Looking Beyond the Vertical Market: Discovering Opportunities to Expand Your Business

Looking for new jobs, new customers and new challenges?


Depending on how much or how little automotive work you do, this is an often overlooked source of business. If you’ve never been pro-active for auto work, you might be surprised at the result.

Try making up a flier or tri-fold brochure to advertise the fact your company can rekey, repair, replace, duplicate or fit keys to most auto locks. Spend a day or an afternoon visiting local auto dealerships and repair facilities to let them know you offer these services. Don’t leave out the collision, body and paint shops. Consider offering special ‘trade discount’ or ‘dealer pricing’, how much of a discount you actually offer is up to you.

These shops deal with autos all day every day and can be a great source of business for automotive lock and key work. If you can do all of the transponder work, it can be a way to make all of that expensive equipment pay for itself in a shorter time. Remember, a lot of locksmiths have dropped or cut back on their auto service. If you do it all, let the automotive industry in your area know about it. Ask for their business.


This is another segment that is relatively simple to get into. Most Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) equipment being sold today is plug-and-play. That means that other than running the wiring to the cameras, monitor and recorder it’s ready to use. Just plug it in.

A whole new selection of wireless CCTV equipment is also starting to hit the market. Wireless video carries a higher price but eliminates the cost of cable and the labor to install it.

While videocassette recorders are still in use, the trend is toward digital video recorders. DVRs allow you to store images on a hard drive and require no tapes.

Color and black & white cameras come in a wide variety styles. Mixing and matching indoor or outdoor housings, dome housings, bullet cameras, box cameras and board cameras with a huge selection of infrared, lowlight and telephoto lenses will be sure to provide the coverage your customer needs. There are a number of CCTV equipment suppliers that are more than willing to help the novice get started.

The permits and licenses needed to install alarms and/or access control usually don’t apply to CCTV for most areas. Check with your local authorities to identify the laws that apply in your area.


Most locksmiths will do basic repairs on doors and frames. This is usually limited to installing wrap-around or repair cover plates on the door to strengthen the damaged area or installing a large oversized strike plate to strengthen the frame.

Installing hinges and pivots isn’t that much different than installing a lock. Some enterprising locksmiths have discovered the expanded market of installing complete replacement doors and repairing or replacing frames. Wood doors are readily available in standard sizes, some with the hinge area already mortised out. Wood frames damaged in a kick-in attack can be partially disassembled and repaired with new wood segments.

Metal doors and frames can be purchased as a set and installed in an existing opening. Some jobs will require two people. By asking a few questions of your local suppliers you can buy doors and frames wholesale like you buy your lock hardware.


This is one of the least expensive ways to gain added sales. Utilize your existing showroom or front room areas to display a wide variety of small, inexpensive items. Key rings, key covers, key clips, etc. will usually sell themselves if they are in sight. If you keep all of these items in the back room, get them out front.

While your customers are waiting for you to cut their keys, give them something to look at and play with. Display racks are available for many of these items including the huge selection of painted keys. From cartoon characters to sports teams and from happy faces to religious symbols, these keys will only sell if your customers know you have them.

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