Lock Medic is now exclusively a mobile service (the store is closed)
To our valued customers:
On March 15, 2019, our storefront will permanently close.
Yes, you read that right.
Our workforce will be cut in half (from 2 to 1). Maria will move on to (hopefully) bigger and better things, far, far away from retail. I’ll be keeping the fire burning, albeit smaller than before. I will keep the van and a small not-open-to-the-public workshop and offer mobile service only.
My availability for emergency calls will be limited. I will continue to support existing customers to the best of my ability, but if you find yourself needing urgent attention, such as you find yourself locked out of something, I’ll be candid that I should probably not be your first call.
This business has provided me and my workforce a steady income for more than 15 years, but the industry has changed.The rise of online vendors selling keys, key fobs, locks, etc has reduced the majority of our store’s revenue to key cutting and programming, not product sales. While this can still be a decent revenue stream (until the internet figures out how to cut and program keys, that is), we spend more time attempting to qualify if the key/fob is correct for the application than if we supplied our own. In short, it’s no longer profitable or enjoyable having a storefront attended 40 hours a week.
I realize this will leave a gap in service for our customers who are used to having a storefront to walk into. For that I apologize. I did make an effort to sell the business, but due to the highly specialized and technical aspects of this profession, it’s essentially selling a job, not a business. Nature and commerce abhor a vacuum so I would imagine someone will fill the vacancy.
A few years after I opened my store, a successful photographer on the next block closed studio. He explained that while he was still profitable, changes in technology related to his industry (digital cameras, smart phones, color photo printers) and an overall shift in consumer desire for a professional quality product to DIY “good enough because it’s cheap/free” led him to the conclusion that his profession would no longer be sustainable within a few years. Like my industry, professional photography is a highly technical profession which has, to a degree, been made more accessible to the unskilled masses through technology.
Turns out he was right, and I feel the same is on the horizon for locksmith stores as well. With fully-automated key machines in every shopping center that can be operated by a minimum-wage employee capable of following basic instructions to “insert key no. 66 and press START”, there is less demand for a well-stocked, professionally-staffed locksmith shop. Consumers don’t value an accurately-cut key or a technician capable of repairing a bent, broken, or poorly cut key, so long as the Super Laser Extreme Key Center, Paint Mixer, and Screw Thread Identifier 9000EXS machine at the big box store can grind out something that works with a bit of wiggling and jiggling.
Combine this with cheap scanners that are *sometimes* capable of programming a key and helpful contributors to vehicle specific forums dispensing information on how to program the key you bought on the internet and had cut at Lowe’s (with varying degrees of accuracy, but really who cares if the procedure you’re trying to use on your Lexus came from someone who owns a Chevy Malibu), and I feel like it’s time to put the shop to bed.
I’m not blaming consumer behavior. I’m just as guilty as anyone of doing my shopping on eBay and Amazon, even products that were formerly within the domain of protected trades such as HVAC. The downside is I’ve noticed a distinct decline in the number of skilled tradespeople operating as contractors in industries affected by this. We as a society should be fearful of a future where there are no plumbers, electricians, roofers, or locksmiths available for hire as their livelihood has been whittled away by DIY channels on YouTube.
What does this mean for you if we are a single-source vendor for your organization?
I will continue to support our existing customers with proprietary systems such as access control, master key systems,l or restricted key systems. The only difference you may see is you will no longer have a store to stop in to pick up keys or fobs or drop off locks for rekeying. I will have an unattended pickup/drop-off location available for some, for others I’ll deliver in person or mail at my discretion.
I do understand not all of you may be comfortable with my (lack of) availability. If we have proprietary information that is necessary for ongoing support of your physical security, I will, at no charge to you, release that information if you wish to find another locksmith. In most cases this will be master keying records or alternative sources for keys for customers on restricted keyways
If you have questions, please feel free to email me.
Thanks for your time, your business, and your friendship.
GM, Lock Medic