Tools of the Trade

Since I started as a locksmith, I have always taken my tools very seriously. My introduction to the trade was through a disreputable company that provided neither tools nor training, so the organization, upkeep, and accumulation of my equipment was always my purview, and since I have worked the entire time out of a half-cab Ford Ranger with less than ten square feet of space, it has been essential to every aspect of being able to do my job. As my capacity and knowledge increased, so did the amount of tools in my truck, and I began creating kits and developed an enthusiasm for collecting toolboxes. These kits have their individual purposes and are neatly stacked atop one another, so that whichever tools I need for the job can be grabbed with a box or two, and over the course of the past three years my truck has gone from a small collection of screwdrivers and files to looking like this:

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In such a small space I have the keys for most vehicles and the machine to cut them, many common locks for residential replacements and the various parts to fix locks, the tools to cut holes in doors for the fresh installation of locks, to open safes, to program transponder keys, to install commercial lock systems, to open vehicles and homes, even to give someone a jump. The only thing I’m missing is a ladder! So many tools and so many capabilities being crammed into such a small space have taught me the values of organization and maintenance of my tools: it enables me to approach every job with speed and to have the correct tools on hand at any given time. Since customer satisfaction is my highest priority, it is also my highest priority to ensure that my tools are accessible and sorted so that I may complete any task without having to make trips, without having to rely on stores or other people, minimizing the time spent unlocking a door, cutting a key, or installing a lock so that folks can get back indoors, back on the road, or maintain their business schedule. Also, so I don’t have to charge “hourly labor,” because it’s embarrassing to ask more than was quoted. I’ve put a lot of time into my tools; I remember how, when I was making different iterations of my set-up every month because of the gradual accumulation of more and more tools for more responsibilities, I would spend all of my free time during daylight at my truck, optimizing my tool-boxes and situating everything to work in such a small space. For whose sake did I invest all this time and effort? My motivation, I’ll admit, was largely so that I could do the job quickly and get home (back then I was working 10-14 hours every day), but it was also so that my customers could have the quickest service possible.

When I started my own company, I ordered a lot of tools. A few thousand keys, a bunch of automotive lock picks, a whole slew of extra parts and commercial locks. As the tools arrived, I spent most of my time organizing them, labeling them, checking my inventory and ensuring that whatever problems could be thrown at me would be something for which I would be prepared and capable. It took a while, but wasn’t so bad because by then the process of organization was one that I’d been practicing at for years, and the end result is this: clearly labelled tools and parts that mean I can cut car keys and get my customers on the road in half an hour, that I can install and re-key locks with minimal amounts of time, that door preparation and new installations takes me under an hour. I put the time into my tools so that you don’t have to put the time in to waiting for me to get the job done, and it’s that dedication to my trade, I think, that sets me apart from most other companies.

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Here is my key machine, a programmer, and my accessories box.

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And then… so many car keys!

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This is my re-key kit, or one side of it at least. This kit is something I’ve put a lot of effort into making just right over the years. I have replacement parts for most lock cylinders in here.

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And then there’s stuff like my always essential key duplicator.

I take my tools very seriously, and these are some of the tools of the trade. For professional work at a reasonable price by someone whose trade is their passion, call me!

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