LL Notes from the Editor eNL - Apr 17th, 2024
LL Notes from the Editor eNL | View online
April 17, 2024
Has Residential Gone DIY?

I recently managed to break off my key in the 20-plus year-old deadbolt on my front door. The key got stuck and I tried to pull it out with pliers (I am NOT a locksmith so I don’t have broken key extractors.) Cool, I thought, maybe now I can replace it with a keypad lock. That way, I could give the dog walker or a neighbor a code in an emergency.

I am not very handy or mechanically inclined, but I do know enough to call a legitimate locksmith. I tried a new-to-me company that a friend recommended (and was listed on ALOA’s FindaLocksmith.com page). To my surprise, they told me to go buy a lock at Home Depot and then call them back to schedule a time for the installation. I could have done that, but I was shocked that they didn’t stock and sell them.

I was busy and a few weeks went by. The door could still be locked with the inside thumbturn. In fact, it was probably more secure – no room for any kind of bump key. We locked it from the inside and used the other door when leaving the house. Then my furnace died. After that large expense, I gave up on the idea of an electronic lock. I simply watched a Schlage installation video on YouTube and replaced the lock with a similar one.

This experience is probably typical. Many – but not all – homeowners can successfully install deadbolts, keypad locks and doorbell cameras. I wouldn’t be comfortable installing anything more complicated than my deadbolt and I’d still like to upgrade down the road.

Yes, DIY products and YouTube videos (some good and some bad) have taken a bite out of the residential market. BUT some customers are looking for experience and guidance. Last July, we published two interviews with locksmiths succeeding in the residential market. Read them here and here. We will feature the residential market again this July.

In today’s world of specialization, many bigger locksmith shops in bigger markets have technicians specializing in sectors like electronic access control, commercial installations, automotive and safe servicing. We at Locksmith Ledger think it still makes sense to have at least one staff member available to handle residential customers. Hopefully, a simple lockout call or rekey can pave the way to a home security survey and upgrades such as high-quality mechanical or electronic front door locks, cameras, alarms, window locks, patio door locks and garage door locks.

As for me, I’d still like to upgrade down the road. When I’m ready, I will call the always-reliable local crew at Sandy Springs Lock and Safe (instead of the newer company that sent me to Home Depot) to see what they recommend.

Emily Pike


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