I’m writing this article because it appears there is concern in our industry that the registration process is really hard and really expensive. I am a Registered Automotive Locksmith and the process is simpler and less expensive than you might think. So relax, kick back, and let’s discuss it in more detail.
Important detail: it’s more accurate if I refer to a Registered Automotive Locksmith as a VSP (Vehicle Security Professional).
Also, this article in no way diminishes the need for skilled, full-time professional automotive locksmiths. I stand in awe of the intricacies of their craft, and never hesitate to call them when the need arises. In my neck of the woods, there is only one full-time automotive locksmith within ten miles. We are not a threat to him. We are, however, a welcome alternative to new car dealers.
A bunch actually.
You get 24/7 access to key cut codes for an average of about $15 each from most dealership websites. This means when a customer comes in and says I need a new key for my car, you are not limited to buying it from the dealer. This is important. See Resources below.
You also get 24/7 access to most dealership anti-theft pin codes from the same sites. You must have the pin code to program new keys, and many other modules on modern vehicles.
These codes open up a huge aftermarket resources who sell to VSP’s. You can buy keys and have them cut to the code you supply for discounts of 50%, 60% and even 70% off the dealer price.
Keys are now a new profit center and added convenience for customers when you’re a VSP. And, the dreaded phrase, “No, I’m sorry. We don’t do that here”, assumes its rightful place with the buggy whip and the whale oil lantern.
Author’s note: good, solid, working keys for Mercedes, BMW, and most VW/Audi’s are best obtained from the new car dealer. Mercedes and BMW keys come preprogrammed. Only a few VW/Audi keys are available from the aftermarket.
Also, be very careful of programming any keys customers supply from cheap internet sources. We have wasted entire days attempting and failing to program customer supplied keys. Motor Work’s will now only program keys we supply or that the customer buys from a new car dealer.
Whether you are a VSP or not, these same resources supply:
An example: One of these resources has several lines of manufacturers, but their ASP line lists 367 ignition locks, 444 door locks, 374 trunk locks, and over 100 lock faces as of this writing.
The friendly and knowledgeable staff at AE Tools will be happy to put you in contact with the resources I’ve just mentioned.
Unfortunately, you are going to have to jump through some short hoops to become a Registered Locksmith. (Don’t worry, at 60 years old, I made it through the hoops just fine, bad knees and all.)
The NASTF Vehicle Security Professional (VSP) Registry main page can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
Please read all applicable material. It is not possible in the scope of this article to discuss every important fact about becoming a VSP with an LSID.
The application document is available by CLICKING HERE.
Note, specifics are important, please visit the website. You must follow the application process exactly. A general, but not all-inclusive overview of the process looks like the list below. It will require:
1) A background check–cost $75
2) Filling out the application document and reading the user agreement
3) Supplying information like your SSN, and Federal Tax ID number. You must own a business.
4) Two professional references
6) An application fee of $300
7) Proof of insurance. The policy must be for $1,000,000.
8) Business card or letterhead with business name
9) Copy of government issued photo ID (drivers license)
10) Copy of your locksmith license if required by your state or local jurisdiction
11) Copy of business license if required by your state or local jurisdiction
12) A notary seal on the completed and signed application
Yeah, it looks like a boatload of work, but it really isn’t that bad. It’s mainly just collecting data. As a business owner you already have almost everything on the list.
– The background check is performed by the NASTF SDRM Registry. You don’t have to do anything special except pay for it.
– You can mail, fax or e-mail your application and supporting documents. I personally scanned everything into my computer, made one big PDF document, and e-mailed the puppy.
– My company, Motor Works, already had a $1,000,000 Certificate of Commercial Liability Insurance as part of my standard garage insurance package.
–Illinois residents are not required to have a state locksmith license to complete the NASTF VSP licensing program. This is true of many states. Some exceptions apply, California and New Jersey are two.
I found NASTF VSP Registry Director, David Lowell, to be of major help when I had questions. He is available at 972-672-0612, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors note: David Lowell kindly vetted this entire article for accuracy.
Sorry, but there’s some paperwork involved each time you use your LSID. It’s called NASTF Form D-1. Authorization For Automotive Key Generation and/or Immobilizer System/Anti-Theft Services. The form is available by CLICKING HERE.
A quick and dirty list of the requirements follows:
1) Inform the Caller – At the time of initial request, ask the caller whether he or she has identification and authority for the service.
2) Complete the Form – It requires the customer name, address, phone number, driver’s license, vehicle make, model and year, license plate number, VIN, odometer reading, disclaimer and signature.
3) Verify I.D. – You must see a valid driver’s license.
4) Verify Authority – You must see proof of entitlement, which means a valid registration or other proof listed on Form D-1.
5) Ask for Signature – Require the customer to read and sign Form D-1 (attached).
6) File the Form – Keep the completed Form D-1 on file for two (2) years, or longer as required by law.
Note: you can be audited and your LSID revoked if your paperwork is not in order.
Note: Please study the form for all requirements.
Replacing and programming new keys often means replacing and programming new remotes. If you Google “program auto remotes” you’ll unlock (yes, that’s a pun) a world of great info.
I’m winding down, but a last important note is in order. Yes, I can hear everybody yelling “Yippee” from here. Despite the advantages of an LSID, many mobile techs I know do not have one and still perform key and security programming all day long. This requires ready access to pin codes.
One source of security pin codes is new car dealer parts departments. It pays to develop a relationship with one parts department for each manufacturer. Do not spread your buying to three different Chrysler dealers.
Call the parts manager and tell him how much you appreciate all the help you get from his department. Send the entire department donuts from time to time. Expend some effort on these vital relationships. Remember, you are dead in the water without pin codes.
Lastly, there are other sources of pin codes which are inappropriate for discussion here. Consult the friendly and knowledgeable staff at AE Tools, for further guidance in this area.
In case I’ve overstayed my welcome, I’m going to boogie out of here at a ballistic pace.
See you next month.
P.S. Try to watch this and not smile.
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