30 Under 30 Interview

Seth and Alex Hecht, Able Locksmith

Without a doubt

Are you being impacted by all those scammer ads popping up in the phone directories and online?

Yes, it’s frustrating, extremely frustrating. You try to inform the customers when they call price shopping as to what they are really getting with the lowball price. Sometimes they’ve got to learn the lesson on their own. I read a review for one of those companies and the gentleman said he learned his lesson that the prices were too good to be true, and sure enough he paid double the quote.

What do you think can be done about this? Does your area have locksmith licensing?

We don’t, and we are all for it. We would love for it to happen.

How many vans do you have on the road?

We have three vans and a Scion. We have an additional person who comes on part-time sometimes. My brother has a Scion XT that he drives and my father and I drive the Ford vans. They are decked out with some digital graphics on them

How do you pick your distributors and get your parts?

Naturally because it is about a two-minute drive to U.S. Lock, we do buy the bulk of our hardware from them. We’ve set up an account there and if we need something on short notice, we can swing by.

We do buy from Akron Hardware also because they have a lot of finishes that we need. One of our customers specifically goes for a 612 bronze finish that really isn’t found on the East Coast, and Akron Hardware does stock it.

Are you active in local locksmith associations or ALOA or similar organizations?

Unfortunately, we’re not currently involved in ALOA but that is something I do intend to change.

What kind of changes do you expect in the next 5 to 10 years?

Without a doubt, the most changes will be in technology, more electronics and magnets and strikes

The mechanical end of it will always be there. I don’t think there will ever come a time where it’s completely electronic. There will always be a need for a physical key. I don’t see locksmithing changing too drastically but there has been exponential change in the last few years as with most technologies.

Are your residential customers requesting keyless locks and willing to spend the money?

They’re not; they are willing to walk into a big box store and buy a poor quality do-it-yourself lock. There’s some awful stuff out there.

Are they willing to pay for high security with restricted keyways?

We are an authorized Mul-T-Lock dealer and we have our own keyway. In fact, my father won a free trip based on a promotion they were running. I would say the resistance to key bumping is a big sales point on the Mul-T-Lock, as well as the control. When you can tell somebody that there’s no way somebody can get a key, there’s no duplication possibility – that means something.

Very often on higher end homes where we do mortise installations, we’ll sell Mul-T-Lock because they can give a key to their contractors and know that is the only key they have. When they finish a job, you get the key back and that’s it.

What is a typical commercial job?

In a Locksmith Ledger article, Gale Johnson hit it right on the nail about the locksmith being the last call. Very often we are on construction sites the day a building is being turned over to the customer, repairing hardware that carpenters really did a number on, repairing faulty carpenter work.

We do a lot of Herculite doors, lock bodies and closer swap-outs, and install LCN closers. We are also a full-line door installer. We do metal doors and frames as well as roll-down doors and frames and aluminum storefronts. We’ve been doing a lot more door work lately.

If you are interested in being featured in a future 30 Under 30 interview, contact managing editor Emily Pike, e-mail emily.pike@cygnuspub.com or 1-800-547-7377, ext 2224.

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