What better way to demonstrate the quality of my work than with photos of satisfied customers?
Here are a few:
These photogenic folks are coming up first because, well, they’re so damned photogenic. They were kind enough to be patient, as I had a bit of difficulty with their storage unit. The hasp concealed the lock’s shackle so much that, in order to leave the door and it’s hasp undamaged, I had to work around it for about forty-five minutes before enough of the padlock was cut away for the hasp to come loose from the door. And then I was just blown away by how good these two look for the camera, just… they’ve got the pose and everything down.
I encountered this gentleman way back when I was working for the worst company in town, Locksmiths of Colorado Springs. He had lost his key at his workplace and I had to charge him over $200 for the simple job of making a GM key, of which I got 30%. Now that I’m independent and am not beholden to anyone’s prices but my own, when he lost his key a second time the cost was only $80 and I wrote down the key code so that if he ever loses it again, the cost will be closer to $10!
Stranded on the side of the road in a strange neighborhood, this Chevy Tracker took a little while to make keys for. What I had to do was take the lock out of the rear hatch and cut the key from it, which took a little trial-and-error, and just a little while after the sun had set the keys were ready to go. When I worked for the most disreputable company in town, I would always ask the company owner for a price, which really annoyed him because he expected me to be an exploitative salesman like the rest of his contractors and just charge as much the customer would be willing pay, so when I came across a Tracker he told me to charge over two hundred dollars (I think they had two vehicles and I charged over four hundred total, of which I got about a hundred dollars. That company was and still is a horrible pyramid scheme in which the customer gets screwed over to pay for the owner’s international vacations). This was the first Tracker I’ve had the privilege of making a key for as an independent, and I only charged ninety dollars. It’s a great feeling to not have to break someone’s bank, I wish I’d gone independent sooner!
This gentleman had a VW, I can’t remember the model, that he lost the key to, but fortunately he found his valet key, so I was able to make a copy and program it for ninety dollars. For a high-security key, that’s super cheap! And if he had not found his valet key, the price would have only gone up by thirty bucks. My advice: take pictures of your keys or get mechanical copies, because you can save money with any locksmith if they do not have to purchase or ascertain the key code.
I can’t remember the model, but this old Chrysler gave me a bit of trouble. It took about an hour and a half of trial-and-error, using all the automotive tools I had to figure out the key code from the locks, but in the end I was able to give this gentleman a slew of keys just in time for him to get to work, and it was all for under a hundred dollars. Helping folks in their time of need for a reasonable price is such a satisfying thing, and it really is a privilege to do my job, no matter the challenges that come with working on old, worn locks.
I drove out to Ellicott to make a key for this gentleman’s Ford. It didn’t take me too long to cut and program the key, and he only had to shell out $150. Let me tell you, other locksmiths wouldn’t even cut a key here in town for that price, and when it comes to servicing the areas outside of town, their prices become even more extreme, often over $300. My trip charge increased by $20, is all, haha! The unfortunate truth is that there are few, if any, other locksmiths out there that will service areas outside of town for a reasonable price, so if you live in the mountains or the plains around Colorado Springs, give me a call.
This gentleman’s car was parked in a construction site on the far end of town, so it was pretty frustrating for it to be stuck there without keys. This one was definitely a strange job: I went out there, got to work, and a minute or two later, another locksmith showed up. Using my box of try-out keys, I’d found the door key already, so the other locksmith and I pow-wow’d to arrive at an amiable resolution. I split his trip charge with the customer and started the process of finding the correct try-out key for the ignition. Soon enough, a key turned the ignition and I got to copying it (it was dark, I decided not to bother with the normal process of cutting ten or fifteen different key combinations that correspond to that try-out key and the customer was appreciative of expedience) on my duplicator, but the copies wouldn’t work in the ignition… and the try-out key wouldn’t work in the ignition! As it turned out, the keys worked and turned the vehicle on when pulled out just a tiny bit. The ignition was pretty sticky, and I had brought out my big bottle of Houdini lube and sprayed lube in there until it spluttered out of the keyway onto the floorboards, but still the ignition was so sticky that I chanced on a try-out key that worked while partially inserted. This gentleman was OK with it, since the keys were supposed to be an interim solution anyway, and I left the job half-assed, but with a happy customer regardless.
Thanks very much to this customer for carrying one of my machines while my arm was injured. I got his F-150 running again for $130, and no injury or light duty will compel me to stop working or raise my costs.
I love doing my job, but doing my job twice? I love that twice as much! This job was quick and easy, plus I got to pet a dog good boy. My charge for two padlocks is less than what other locksmith companies take for one, so if you need professional service that won’t damage your storage unit, give me a call.
Now here’s a job to talk about. This gentleman’s RV was broken into with a crowbar and he wanted more security, so he called me to install a deadbolt on his door. The first task was getting the thing open, as the default lock that goes into that big, gaping hole was broken, so he had to gain entry through the window. After taking the broken lock off, it was time to drill a hole in the door, which went easily enough. Then, there was the difficult part: making it work in the frame! These doors are so flimsy; it’s basically some aluminum with insulation in the middle and it isn’t very thick, so it doesn’t seat back very far in the frame, meaning that the hole the deadbolt goes into had to be cut into the frame’s edge and then some.
I had messed up and assumed that the door sat farther back in the frame, but what I ended up having to do was cut into the resin that held the frame to everything around it. I also had to cut off parts of the screen door so that the back of the deadbolt could fit because, when I drilled the hole for the deadbolt to seat in the door, I had not realized that the screen door would impede it. This was a first for me, installing a deadbolt on a seventies camper, and I definitely learned some things at the expense of the work looking good, but at the same time I filed down all the metal that was exposed due to my mistakes that way it would not snag or cut, I ensured that the deadbolt operated smoothly and that it secured his door, and in the end I left with a hundred dollars and a happy customer. You can’t find another locksmith in this town that would do something extraneous or unorthodox like this without charging extra on top of their already high prices for it, so if you need anything unsecured to be secured, give me a call!
Here are some photos of a new installation of a deadbolt for an office door at the Candy Bar. It went pretty well, especially the part where I got to buy candy! However, I did have difficulty with the hole for the bolt to go into. I had originally left it in a pretty poor state, with uneven edges and whatnot, but I came back the next day after realizing that my work had not been up to par, cut the hole into a neat square, and filed down the edges so they wouldn’t snag anything. Also, the rounded corners of the bolt’s cover plate definitely stand out in contrast with the ninety degree angle depression that I had chiseled, so I definitely need to get some rounded chisels so that I can make those edges look seamless and pretty. The Candy Bar was pretty happy with the work, even though I wasn’t, and I’m not afraid to admit my faults, so I’ll let you be the judge!
One of my first jobs as an independent locksmith was to head up to the Ponderosa Lodge and cut about a hundred copies of their keys! Unfortunately, I had been in the process of switching vehicles and had neglected to bring a spare pulley belt for my duplicator, so of course the belt broke in the middle of this job. I had to come back home and delay the keys by a bit. Ponderosa has a master keyed system that they had hired Henley’s to do, which is the worst master keyed system I have ever seen. Kwikset keys have six depths, and Henleys cut eight depths into the keys because the locksmith that had done this was too lazy or ignorant to generate enough key codes for six depths. The result was keys with bitting that was irregular, jagged, and unreliable. Despite the poor nature of the keys that I was tasked with copying, I had a 100% success rate with the ninety-something copies that I produced! Hopefully Ponderosa will give me a call back for a new master keyed system, because I have a bunch of proper key codes written out for them and can give them keys that will last for a much longer time than the poor examples provided by what should be the most reputable locksmith company in town.
I’m not trying to disparage Henley’s to make myself look better, it’s just a prominent aspect of this job that is the only reason I consider making ninety copies impressive, because the keys that I had to copy were just… awful.