Nick Orso’s Body Shop and Service Center in Syracuse, New York will celebrate their 62nd anniversary on April 15. Autobody News spoke to Mike Orso, the owner of the shop, about the radio show he has run for the past five years and his recent involvement as president of the NYS Auto Collision Technicians Association. Orso also own’s Nick’s Garage, Inc.
Q: What prompted you to begin recording the Nick Orso radio show and can you tell us about the topics you cover?
A: We felt we had more to say and the 60-second radio spots we were doing needed to tell the rest of the story, to be more effective.
We have guests from all areas of business and legal, political and law enforcement. We talk about school bus safety and DWI (driving-while-intoxicated) awareness. We have won awards for our participation and effort to promote highway safety, and stop DWI programs, the "Move Over Law" campaign, work-zone safety, texting and aggressive driving risks.
We have business people that want to talk about their commitment to consumers and best business practices. We have an insurance agent, accident attorneys, political candidates, law enforcement, NYS State Police, county Sheriff’s departments, police departments, the district attorney's office, doctors and health care professionals and officials, highway safety experts, restaurants and delis, investment bankers, home builders, funeral directors, tire dealers, service garages, damage appraisers, senators and assemblymen, college sport coaches, coast guard, travel agents, and heating and air conditioning. March 5th marked our 257th show.
Q: What type of advertising do you focus on and what are the main benefits you have found?
A: We do consumer-based informational commercials. Most people know we can repair a damaged car and our commitment to repair integrity. What they don’t know is their rights after a claim. AND that’s what we tell them. Help is available.
Q: What are the primary areas of focus at your shop and what environmental initiatives have you taken?
A: Our resume includes a list of eight manufacturer-sponsored certifications. Our services include: Wreck Check Post Repair Inspections, an in-house 40 car-truck-SUV rental fleet, in-house council, advertising, radio shows, 100-car capacity, and NO DRP conflicts of interest.
In addition to using waterborne paint, LED lighting and a modulating air system, we completed one of the largest installations of solar power electrical-producing panels in Central New York in 2011. We are Syracuse's only solar-powered body shop. We get 80 percent of our electrical energy from the sun. There are 280 solar panels on our roof. We are the most environmentally-friendly body repair shop in upstate NY.
We received a New York State Assembly Citation from the legislature in November 2012 for our efforts in clean energy as the largest private solar installation in the Syracuse area.
Nick Orso's collision repair shop is located in Syracuse, New York and was established in 1954.
Q: Can you update us on the $3 million lawsuits that were filed in 2012 against insurance companies citing capping and short pays?
A: I am at liberty to say: Most of the suits were “resolved.” There are a few that are still in litigation. We now use in-house council that handles the day-to-day collections and interacts to negotiate and settle repair costs on claims.
Q: What is the assignment process you use to collect short pays?
A: We take assignments from consumers who authorize us to act on their behalf to negotiate a repair settlement. Most consumers are ill-equipped to handle repair claims since they do not know the intricacies of automobiles or have accidents often enough to be experienced. We do it so that we can repair the vehicle to the best of human ability while settling the cost of repairs efficiently -- IF the insurance company involved is inclined to negotiate and settle the claims.
Some companies, however, will not negotiate and use a take-it or leave-it offer. Those cases are typically handled by our attorney. We explain to our customers that some of the companies are not acting in the consumers’ best interest. We then have been putting our customers in touch with independent agents who sell insurance for companies we know will settle claims and treat customers fairly.
We average four to five customers a week who are changing companies, dropping the companies that typically will not settle claims fairly-promptly or that show any anti-consumer tendency. We constantly hear that they save money, get more insurance coverage and it's from companies that will settle claims fairly. I think it sends a message consumers will not stand for behavior that gives them less than they had prior to the loss.
Q: What is the importance of being part of an association and what is your current involvement with the NY State Auto Collision Technicians Association?
A: This is my 16th year as president of the NYS Auto Collision Technicians Association. I feel the most important part is the sharing of information and experience. The cohesiveness of a committed group of individuals is much stronger than a single person trying to do it alone. During our annual Lobby Day, we visit the NY State Capital, legislators, NYS Insurance and Financial Department and the NY Attorney Generals office. We keep them apprised and invested in our efforts to best serve consumers.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
A: We have found that being complacent and accepting whatever is offered has no reward. Most of the drive-in estimates we see are 100 to 1,000 percent below what it takes to properly repair a vehicle. We have thousands of loyal customers built from over 60 years of collision industry knowledge and experience. We are a tough competitor.
The Nick Orso Radio Show plays Saturdays on 105.9 FM from 9 to 10 a.m. EST. It streams live during show times at http://www.therebelrocks.com/the-nick-orso-show/
Mike Orso can be reached at 315-471-8521. For information about Nick Orso's Body Shop and Service Center, visit www.nickorso.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.