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Rekeying or replacing locksets for home-buyers and renters is probably one of your bread and butter services. However, competition from the home centers is mounting and cutting into profits on this traditional work. Besides having their own offering of installers for everything they sell, home centers often carry the same locks as you, only cheaper. It may be time to expand the scope of your business.
Residential and commercial alarm systems are a growing market. Why not keep flyers in each truck, or program your customer service people to mention this to clients when they call? Also targeted ads in local newspapers, and hooking up with local real estate brokers and builders will be a big help to get you going.
Alarm technology can be wireless; however hard-wiring is still used extensively for certain applications. Wireless alarms are far less labor-intensive than hard-wired, although a certain degree of technical expertise is required for programming the system.
The alarm industry has to constantly update itself as technologies evolve. For decades, all alarms were hard-wired, and wireless was viewed upon with suspicion and disdain. The Internet, VoIP and AMPS Sunset have all caused alarm dealers into crash courses in new means of monitoring their client's alarms, besides new players entering the marketplace, the turning away from POTS (plain old telephone service) in favor of high speed Internet and Voice over IP; and the suspension of analog cellular service has antiquated a large percentage of legacy alarm hardware installed in America, and has triggered learning new technology and removal and replacement of alarm communications hardware.
The RMR (Recurring Monthly/Monitoring Revenue) that alarm system monitoring generates is an important element of installing alarms systems, and a valuable service to subscribers whose whole motivation for having an alarm is knowing that in the event of an alarm, help is on the way.
Unfortunately the alarm industry is somewhat in jeopardy because many municipalities are levying fines and threatening to cease police response to unverified alarms, due to what they claim is the financial burdens that responding to excessive false alarms places on them.
The industry has responded by implementing enhanced alarm verification techniques and using remote video surveillance. This remote video surveillance is an additional billable service which will add to the RMR stream for those dealers who get on board.
Twenty or so years ago, video was expensive, and the market was relatively limited. That's changed. The demand for video has exploded into one of security's growth industries. With a little training and practice, any locksmith with an interest in learning can be profitable and competitive in no time at all. The introduction of digital signal processing, IP and computer technology to surveillance opens new opportunities for alarm verification and remote surveillance services for which the public craves.
The variety of types of access control systems available is only exceeded by the growing numbers of applications. Since keys were the first access control credential, and locks are what locksmiths are all about, it seems like it would be the most natural evolution for a traditional mechanical locksmith to make. Access control includes everything from restricted keyways, standalone battery units, networked enterprise–wide systems, and integrated security, access and video surveillance.
The sale of new intercoms, maintenance of existing ones and the upgrading to video intercoms is a niche market in itself. In urban areas with multiple occupancy dwelling and office buildings, entry panels are ubiquitous and frequently the targets of vandalism. Gated communities and high-end gated estates are another market for intercoms.
Wireless systems are ideal for any retrofit or new construction application where wiring is difficult or impractical, or where the cost of traditional wired online access control is prohibitive.
Since many of these products are available over the Internet as do-it-yourself projects, the locksmith’s challenge is to convince your customers that you specialize, customize and assemble the exact...