Marketing for a locksmith is similar to any other type of marketing, and something that you will need to get comfortable with before you start diving into the rest of the business. You need to go into the business of locksmithing understanding that you are no longer just the guy picking locks, or the girl re-pinning the deadbolt. Now you’re the business owner. The marketing department. The customer service department.
Determine Your Demand
Before deciding on what you want to do as a locksmith, you should look at the market as a whole. You’re not going to launch a practice that is focused on automotive locksmithing on Mackinac Island anymore than you would open a practice focused on commercial locksmithing outside of a business center. You should consider the type of locksmithing you want to get into, or the type of area you are in. Either way, you may need to move to make the two match up.
If you are agnostic to what type of locksmithing you want to do, then look at your market. If you live in a predominantly residential area with very few large companies, you’re probably going to want to get into residential locksmithing. Especially if you’re around apartment buildings. Medium sized (10 to 25 units) are the sweet spot. There are just enough units that it doesn’t make sense for the landlord to do the work themselves, and it doesn’t make sense for them to hire someone full time to their staff to do the work.
If you are in an area with large corporations with security, you might consider getting into commercial locksmithing. Large companies will need to update locks more regularly as staffing changes, and as they expand. Getting retainer contracts for larger corporations could be beneficial to any good locksmith.
Now that you’ve hopefully got a grasp on what type of work you should do, take a look at who is already out there doing it. It may be that the area is best suited for a residential locksmith, as detailed above, but there are hundreds of them. At that point, take a look at the market again and see if there is enough work for you as a commercial locksmith. If so, and there aren’t that many out there, you might want to start with that and work your way into a reputation. The perfect conditions would be a large market for one niche, and no competition. But that is doubtful.
If you do decide to enter the market while there is a ton of competition, do it intelligently. How can you differentiate your locksmith business from theirs? What are they doing that you can do better? What aren’t they doing, that you can? I, unfortunately, can’t answer this question for you.
Don’t Forget the Other Competition
As a locksmith, you’re going to sell products. Most likely you’re going to offer key cutting. Why? It’s a quick and easy way to get customers in front of you. And you’ll have the tools to do it. Don’t forget the product based competition. By that I mean Wal-Mart and stores like it. Any store that sells door knobs, locks, cuts keys, or does anything else related to security and locks, you need to be aware of. And you need to come up with a way to differentiate yourself from them.
This was a short one, but important. Go out there today and figure out who you are competing against. Before you put together your locksmith kit, before you look at incorporating, before you touch another aspect of this business. Find your competition. And figure out how to be better.