There’s never been a better time to start a business, and whether you’re an experienced locksmith or handy around the house and helping when people accidentally lock their keys in their car, you may be ready to start a locksmith business. But how do you begin? What are the steps you need to take? Here’s a guide on getting started.
What Services You Will Provide and When
The first decision when planning a locksmith business is what services you’ll provide. Will you do lock changes that are only planned and scheduled in advance, or will you provide emergency services? The answer to that question determines the “when” for your business. If you’re providing emergency locksmith services, such as when people are locked out of their house or their car, you will get calls during all hours.
The good news about that is you can charge a premium for these services. The bad news is you might need to hire more employees as your business grows and you can’t manage every emergency call. Even that is some good news — if you’re that busy, that means business is booming. Not such a bad thing, right?
How Much Should I Charge?
You’ll also need to do some research into what a locksmith charges in your area. Don’t be afraid to contact locksmiths in your area and ask them for a quote on services like changing the locks on your home or apartment. Ask what they charge for emergency calls to unlock cars. Do they charge extra fees for late-night and weekend emergencies?
After you asked these questions in your area, now you have a basis to set your fee scale. Figure out how much you want to make an hour, the cost of supplies, and the cost of gas to travel to clients to perform their service requests. If you have any other expenses in running your business, add those into what you charge as well.
How Can I Get Customers for My Locksmith Business?
How to get customers is the million-dollar question in any industry or business. For getting appointments for routine work, a website is essential. It can also help in emergencies where a motorist is stranded because they accidentally locked their keys in their car. They can pull up your information on their mobile phone to request a locksmith service.
Google business profiles will allow you to list your business locally, which is a big plus in emergency situations. Even if someone is not a resident and is simply passing through your town, you’ll appear in the local search for a locksmith.
You can also do paid advertising but you’ll probably be on a limited budget at first. Ads on social media sites like Facebook can be very reasonable and you can set how much you want to spend each day for your budget. Consider small ads in local newspapers to get the word out that you’re offering locksmith services.
Some of your biggest potential clients can be apartment owners and managers. While homeowners may have very sporadic needs for locksmith services, apartment owners need them all the time. When apartments change hands, they need to change the locks for safety reasons so former tenants can’t reenter the apartment once they’ve moved.
Make a tour of local apartments and let them know you’re in business, leaving a business card or even some creative marketing like a magnet they can put on a file cabinet. Business cards often get lost, but magnets tend to “stick around.” Pun intended.
Create a Company Website
As previously mentioned, a website is important to any business. If you don’t have any technical knowledge on how to build your website, you may not know where to begin. Often there is someone in the extended family that can help you, as younger people tend to be a lot more tech-savvy.
You can also use platforms that make building a website easy, such as Wix but be prepared to pay a monthly fee. If you are tech-savvy yourself, there are many themes where you can build a professional-looking website quickly and cheaply, and it will only cost the web hosting fee every month. You’ll need a domain name for your business and choosing one carefully is important along with choosing your business name.
Free Ways to Advertise and Market Your Locksmith Business
When it comes to marketing, sometimes you have to be creative to save money, which is crucial for a new business start-up. The first method of free marketing that comes to mind for most people is social media. You could create a Facebook page where you can post information about your business and the services you offer.
To help people find your page, join some local groups in your town or city where residents talk about news and happenings in your neighborhood. Once people get to know you a little, they are more likely to visit your page and call you if they need locksmith services.
Handing out magnets to apartment owners can be effective, but it can also be effective for private clients and homeowners. People rarely expect to need locksmith services, but when they do, it’s an emergency, and being able to just quickly look on the refrigerator to find your contact information is a quick resource. The cost of magnets isn’t free, but when you consider this powerful form of advertising, it’s often much cheaper than the more conventional methods.
Starting a New Locksmith Business Can Be Overwhelming
So you’ve opened a new locksmith business, created your website, started doing marketing, and customers and inquiries are coming in. Now how do you handle all this new business along with actually performing the services you offer? You need some help, but your budget is still tight and you’re not ready to hire employees.
This is where the right software can help.
ServiceWorks offers software that can help you manage customer leads and inquiries about your services. But this software does so much more. It can help with payment processing, billing and invoicing, transferring your bookkeeping information into QuickBooks, creating quotes for customers, and scheduling appointments.
When your locksmith business expands enough that you do need employees, it offers a GPS tracking service that can be used with your booking software to keep track of those employees. Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? Not at all, and you can even get a free trial, no credit card is needed. We’ll help you start a locksmith business today