During a recent e-mail exchange with one of the leaders of our industry, it was recommended that I "...jump in with both feet..." concerning the scammer issue. There is no doubt that both the scammer issue and the economic downturn of the last few years have put a strain on locksmith businesses but there are ways each of us can use to bypass the problems.
Whenever a person decides to start a small service business, the first thing to consider is if there is a need for the service. Fortunately for anybody who has ever considered starting a locksmith business, every person in the world is a possible customer candidate. No matter where you locate your business, there will always be a demand for someone who can service and sell locks and other security products.
The second thing to consider is the competition. At any given time there is only a finite amount of people who will need extra duplicate keys or who are locked out of their cars. If there is a large amount of locksmiths already in the area, it may not be the right place to begin a new locksmith business.
Once you have found the right business location, you must then decide what type of locksmith services your business will offer. This is the most important consideration of all. Some locksmiths have based their complete business plan on offering an emergency lockout service. As example, at one time auto clubs were paying well for lockouts and some locksmiths depended on auto club lockout calls for their entire income.
There is one big problem with lockout work - you have to find a new customer for every job. Auto clubs discontinued calling locksmiths and the overload of car-opening jobs disappeared. Customers will call anybody in an emergency lockout situation and the scammer cartel has taken full advantage of that situation. The result is that locksmiths who depended completely on emergency work have lost a large amount of their former income.
Security is still a number one issue with consumers today, but it requires new thinking and new techniques for locksmiths to succeed. As example, I know one locksmith who is doing well by selling safes on the internet. Other locksmiths have moved into electronic access control work or now specialize in automotive transponder work.
Locksmithing is no different than any other business and as requirements of the public change or business competition increases, we must rise to meet the challenges. Issues such as the scammers and the economy will ebb and flow, but every locksmith who is prepared to change along with the times will continue to succeed.