue pain and illness as possible so as to be active participants, rather than faded memories, in the lives of our children and grandchildren. 

Wednesday, 31 October 2001 17:00

Is you is, or is you aint my baby?

Written by Dick Strom

Electronic communication and commerce developments of the past decade have created some exciting and strange bedfellows in our industry. Used wisely, and not abused, some of these can help us put out a better product in a shorter time frame. But the dot-coms that have sprung up faster than hallucinatory fungi on horse pucky threaten to dot-decimate many smaller players, especially those unable or unwilling to conform to the control of those bent on pulling the cyber-strings. As with everything else in this life, "following the money trail" always leads us to realize someone else's desire to control and profit from us - or eliminate us. 

Friday, 30 November 2001 17:00

A lesson from ol Henry on not getting stuck in ruts

Written by Dick Strom

"Take it off, Honey!" I pleaded with my wife as we ended an early-morning walk. My request concerned the doubt she'd just voiced that she could afford to take off just six workdays from her extensive office duties at our shop. It's a phobia common enough among business owners - the fear of who knows what awaits their return from enjoying the fruits of their labors: The fear of loss of control!

Thursday, 31 January 2002 17:00

Auto parts dealers speak up about returned parts

Written by Dick Strom

The October, 2001 issue of Autobody News front-lined an article, "Dealer Parts Managers Complain that Body Shops Return Excessive Number of Parts," voicing the opinions of parts managers interviewed. Three factors are pinpointed as contributing to an excessive number of returned parts - outright fraud, cycle time pressures that encourage ordering parts "just in case we need them," and parts orders based on estimates written by inexperienced insurance adjusters. It seems that the parts managers are sweating - and speaking out - about these issues.