Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Business Review February 2007.
Byron’s Auto Body
By Julie Gordon
Often when someone has been involved in a car accident, his or her insurance company will pay only part of what it costs to do a quality repair. Enter Byron Orris. The owner of Byron’s Auto Body in Napa, Orris says he tries to fight for customers’ rights when he works with insurance companies.
“The customer should never have to pay the difference to have their car repaired right,” says Orris, who has been in the auto repair industry for 35 years. “It’s not legal. The insurance company should do the right thing.”
Byron’s, at 906 Enterprise Way, has served the collision repair needs of Napa Valley for 27 years. Some common jobs include alignment, suspension work, air conditioning repair and mechanical repair. Byron’s also has a contract with Ian Cordle, owner of Dent Solution, to do paintless dent repair. Orris says his business works on all makes and models. The length of time it takes to repair a car depends on the type and severity of damage, points out Orris. He says most cars can be repaired in 10 days. If you get brand new parts, the repair will go more quickly whereas if you order used parts or parts that are cheap, it’s going to take longer, says Orris. He estimates his shop repairs 120 cars per month.
Customers who bring their vehicles to Byron’s for repair are leaving it in experienced hands: The average technician has been with Byron’s for 10 years, says Orris. One technician has been with the business for 24 years. All of the technicians are Lexis, Toyota and GMC certified. Mechanics are certified in air conditioning and suspension.
Byron’s has been I-CAR certified for about 12 years, says Orris. In order to receive the certification, employees have to take a class, undergo training and be tested on their welding, electrical and framing skills. I-CAR certification assures that Byron’s keeps up with industry standards.
It’s a family affair at Byron’s: Orris’ wife, Pam, handles payroll, accounting and office staff. “When you send her a bill, it’s paid immediately,” says Orris.
Mercedes Miller first came to Byron’s in 2001 after her son had been in a car accident. Over the years, Byron’s has fixed not only her son’s cars, but also her daughters’ cars and her own cars. She likes the service and quality of work that is done, she explains. “Whenever you call, you can always find someone who knows what point of repair your vehicle is in,” she explains. “The detail work is perfect. It’s like it’s come right from the factory.”
The Miller family hasn’t gone anywhere but Byron’s for auto repair since they’ve lived in Napa. “That’s because of the quality of work,” says Miller. “We wouldn’t trust our vehicles to anyone but Byron’s. We wouldn’t go anywhere else. We’re die-hard customers.”
Jim Lee has been a customer of Byron’s since it opened. He had his Honda repaired there after he was rear-ended on the I-80 freeway, and his wife had a door and rear fender on her Acura repaired as well. “Byron’s has always done a good job, and you can’t tell where the damage was and what it was,” explains Lee. “You usually don’t have to come back. They have friendly staff. They keep you informed. I’m happy with the quality of work.”
Orris launched Byron’s in 1980. Prior to opening his own car repair business, he worked for Jenson Motors in Napa and a dealership in East Oakland. Orris doesn’t actually repair cars himself; he leaves that to his technicians. Instead, he spends his days writing estimates, handling public relations and working with insurance companies.
“Insurance companies do not intimidate me,” he says.