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Locksmith Questions with The LockFather

Locksmith Questions with The LockFather

POSTS OF THE WEEK

 

PJ: How true is that though, right? I mean, it really shows the importance of making sure that you and the customer are on the same page about.

Pete: But, let's face it when customers got locked out or whatever, and they got in there while you're just pulling up. They're going to argue with you. You haven't done anything. Well, we showed up. Still costs.

PJ: Truth. I mean, it really captures that though. And with the price of gas these days, you can't afford to be given the run around.

 

"My giveaway winnings from CLK Supplies" - Angelo R. @Bronx LockPicker60

That's next up here is was like some giveaway winnings from Bronx lock picker 60s as my giveaway winners from CLK supplies very cool. Yep. Looks like there's a couple different pictures there. That's good stuff.

Pete: You got his fruit.

PJ: Thanks so much for sending in these great pics! We're so glad you like your prize!

 

"I knew it was going to be a good day when I spotted the unmistakable #Lockboss tape on the box from CLK! Thank you, CLK for supporting your customers in so many ways! Can't wait to put this LockVoy SFIC block and tools to work while sipping coffee from my #Lockboss mug, and keeping my Topo chilling in it's koozie for later!" - Neil W.

PJ: I'll have to say, that's one of the truest statements in my book that you can possibly get. I was sipping coffee out of my mug this morning.

Pete: I don't have one.

PJ: Why?

Pete: I don't know. I want it for hot chocolate with marshmallows.

PJ: I don't know if we still have any, but if we do, I'll give you one for order of 2000 bucks, okay? I'm joking. Thanks so much, Neil, for sending these pics in! We love you'll be using this koozie for a Topo.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK

 

PJ: That's a true statement, isn't it? Dad, tell me what you think on this. The hard part is like, there's the textbook way and then, there's reality. And so many times the two of those don't go together.

Pete: Yes. Very much so.

PJ: And it's a lot of problem solving and learning. I think that was the fun on taking that patio door lock apart and playing with it. A lot of times, the locks on the surface seem like they're challenging and hard to understand.

Pete: Then, later on, you’ll find out they're a piece of cake.

PJ: Yeah. And then once you spend some time with it and play, maybe see taking apart all the side and it's like, “That’s not too bad.”

Pete: Yeah, not bad at all.

PJ: And the cool part is that the patio door lock - I know you have them on your house, and I definitely have. They are great locks. I think really underrated.

Pete: I don't even lock the regular lock; I just lock that one. Slide it up. And then at night, if you want some air to come through, put a hole about four inches back. Push it up and you can’t get in.

PJ: Yeah, we actually never lock our little lock; just the top. And the funny part is over the years, my kids do the same. And the second they get a house that has a slider, they're going to be like, “Hey, we need one of those locks.”

Pete: Go ahead and ask Grandpa.

PJ: Well, don't ask me. Ask your grandpa.

IS IT WEIRD THAT YOU’VE BEEN LOCKSMITHING LONGER THAN PJ BEING ALIVE

PJ: I want to mess around a little bit and ask you a few different questions. Get your insights the way you view things. So, you started locksmithing in 1980, and it's been a few minutes since then. Is it weird that you've been locksmithing longer than I've been alive?

Pete: Yeah. It is because something you enjoy goes by quick. I still go do lockouts, rekeys, and whatnot. I still enjoy it. I wish my body was more physical to go do more stuff. Love opening safes, but the body doesn't allow me to get down enough easily. And no feeling in your fingers so I dropped my friend’s safe and had to get down right after my shoulder surgery. And I bet you it took me 15 minutes to get up onto the chair.

PJ: Were you opening it?

Pete: No, I was just changing the combo because he was in the process of getting divorced.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A STAFF MEMBER CHANGE A SAFE COMBO AND NOT TRY IT A FEW TIMES BEFORE CLOSING THE SAFE DOOR?

Pete: Yeah, Papa Murphy's over in Liberty Lake. I was irritated. He changed, slammed, shut and then, we had to drill it because he couldn't remember. So that's all on us and I was not a happy camper.

PJ: I think he only have to do that once though?

Pete: Yeah, but he's not with us anymore. But, I said, “Never close those doors until you try that combo at least 10 times.” Even electronics.

WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED LOCKSMITHING, WHAT WAS THE HARDEST SKILL FOR YOU TO LEARN?

PJ: The most difficult depending on your grammar.

Pete: Reading GM door locks. They lose the keys. You take the cylinder out, put your finger on the sidebar, pick it, and then you read the wafers. They make little readers now, but back then, they didn't. I got so good; I could look, see the key, and cut the key.

PJ: But when you started?

Pete: I went through hundreds of keys.

PJ: Because you're essentially sight reading. Right? Putting the rubber band over it, keeping that sidebar in, and decoding. That's tough.

Pete: That and IC cores. At 23, me being dyslexic. I go, “What the heck?” You read the formula and it was so hard for me, but it's a piece of cake today.

PJ: So, those two things were the most difficult.

IF YOU HAD TO START A LOCKSMITH BUSINESS TODAY, WOULD YOU STILL BE FULL-SERVICE?

Pete: I want to say yes and no. Ever since I've been in it, I've never liked automotive. Now today, it's a lot easier in the aspect of taking the door panels off. Most of the cars today, you just take out one pin off the driver's side and lock pops out and there's the keycode or a Lishi. That would be least favorite.

PJ: So, would you still offer automotive if you were starting again today?

Pete: Yeah, because it all burns in the box.

PJ: So, you'd still do full service?

Pete: Yes. As you learn, you add. Me, personally, I just don't want to be known as all I do is unlock cars or all I do rekeys. I mean, rekeys is easy money. Big money. But I like a challenge to that, that's me personally.

PJ: Let's say you had kids, right?

Pete: Yeah. We can pay you five bucks a day, and I'm making six bucks off that rekey.

PJ: Oh, yes. The dreaded $5 a day, also known as my childhood, right.

WHAT IS THE MOST PROFITABLE SERVICE THAT YOU OFFER?

Pete: The most? I would always say rekeys. Cutting keys is very profitable too, if you charge properly. Safe work is great because that's a specialty, but you can't just keep buying stuff. It takes years to accumulate all the equipment to do whatever you're going to do.

PJ: You'd say rekeys? I guess the best way to always sum that up and to know if you actually feel that way, is that if you had to fill your schedule with one service only to make money, what service would you fill it with?

Pete:  Probably rekeys.

PJ: I would agree with that because commercial rekeys are wonderful. Hopefully, all you have to do is try to key pop. Pop the lever off or knob off.

Pete: Don’t have to take the doors off.

WHAT’S YOUR TODAY’S CHARGE FOR A KW1 KEY CUT?

Pete: A key cut or just a duplicate?

PJ: A duplicate.

Pete: $2.49 because Kwikset, Schlage, and Master Padlock, M1, were the most popular. I had to raise my prices on everything else but those, I didn’t.

PJ: You didn’t; why?

Pete: On those I did not because they're fast mover. And of course, good old hardware store you can always worry about but we have lots of ones around. Although it for $1.75. I said this is all we do, you know?

PJ: What do you think I could do to convince you to raise that like 10 to 20 cents.

Pete: I'd say I want to $2.99. I'm serious it's because I just gave everybody raises. And it costs a lot of money to pay people, taxes, and insurance. Cost a fortune.

PJ: Currently $2.49. Next time around, I'll try to remember to ask again. We'll see if we can move the needle at all there.

Pete: Well, we're going to move cause Winter’s coming.

WHEN TRAINING SOMEONE BRAND NEW, WITHOUT ANY EXPERIENCE, WHAT IS THE FIRST SKILL TO TEACH THEM?

Pete: You already know this answer. What do we do most? Cut keys. So, you explain the keyboard to him. You open the book, show him how to identify a key, Ilco, Silhouette and the like. Show them how to do all that. Automotive. You open up the Ilco. Ask them what year make, model, look that up and it shows you all these different things. And then I have an old foreign car book, I call it the Bible of foreign cars. And it will tell you from the 50s, what key blanks to use. Cutting keys is the first.

PJ: What's the second thing you teach him?

Pete: Rekeys.

PJ: Rekeys? So, you teach them how to duplicate keys then, rekeys. You haven't got to origination?

Pete: No. Don't do that. Show them the rekeys because we have set up keys already from a previous job where you have to rekey all those. We keep a manual charged for them, so we don't have to create.

PJ: locksny was wondering how long it'll take him to become a locksmith. What skill does he need to have before you would consider him a locksmith? Now he drives a van that has locksmith on it.

Pete: Locksmithing is basically a tinkerer what fixes things. If you can take a lock apart, fix it. Mortise lock, whatever. That's what we do. We're fixers, but today, most locksmiths throw it away. Because of dollars and cents. If you spend an hour on it and charging $100 and you can buy a new one for 50. It’s figuring a life out, it take a lifetime.

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