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Locksmithing | Staying Safe on the Job

A common question that we've been getting asked to talk about ‘Safety on the job.’ And unfortunately, this is coming a much larger issue in the lock and key industry today. And talking about this interesting subject is very important since it's not a subject that where one answer fits all. Let’s us all learn from the experienced one!


 The LockFather

PJ: Yeah. So that was, that was nice. So you've been, for anyone who doesn't know you or is not familiar with you, how many years have you been locksmithing?

Pete: Since 1980, so almost 43 years.

PJ: 43 years? And have you run into safety issues, your safety issues?

Pete: Oh, absolutely.

PJ: Yeah. Kind of talk to us a little bit about that. Like, can you give us a few examples?

Pete:  Somebody called me up in the evening and said, they locked their keys in the trunk of their vehicle. And I said, Okay, it's gonna be, you know, way back then it was like, $45. They said, Okay, come. So, I drove down there, and not the best part of town.

PJ: Not the best part of LA?

Pete: Yeah. San Fernando Valley.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: And not the best part of the time, as I said, and I was sort of skeptical and I went and got it open and I said, Okay, 45 bucks. And they said, no we're gonna thump you, I got what? I said, just give me my 45 and I'm on my way and before you know it, they knocked me upside the head.

PJ: That they hit you?

Pete: Oh, yeah. Physically, like a couple of them. Well, there are three of them.

PJ:  Okay.

Pete: And one guy hit me and I go, what the hell? Trying to get back in my truck, I drove down the road and called the cops, but by then they were already gone. But yeah, you gotta be careful out there.

PJ: Did that kind of change your perspective going to -

Pete: I'm not gonna go to bad areas but I've got another one where it was really bad whereas this one during the day.

PJ: Okay. And I want to ask you about that real quick. We talked about like, a bad area. It's just something in the community, it's a place.

Pete: It's not the best neighborhood. It's apartments with problems.

PJ: Okay. So it's just kind of like the community kind of knows this area is not the safest.

Pete: But I'm hungry. I gotta feed everybody.

PJ: Yeah, you need money.

Pete: Right.

PJ: Yeah. So on this other one, you're going to.

Pete: I don't know. Because you guys have a bunch of guys down and out front all the time and she goes, don't worry, you'll be safe with me. Because I think she ran the place. She was like the mama bear of the whole complex. And so I pull up because you guys don't touch them. And I go great, what I get myself into?

PJ: Yeah

Pete: And she was locked out so I got her in and she goes off drive out with you in your van so nobody will mess with you. That one went well, but it could have gotten real wrong real quick but again, I need the money to feed the family.

PJ: Yea, and I think that's like a weird balance of when you're in the locksmithing type business and you do emergency work kind of balancing that out.

Pete: I tell my people if you know it's a bad area, don't go. Just don't forget it.

PJ: Okay. Yeah.

Pete: There's no sense of you getting hurt and then it's going to be on the company, you've got to pay for whatever. It's better to be safe and not hurt.

PJ: Yeah, so now kind of fast forwarding through today. We're thankful that we live in a very mellow area. Although as time goes on, and the population grows, it isn't always as nice. But, so I mean, the danger out there is real.

Pete: Oh, absolutely.


 Locksmith Company Policy

PJ: The dangers out there are real. And so now with you doing emergency work for your company, you have locksmiths who work for you or having to like, what kind of company policy, I know you kind of alluded to it but when it comes to like, at some point, someone has to make a decision, right? Someone has to decide on whether I'm going to do this job or I'm not.

Pete: Well, one of the guys still carries permits. Okay. I told him, 'You cannot carry it in the vehicle.'

PJ: Really, okay?

Pete: Because it makes the company that much more vulnerable.

PJ: What about on the other end of that with them feeling vulnerable?

Pete: Doing the job.

PJ: Okay, so if they feel like they need to have protection on them, don't do that job.

Pete:  Right.

PJ: Okay. That's interesting. Because that's like -

Pete: You never know, it sounds great on the phone until you get there.

PJ: Until you get there. Yeah. So and we'll get there in a second. But I want to talk to this, like, is this something advice from like, attorneys or insurance?

Pete: Insurance because it holds a company-wide open if you have a weapon.

PJ: Okay

Pete: And you have no control over it, they have control over it but if they were working, it means happen to pull it instantly who were they going to come after somebody got hurt?

PJ: The company.

Pete: Absolutely.

PJ: Gotcha. Okay. So this is something that due to others' advice, you've kind of got to that but as you as someone who has a concealed carry, I'm guessing you didn't come to that based on how you feel, which kind of has to be kind of an awkward type of a situation.

Pete: I just felt I needed one.

PJ: But not allowing that on the job is what I'm saying. It's kind of like, it's not that you don't want people to be able to protect themselves.

Pete: Absolutely.

PJ: Right. And so that's interesting. I mean, I'm gonna ask you another question. And this is kind of fun because I don't know some of that so it's interesting to talk about it live with all of you. So if you were by yourself, you didn't have any staff members, and it was just you

Pete: I'd be carrying it

PJ: You'd be carrying it. Okay. So, what I'm saying is, it kind of puts you in this awkward -

Pete: Because it's my decision. My company.

PJ: Yeah

Pete: If I'm gonna lose, I'm gonna lose because of my stupidity, if that's what it takes.

PJ: Okay, now as far as like, so immediately when they're on the phone, your staff has the right to turn that call down.

Pete: Absolutely.

PJ: If they feel any weird part about it-

Pete: If people sound intoxicated, or drug-related, they seem odd or whatever. Forget to turn it back, because it just leaves the company opens all the time.


 Locksmith Tools & Supplies

PJ: Yeah. Okay, so now let's kind of transition to, I mean, we only can guess so much on the phone, right? We all have our feelers and get weird feelings, or vibes or whatever it might be but sometimes we're gonna get those calls, we're gonna go out there. And then things are kind of weird, maybe not liking it. And the problem at that point though, is the conflict that kind of goes with that, so maybe they pull up and you start talking to them, and you realize this is not a good environment. And this is something you don't want to be a part of. And telling them that you're going to leave instead of doing the job does cause conflict.

Pete: Oh, absolutely.

PJ: And so it's a weird situation, you find yourself in.

Pete: Right, and, you know, it's not good to live, but I've lived many times to get out of there going, oh, man, I didn't realize it was this one. I don't have those keys, stuff like that because a lot of people just buy cars.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: And they're living in them right now because things are really weird around the world. But they don't have registration with their name on it. How can we make their keys?

PJ: Yeah, that's a good point.

Pete: You know? Of course, they're upset.

PJ: Yeah. I know nowadays, it's something when someone needs someone to make keys, you're asking those types of questions to avoid those situations before you get there. But I mean, that's just real life, right? We're talking real life.

Pete: Or their friend went to jail and they got the keys but the friends he's got like a pick-up locks same difference.

PJ: Yeah, it's really interesting the amount of weird and awkward situations you can get yourself

Pete: Each person has to make their own decision on what they're gonna do. And hopefully, they'll be safe, because I see people get hurt in the locksmith industry tribes do their job. And you know, from what you were telling me there's been people killed quite a bit.

PJ: Yeah, unfortunately, yes. There's some -

Pete: One of my guys or gals hurt.

PJ: Yeah, I mean it is bothersome.

Pete: Yeah, it is.

PJ: It's really -

Pete: What they are just trying to do is make a living.

PJ: Yeah and you know, and truthfully, I know for you and me as well anyone who's lost their lives or been injured and the families that have had to deal with loss is terrible.

Pete: Yeah, absolutely.

PJ: And our heart goes out to anyone, all of those who have dealt with that, for sure. So it's a sobering real issue and I just want to thank you for coming on kind of talking about it a little bit, because it's kind of a very sensitive issue.

Pete: Absolutely.


 The LockBoss & The LockFather

PJ: But one that I think that even though it's sensitive, and it's one out one that any of us want to talk about, it is something I think that we need to start having conversations about this and starting to think through where we're at. And so what I want to kind of close with here is if someone, let's just say they're, you know, they have the business, just them doing it, like, you have any advice for them on where to draw that line?

Pete: Well, I would know how to defend myself. Remember, we got ice picks, we got pliers, stab them with them if you have to. But everybody has to make their own decision.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: I'm a big guy. So nobody ever usually screws with me. But when these guys were bigger, I was sitting target, but you just got to be safe. And you have to decide because all we're trying to do is make a living to pay for our family or keep our doors open. And it's not always profitable but it's not worth your life for. Okay, so you lost 100 bucks. It's not worth the problem of you getting hurt or injured.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: And, you know, every neighborhood has supposedly good areas and bad areas but it doesn't make a difference.

PJ: No, it doesn't.

Pete: It can happen in the good area, too. Yeah. It all depends on the people you're dealing with.

PJ: It can you know, and I've recently read a few of the stories of people who've been killed on the job. It's very disturbing and I think -

Pete: I just didn' make it sound like the bad neighbor as well for some bad neighborhoods.

PJ: Yeah, kind of what I'm hearing from you and I would tend to agree with like, if there's any sort of weirdness or risk factor, just don't do it.

Pete: Yeah. We go up into the woods around here all the time from 2:00 in the morning.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: Well, you don't know what's going to happen. I mean, you hope everything goes well. But you know, there's been a lot of major deaths up here because of psychos so you just gotta be safe.

PJ: Yeah, you do. Well, everybody watching, you know, I hope that you have found this helpful. I know several of you have asked me to bring this topic up and so that's why I am and I hope you found this helpful. But you know, truly, we want to know in the comments, kind of what your policy is, all of that, you know, that you have found to help keep you safe, what you will do or won't. I know, at some point, it's unavoidable the risk.

Pete: Right. Because I always say learn how to defend themselves. I mean, I'm a big guy, they might get two or three punches into my one, but it's only gonna take the one years ago, probably take a little bit more now. You know, you just got to learn.

PJ: There's just so much with it and I think the hardest part for me is that there's not like one right answer. There's not just one circumstance, you have to watch out for.

Pete: Why did you take MMA training or whatever. Remember, when you -

PJ: Oh, yeah, yeah, do that. Yeah.

Pete: Because you have a family of all girls.

PJ: Yeah. Well, I mean, it's just knowing how to defend yourself is good, for sure. But I think as a whole, there's not one situation, there's not one circumstance in this business. There's a lot and so I think having the mentality when you're on the phone you're taking the job is kind of evaluating that risk factor.

Pete: And then once you get there, be aware also, as I always say to everybody who works for me and my own family, know your surroundings when you get someplace, look around, see where people are or things are so you know what's going on, so you can't be surprised.


 Your CLK Supplies Team

PJ: Yeah, I guess so. The one thing I put my head I want to end with here, I guess is like have any of your staff over the years, have they found themselves in dangerous situations?

Pete: Yes

PJ: They have. And they were able to get out?

Pete: They were able to get out of it.

PJ: Okay.

Pete: But-

PJ: Then they talk to you about it and kind of talk you through it.

Pete: Yeah. And I said, Well, just don't do them in. If it sounds fishy, don't do it and if you show up and it gets weirder, just say, see you, drive off. Don't even get out of the van because it's easy just to drive off.

PJ: Yeah. It's just weird though because you start getting those confrontational situations.

Pete: People call and complain and well, then you feel safe. So that's the reason.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: Because we have a choice being in our business to do or not to. That's up to each individual if they're going to do the job or not.

PJ: Yeah.

Pete: I always say if it sounds fishy, turn it down. I don't need the money that bad. Do you know?

PJ: Yeah. And probably sometimes you do need the money.

Pete: Oh, absolutely.

PJ: It's hard -

Pete: Well, that's the reason I went and did those others.

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