Editor's Note: Thanks to everyone who entered. The contest is now closed and winners will be listed in our February 2023 issue and online. We hope to do this again nexy year!
It has been more than 20 years since Locksmith Ledger’s last locksmith van contest. It’s time to bring back this fun event and see what’s changed in the past two decades.
For many locksmiths, your van is your office, retail showroom, workspace, storage unit and breakroom, all rolled into one, and packed securely enough to stay put as you race around town. It has to work well for you, with power, lighting, inventory, key machines and easy access to any tools you might want.
Every locksmith’s requirements are different, and we’ve spotted some amazing customized locksmith trucks and vans on the road, ranging from decked-out Prius-size electric vehicles in urban areas to large commercial vans and SUVs. We look forward to seeing everyone’s great ideas.
Our contest will be judged in the following categories:
Best Exterior – We’ll look at appearance, making sure that the van looks well-maintained and in good condition, that any wrapping or other advertising is accurate, clean and clear to the viewer and that the overall appearance is eye-catching.
Best Interior Storage – We’ll look at the organization of this area, that it’s well-kept, secure and designed for finding the right tool or part in a hurry.
Best Interior Workspace – We’ll look at the layout, making sure it’s adequate to perform necessary tasks, such as pinning or cutting keys, as well as the appearance of the area.
Best Innovation – We’re seeking anything, exterior or interior, that’s unique and adds to the overall function of the work truck.
The judges will select a winner in each category. Then a point system will determine the overall winner. Prizes include a $250 gift card to the overall winner.
Here’s the small print: The contest is open to commercial and mobile locksmiths only; one entry per business; no cost to enter. The deadline to enter is Nov. 15. Contestants must include their name, name of business, location and contact information, and at least one exterior and two interior images and a short description of why they designed their truck the way they did.
For inspiration, here are some Locksmith Ledger feature articles about setting up your service van from our archives:
Wayne Winton’s 2022 article, Presenting the TREMINATOR!, explains how and why he converted a 2020 Ford F-350 into a service truck rugged enough to tow a trailer loaded with safes up and down mountainous terrain. Interestingly, he chose to remain stealth, with no lettering so the truck can’t be identified as a locksmith truck full of valuable gear.
Steve Young’s 2014 article, Starting Over or Starting Out as an Automotive Locksmith, addresses selecting a service van and key machines, and then choosing and installing an inverter to power the equipment. His van of choice was a Ford Transit Connect. The second part of this series, Starting a Business Part 2: Tool Storage Inside the Service Van, shows his customized system for storing key blanks and tools, mounting key machines and maximizing workspace.
James Hanna’s 2016 article, Outfitting Your New Service Vehicle, gave tips on what tools, products and parts to stock, as well as how to advertise your business with lettering and wraps on the outside of your vehicle.