on all orders over $150*
on all orders over $150*
A question gets asked quite a bit, and I figured it is time to address is that, ‘How much should you charge to rekey a Kwikset Smart key lock?’
PJ: And to help me talk about it and have a good discussion, I have my dad, the Lockfather.
Pete: How's it going?
PJ: Good. Welcome back. Just before you arrived here, I haven't got to see you for a couple of weeks.
PJ: So nice to see you.
Pete: Yeah same, man.
THE STEPS OF REKEYING
PJ: So now when it comes to rekeying a Smart key, kind of walk us through the steps.
Pete: Well, a smart key, you have your little tool, you have the user key then you have your new key, you're going to look into, but the problem with smart keys is that they're sticky most of the time. I always lubricate them before I rekey them because the chambers get sticky in there.
Pete: You put your tool in, sometimes it just doesn't slide and you have to fiddle with it to get it in. You slide, turn it, pull out, your key, and then put the other one in then turn it back. But sometimes they screw up on you, I mean, the technology, it's quick and easy most of the time but there are issues with them.
PJ: Yeah. So if we can just rewind for a sec. So like at that basic level, you're doing what like if everything goes perfectly, you're -
Pete: - in and out quickly.
PJ: Quickly. As long as you have like another key already prepped. It's kinda something that is meant in a perfect world to be able to do right at the door with very limited skill. Was that fair?
Pete: Yes, very fair.
ALL THE OTHER THINGS
PJ: Now, with that being said, we talked about the rekey part, but as someone who is a locksmith, or someone who works with doors and locks, there's more that goes into it than just the rekey - it's making sure it's latched properly, it's aligned properly. There are all little kinds of nuanced things that at first glance, you don't know that talks about but when you get out there and you start working on lock because it's what we do, the second you touch that door -
Pete: You're responsible.
PJ: You're responsible.
Pete: No matter if that's not the reason you recall.
PJ: Yes. That's just how it works.
Pete: You want to make sure before you even touch the door that the dead latches and falling in the hole, that it's lock locking properly, that when you close the door that it latches period because over age, the door sags and it doesn't latch. Same with the deadbolt, make sure it goes in the hole smoothly.
PJ: Exactly. So there are all of these other things and the reason I want to bring it up is that when we talk about rekeying, it's really easy to go just directly to like, okay, one, you take a plug clip off, essentially. Take out pins, put in pins.
Pete: Follower do that, check master pins.
PJ: Smart key, use a little tool, but there's a lot more that goes into it and I think to have a good conversation about charging for smart keys compared to normal, we have to look at the larger picture and that is, for the most part, like we were just saying, when you get hired to go up to a house or a business for that matter. As soon as you touch the door, in the customer's mind, you're essentially now responsible for that door working properly.
Pete: Right, whenever we go out and we get a recall. I said, "Didn't you guys check that before he even touched the door or I want to make sure you try the key on every lock before you even take them apart. Make sure everything's working," because like you said, as soon as we touch that door, we're responsible. A customer says, well, that's not why they called us there. Well, but that's part of our job to check it. You want to make sure all that stuff is working properly.
DIVING INTO PRICE
PJ: It's all the nuance that goes around the job. And so with that being said, let's dive into it now. So, you've always had your standard rekey charge for residential homes.
PJ: Okay. Nowadays with smart keys out there. If you or one of your locksmith techs go out to a job and it ends up being Smart Key, do you charge differently, care to answer that?
Pete: We charge the same no matter what.
PJ: So smart key or non-smart key?
Pete: Customers bring brand new locks into the store, we still charge them a full bore because they didn't read the instructions, didn't try, didn't do whatever but again, as soon as we touch it, we're responsible for it. So even a brand new lock, out of the package can screw up so then we have to take it apart, reset it, and change it there. So why am I going to do it for anything less when I got to be responsible and guarantee everything we do?
PJ: So if I were playing devil's advocate for a minute, and if someone who's watching this is like, hey, that's crazy that you would charge that, like, what would be your rebuttal to that?
Pete: Well, first of all, we're professionals. We're going to be paid for our knowledge. If the consumer can do it, let them do it but when they screw up, who are they going to bring it to? Us. We got to be paid for our knowledge, no matter if it takes 30 seconds to do it or it takes you an hour. You're going to charge for that.
PJ: Yeah, I think that's -
Pete: Everybody puts it down that our time isn't worth anything. For me to pay for my company, for me to pay my guys and their benefits, it takes a lot of money so we got to charge accordingly. I'd love to do everything for free, but I cannot do it, you know, pay the bills. And my guys are always saying, Man, you give too much stuff away, and I do because I'm a generous guy.
Pete: But at least our bills are being paid.
PJ: Yeah. And that's true. And I think if we try to look at it, and maybe this isn't the best example, but it's the example coming to me right now. Like in your vehicle owner's manual, it shows you how to change the oil.
PJ: Gives you all the specs you need to change.
PJ: And you can change it yourself if you have the technical know-how, or not, you can attempt it, or you can take it to someone and they're gonna charge you a labor to do that.
Pete: And the parts, right?
PJ: And the parts, right? In the same way, when you buy a lock, most of the time it comes with a template, like a deadbolt where you could install it, essentially install the deadbolt. Now, the way I've always kind of looked at and tell me if you agree or disagree, and I think I've got this from you over the years, is that there are people that are DIY-ers, right? Like they are very handy. They're very mechanically inclined and they like to do stuff themselves and they like to save money. Right? Those people are going to, for the most part, take care of their locks.
PJ: There's going to. Other ones are just going to call someone to get it done.
Pete: Yeah, I like taking care of everything myself and you'd like to call somebody because I enjoy doing it that's why.
PJ: Oh, and I mean.
Pete: I get satisfaction where you'd rather go play golf and I'd rather work around the house.
PJ: You're outing me here. Well, yeah, I mean, yes, I would rather...Yeah, that is true. That is true. Good stuff. Oh, there you go. There you go, everybody.
Pete: I threw you underneath the bus and ran over your toys.
PJ: Yeah, you know what? I deserve it. But no. So I think it's a good conversation to talk about so you charge the same no matter what?
Pete: Yes, no matter what.
PJ: And I mean, would you also agree to the fact that I mean, some people are gonna pay, and some people are gonna do it themselves?
PJ: Right. In the same way, you get the template and all of that, so at the same time, I mean, so how would you say, while we're at it, you're quick. So what would you say to someone who says, Well, you know, what? I normally charge $15 for a normal rekey but if it's a smart key, I just charge $7.50 because, for me, it's half the work. How would you -
Pete: I disagree with that because you have to still guarantee it.
Pete: Well, it's like when we sell brand new hardware to commercial or residential, well, residential, mostly, we charge them half price to rekey it all to fit their key because the hardware is hardware. You charge for the hardware and then we used to rekey the locks for free. Do you see how much time you're paying your people to rekey all this? Okay. They're making x amount of dollars. Well, it just took him two hours to rekey 20 some locks. Well, how am I going to make up those two hours’ worth of labor? I'm taking that the profit of the lock itself; I made no money.
PJ: It's kind of, you know, the rubber meets the road in business when there's money being made or money not being right. And so -
Pete: And it's taken me, I've been in business 40 plus years, and you know? About three years ago when we decided to do that, because I'm going, where's all the labor costs?
Pete: And I am not being paid.
PJ: It's unfair-
Pete: And the same with the rekey. I mean, smart key or not, you gotta be paid.
PJ: Absolutely. So in closing for you and your company through all of the reasons we've discussed here today, that you just charge when someone calls you out for residential rekey, you're going to charge -
Pete: I quote them the same price, because they don't know what they have, either.
PJ: Yeah, nor are they usually ever interested.
Pete: And, you know, I'm not saying we don't do it here and there for nothing but we usually 99.9% charge everybody.
PJ: Yeah. And there are always exceptions in business, right? circumstance, exceptions, all of that. But yeah. Interesting. So you know, what I find most interesting about this conversation is that and what I hope everyone who is watching or listening kind of hears is that you are doing what you're doing based on what you know what it takes to be able not only to stay in business but to have a healthy company.
Pete: Yes. And what makes a healthy company? The checkbook, yeah. So you're able to pay for stuff.
PJ: Absolutely. And so I think a lot of times, we can get lost in the widths of the details of do you charge x amount? or why do you charge so little? Or why do you charge so much, or do I do that for half? Or do I do that for double? And what we're trying to accomplish here is to have healthy companies. Have companies that are healthy that either support you and your family or your staff and their family and that sort of thing. And so, although it's great, and I'm glad we dove into the widths on what you charge, and why. I think it's more important than whatever decision that we decide to make in business that we're making it to where our company can thrive.
Pete: And customer says, "Gosh, how come it is so much?" Well, I'm in business to give everything away and struggle my whole life. At first, we all struggle but sometimes in business, you're gonna make it and be successful in the world's quote, but if you're healthy in business, then you're able to help and do other things, too, with other locksmiths, other clients, whatever.
Pete: And keep it going.
Pete: And help your employees where you can I mean, all the money's not for you. Does that make sense?
PJ: Absolutely. Well, perfect. Well, dad, thanks for coming on and talking about it. It's an interesting subject. I'm glad that we were able to kind of at least start the conversation about it, but I would love to know for all of you watching and listening, what your thoughts are? Do you agree with the Lockfather? Do you have a different point of view that you could share? Of course, we would love to hear it. Part of growing together and learning together is sharing productively how we feel and think about different things so we can all learn together. So I would love to know your thoughts. I'm sure you would do. Thank you, and I will see you next time.