Locksmiths in Cape Schanck offer a highly demanded service, which generally relates to maintaining and installing the various types of lock systems, from the standard key locks to the complex electronic or biometric locks. The most common types of locksmith professions consist of the emergency, industrial, commercial, and residential, which each of the specific fields requiring different skills and abilities.
Residential work is likely to be the most common of the services provided by a residential locksmith. A domestic property owner looks at personal security and safety as a key reason when it comes to making sure a home is fully secured against a would-be intruder. A locksmith has gained the experience and knowledge to suggest the most effective locks for a properties doors and windows. Beyond the ability to install new locking systems, the locksmith is also able to repair or replace the locks on the older styled properties. Extra services offered by a local locksmiths offer security advice, a key cutting service, installing locks on a garage or similar outbuilding, and installing at-home safes or vaults.
How Do I Choose A Residential Locksmith in Cape Schanck?What are Restricted Key Products? Factory restricted key products may include keys, key blanks, lock cylinders and/or interchangeable cores. The process of ordering factory restricted key products is slightly different for every manufacturer, but there are certain common elements. The driving principal behind all restricted key products is to limit the ability to get keys and locks to authorized individuals. Toward this goal, authorized individuals are either issued a credential (such as an identification card) or their signatures are kept on record at the factory. Restricted key systems that use an identification card are more common to residential customers but are also widely used in commercial applications. Restricted key systems that use an identification card may require that the identification card be brought to an authorized dealer who may use the information on the card as permission to buy the restricted products on the customer’s behalf if the system is factory controlled; or the dealer may stock the restricted products and be able to sell them over the counter when the appropriate credential is presented. Geographically Controlled Restricted Key Products Manufacturers designate specific restricted key products for the exclusive use of a specific dealer in a certain geographical area. Often there will be a “buy-in” involved for the dealer – that is, the dealer must by a certain dollar amount worth of product in order to be eligible for exclusive rights to a given set of products within their territory. That means the dealer must, at least initially, have the products in stock. Dealers often use these geographically restricted key products to guarantee customer loyalty, since the customer cannot get these products anywhere else except from that dealer. This ability to control the customer is a powerful incentive to the dealer to protect the restriction of the product. The customer’s security is enhanced because the dealer is economically motivated. Life is unpredictable, however, and more than one restricted key system client has been left high and dry, unable to get parts or keys for their system because their dealer left the business for one reason or another. If the restricted key system is for an individual person there is not really much of a choice because factories do not sell to individuals except through a dealer; however if the key system belongs to a business or institution it may be controlled at the factory level. To order products for a factory controlled restricted key system, a customer can go to any dealer who is willing to handle the order. Ordering Factory Controlled Restricted Key ProductsSome manufacturers have specific order forms for restricted key products but others require an end user Letter Of Authorization (LOA). Factories require their LOA’s to contain specific information and they provide examples to help the end user assemble all the necessary information. Delays in order fulfillment occur when the end user leaves out important information because the letter must pass through a few hands before the factory even sees it. Below is a simple flow chart of the chain of communication involved in a typical factory restricted key order: As shown in the flow chart above, the factory typically does not communicate directly with the end user, but only with the authorized dealer (in this case the local locksmith, Joe). Often the end user will call the locksmith with incomplete information, for example, “Can you help us get five copies of our key number EA56N4?” This number, EA45N4, may mean something to the factory that created the key but it does not even tell Joe the Locksmith what factory to call. Joe asks questions and finds out the name of the manufacturer (in this case, “Big Lock Company;” we’ll call it “Big Lock” for short) and calls Big Lock’s Key Systems Department and asks how to order key number EA45N4. The Big Lock Key Systems representative replies that he needs an LOA on the end user’s letterhead requesting key number EA45N4; giving permission to Joe the Locksmith to order the key on their behalf; indicating to what address Big Lock should ship the key; and signed by the person of record whose signature is on file at Big Lock’s Key Systems Department. In the illustration above right is shown an Everest D Family restricted key. The number circled in red is the facility code number. Notice that the keyway also appears on the key, stamped on the shoulder of the key blank (just under the bow, at the beginning of the blade). The keyway is D145. How Restricted Key Product Orders Are Delayed In the example above Big Lock has specified five essential parameters for the LOA. If the end user complies with only four out of the five, Big Lock will reject it. This is where delays often occur. For example, Joe the Locksmith relays the parameters to the end user. In three days the end user writes the letter and faxes it to Joe the Locksmith on Friday. Joe scans it and emails it to Big Lock the same day, but because it’s Friday it sits idle at Big Lock until Monday. On Monday it enters the queue of key orders. With luck the Key Systems Department reviews it on Wednesday, however they find the letterhead given does not name or address that Big Lock has on file for this key system. The Key Systems Department notifies Big Lock Customer Service, but it is late in the day and Customer Service does not email Joe the Locksmith until Thursday. Joe does not see the email until Friday morning. He calls the end user, but the person at the end user took Friday off and does not get the message until Monday. The first week has come and gone and the second week is already underway. Since this is not the only restricted key order being processed by Big Lock, the customer must wait their turn. Big Lock is not responsible for delays caused by incomplete information provided by the end user or dealer and will not rush an order because of it. In the end it might be six or seven weeks before what should have been a simple order for a key is finally shipped from the Big Lock factory. How To Prevent Delays in the Restricted Key Product Order Process Preventing your restricted key product order from unnecessary delays is actually easy. Research: find out what documentation is required by the manufacturer. Have your dealer verify what documentation is required with the manufacturer. Provide complete documentation. Don’t leave anything out. Do not submit the order until you have all the information requested by the manufacturer. Send the information to your dealer in the manner required by the manufacturer. For example, some manufacturers require a "live signature". That means a signature in ink - not a fax or a scanned copy. In that case the LOA must be sent via courier - Postal Service, Fedex, UPS, etc.; if it is sent by fax or email it will be rejected by the factory. Verify that your dealer received the information and ask for a ship date. If your dealer does not provide a ship date, call back daily until you get one. This will force your dealer to call the factory, thereby verifying that the factory in fact has your order. Making the effort to follow these four simple steps exactly will prevent unnecessary delays in processing your restricted key product order.
Basic Magnetic Door Lock SystemAre 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.