Smart Lock Installation: No Fear And Loathing Required

June 4, 2018
Locksmiths can profit first by installing smart locks and second from recurring monthly revenue from the additional smarthome devices and services

A significant number of security professionals have recognized the value of selling and installing smart electronic locks. There are not only revenue opportunities from the locks themselves, but recurring monthly revenue from the additional devices and service that the locks open up.

There are, however, some holdouts: those locksmiths who are not yet reaping the rewards of jumping on the smart lock train. One of the reasons I have heard from those reticent to jump aboard is the perceived difficulty of installation – “perceived” because, the fact is, smart locks are exceedingly easy for a professional to connect. If you’ve installed a traditional deadbolt, installing a smart lock is a piece of cake. Yet for whatever reason, in the minds of some, the perceived issues surrounding installation have kept them from adding a much sought-after device to their product mix.

A “Hole” Lot Easier Than You Think

We all have an ingrained trepidation when it comes to overly complicated product assembly. Maybe it stems from getting those toys and games when we were kids that stated “some assembly required” on the side of the box. We’d open the box, ready to play right away, only to see the frightening contents within – hundreds of tiny little plastic or metal pieces. And then there was the 30-page instruction manual, often poorly translated from another language. Our parents didn’t love this experience either.

So now we hear about a technological innovation like the smart lock, and assume (or have been told) that installing said smart lock will be a process beset with frustration and wasted time. Installers assume that they are going to have to drill a hole in the door or chisel out a frame, or perform some complicated electrical work. This actually couldn’t be further from the case.

If you’re replacing a traditional mechanical deadbolt with a smart lock, then the hole you need for the smart lock already exists, the door is already chiseled, and the frame is already cut out. Installing a smart lock is just as easy as swapping in a new deadbolt. And if it is a brand new door, it has arrived to you with a hole already in place, pre-cut.

The hole for the mechanical deadbolt works just as well for a smart lock. In fact, in some cases, the smart lock might be a better fit. Today’s smart locks increasingly feature smaller footprints and tapered parts, to help ensure that everything fits and the door closes correctly.

If the door doesn’t fit after installing a smart lock, odds are that there are issues with the door frame or jamb – not the lock. To address this potential issue, before the old/original deadbolt is removed the technician should ensure the bolt is free to move and does not bind up or have any issues closing freely. It is important to address any issues with the door frame or warping -- before the electronic deadbolt is installed.

And as for complicated electrical work, or wiring, there is none. Smart locks are battery operated. Popping in the battery is as easy as, well, popping in a battery.

Time Is on Your Side

“So how long does it take to install a smart lock?” you ask. I know you’re asking, because I hear it all the time. Locksmiths don’t want spend hours at one location, fiddling around with a high-tech gadget. And that’s the time period that many security professionals think they have to allot for a smart lock installation – hours. The reality is that the installation takes a lot less time than that. This is especially true if the smart lock features one-touch programming, an advantage of Kwikset smart locks that serves to speed the installation process.

According to John Orth, a technician at Guardian Protection Services, “It should take 30 minutes or less to complete the smart lock installation. It takes about 12 minutes to swap out the door lock. Then it’s somewhere between five and 15 minutes to upload the lock into the home automation platform, depending what the back-end looks like. The majority of the install is actually download time, not install time.” Orth continued, “Once you’ve put in a few smart locks, it becomes second nature. If you’re taking longer than a half hour, you’re doing something wrong.”

Installing Increased Revenue

Once you’ve moved beyond the false perception that installing smart locks is complicated, you can truly open the door to enhanced customer retention, growth and profit.

According to a July 2017 Consumer Technology Association study, “Consumer enthusiasm for both emerging technology and resilient mature categories is exceeding expectations – driving the U.S. consumer technology industry to an estimated 3.2 percent revenue growth in 2017.” The study goes on to say that sales in the smart home category, including smart locks, “will reach 27 million units in 2017 (50% increase over 2016).”

The role of the smart lock in increased smart home sales makes sense. Together with a central hub, a smart lock is a natural entry point for customers to enter the smart home arena. It is a natural entry point, because it is most often located at the entry to a home. Customers welcome the concept of controlling their home automation devices and scenarios from the convenience of their front door.

Making a smart lock central to a home automation system also makes sense in terms of customer retention and increased business. Home automation is still a fairly new concept to most homeowners – they have to build up their comfort level with the technology over time. This comfort level can only grow as customers are coming and going through the front door throughout the day, every day, and engaging with the smart lock and home automation. The more customers use the smart lock to enhance convenience and security in their lives, the more likely they are to want to expand their system capabilities. Repeat business ensues.

Right from the get-go, installing a smart lock can also lead to more monthly revenue. When customers upgrade from a basic security system to a security system with home automation and a smart lock, the home automation system usually requires a higher level of service. This means you can offer and charge for a premium service package.

Pump Up the Volume

So according to the CTA and many other studies, customer enthusiasm for products like smart locks has never been higher. Opportunity is knocking on doors that are ready for smart locks. All locksmiths need to do to take advantage of this opportunity, and pump up home automation sales, is to spread the word that smart lock installation is remarkably fast and easy – and nothing to be afraid of.

As North American Sales Manager for Kwikset Residential Access Solutions, Nick English is responsible for management of all sales and distribution through Pro Security channels, including sales and performance management of Territory Sales Managers and Key Account Managers.