A business factoid arrived by e-mail a few days ago. According to this e-mail, when people rent an apartment or purchase a home, 74 percent of the time they continue to use the existing keys and do not have their lock combinations changed by a locksmith. According to this study from the United Kingdom, this can "potentially leave them vulnerable to break-ins by someone who obtained a key during the previous ownership." (Read about this survey at www.locksmithledger.com/11016395.)
There is no way of knowing whether the 74 percent rate can also be applied in the U.S. In some areas, building owners may be required to change locks after a tenant leaves. In other cases a building owner may restrict tenants from changing their locks at all. But there is still a portion of people moving in who probably do not have their locks changed.
The big question is how to tap into this source of income. My suggestion would be to become known to every real estate company in your area. Let the real estate agents know the statistics and the dangers in not changing lock combinations. Real estate companies often manage rental properties and can also become regular customers for maintenance and repair of apartment door hardware. It is a lot easier and less expensive to befriend the real estate source than to try informing the public at large.
There was a time when locksmiths were thought of whenever the public required any service related to keys or locks. We still can provide all those basic services but there are other entities such as big box stores, ADT, car dealers, alarm dealers and others who are chipping away at parts of the security business. No longer can we wait for the phone to ring. Business must be developed. Business development requires proper advertising, personal visits, talks before local groups, networking with allied businesses and referrals from satisfied customers. Building a business for the future takes some effort but the rewards are worth every moment you spend.