With hundreds of new locksmiths training across the country every week its no surprise that the bread and butter work is thinning out somewhat.
Although the majority of new locksmiths never make it past the six month mark there are a few that work hard to get established.
Im often asked what the keys to running a successful locksmith business are?
In my case; a lot of marketing, a pinch of luck and having some good contacts already established in the locksmith industry.
If i had my time again though I would certainly focus on these key points:
1/ Be available
If you are to compete in the emergency locksmith field you need to be available almost all of the time, don't advertise 24 hour if you can't honour it. If you find yourself turning down as much work as you are doing due to other commitments then this may not be the best career choice.
2/ Never arrive late
Nobody wants to be hanging around waiting for you, make sure you can show up when you are supposed to, ideally get there early! Not only does it show you are a keen professional but also gives you the opportunity to have a quick look at what you are up against and to relax a little.
I have so many customers moan to me about how the previous locksmith they called failed to show up on time and tried to keep them waiting further... usually the national locksmith chains!
3/ Keep enough stock
Ensure you have enough stock to complete the work there and then. You should be stocking a large range of euro cylinders in all sizes and finishes, all sizes of sash and deadlocks, ideally a range of brands to save any carpentry work and all the common upvc mechs to eliminate the need for another appointment.
It is almost impossible to keep everything on board your van and you will no doubt encounter new and unusual locks on your travels but lacking the basics listed above would be unprofessional.
4/ Avoid shiny tool syndrome
It is tempting to buy all the latest tools and gadgets when starting up, however a lot is not essential and can be purchased further down the line as your budget allows and your business grows.
I have seen a lot of locksmiths jump straight in and buy thousands of pounds worth of decoders that then sit on the van gathering dust. Unless you intend to go straight into warrant work they won't be earning their keep and you could make better use of a good curtain pick at a fraction of the cost.
5/ Be wary of national contractors
You may decide to work on behalf of a national locksmith company or franchise in your earlier years.
Although best avoided altogether they can be a good way to gain experience and steal away some local customers.
Know when its time to ditch them! Once they start messing you around with pay (which they will) tell them to stick it. Afterall these guys are taking work in your area and then sending you anyway at your expense.