If you’ve been researching how to become an automotive service writer, you’ve probably come across the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Automotive Service Writer Training program, better known as NFSA.
But is NFSA a scam designed to take your money? Or is it a legitimate program that can provide real value in launching a career in the auto industry? I’ve taken an in-depth look at exactly what NFSA offers to find out.
In this blog post, you’ll learn:
After reviewing all the information, I believe NFSA is a legitimate program that can help prepare people for automotive service writer jobs, albeit with some caveats. Read on for the full analysis.
What is the NFIB?
First, it’s important to understand what exactly NFIB is. The National Federation of Independent Businesses is a long-standing, well-known advocacy organization that represents small and independent businesses in the United States.
Founded in 1943 to give small business owners a voice, today they have hundreds of thousands of members across almost every industry. Automotive businesses like independent auto repair shops make up one of their largest member segments.
NFIB is best known for lobbying governments at federal, state and local levels on policy issues impacting small enterprises. But a lesser-known function is that they also offer services and member benefits like access to operational resources, commercial insurance plans, and discounts on business products.
The NFSA training program falls into this bucket—one of many business support services NFIB has created exclusively for their members.
What Does the NFSA Program Offer?
NFSA stands for National Federation of Independent Businesses Automotive Service Writer Training program. It’s an educational package developed by NFIB to fill what they saw as a major skills gap for independent auto shops.
The role of a service writer or service advisor at an automotive business is to interface with customers, evaluate their issues, sell them on repairs, estimate costs using shop software systems, manage the work orders, and handle billing.
It’s a critical role for customer satisfaction and shop efficiency. But it’s also a specialized one requiring some vocational training beyond just loving cars.
Yet NFIB member shops were struggling to hire qualified personnel that understood the administrative side of handling customers and could operate industry software. High turnover was also an issue, requiring constant re-training.
So NFIB created a training and certification program that teaches people exactly how to function as a service writer at an independent repair shop.
The NFSA curriculum aims to take someone with basic automotive knowledge and shape them into a professional ready for this unique front-office function. It covers areas like:
- Automotive service advisor duties
- Shop management systems
- Communicating with technicians
- Vehicle systems, components and diagnostics
- Estimating repair times & costs
- Parts ordering processes
- Winning customer trust
- Payment processing
- Warranties & legal forms
- Handling insurance claims
The program doesn’t make someone a certified mechanic. But it teaches non-technical administrative skills needed to run the service writing aspect of the business.
NFSA’s training comes via online video modules with downloadable assignments. The expected completion timeline is 6 months for those that commit 10 hours per week.
Upskilling existing shop staff is most common. But NFSA also caters to career changers seeking to enter the field. Their marketing pitches it as an accessible entry point into the $100 billion/year auto care industry.
Once enrolled, NFSA provides learner support on both content questions and navigating the course materials. They also assist students in polishing up professional resumes and LinkedIn profiles.
Two other perks are lifetime access to course refresher materials and a 1 year membership in NFIB.
So in a nutshell – for $3,245, NFSA aims to equip you with specialized knowledge plus recognized certification so you can obtain one of these often hard-to-fill automotive administrator roles.
NFSA’s Job and Money-Back Guarantees
NFSA offers two guarantees intended to de-risk fears it could be a scam:
- Job Guarantee
NFSA claims that 100% of students that complete their program get hired in an automotive service writer job within 6 months.
If not, NFSA promises to provide job placement assistance until employment is secured.
- Money-Back Guarantee
Similarly, NFSA offers a money-back guarantee if graduates don’t find work within 6 months post-completion. They’ll refund the entire $3,245 tuition.
These twin promises suggest NFSA firmly stands behind its ability to adequately skill students for service writer jobs. Scams rarely offer strong guarantees that put their returns at risk.
What Do Past NFSA Students Say About the Program?
I dug into comments and testimonials from people who have gone through NFSA to gauge real graduate experiences.
Feedback is generally positive. Many reported it fully equipped them for administrative service writer duties and was key in landing automotive jobs.
For instance, this review site shows 86% would recommend NFSA to others based on 69 polled students.
Positive highlights prospective students may find helpful:
- Course content is comprehensive and directly applicable to real service advisor tasks
- Customer complaint resolution section was eye-opening
- Online portal is easy to navigate
- Assignments and quizzes reinforce key learnings
- Instructor support resolves any questions promptly
Constructive critiques centered mostly around course formatting:
- Video modules can feel long without enough breaks
- Organization of curriculum materials could improve
- Access expires after 1 year which is stressful for some
So feedback indicates it accomplishes the core goal of building industry-aligned skills. But the packaging itself has room for improvement to enhance user experience.
Why Does NFSA Attract Skepticism: Red Flags?
NFSA checks many boxes suggesting legitimacy. But it still manages to garner reasonable doubt from some quarters. Why? A few factors:
🚩 Price Point Creates Natural Suspicion
A $3,245 price tag is bound to raise eyebrows off the bat. Scam warnings around high-cost online programs have conditioned many to instantly question pricier digital education offerings.
🚩 Aggressive Marketing Tactics
Commentary from past enrollees reveals overly assertive marketing messages stirred some initial doubt. The hard sell heightens skepticism.
🚩 Credentials Questioned by Competitors
Detractors downplay NFSA credentials as inadequate for certification since they aren’t accredited like technical degrees. But in context, that criticism ignores their actual focus of administrative rather than mechanical skills.
🚩 For-Profit Mission Causes Cynicism
NFSA unabashedly markets itself as a pathway to higher earnings. But that profit motive strikes some prospective students as off-puttingly opportunistic.
In summary – NFSA implements some controversial customer acquisition approaches. And they have definite financial self-interests rather than altruistic goals.
But upon closer look, none necessarily prove deceit in their actual educational product offering. They seem more byproducts of an aggressive sales funnel than core integrity concerns.
Verdict: Is NFSA Scam or Legit?
NFSA deserves some side-eye for overly-eager marketing which likely contributes to scam suspicions. Expect high-pressure sales pitches warning prospective buyers away from cheaper competitor programs.
However, indications point to NFSA ultimately delivering on its core promise: specialized training tailored to help graduates obtain automotive service writer jobs.
The curricular focus directly serves needs of indie repair shop owners struggling with talent gaps in this role. Attrition fears are mitigated for buyers by refund policies. And people putting in the work are seeing career change success.
So while healthy skepticism is warranted, evidence suggests NFSA is not scam for serious students able to afford the premium price tag. Graduates gain relevant industry knowledge and professional connections that improve hiring prospects.
But interested students should also carefully consider their personal constraints before joining any paid training:
- Can you fully commit 10 hours weekly for 6 months?
- Does the content seem well-matched to your target role?
- Are jobs readily available in your local market post-completion?
- Do you have a financial safety net saved up during the transition?
If the honest answers are yes, then ultimately NFSA seems a legitimate path for people with a passion for cars looking to pivot their career or upgrade job prospects.
Just try to tune out slick sales hype and make an informed decision based on your individual situation. For the right candidate willing to seriously apply themselves, NFSA conveys valuable skills that translate to real automotive admin job openings.
So rather than definitively labeling it an outright scam or miracle program, the balanced conclusion is this…
Verdict: NFSA is a legitimate training course that can help qualified, committed candidates secure automotive service writer jobs. But students must weigh personal factors to determine if it merits the substantial investment for their own career change goals and circumstances.