There is a popular misconception about locksmiths in Garforth. Many people think that if they lose their keys then the local Locksmith can come to their location, look at the lock, make a mould somehow and then produce a new key. Unfortunately, this is just not the case. If you lose your keys and you don’t have a spare, then the only option that the Garforth locksmith has is to replace the lock. This is where the real cost comes in for a locksmiths services, you are not only paying them for their time and labor, you are also paying for the products that they use to replace your lock.
In most cases locksmiths will carry around everything they need to service their customers. This means that their trucks or cars have replacement deadbolts, doorknobs and even key columns for your car. There may be some occasions that they do not have the necessary items to replace a lock, but overall they will have everything that they need. This does not mean that you have to use them to replace the locks. You can have them remove the old lock and you can do the rest if you like. However, if you aren’t handy, this isn’t recommended.
Now, if you are in a situation where you have broken your key in your lock, then this might be a salvageable situation. Most Leeds Locksmiths can piece together a broken key and make a new key from the broken one. However, the condition of the key is important. If you break the key and there are several pieces and some are slivers, then even the best locksmiths may not be able to do anything with it.
Bent keys are also able to be copied by Mobile Locksmiths. However, in most cases you can take a bent key into a locksmith shop rather than calling a locksmith to you. This depends, of course, on whether the bent key is for your transportation. It is important for you to not attempt to straighten the key yourself as you may end up breaking it or causing enough damage to it to prevent a copy from being made.
Van Storage Ideas to Start a Mobile Locksmith Business
Perhaps you just got back from vacation only to discover that your keys are still somewhere in Florida. Or maybe the burglary down the street has you thinking twice about that broken lock on the back door.
Sooner or later, most of us will find ourselves needing a locksmith. Whether the job is big or small, it's important to do your homework. A locksmith will have complete access to your home, car, or business, leaving you vulnerable if the job is not done right.
Here are 10 tips for choosing a reliable, professional, and trustworthy locksmith:
1. Ask trusted friends and neighbors for a referral. If you can't get a personal recommendation, try checking with:
* Organizations in your area that rate service businesses, like Consumer Checkbook or Angie's List
* A local security or construction firm -- some keep locksmiths on retainer
* A trade association with a member referral service, like the Associated Locksmiths of America
2. Find out how long the locksmith has been in business. One who has been around several years in the same location is more likely to be reputable.
3. Ask if the company does or has done business under any other names. Sometimes companies will change names to ditch a bad reputation.
4. Ensure the locksmith has all required business licenses and permits. Licensing is not always mandatory, so find out what is needed in your area. If licensing is required, ask how to verify authenticity.
5. Find out if the locksmith is bonded and insured and for how much. You want to make sure the coverage is enough to cover any losses you may incur from property damage or faulty work.
6. Ask about certifications and professional affiliations. Trade associations keep their members informed of the latest industry developments. Members must often meet rigorous standards and some associations even require that their members pass a skills test. While this doesn't guarantee proficiency, it does improve the odds.
7. Ask for recent references and check them.
8. Get a written estimate. Give as many details as possible to get a more accurate quote. Ask if any additional charges will apply and about any discounts for which you may qualify.
9. Contact the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no unresolved complaints. Also check with the local chamber of commerce, police department, and office of consumer affairs.
10. Ask what information will be kept on file after the work is done and why. Make sure all keys are turned over to you and that household locks are not set to accept a master key.
It's wise to seek out a good locksmith before you actually need one. If you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a crisis, you may not have time to thoroughly investigate your options. Using the above tips will help you find a dependable and qualified locksmith so you'll be ready whenever you need one.
Starting a Mobile Locksmith Business
Are you thinking about becoming a locksmith? Many people ask me about my profession when I arrive at a job site. The idea of working with the public, working with hand tools, making a quick buck on lock-out calls, and of course the power and ability to unlock doors, cars and safes is quite intoxicating for some people. I don't place help wanted ads, but nevertheless I average one unsolicited résumé a month via e-mail. Usually it arrives from an eager teenager looking to do an apprenticeship. O.J.T. (on-the-job training) is a fine way to go if you can get the gig. That's precisely how I started. That and reading every trade magazine I could get my hands on, endless hours doing research on the web, taking classes, attending trade expos, and talking with any locksmith who would take the time to chat with me (and many would, so long as I wasn't one of their competitors). But that's how it is for most lock jocks. Once you begin work as a locksmith it gets under your skin. It consumes you and becomes an obsession. That's not exactly a bad thing after all; to be (God willing) financially successful at what you enjoy is a great way to pay the bills. There is, however, a price to pay that does not fit with most people's lifestyle, and thus -- the purpose of this article.
The Good: Helping the public and making a few bucks while doing it. First off, I rarely charge to unlock a car or house when there is a child locked inside. When I get the call, usually from a panicked parent declaring his or her child is locked inside a car, I rush to the scene. There are few better moments for me as a locksmith than seeing the relief in a mother's eyes when I unlock the door and she pulls her child from a sweltering car on a warm summer day. "You're my HERO," she says as she holds her child close with tears in her eyes. "No charge ma'am. We don't charge for children locked in cars. If you like, for a small fee, I can make you a copy of your car's door key so it's less likely to happen again." They almost always say yes, and the payment for the key usually accompanies a tip. The "up sale" is simply to cover my gas going out on the call, and the tip, if any, buys me lunch.
The rest of my jobs are typically for-profit jobs. Still, over half of what I charge goes right back into the company in the form of gas, insurance, advertising, trade organization dues, license fees, vehicle maintenance, tools, supplies, and other expenses.
As a locksmith you will never get rich, but if you play your cards right you could retire well. The plan, as I read in a popular trade magazine, is to sell a well-established shop with a long list of customer accounts, while owning and collecting rent on the property the shop sits on. It's even better if you own an entire complex and collect rent from your shop's neighbors, too. I personally know a retired locksmith who did exactly this and I understand he is doing quite well for himself.
Many locksmiths make and sell tools and/or reference books, or teach classes (as I do) to supplement their income.
The Bad: Being on call 24/7. After-hours and weekend service can account for a large part, if not most when first starting out, of your income. Then there are the late night calls. 2am, half drunk and he can't find his car keys: "I'm sorry sir -- I can't help you drive your car tonight, but if you call me in the morning I will be happy to assist you."
The locksmith industry is a highly regulated (but necessarily so) security industry. The licenses, insurances, and bonds you have to carry can cost a small fortune. I have a city business license, a state locksmith license, a State Contractor's License for lock and security work, two insurance policies (general liability and commercial vehicle insurance), two different bonds, and I am a member of two major national trade organizations. In California, you need to be fingerprinted and pass State and Federal background tests. I am also a member of some local organizations including the Chico Chamber of Commerce and the North Valley Property Owner's Association.
The cost of running a business like this can be overwhelming and there is always another tool you need to buy, another software update, or replacement parts/tools that need to be ordered. I am currently saving up for a high security key machine that retails for $5,800.
Let's not forget the paperwork. You will need to keep legal forms for customers to fill out and detailed records of who, what, where and when. The last thing you want to do is make keys to a car or house for someone who does not have authority to hold a key to that property.
Lastly, buy a nice shirt and tie because there is a good chance you will find yourself in a court of law before long for, among other things, domestic disputes.
The Ugly: Evictions, repossessions (R.E.O.'s), and re-keys after a domestic dispute. There are few things as humbling in this profession as writing a bill for after-hours service and handing the new keys over to someone wearing a fresh black eye. I vividly remember one woman who was standing next to a hole in the drywall where her head was forcibly inserted only a few hours earlier. The local sheriffs know me because it's not uncommon to perform the re-key and security checks while they are still there, filling out their report.
Can you say fleas? Yep, now I keep flea powder in the van because you never know what condition a recently foreclosed house will be in.
Angry former tenants who have been kicked out can also present a challenge. Sometimes the locks are disabled or destroyed, and I keep latex gloves in the van in case I ever have to pick open another lock that has been urinated on.
The bottom line: I am quite happy being a locksmith, most of the time. The pay, the freedom of the job (I can leave my schedule open if my kids have a school event), and the satisfaction of helping people while making a profit for myself keeps me going.
My advice to you:
1. Do your research before entering the market as a locksmith. My town has too many locksmiths per capita. There is barely enough work to go around much of the time.
2. Get on with another locksmith and be willing to relocate, as you may be required to sign a "no compete" contract saying you will not leave to be your boss's competitor. Locksmith schools are okay, but a seasoned locksmith can show you some tricks of the trade that can help you make higher profits or perform jobs better and quicker than the basic skills taught in most schools.
3. Be willing to pay your dues. It will take many years to build up a customer base, and a name for yourself. A wise locksmith once told me it takes at least three years before they (the customers) know you're there, and seven before they notice you are gone.
4. When you start out on your own, get an easy to recognize logo and put it on everything: your van, invoices, pens to hand out, and every other piece of advertising (see our logo below).
5. C.Y.A. Document everything and have pre-printed, professionally prepared, legal forms for your customers to fill out.
6. Don't get too carried away. If you have other obligations, like a spouse and/or kids, make sure to make time for them. It's hard to turn the phone off, or turn down calls because you're turning away money, but you can't get back the days you miss.
A former employer of mine occasionally tells the story of how he made $2,000 in one weekend dispatching calls to his on-call locksmith, while he was on a boat on Lake Shasta with his wife. It was a rare weekend vacation for them and he spent a good part of the day on the phone. She died of cancer two short years later, and he later told me he would give just about anything to have that day back. I know this story personally as I was the on-call employee that weekend.
To quote Uncle Ben (from Spider-Man, the movie): "With great power comes great responsibility." The ability to unlock doors, bypass alarm systems, unlock safes, and the inside knowledge of customers' security systems has been the downfall of unscrupulous locksmiths. In short, if you can't handle the temptation, don't pursue the profession.
Finally: Never take advantage of someone. Like Grandpa always said, it can take a lifetime to build up a good reputation but only a moment to ruin it.
Good luck in whatever you decide -- unless, of course, you are planning to open a lock shop in my service area.