Notes from the Editor: Working Together

April 3, 2017

During my locksmith career there were two sources for locksmith supplies. Standard parts were available from locksmith distributors and unusual decorative items were available from builders hardware suppliers.  Locksmith distributors offered the best discounts. Builders hardware suppliers knew that locksmiths were only buying from them because it was the only source for specialty products which they stocked and they charged higher prices accordingly.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the last two decades.  New players in the distribution game include big box stores and the internet.  In many cases sales of individual hardware items are available on the internet and every private citizen, building maintenance person and locksmith can purchase these items at the same price.   Overseas companies are especially prone to making knock-offs of popular hardware products and then selling direct to end-users.  Companies such as Amazon stock every imaginable hardware product locally and make deliveries within one or two days.

Big box stores even have special checkout counters for tradespeople.  The only difference between Amazon and big box stores is the immediate gratification of carrying the items home at the time of purchase.

Big box stores and the internet depend on one thing in common. They expect the purchaser to be the installer. This may work may work well for DIY people who are replacing a cabinet door pull but installing exit hardware, standalone pushbutton locks or decorative mortise locks is another issue.

There is an even greater need for locksmiths today as electronics move deeper into the everyday hardware mix. From transponder keys to smart home hubs, the general public is not prepared or interested in servicing or installing these items. 

Do you have the expertise and a stock of these new products when customers ask for your advice?   The solution is as close as your local locksmith distributor.  This issue of Locksmith Ledger displays a full listing of locksmith distributors and the type of products they offer.  Attend distributor classes, depend on your distributor's technical knowledge, and be ready for selling the new types of goods and services which your customers will surely be requesting.