David Duncan, President
Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
Features such as electronic chips and remote controllers make today’s keys much more costly to replace. Keys are not a $20 item any more. Protecting consumers from the perils of vehicle ownership has always been Safe-Guard’s focus. We strive to provide protection, security and peace of mind whether a customer’s keys are lost, stolen, locked in a vehicle – or even broken.
What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
Many vehicles now have keys that must be reprogrammed by the dealer. This can create delays and complications for the driver. Safe-Guard’s Key Replacement Program provides a Driver’s Valet Assistance Program, which is designed to help consumers every step of the way, including towing, taxi assistance and rental vehicle reimbursement.
In addition, our program replaces every key on a member’s key ring with the registered program tab on it, including house keys, other vehicle keys and personal items such as jewelry lock boxes and safes.
What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
Safe-Guard’s primary channels are agents, national retailer groups and OEMs in the United States and Canada. We are represented by agents in all 50 states plus Canada, and we partner with many large national retailers. In addition, more of our products are sold by OEMs than all other providers combined.
How has technology impacted Key Replacement in the last year, if at all? Do you see it having an impact in the future? Why or why not?
Key Replacement was a product born because of technology. In the last 3-5 years, as keys and remotes have gotten even more advanced, with auto start, security features, lift gate controls and more, the cost to replace keys and remotes is still increasing. Because of this, key replacement is moving towards being a core F&I product.
In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
Many of our partners have been able to provide greater value to their customers by bundling key replacement with tire & wheel, windshield protection, paintless dent repair and/or roadside assistance. We see great growth potential for bundled products because of the many benefits they provide to consumers. In addition, this is an area where a little education can go a long way. When handing a consumer the keys for his or her new vehicle, point out the cost and complications of lost or stolen keys. It’s definitely a product where “upfront budgeting” through key replacement protection really makes sense.