Follow The Vertical Route

Sept. 19, 2018

A locksmith in the Midwest has developed a positive business relationship with local police departments in his area. The police department in his small town asked if he could schedule an inspection, cleaning and repair of their jail door locks. This locksmith agreed and word quickly spread to other police departments in the region. What began as a one-time job has become a recurring annual source of income.

Steve Young, one of our Locksmith Ledger writers, has become an expert in automotive locksmithing. For many years Steve has written a vehicle opening manual and has now opened his own locksmith business in the Florida panhandle area. When auto dealers have a vehicle with lost keys or lock problems, they know just who to call.

A locksmith in California called recently who was searching for a special electric strike which he could not locate. During our conversation he explained that he no longer does locksmith work for the public but works as a sub-contractor installing hardware for integrators. This locksmith said that his business is better than ever.

Over the years people have called Locksmith Ledger asking about how to start a locksmith business. My first reply has always been that it requires a population of approximately 25,000 to support a locksmith business. My thinking has always been that as the population number falls below 25,000, the amount of lockouts, lost keys and needs for other locksmith services will fall by the same percentage. I was basing my assumption on the fact that a locksmith would continue to be doing jobs of any and all types connected with security products.

Technological advances in every aspect of our business have prompted locksmiths to specialize. This changes the population equation requirement. Cost of training, tools and stocking a large inventory of parts has prompted locksmiths to choose vertical markets such as safe repair, vehicle lock servicing, access control or hardware installation sub-contracting. This is a good thing. No longer is a locksmith business confined to their small surrounding vicinity. Nobody is preventing you from moving up these individual vertical markets as far as you want to go.