We Deliver! Tips for Getting Safes Inside Your Customers’ Homes

July 1, 2013
The heavier the safe, the more expensive the equipment may be required to deliver that safe. Then once the safe is at the delivery address, you must get it inside, possibly up steps, through narrow hallways, over thresholds, covering a variety of flooring.

Sales of gun safes have sharply increased over the last year or so. To try to catch up, some safe manufacturers have added additional work shifts while others have expanded their gun safe manufacturing capabilities. This customer demand has benefited locksmiths who sell gun safes and related safe products.

For those locksmiths who are thinking about starting to sell safes, specifically gun safes, it is extremely important to consider the best way to get those safes to the customers’ locations.

There are two basic methods:

  1. The locksmith delivers the safe
  2. The locksmith hires a delivery service.

Hiring a third party to deliver can be a losing proposition in several regards. The company you hire will most likely not have the same care and concerns about delivering the safe to your customer as you do. For evidence, look at small package delivery by UPS, Fed Ex or the Post Office. Think about the unforeseen problems that can occur to a package weighing 500 to more than 1,000 pounds.

Money is the other consideration. Hiring a company to deliver safes is expensive. It will dramatically cut into your bottom line.

Consider Costco, a big box membership store. Costco sells low-cost safes that weigh 500-plus pounds. However, the price of the safe only provides curbside delivery, which is the side of the road or sidewalk that is nearest to the curb. If the customer wants the safe in the residence or office, he or she must negotiate with the delivery company. Delivery companies normally set their own prices. This can add hundreds and hundreds of dollars to the cost of the safe.

On the other hand, delivering a safe is not easy. Safes are bulky, cumbersome and heavy. The average gun safe weighs about 700 pounds. Weights range from 80-pound small gun cabinets up to 5000-plus pounds for an AMSEC TL-30X6 with the gun safe interior. The largest AMSEC TL-30 RF6528 gun safe weighs 3455 pounds. The average AMSEC built-in-the -USA gun safe weighs 850 to 1600 pounds plus.

Not all safes of the same size weigh the same. Safes, especially dual purpose safes, i.e. including most gun safes, are built for burglary resistance and fire resistance. Some are built to UL RSC label, California Department of Justice label or to no label.

The amount of barrier material, which would include metal and fire retardant poured insulation, determines the weight of the safe. This specialized lightweight cement-like compound adds security protection as well as fire resistance. Drywall-equipped gun safes only gain fire resistance from the drywall. Remember: A jewelry safe that is a TL-15, TL-30 or TL-30x6 can be constructed to gun safe specifications.

Safe-Moving Equipment

The necessary equipment to deliver a gun safe is determined by the weight and size. The heavier the safe, the more expensive the equipment that will be required. Stair climbing hand trucks are sold by their capacity.

Safes can be more than four feet wide and 28 inches deep, making it difficult to navigate through narrow hallways and around corners.

The equipment necessary to move a safe includes a 20-21" wide pallet jack with 28" to 32" long forks and a trailer or liftgate-equipped truck. The 20-21" width enables the pallet jack to move through narrow hallways. Its smaller size gives more room to navigate. This size pallet jack can move safes up to 5500 pounds, depending upon the manufacturer and model. For the most part, larger pallet jacks won't fit the smaller safes.

Think about the largest safe you are planning on selling. This can help to determine the weight capacity of the vehicle or trailer. Truck liftgate models are available with a capacity of 1,000 to 6,600 pounds. A tilting, kneeling or hydraulic trailer can also be used, making it easier to get the safe on and off.

Air-Tow Trailers have a deck that can be lowered to the ground having a seven-degree ramp angle. These trailers have a 75" wide deck to accommodate multiple safes. The hydraulics are powered by a battery.

Trailers are available having capacities from a few thousand pounds up to 15,000 pounds. The Lift-A-Load trailer for example, has the capacity to be raised to dock height. Safe moving trailers are available with tongue or gooseneck hitch. The optimum trailer rig includes a heavy-duty pickup.

Inside Delivery

Once the safe is at the delivery location, the safe has to be moved into a specific location. This requires a method of getting the safe inside, possibly up steps, through narrow hallways, over thresholds, covering a variety of flooring. This can be accomplished by using a hand truck, Johnson (pry) Bar, pallet jack, four wheel furniture dolly, etc. However, no matter what safe moving equipment is used, the types of flooring and any thresholds must be considered.

The job must be completed without damage or dirt. Before using any wheeled tool, wash the tires prior to entering the delivery location. For additional protection, you can also place Medical Booties Shoe Covers over the wheels.

To protect the floors, carry ¾" (23/32") plywood sheets each about 26" - 28" by 48" to get through most doorways. Use Ram Board, which is a heavy-duty, thick, flexible fiber reinforced material for temporary floor protection. It is sold in 100-foot rolls. Ram Board must be used on hardwood floors or carpeting you are trying to protect. For tile or stone floors, put down plywood sheeting over the ram board when crossing a tile floor to prevent breaking. Clean moving blankets can be substituted for Ram Board when placing plywood on top.

To protect the door openings, use Ram Board around the edges if the opening is tight. The Ram Board can help the safe slide through without damaging the opening. Don't press your luck.

To get over raised thresholds and sliding glass door tracks, build a bridging system using two pieces of wood on either side of the raised area. Place a metal plate over the two pieces of wood to safely transport the safe.

To move a safe upstairs or downstairs, consider stair climbing hand trucks and stair climbing fork lifts. There are electrically operated stair climbers and six wheeled stair climbing hand trucks. Escalera, Lectro-Truck, Liftkar, Powermate, Ultra-Lift and Wesco are some producers of electrically operated stair climbers.

Important: When moving a safe up or down stairs, only use non-skid rubber pad material on the steps. The material looks a little like a fish net and is sticky. The rubber pad material will help keep the hand truck on the tread. It is normally placed under rugs to keep them from sliding.

To move the safe on a level surface, you can always use the pallet jack, hand truck, furniture dolly, or Lockmasters SlikSticks, a safe moving system that makes use of sticks having low friction material rails.

When you have a narrow hallway, closet or turn, a pallet jack may not fit. Try using 1-1/2" diameter PVC pipe cut to no more than the width of the safe. About six pieces is good to help final positioning. Place the pipes under the safe perpendicular to the direction it is to be moved. As the safe passes over a pipe, pick it up and place it in front. Repeat until the safe is in the proper position. Once the safe is in the proper position, use a lever or Johnson Bar to remove the pipes.

Level & Bolt

The next steps are to level and bolt down the gun safe. Use slivers of wood or wedges to level the gun safe. This ensures the door does not come crashing closed. Leveling takes only a few minutes. Leveling is necessary because safes tend to rock. In addition, most floors are not level. For example, most garage floors tilt slightly down towards the door to allow water to escape and not flood the garage or home.

Bolting down a safe is always a good ideaGood people brought in the safe; bad people can remove the safe.

Once the safe is in the proper position, change the combination of the safe. Remember to tell the customer not to use the address, birth date, telephone number or any numbers strangers can access. Test the combination at least three times. Then have the customer enter the combination and open the door. Before leaving, explain to the customer how to annually replace the batteries if there is an electronic lock.

Customers will appreciate the extra care and may tip you accordingly.

Delivering a safe gives you an additional opportunity to show, discuss and sell add-ons. Bring products with you as well as brochures. Add-ons can include desiccation (moisture removing) products, lighting kits, door racks, hand gun racks and jewelry boxes.

Once you deliver safes, you can also offer services for customers who are moving and want to take their safe. Before giving a bid on moving someone else’s safe, you must know exactly what you are moving. Determine the manufacturers' name, safe model number, the dimensions and weight. The actual safe can be very different from what the customer describes to you over the telephone.

Videos on You Tube demonstrate different aspects of delivering a safe. Some are good; others are not. To view a safe installation video, search one of the following terms:"How to Bolt down Gun Safes" video or "Gun Safe Moving, Pallet Moving and Leveling" video.


For more information, contact your local locksmith wholesaler or:

Rock Line Products Inc., 1480 Arrow Hwy., La Verne, CA  91750.Telephone: 909-392-2170. Web Site: www.airtow.com.

AMSEC, 11925 Pacific Ave., Fontana CA 92337. Telephone: 951-685-9680. Web Site: www.amsecusa.com.

Escalera, Inc., P.O. Box 1359, Yuba City, CA 95992 .Telephone: 530-673-6318 Web Site: www.escalera.com

Innovative Moving Systems, Inc., 310 South 10th Street, Oostburg, WI  53070. Telephone: 800-619-0625. Web Site: www.Lectrotruck.com

Advance Metalworking Co., Inc. Trailer Division, 3726 US Hwy 34, Kewanee, IL 61443. Telephone: 309-853-3387. Web Site: www.advancemetalworking.com

SANO Transportgeräte GmbH, Am Holzpoldlgut 22 A-4040, Lichtenberg Linz, Austria. Telephone: 0043(0) 7239 51010. Web Site: www.liftkar.com

Lockmasters, Inc., 2101 John C Watts Dr., Nicholasville, KY 40356. Telephone: 859-885-6041. Web Site: www.lockmasters.com

Powermate, Box 696, 151 Savannah Oaks Dr., Brantford, Ontario N3T 5P9. Telephone: 800-697-6283. Web Site: www.powermate.info

Ultra Lift Corporation, 475 Stockton Ave. Ste. E, San Jose, CA 95126. Telephone: 408-287-940. Web Site: www.ultralift.com

Wesco Industrial Products, PO Box 47,Lansdale, PA 19446. Telephone: 215-699-7031. Web Site: www.wescomfg.com