Auto locksmith, seams like a fine business indeed and as a auto locksmith of 12 years I feel I can speak on the subject freely.
I have many calls and enquires relating to our auto locksmith courses which we do not offer, we tend to send folks to Hickleys who are an outstanding company and in our opinion the only auto locksmith company to train with. So why am I bashing the industry you may be asking? Well lets see...
It is simply down to misinformation as many new guys don't know any different jump in to the locksmith industry and then loose everything. Setting up a business like this can be like climbing half way up the mountain only to run out of rope and have no where to go then you drop the rope now your stuck and the only way out is going to hurt...
First I would never recommend an auto locksmith trade as a start up business, this is what I call a year 3 to year 4 business as part of a successful business plan after you have started on residential and commercial locksmith business that actually bringing in at least 1 job per day and making around a minimum of £2000 per week. Ideally you should be doing 3 jobs per day and making around £150k per year. If you have achieved this, this means your business is ranking well online, your been found by customers and you are making money and actually know what your doing and you must have ahead on your shoulders.
So why do I advise against setting up a auto locksmith business as your first locksmith business.
Well it comes down to cost vs income, outlay vs revenue.
You see many locksmith training providers will sell you a locksmith auto course from just £500 but they are worth nothing, they are a con, a hack,a scammer selling ebay of something like that as the real cost to not just do the training but for the tools required, the key cutters, coders and all the items you require, you would be looking at £30k minimum and that includes your training. Now you will need a solid website and SEO plan that you will be looking at around £8k to £10k then a van to use, around £8k for a nice looking low cost van, then around £1500 for the vehicle sign writing and advertising, around £3000 in alternative courses on business so you can run the new locksmith business, around £2000k for new locksmiths insurance including tool cover and liabilities policies and as much as £6k for vehicle insurance as your van is now a major target to all would-be car criminals wanting your gear so they can steal high end motors. Now you need a lock up to keep the van safe and that's around £18k per year and the rates on top of another £4k and then insurance for that at around £300 and your yet to make a penny but you have shelled out a total of £82.800 on setup alone or there about.
Now I know you asking how I know this? Well simple, I have just bailed out a client who on top of that ran up a whopping £56.000 debt through paying for advertising, over £130.000 in debt and struggling to the point his marriage has failed and he wants to kill himself as he is so depressed.
Now anyone with any business sense would first look at the market and see if it was viable buy in. In this case the guy lives in an area of Northumberland with only 6000 population. That population alone will never fund his business never mind pay back what he invested or even his debt.
Now lets look at the market share taken by multi billion pound companies like the AA, RAC, Green Flag that all offer lost key or auto locksmith with there breakdown packages for free. Well its estimated that the whole section is as much as 70% of the market is already taken by business you can't compete against as they have a bigger budget and market reach.
The hard truth is that dealing with today's vehicles is expensive, you need a high degree of skill, very steady hands when it comes to soldering a chip half the size of a your fingernail into a Range Rover ECU that could write off a £90k car if done correctly, you sharp realise the high levels of stress and liability involved.
So what to do? Well if it was my business, I would not do it as I make more for doing less as a residential and commercial emergency locksmith but if you are wanting to do this then I would advise that you start with a residential locksmith course and build your business and invest in year 3 to year 6 but if you do go for it you will need to understand how to get to the first page of Google for what you want to sell and how to stay there.
So if you decide to do it you can run a test first, simply add a auto locksmith page to your website, rank high in your area for that auto locksmith page and keep a tally of how many auto calls per week you take for a year and if your ranking is high and that will let you know if the investment is a good one or bad one. If you have no idea what I am writing about when I am writing about rankings, then don't even consider this as a viable business. You may as well burn your cash.
In reality you will need a minimum of a 200.000 population to sustain the business based on how many people have issues each day, ask yourself the last time you needed a auto locksmith or anyone you know and that can be your answer. So do you research first before you waist your money.