Interview with the The Car key People.
The loss of a key or its failure can cause huge inconvenience, stress and cost for any individual, but when this situation affects fleets in the public sector, infrastructure management and utilities, the impact can be extremely damaging and undermine the delivery of essential services. Essential Fleet Operator caught up with Mark Migliaccio, Founder of The Car Key People, who have a “total peace of mind” solution for operators in the UK.
Q: What led you to establish The Car Key People and how did you come to identify the issues associated with key failures or loss?
I started my career as an auto locksmith 13 years ago as a sole trader, providing replacement vehicle keys to members of the general public in and around London. At this time it was an extremely niche market with only a small handful of companies offering such a service.
Historically main dealers have charged far too much for replacement keys, resulting in a huge number of people looking for a more cost effective and convenient option for replacing their lost keys. Imagine losing your only car key and being told that you need to have your car recovered into a dealers workshop for a new key to be made. Factor in the exorbitant cost and the lengthy wait times and you can easily see why there is a need for an affordable mobile solution.
As the demand hugely outstripped the supply it wasn’t a hard decision for me to migrate from a career in sales to a new trade profession. Having said that, this career path was far from easy. Back in 2008 there were hardly any adequate training courses, and it was very much a case of learning the ropes by shadowing a working auto locksmith for a few weeks, before venturing it alone and learning on the job.
Car lock and immobiliser systems are extremely complex, whilst I can recall many tough days, I knew the sharp learning curve was worth it when I could see just how grateful people were to be let back into their car and a shiny new key placed in their hand.
After 10 successful years as sole trader it was finally time to take on staff and develop a much needed solution for fleets and corporates across the UK.
Q: How widespread are these issues within the fleet sector?
Lost and broken vehicle keys are an extremely common occurrence within fleets, which can result in loss of revenue and unnecessary expense if not dealt with in a timely manner. For large fleets key issues occur on a daily basis making it imperative they have processes in place to quickly and smoothly source replacements.
Q: What are the most common impacts of key issues on the day-to-day operation of fleets?
A vehicles journey begins and ends with the key, whilst a key is a small object that is rarely given much thought, without it the vehicle is off the road.
High VOR times is a main factor with key issues. If a key is lost, stolen or damaged it is not uncommon for a fleet vehicle to be off the road for several weeks. However, when managed correctly, replacing a car key does not need to be a lengthy, time consuming process.
Many fleets we speak with are unaware of their options and normally book their vehicles into a main dealer, where delays on parts and bookings result in unnecessary downtime.
The Car Key People provide a rapid nationwide solution replacing most keys within as little as 1-2 days. Our service is rapid and completely mobile, we come to you!
Minimising vehicle downtime and reducing costs is our number one priority.
Q: How does your solution work from a technical point of view?
Fleets can book our vehicle key service via phone, email or through our new online booking portal. We keep a good stock of the most common keys and can have a technician dispatched to anywhere in the UK within just a few hours.
Once on-site our auto locksmith technician will first gain entry to the vehicle without causing any damage. We work from mobile work units which are fully equipped with the latest key cutting and programming technology.
Next an un-programmed blank key will the be cut to fit the vehicles locks, before the key will be programmed to the vehicle ensuring it works perfectly to remotely lock and start the engine. This service is available for all key types, including the latest proximity push button start keys.
We utilise dealer level diagnostic tools and have the necessary clearance and licences to perform security related operations. We are also equipped with several other advanced programming tools, to ensure the job is always completed. In some instances we can even perform tasks that are beyond many main dealers capabilities. For instance in order to resolve a complete lost key situation for new JLR and Toyota vehicles a main dealer would first be required to replace modules on the car. We can often provide keys for such vehicles without replacing modules, saving thousands of pounds and reducing VOR.
Q: Could you detail the broad range of services that you offer, that make The Car Key People a comprehensive solution for fleet operators with complex needs?
We provide a nationwide solution for fleets of all sizes and vehicle types. The Car Key People proudly assist several of the UK’s largest fleets within car hire, vehicle remarketing, corporate fleets, leasing providers, dealerships, utilities and fleet management.
We provide these fleets with the following services:
• Vehicle entry, when keys are accidentally locked inside the car
• Key duplication for spare keys
• Replacement keys, in complete lost key situations when no spare is available
• Broken and damaged key repair
• Stolen key replacement, ensuring missing keys are erased to secure the vehicle
• Key storage and secure postage
Q: Could you give any examples of how you have resolved critical situations derived from key loss or failure?
The Car Key People have assisted many corporate fleets who have been advised by dealerships that keys are on back order, resulting in their vehicle being off the road for several weeks. Due to the frustration caused by these unacceptable wait times we have won many new clients as they have taken the time to look for a better solution. A large car hire company was told the remote key they ordered for one of their Vauxhall Combo vans was out of stock and could take as long as 7 weeks to arrive. Fortunately we keep a huge stock of keys and was able to supply this key within less than 4 hours of being asked to assist.
The Car Key People also assist national dealerships with keys and frequently receive urgent request bookings for vehicles that are due to be collected by their new owner, only to discover the keys have been misplaced.
Q: Fleet operators are increasingly turning to The Car Key People. What do you feel are the main aspects of your service that have led to this growth?
The Car Key People have had an incredible couple of years with an increasing number of the UK’s largest fleets choosing The Car Key People as their sole supplier for keys. Nearly all of these fleets previously relied on an alternative provider, or booked directly with main dealers. This resulted in premium prices being paid, or managing unacceptable VOR times.
Our service has helped these fleets to cut costs and keep downtime to an absolute minimum.
When choosing to work with The Car Key People fleets instantly benefit from the following:
• A drastic improvement in turnaround time, from booking to completion. This is the number one reason several of the UK’s largest national car rental companies now trust us as their sole vendor.
• Personalised service – All bookings are received and handled by our small in-house team, not a call centre manned by operatives that clock on at 9am and go home at 5pm.
• We have more years industry experience than any other vendor.
As a small company it’s our personalised touch that sets us head and shoulders above our large corporate competitors. My team and I will go above and beyond to ensure all bookings are handled smoothly and efficiently.
Choosing The Car Key People means you get the personalised service of a small company, backed by the knowledge and operational strengths of a company who supports the UK’s largest fleets.
For further information call T: 0208 226 3787 or visit http://carkeypeople.co.uk/