Don't Be Short-Sighted

Sept. 17, 2013

Imagine for a moment that you are the new owner of a fast food restaurant. Your restaurant is located on a highway in a remote area. Every sale of a hamburger is completely dependent on  new customers who happen to be hungry as they are driving by and decide to choose your restaurant.   

Unless circumstances change for some reason, your hamburger sales will remain almost constant for years to come. There is no easy way to increase sales. The amount of cars driving past your restaurant and the amount of people who stop to eat will always be about the same.  You have very little control either about how many people wiil stop and eat or if another restaurant suddenly opens up down the road and lowers the amount of people who will then stop at your restaurant.

Popular discussions in our industry during the last few years concern a group of people who are stuffing phone books and websites with listings for emergency locksmith services. Some members of our locksmith community have taken great pains to complain about what these phone book stuffers are doing but their complaints are short-sighted.

Just as with the fast food example above, locksmiths do not 'own' emergency work. You cannot plan on when a emergency job will occur and you cannot force a customer with an emergency to call your phone number.  When more locksmith names and numbers appear in the phone book, your chances of getting an emergency call diminish.  The fact that these phone number stuffers are overcharging or doing shoddy work is beside the point.  We can prosecute someone for doing something illegal but we cannot stop people from setting up a business and putting their name in the phone book.

The value of your locksmith business depends on the inventory you own and the goodwill from the customer list that you have developed.  If you have a substantial list of commercial and residential accounts which call your business on a regular basis, then phone book stuffers should not adversly affect your business.  However, if the largest percentage of your business is emergency work, then it may be time to start building that firewall of return customer accounts.