Frank Russo Sr. has overseen his Dealer Services automotive in Boutte evolve into a destination for auto and body repair as well as those seeking equipment to upgrade their cars for the race track—and in the car business, he says evolution is indeed necessary.
Experience counts in Russo’s book, but by the same token, he knows he and his staff must continue to learn as the vehicles they work on continue to get more and more complex, an emphasis he never takes for granted.
“The industry has changed immensely over the past five years. Computer systems are far more sophisticated and the vehicles themselves are as well. It takes much more computer training these days to fix a lot of these issues,” Russo said. “You need experienced personnel to do the repairs necessary now-a-days, and those experienced guys have to be up to date.”
Up to date also goes for equipment and materials. If a shop can provide both qualified personnel and up-to-date, quality equipment, it presents the customer in need of repairs with a choice.
“Insurance seems to have the public fooled in convincing them they have to go to certain shops to have their body work done, or maintenance done. The customer has a choice,” Russo said. “So long as you go to a certified repair facility. In some cases, people think they have to go back to the dealership with repairs, but your local repair shop can do it if it has the right materials and personnel.”
The shop has been implementing some new wrinkles to its services. The first is the recently opened performance parts shop for race, off-road, jeep and show car enthusiasts.
Another is that the shop will now be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., something Russo says was done to better serve the public.
Many of the faces that he sees at his shop are quite familiar, and he likes it that way.
“I feel like if you go to a dealership, you’re a number,” he said. “With an independent shop, locally owner … it’s a smaller clientele, smaller facility and you build relationships with the people of the community. The people who bring in their cars are the same people I see at the grocery store. It’s important they trust you and feel comfortable with you.”
Russo said it’s important to him to be able to stand behind the services his shop provides, and many of his customers attest to it: 247 reviewers at the auto critique website “SureCritic.com” gave an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars to the shop’s service.