Back Page. December 2021

Dec. 2, 2021

20 Years Ago

Tools of the Trade was the topic of the December 2001 issue. Tim O'Leary listed important tools for doing electronic installations. Jerry Levine picked out some interesting tools for automotive locksmithing. Tom Gillespie reported on the latest lock-servicing tools from PRO-LOK. Jerry Levine also tested the HPC MasterKing computer program. Gale Johnson reported on the new Honda sidewinder system for 2002. Honda later extended the sidewinder system to most models. Jerry Levine detailed how to service the new Ford ignition locks, which no longer were equipped with a sidebar. Dick Zunkel offered servicing ideas for exit devices that used electronic latch retraction. Greg Drake described code-compliant exit devices from Detex. Tiny showed lock-servicing procedures for a 2001 Chevrolet 1500 pickup. Ledger reported on the new LA GARD dual-hand swingbolt safe lock.

10 Years Ago

The 2011 National Average Price Survey showed that locksmiths charged an average of $66 on service calls and an average hourly rate of $45. Tim O’Leary wrote about telephone intercom systems, now mostly replaced by newer technologies. Gale Johnson offered tips for servicing Kaba Simplex mechanical push-button locks. Jerry Levine installed the Trine 4850 surface-mount electric strike. Steve Young discussed the challenges of servicing the 2000–2007 Ford Focus. The trunk lock and ignition lock were designed to be replaced rather than serviced. Gale Johnson was an early proponent of recurring monthly revenue, writing in his editorial, “Successful locksmiths of the future will be those who change from dependence on mistakes made by the public, such as lockouts, toward selling and installing new replacement security products for those products that have been made obsolete by time. Developing recurring-revenue customers and training yourself about every new electronic security product are the two best ways toward future prosperity.”

Selling the Right Safe for the Right Application

A well-appointed safe showroom provides the image to the customer that there are choices available even if there aren’t a lot of safes. If possible, obtain examples of safe locks, cutaway sections of safe bodies, color and finish charts, etc. that provide an opportunity for the customer to understand some safe basics. Add a picture or two and some homey touches to create a comfortable shopping environment for the customers.

Important rule #1. Most customers think there is only one kind of safe. There isn’t one kind of safe. There are fire safes and burglary safes and composite (fire and burglary) safes.

A safe, be it designed for burglary or fire or burglary and fire, provides protection by preventing access to the contents over time. A fire safe protects the content against heat for a period of time. There are media safes, data safes and fire boxes designed to protect paper. A burglary safe provides protection against forced and surreptitious entry for a period of time. Some safes provide the greatest protection from frontal attacks. There are safes that provide equal protection on all six sides.

Important rule #2. No one ever has bought a safe that’s too big. Customers come into your showroom usually wanting the minimum safe. If they end up buying the minimum safe, they will almost always outgrow it, become unhappy and blame you.

Important rule #3. Never provide free delivery. If you offer free delivery, everyone will take it. If you sell 20 safes, you have to deliver 20 safes. If you charge for delivery, about 50 percent of the buyers will pick up their safes.

If you deliver, set your fees on the weight of the safe and include a mileage radius. In a large metropolitan area, such as Los Angeles, basic mileage can be about 25 miles or less. If you’re in a smaller city or rural area, mileage can be 100 miles or more. This is because of traffic. In a heavily populated area, driving 25 miles can take as much time as driving 100 miles in a rural area.

Safes are available with mechanical locks and electronic locks. The basic differences are the simplicity of operation and the functionality. A mechanical lock requires rotating the dial left and right for specific number of rotations to specific numbers. An electronic lock requires entering a valid code onto the keypad or placing a finger into a biometric fingerprint reader. Fingerprints are enrolled or deleted from the keypad's database. Enter a valid code or present a fingerprint, and the electronic lock will unlock in much less time than what’s required to unlock a mechanical lock. Having an electronic lock is an upcharge.

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