Q: Since that incident occurred, how have you taken steps to build a successful business and help customers deal with insurance companies?
A: I realized it was time to stop playing by the insurance industry’s set of rules and start playing by our own rules. They do not run our shop. We do. We started by reinventing our entire shop and including even more state-of-the-art equipment than before. We began doing our own wheel alignments on our John Beam V3400 with an in-ground American-made lift. We updated all our frame equipment and bought an additional downdraft booth.
Most importantly though we invested in training for our employees so they could better service customers. We even opened up holes in the front of our building walls and put large windows everywhere. We wanted more transparency so people could see us working on their automobiles to help build trust. We also started getting more involved in our community at this point and adopted a ‘green’ philosophy. I believe we are the only shop on Staten Island that uses environmentally-friendly products in our daily operations.
It was during this time that we stopped listening to insurance companies in regard to what aftermarket counterfeit parts they wanted to put on the vehicles we were repairing. Instead, we educated ourselves on OEM procedures and became advocates for our customers. We even find ourselves from time to time educating other shops in our area on proper repair procedures and where to find OEM position statements to see what parts should not be used on cars they are repairing. We reinvested in the shop—renovating it and bringing in high-tech equipment that would save us time and money so we could pass the savings on to our customers.
David Velasquez is one of 20 employees.
Thankfully, our customers stayed with us and know that when they bring their vehicle to Barry's Auto Body they will receive the best quality repair work and a written lifetime warranty to back it up. It’s one that we stand behind proudly. We do whatever we can to educate our customers about their rights and recently my sister and I were both recognized with awards for our service to the Staten Island community. It was an honor for both of us.
Q: Congratulations on your recent award “The King of Staten Island.” What was your reaction when you found out you received it and what do you attribute your success to?
A: I was actually taken back by the name: “The King of Staten Island.” I thought it was hysterical and my ego definitely loved it for a quick minute. I am so grateful to the Star Alliance Organization for giving me this award. They are awesome people! Every single one of their employees was an absolute pleasure to deal with. I don’t actually know why they picked me. My company is a member of many different organizations such as the Freemasons, Kiwanis, YMCA and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce so I guess that had something to do with it.