LL Notes from the Editor eNL - Jul 19th, 2023
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July 19, 2023
Residential: Look Beyond the Front Door

While commercial locksmithing is often perceived as the more profitable business segment, there are still plenty of opportunities out there on the residential front.

There is a perception that residential customers are one-time customers, calling for help in a lockout situation or when they purchase a new home. New homeowners, may, in fact, be an untapped market and local realtors can be a great source of referrals. When these homeowners call to have their locks rekeyed, offer to conduct a full residential security survey and recommend additional steps they can take to secure their new investment. What about garage door locks, the lock into the mudroom from the garage, sliding door locks, window locks and even pool and fence gates?

Then there are all kinds of high-tech products on the market, creating the smart home. The bad news is that many of these – at least initially – are DIY products, with locksmiths only hired after the homeowners and their handymen get in over their head. The good news is that when DIY’ers get stuck, some learn the value of professional help.

Residential Security is the cover focus of our July issue, and Locksmith Ledger contributor Steve Kaufman interviewed a couple of locksmiths who do substantial amounts of residential work. One common dilemma is dealing with customers who have bought their own hardware online but want a professional installation. Read our July articles about David Sykes Locksmith and Venus and Mars Locksmith.

David Sykes, owner of David Sykes Locksmith in Cape May, N.J., estimates that at least 40 percent of his business is residential, and he capitalizes on being in a resort area.

He says his business includes replacing old locksets with electronic locks that work with Bluetooth and connect to the home’s Wi-Fi. Typically, he’ll remove the mechanical deadbolt and locking knobs, install a passage or lever lock along with the electronic lock. Sykes also runs into upscale homes where the doors may not have been hung correctly, and those misalignment issues can cause electronic locks to fail.

And then there are those customers who want locksmiths to install the locks they bought online, or from Big Box stores. “I charge an additional $20 per hour to install hardware provided by the customer because I’m not making any profit on the resale of hardware, and there’s been no hesitation by customers about it,” Sykes says. 

Mike Hitman, owner of Venus and Mars Locksmith in Hammonton, N.J., built a successful locksmith business by providing great customer service in a relatively small market. He says about a third of his business is residential.

Like Sykes, Hitman says one of his challenges is customers who purchase their locks and then want him to install them. He will install these products but he makes it clear that the lock is not warranted.

“If you buy it from me here’s the price. If it doesn’t work, then you pay nothing. When asked to install any hardware purchased elsewhere, I quote my service call and hourly rate. Send me pictures of what’s on the door now and I’ll get you an accurate estimate. If it works, hooray! If it doesn’t, it’ll be on the door and you’re on your own hooking it up,” Hitman says.

Emily Pike


STI’s Wireless Doorbell Chime operates up to 500’ (line of sight) and lets you know when someone is at the door. Unit chimes when button is pressed. Easy to install, no wiring. Offers ten sounds. Door opening and motion chimes are also available.

The stars aligned for Venus and Mars Locksmith, profiting through superior customer service.
Program highlights will include exclusive products with pro feature sets and new value-adds; preferred pricing tiers and growth incentives
New Jersey locksmith David Sykes started his successful locksmith business in the back of his station wagon.
Paxton’s Net2 networked IP access control system provides a high level of security
Smart locks, networked cameras/doorbells gain momentum in home and multifamily settings.