Jesse Garcia, Jr. at Addax Locksmith Company in Brownsville, Texas, has been installing and repairing locks for 24 years.
David Eubank, manager and training manager at A1- Locksmith in Tarrant County, Texas has been a locksmith for 39 years.
When you work as many decades as these two locksmiths, you see and solve a lot of security issues. You find ways to install and rekey locks more efficiently. Fit more jobs in a week.
The challenge for Jesse and David is finding ways to augment their bread-and-butter locksmith jobs with new income streams that can grow their business. They’ve found a way and it’s making their customers happier. We asked them to share their trade secrets with you:
Identify the real problem
Eubank: It’s tempting when you’re called to rekey a lock or fix a strike, to zero-in on doing just that. But as locksmiths, we have to remember we’re the security experts, not the business owner or facilities manager calling us with their solutions. So, when we arrive on the site we do a pre-inspection to determine what really needs fixing.
- We look at the lock. Check to see if it is functioning properly and evaluate whether it’s the right lock for the application.
- We push the closed door. If it opens, is the strike misaligned? Are the hinges bent because someone has been using a broom handle to brace the door open? Or has wind damaged the hinges? Is the door rusted out at the top or bottom?
- We check if the door is dragging? Do you have to push hard to open or close it?
Garcia: On doors with pivot hinges, we also check to see if the door moves slightly side to side. If the pivot hinge is worn out the door will move. I’ve had business owners wait until the pivot hinges are hanging by a thread before they call us.
Offer a long-term solution
Eubank: I was repeatedly fixing the pivot hinges on the same aluminum storefronts every three to six months. I started recommending that the owners replace the pivot hinges with SELECT geared continuous hinges. Unlike the pivot hinge with its two pressure points that wear out faster, the geared continuous hinge distributes its weight along the entire frame. When I install SELECT hinges the doors swing smoothly, I don’t have to fix them over and over.
I’ve installed 1,000 SELECT hinges over the past 20+ years and only once was I called in to re-fix a door. The wind had blown it out of alignment. All I had to do was close the door and the hinge gears self-aligned and I was on my way. It was that easy a fix.
Double your profit in 30 minutes
Eubank: In 30 minutes I can install a geared continuous hinge that fixes the door for the long haul. I write a ticket that doubles my profit for that half-hour of work. It’s tough to beat that income stream.
Counter the costs-more argument
Garcia: My customers don’t want to spend a dime more than they have to. When I recommend that they can solve their door issues with a geared continuous hinge they argue that the hinges cost too much. I counter that they will pay for my labor every time I come back to fix their pivot or butt hinges. That labor charge adds up faster than customers realize.
I also have other locksmiths say if I install a geared continuous hinge, I’ll lose money by not having repeat fix-it calls. I don’t want to run a business that’s based on my customers calling me back to fix the same problem over and over. At some point, they are going to say that I don’t know what I am doing. My business is based on solving the problem and making my customers happy. Geared continuous hinges help me do that.
Let the door do the selling
Garcia: I recommend that locksmiths install a geared continuous hinge on a high-profile door. Our first SELECT hinge job was at a popular restaurant in Brownsville. We were nervous about taking off the door to put on the hinge. The installation took a couple hours because it was new to us and we had to remove a lot of weather stripping so we could shim the door properly.
Now we can install a geared continuous hinge in 30 to 40 minutes. We learned a lot on that first job, but that door has also proven to be a great sales tool for us. When new customers are hesitant about using geared continuous hinges, we tell them to check out the door at that restaurant. They know where it is. They see that the hinge looks good and performs well. The hinge sells itself.
Be a problem solver
Eubank: When I go in businesses, I notice when their doors aren’t working right. I always carry one clear and one dark bronze full surface mount hinge in my truck so I’m ready for the spontaneous sale.
These business owners use their doors hundreds of times a day. They don’t want their customers fighting with their doors. They don’t want their businesses to be unsecured. When I tell them that I can fix the problem in the next 30 minutes, they’ll often agree to do it.
But sometimes customers aren’t ready to switch out their hinges, so I plant the seed that the geared continuous hinge is the right hinge for their door. I direct them to see nearby installations. When they’re ready for a solution, they’ll call me. They see me as a problem solver.
Why SELECT hinges are the solution
Garcia: I wasn’t as familiar with geared continuous hinges, so I asked a lot of questions. Other locksmiths recommended SELECT. So, I took SELECT’s class at a locksmith trade show. That helped me see the difference between the types of hinges and why SELECT is the right solution.
I also like that the people at SELECT listen to me and take my feedback. They understand that time is money, so they make these hinges easier and faster to install. I work in 90- to 100- degree heat all year round. The less time I’m outside, the better.
Eubank: I go with SELECT because it’s a solid solution. I don’t have to worry about their hinges working. They work every time. They’re not hard to install. A good-sized guy can do it alone.
They also have good customer service. A psych hospital had 60 doors they had to get up to anti-ligature code. I was competing with a door company. I called SELECT direct. They talked to the distributor and the rep called me back within two hours with numbers that allowed me to compete. We worked hard for 4-½ days, but we got that hospital up to code.
SELECT helps me solve problems. That’s what my customers want.