Should You Hire a Locksmith to Work For Your Repo Company?
Reposessions and the Headaches With KeysMaking keys is one of the biggest hassles you will encounter in running your repo company. You will lose money if you have to provide an expensive key when you are working for your client on all inclusive contingent basis. However, if you are paid for cutting keys, then it can be another stream of income for your repossession business.
There are many ways that you can go about making and obtaining keys for the collateral you recover. You can pay an locksmith a lot of money to come out and make keys for you. If you decide to go this route, I recommend that you work out a low rate with the locksmith by explaining to him that you are a repeat customer. If a locksmith will not agree to this, then look until you find one that will.
Another method is to buy key cutting machines, key programming machines, and key blanks and do the work yourself. Obtaining key codes is one problem that you can run into when you make keys. I have heard again and again that dealerships will not give key codes out to repo companies and that they require that a title be produced for them to do so. I never had a problem getting key codes. Dealerships are in the business to make money. If you are going to make you own keys, then I recommend that you build some strong working relationships with every dealership in your area. Take some company coffee mugs and polo shirts to the parts managers at the dealerships in your area. Drop off a box of doughnuts to the parts department one in awhile. Offer to pay them for key codes. Let the parts manager know that you will always provide a valid, lender issued repossession order for every key code that you request. Once you have a source for key codes, then you can easily learn to cut and program keys
Sometimes Even A Locksmith Can't HelpOccasionally you will need a key that you are not able to cut. You may not be able to even find a locksmith that can cut the key. I was always able to get keys for these vehicles by simply contacting the debtor. Sometimes I would tell the debtor that I had found some money or valuable property in their vehicle and they needed to come to my office to claim it. I would advise them that they had to bring in the keys to the vehicle and photo identification in order to obtain their valuables. When they arrived, I would first get the keys from them and then have them sign for their property. Once I had the key, I would give them the sum of $1.25 or some old CDís! I never had one debtor get upset and I always got the key. I did not lie and I did give them some money, just not much. If the debtor refused to come in with the keys, I would often drive to the place where the car was picked up and ask for the keys. If they were reluctant to give up the keys, I would pay them $20 for the key. It was better to pay a debtor $20 for a key, than to pay a locksmith $300 to make a key. This is especially true if you repossessed the vehicle for a lender that you have a contingency contract with. If you are going to get paid $400 for the repo and pay $300 to have a key made and pay your agent $100 for picking it up, then you have not made a dime. With your other expenses, you are losing money.
Another thing that you can do is to bill the bank for the repossession and the cost of making the keys the day the vehicle is repossessed. You can then wait a few days to make the keys and hopefully the debtor will come in to claim their personal affects and also bring in the keys. Every lender always wants to be billed right away and you are complying with their request for prompt billing. You are intending on making the keys when you billed them and you were lucky enough to get the keys from the debtor before you made a key. You are doing what the bank wants in regards to billing and you are providing them with the keys for the vehicle.
When I owned my company, I used a combination of all three sources for making keys. I had all of the necessary machines to cut and program most keys and also key blanks in stock. I also had a contract with a locksmith who came to my storage lot and made keys for some keys that I did not have the expertise to cut I also talked debtors into bringing in keys and on occasion picked up keys from them. I also had one agent working for me that was able to get keys for almost 90% of all of the vehicles that he picked up. It saved me a lot of money over the years.
I hope that this article has helped you rethink your policy on keys and that it will not only make you money, but it may save you some money as well.
Please fell free to start a thread in the forum if you have any further information on this topic that you would like to share. link to forum