12 tips for Becoming a Successful Locksmith
Good marketing is about minimizing costs and maximizing exposure. You should keep advertising expenses within budget and do your best to make the most of your budget. Fortunately, there are many ways you can market yourself.
A rule of thumb, the lower the advertising costs, the more time you will need to devote to circulating ads to customers on your own. The more time and effort you spend distributing ads yourself, the lower your costs will be. If you want to advertise without having to do the leg work yourself, you will need to spend more so that others can do it for you.
For example, if you advertise a top quality website created by the finest professionals that is pushed by Google or if you take out full page ads in the Yellow Pages, your advertising costs may reach close to USD 6,000 a month. However, if you place stickers in stairwells and magnets on doors in your neighborhood, your advertising expenses may be only about USD 20 a month.
One thing’s for sure: the more you advertise, the more calls you will receive. What you need to do is to find the right balance between advertising investment and your ability to handle the amount of work that comes in. In addition, if you spend a small fortune to advertise your services as a locksmith, you may generate greater profits. If every dollar you spend on advertising generates two dollars in profit, the right thing to do is to advertise – invest USD 10,000,000 today to earn USD 20,000,000 tomorrow.
Imagine that advertising is a money making machine. You insert one dollar into the machine and USD 1.90 comes out the other end. Nothing, however, is that simple. Say you insert USD 25,000 into the machine and USD 2,000 comes out the other end. You’ve lost your money. There are no guarantees of success.
1. Marketing right (advertising with Google AdWords)
To ideally market your business, you first need to decide what your business hours are. If you work out of your car and provide locksmith services, lock replacement services, door repairs and entry services 24/7 and focus on your own city and the surrounding areas, your ad must appear in the cities you are willing and can serve.
Based on my experience, what matters most to customers who want entry services is arrival time. Customers who want to replace a cylinder are willing to wait one or two hours, allowing you to service customers who live farther away. In contrast, customers located over an hour away from you, who need emergency lock picking services, will not be willing to wait such a long time.
Focus your marketing efforts on the areas closest to you. You can maximize your profitability, if you can reach customers quickly. If your ad promises an arrival time of between 15-25 minutes, people will take you far more seriously. People tend to choose a locksmith who promises the quickest possible response time.
The most cost-effective advertising media in our day and age is the Internet. I highly recommend budgeting for online advertising. If you want to appear immediately, on the first page in Google in the city where you work, the best tool is paid advertising on Google AdWords.
Google AdWords uses the pay-per click method:
As an advertiser, you pay each time somebody clicks through to view your ad. Locksmiths have a tremendous advantage over any other sector, because most customers who click through to the ad will call us.
If, for example, an alternative medicine practitioner advertises his ability to heal his patients through a unique and proven method on Google AdWords, every customer who wants to read about the practitioner and the method used will click the link in the paid ad. Google counts the clicks and charges the advertiser based on the number of clicks.
As locksmiths, our advantage lies in the fact that most people who need our services are not interested in quality and appearance of the ad or our website, but in the telephone number. More importantly, they want to know how fast we can arrive…
I therefore recommend that your paid ad be formulated much like the ad below:
Professional locksmith. Call +1(646)548-4806 Boaz Femson
Immediate locksmith services, 15-25 minute arrival time.
24/7 service. Repairs any type of lock.
This type of ad can save many 'clicks' and a lot of money. Customers see the telephone number and can call you without having to click the ad. Both you and the customer come out ahead. You are ranked first in Google search, and you are advertising on the most serious media form available, with the highest rating available, and all without having paid a dime.
If people click your ad, you will pay the agreed upon price with Google. You have the option of limiting the Google budget, e.g. up to USD 5 a day. If a click costs USD 0.50, after ten clicks, your ad will not appear on Google until the following day.
2. The advertising budget that’s right for you
When we need to advertise ourselves within the budget that is right for us, the form of advertising that has the greatest impact is the full page ad on the first page of the Yellow Pages. A weekly ad in daily newspapers, ten ads a day on a major television station have the same effect. I guarantee you that your phone will not stop ringing and you will sell more cylinders than Mul-T-Lock. You, however, will also owe a fortune to the advertisers.
You need to find the right balance between the number calls you will be able to respond to and advertising costs. I recommend beginning with the cheapest advertising, which also entails virtually no risk.
Remember, every penny you save on advertising will translate into more leg work on your part to market yourself with the more outdated methods such as flyers, stickers in stairwells, door magnets, business cards, free websites, blogs and posts. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, so get cracking! Let's start building a successful business!
3. Flyers in stairwells
I don’t think that advertising with flyers in stairwells is effective. People today simply throw flyers out without reading them. Even among those who read the flyers, only a small percentage will use them. Statistics show flyer advertising results in one job for every 700 flyers. That said, flyers are the least expensive form of advertising, and can cost even less than USD 100.
4. Direct mail
Advertising can be upgraded by distributing ads to mailboxes. Print color letters that contain specifics about the services you offer: lock replacement, lock repair, locksmithing services, etc. The flyer can be inserted into a white standard envelope with the words, “Dear Family, you deserve…,” handwritten on the front.
The result is revolutionary.
The difference between flyers and this method is that the letter is personal and is sent directly to the customer. The letters should be sent to several thousand mailboxes. The main advantage is that letters in a mailbox will be brought into the customer's home, since it is not a flyer.
The letter can be upgraded into an eye-catching magnet, e.g. large key-shaped magnet that prominently displays one of the following catchphrases: "Expert locksmith 24/7" or "Locksmith whenever you need one" or "Local resident, arrives within minutes." I believe that many will put the magnet on the refrigerator.
This type of advertising costs more than flyers, but significantly less than any other form of advertising. For example, a magnet costs less than USD 0.05 per unit, while an envelope costs about USD 0.06 per unit (when bought in bulk). If you decide to send letters by mail, you must take into account the added cost of postage.
This form of advertising does not require a large investment and it offers the advantage making a real impact.
5. Free online advertising on Google search engines (blogs)
Digital media is currently the most important form of advertising. Advertising on Google has numerous advantages, and there are several ways you can advertise your services on Google for free:
Blogs: I warmly recommend blogs because of their proven success. Start a blog on a popular blog site and begin posting articles/items. Include an anecdote about the service you provide in every single post. I recommend posting as many items as possible and dedicating a great deal of time writing blogs. Why? Because this type of advertising is free and, as I previously stated, usually proves effective.
Below are several examples of blogs and ways to advertise your services. You’ll need to make an intelligent guess about what people seeking your services will write. What words they will enter in Google? You need to ensure that you are associated with the same key words so that you appear in the results of the search and they will choose you.
For example, if you are a locksmith in Dallas, the key words that might be entered include:
Lock picking in Dallas
Lock picking Dallas
Locksmith in Dallas
Door repairman in Dallas
Door repairman Dallas
Replaces locks in Dallas
Replace locks Dallas
Car entry in Dallas
Car entry Dallas
This is an example of ten very important key words that must appear in your blog, so that when one of them is entered into Google, you will be one of the first to appear in the search results.
Below are two sample posts:
Title: Locksmith in Dallas. Call 646-548-4806 Boaz Femson
My name is Boaz Femson and I provide locksmith services in the greater Dallas area. Arriving within 10-20 minutes of the call, I provide locksmith services, including opening doors, lock repairs, cylinder replacement, car entry, rekeying of lost keys, safe cracking, safe repairs and safe installations in the customer's home and office. I also issue a warranty for all work I perform. I am a certified, licensed locksmith, who provides service 24/7. I look forward to working with you.
Title: Car locksmith in Dallas 646-548-4806 Boaz Femson
Offering all car locksmith services, including replacement of lost car keys, entering cars without damaging the car, rekeying from existing locks without having to replace car locks and switches, changing lock codes to prevent a lost key from being used by the wrong people, duplication of the car's alarm remote control or rekeying of a lost remote and of new keys, including cutting of other keys (spare) based on customer specifications. Service provided 24/7 and calls are always answered.
Customers who enter “locksmith in Dallas” into Google will see the first post. It will appear in the results, with the title with the telephone. This is critical. Even if a customer does not click through to the message, s/he will be able to see the telephone number appearing in the first line and decide to call.
Customers who enter “car locksmith in Dallas” into Google will see the second post. I suggest writing as many posts as possible.
In addition, I recommend entering the car category in website dedicated to second-hand goods. View the list of cars from A to Z. Under the letter A, Audi will appear. Enter Audi and view the first model. Begin your first post:
Title: Audi locksmith Model E1 646-548-4806 Boaz Femson
I am a locksmith who provides locksmith services for cars and homes in the greater Dallas area. I offer service for Audis as well as all other types of cars… etc.
In the next post, write about the next Audi model and, afterwards move on to the make following Audi. Your goal is to appear among the first Google search results viewed by customers who enter the key words of Mazda 3 locksmith in Dallas (example). After you have written 1,000 posts titled "Locksmith for such and such model," write another 1,000 posts titled: Key cutter for Audis" etc.
6. Free website: Advantages and Disadvantages
In principle, I recommend advertising through any free advertising source. The underlying reasoning is that you need to come out shooting in all directions if you want to attract a maximum amount of work.
However, investing in a free website and updating it can take weeks or even months. Even then – the site frequently crashes or the company that provided the free Internet services goes bankrupt or decides for whatever reason that it does not want your site and it simply disappears.
Another disadvantage of free websites is that they are filled with other company ads that generate profits for the website owners. Anyone entering your site is forced sift through a great deal of advertising before finding you.
If you decide to build a website with your own domain, which, by the way, is not expensive (USD 25-50 a year), you need to realize that when you copy the content from the free website, Google might identify the duplicate content as theft of original material and will subsequently not promote your site out of fear of reproducing material from an already existing site.
For these reasons, my advice is to stick to writing blogs and posts. I also believe it is important for you to have your own website on your own domain.
7. Magnets on doors
It’s a good idea to print and distribute magnets with all of the relevant advertising material to every front door to buildings in your neighborhood and in any area you intend on servicing.
8. Marketing through Hardware and Key Cutting Stores
Flip through the online Yellow Pages for your city. Print out a list of hardware and key cutting stores in your area and contact them one by one. Introduce yourself and show them your locksmith certificate. Offer to cooperate with them if they are not locksmiths. You can ask that they refer customers who require locksmith services to you. Give them business cards and move on to the next store. Marketing, marketing, marketing!!!
If you are not too busy, you should generate work. Spend some time every day telemarketing. Call twenty people in your area every day from your home or office and politely offer them your locksmith services. You can write what you want to say in advance and follow the script when speaking with them.
"Hello. This is Boaz Femson. I offer a wide array of locksmith services in Dallas / your city, including replacement of locks in homes and offices, installing safes, rekeying car keys as well as remote controls for cars and electric gates, remote control repair and battery replacement. Do you need any of these services, because I will be in your area today?”
10. Sticker hung in stairwells
One of the most efficient and least expensive options is printing stickers (20*25 cm) with your contact information. The stickers can be put up in any stairwell in your service area, next to elevators and any location that is visible during the wait. I highly recommend putting up the stickers in offices or other high-traffic areas so that a maximum number of people will see it, increasing the odds that some of the people who need locksmith services will see the ad and call you. Stairwell stickers should feature:
Name (small font)
Profession (large font)
Telephone (Giant font)
11. Business cards
Print business cards that include the following information:
Name, address, telephone number
Other possible information:
Expert locksmith services for home and cars
Lock picking and replacement for every type of door
Door and lock repair, key cutting
24/7 service (if you are available)
Hand out the card to everyone you meet.
Remember: You need to market, market, market!!!
12. Door-to-door direct marketing
There's no such thing as 'there's no work.' If you are committed and dedicate effort, you will find work. Once you have completed your studies with me, you are a professional locksmith and will have a locksmith certificate in your pocket. Money doesn’t grow on trees. You need to get out there if you want to start earning money!
In order to succeed, you need to work. Marketing is the first and most important task you have. You absolutely must market, market, market!
Let me now propose a way for you to get work. It’s guaranteed to work. No excuses. Go to the apartment buildings in your neighborhood. Knock on the first doors of the building and politely ask who the members of the building committee are.
Introduce yourself to the committee members.
"Hello. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am a professional locksmith, and I am here to offer you free inspection of the lock to the front door to the building, the storage rooms and apartments. At the end of the inspection, I will provide you with a report on the status of the locks so you can prevent a situation in which the door gets stuck or breaks. Because I live nearby, I have no travel or fuel expenses and would be happy to provide this inspection as a free service."
No committee in the world will object to a free safety inspection.
What needs to interest you is not the job for the building entrance or whether the lock is functioning or not. Once the front door inspection has been completed, approach each tenant and tell them that you have come to an agreement with the building committee to conduct a free door inspection.
The fact that you are allowed into the apartments and given the opportunity to inspect the front doors, room doors and shower doors will help you find work. First, it is more than likely you will find a lock that needs to be repaired, a squeaky door that needs adjusting. You will always find someone whose mother needs a lock replaced, a man who needs the lock replaced in his office or someone who wants to have their car key and car remote that they lost duplicated.
This is how I got started when I was completely unknown and had no advertising budget. Of every ten house calls, two or three customers requested my services and paid well.
You may be thinking to yourself that these visits are exhausting. You might be shy and fear embarrassment. Or you might think that you are slightly overweight or balding so you sit home. Maybe the neighbors will come knocking on your door…
I want you to make money. You are my student and a graduate of my course, and you will make money and lots of it!!!
Founder and director of the Online Locksmith Course project