Due to the increasing complexity of the automotive lock industry, we've added another new piece of computer equipment called Hotwire. The latest and greatest in key and remote programming with a MUCH simplified user interface. This should simplify and speed up key programming and vastly expands our ability to program OEM remotes.
We thought we had a lot of keyblanks in the past but a couple months ago we at least doubled our stock overnight. We purchased the entire stock of a friend and former locksmith competitor who unfortunatly passed this last year. We now have so many new blanks we never had in the past. Our back shed is bursting at the seams for now. We have new tools, misc. stock locks and just about everything it took to run this other shop. Now our challange is to integrate it all into our day to day operations. We have spent the last month expanding our key boards to fit in all those extra keys. I used to brag in our advertising about how we had the largest key board in the county. I pretty sure all doubt is now gone. We have about 40 feet of keys along an entire wall. We probably have the ones you need.
We have expanded our fleet of mobile service vans this summer to a total of 3. Our newest is a 2013 Nissan NV 2500 commercial van. It’s a tall roof van which allows us to work standing up inside. Even as the van is bigger and better than the 2006 Ford vans that we still have, the gas milage is a little better than the Fords. We have seen increased business that made it difficult to keep up with only 2 vans. I’m not sure why??? I like to think it is because we are striving to do a good job and folks are noticing. It really is a combination of that plus a sense that our economy is on the rebound. Some of the long established locksmiths in our market are also not as much of a factor as they used to be as competitors. A couple have died, several have retired completely or scaled way back. As the newer businesses start to replace them some of them will no doubt get some work, however I see this as our golden opportunity. As our shop has been in business since 1977 (I’m the 3rd owner) the name recognition and longevity of the Keyhole is landing us many new accounts and a lot of walk in traffic.
We have purchased an amazing new key machine which will greatly expand our automotive key offerings. We now have a Bianchi Laser 994 computerized 4 track milling machine. Now this means nothing to the non-locksmith but other locksmiths that don’t have one wish they did. It can duplicate or cut by code most of the side milled keys in use today. VW, Honda, Chevrolet and Lexus are just a few of the types of keys it will cut. It is an automatic, hands free machine controlled by computer, not manually like most machines.
Effective in July 2010 the Oregon legislature implemented requirements that all persons operating as a locksmith in the state must now possess a valid locksmith license. This means that all of us locksmiths (if we are legit) have passed a basic knowledge test and have underwent a background check. This law is in response to the scammers posing as legitimate locksmiths which are taking advantage of unsuspecting folks. If you are unlucky enough to call one of these mafia type business’s you may think you are calling a local business but have instead called a “boiler room” call center in another state. They have a network of so called locksmiths they will dispatch for lockouts or a re-key. Most of the time you will be quoted a very low price but will be charged much more after the scammer drills your lock instead of picking it. You might be told that you had an unpickable lock and they had no choice. Most of the time the bill will be very high for what they did and if the person doing the work thinks they can get away with it the charge may be several hundred dollars for what should be a $75.00 job.
So we at the Keyhole
are not naive enough to think this will really help much but maybe its a small step towards stopping these scams. At least verify that you are dealing with a real locksmith with a verifiable local address and ask to see the license we are all required to carry after July.
Here is a link to the C.C.B. (Oregon Construction Contractors Board) if you wish to learn about the new locksmith law.