Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
1st April 2020 Issue no. 501
Your industry news - first
We strongly recommend viewing Locks and Security News full size in your web browser. Click our masthead above to visit our website version.
Investing wisely in your business
By 3D Geekey Advice
To buy or not to buy?
Buying new machinery is daunting for the most of us, no matter the size or profit margins of your business. The automotive locksmith industry is known for the need to invest in order to stay on top of your game, but do you really need to invest?
Unfortunately the answer is yes! Failure to invest will leave your business stagnant, with machinery that only works on predominantly older vehicles.
Your investment may be on new software, updates for your existing machines or maybe even adapters for tools that you already have. Investment will help your business to remain relevant in the constantly evolving world of key programming.
We all know that times are getting harder for automotive locksmiths, with the need to spend high amounts of your hard earned cash on expensive equipment to complete jobs on the more advanced and secure vehicles, and even then we can't do it all!
So what should you spend your money on?
The questions that need to be asked here are; what are you struggling to complete with the current machinery you have and what jobs are you turning away? Think about the payback periods of your investments. For example, if you're getting two calls a week with a 50% conversion rate for a spare Mercedes key your payback period would be around 10 weeks! 10 weeks before breaking even on a tool may sound daunting, but after those 10 weeks you will quickly begin to turn a profit. There is no doubt, however, that investment can be a struggle with cash flow for some and therefore it may be worth considering taking advantage of either 0% finance or leasing in order to relieve such financial pressure whilst giving your business the opportunity to grow at the same time.
Does going for more expensive machinery really pay off?
You've no doubt heard the phrase 'you get what you pay for', and this cliché is incredibly relevant within the automotive locksmith industry. Development of diagnostic tools is both expensive and time consuming, as vehicle manufacturers spend vast sums of money making their vehicles a complete closed circuit - and therefore much more secure - and in doing so it's harder for the aftermarket to interfere. This means that good machinery undoubtedly costs more money.
Buying a machine for a small one-off fee should always cause alarm bells to ring in your head! Let's take the SKP900 for instance: At around £500 with free updates and no tokens the SKP900 was a great machine, but it was always going to have a short lifespan. How can anyone keep spending time and money on updates and bug fixes with no additional revenue? Imagine if you charge £150 for a replacement key but every month you had to go back out and plug in your machine for it to keep working - it would quickly become unprofitable.
Just because the price of a particular machine is high doesn't always mean that you're getting ripped off and actually in most cases, developers within the industry are very fair and many of their machines are in fact very reasonably priced. The higher the cost of the machine, typically the more time and effort has been spent on development and the lesser the distance between what the application list says it does and what the machine actually does in real life.
Can one machine do it all?
Funnily enough, we get asked this question very often and we always have to give people the bad news: There are many companies that try and yet they all fall short somewhere along the line. Those developers that specialise in a couple of brands are always going to be the better developers in that particular area; they spend more time looking in-depth into a smaller number of specific vehicles and try to cover every possible issue that could occur within them. Most of us know that just because the same car has been sold for a few consecutive years doesn't always mean that everything is the same - OEM suppliers change, parts supersede - and this can all affect how the systems inside the vehicle work. This is where those that specialise stand out, because you will get closer to a 100% success rate rather than a 50% or less success rate with a machine that attempts to cover a wide array of vehicle manufacturers.
Let's look at the Autohex BMW software. This product falls into a high price bracket, but the developers say you will never kill a BMW with Autohex software! Yes, this is a bold statement to be sure, but the fail-safes developed into the machine are designed specifically for the BMW range of vehicles. Their understanding of BMW vehicles have meant that an advanced tool has been developed that can give you the reassurance to know that what it says it can do, it really can do, and do it safely.
Where to go for help on what to buy?
Still not sure what to buy? 3D Group offer the handy Geekey Advice service that will allow you to get free non-biased advice on the machines that are available in the industry. Geekey Advice is available at trade shows or via [email protected]. Our technical advisers are there on hand to answer your questions!
11th April 2018