So you want to start your own locksmith business, but you’re not sure where to begin. Starting any service-based business can be challenging, especially when you’re doing it alone. There are a number of things to arrange, like insurance and licensing, setting up business operations, and marketing your new company.
You might already be an expert in doing the actual locksmith work, like installing, repairing, and rekeying locks, but running your own business is a whole other ballgame. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. With some careful planning and the right tools, you can build a successful locksmith company from the ground up.
Choosing the right business structure for your locksmith business
The first step is to decide whether you want to register your business as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company (LLC). They each have their pros and cons to consider.
If you’re planning to work as a solo locksmith entrepreneur, you’ll probably do best with a sole proprietorship. It’s the simplest structure and the easiest and lowest-cost to set up.
However, if you’re planning to burst into the business world with a few employees, you might prefer to open an LLC. Although there’s more paperwork and slightly higher fees, you’ll be protected from personal liability for any issues that arise in your business, and enjoy a bit more flexibility when it comes to filing taxes.
7 steps to get your locksmith business up and running
Once you’ve decided what kind of business structure to use, there are a few more steps to take to make your business a reality. Here’s what you need to do before you can unveil your new locksmith business to the world.
- Get the right licenses. You’ll need to register for a business license, which includes paying fees and accepting criminal background checks. In some states you’ll need a specific locksmith license, and some require you to complete training and exams too.
- Secure the necessary insurance. Every business owner needs general liability insurance, in case something goes wrong or anyone is injured as a result of your work. If you have employees, you’ll also need workers comp insurance, and it’s a good idea to get vehicle insurance for your van.
- Create a business plan. This is a document that outlines your goals, describes how you’ll get funding, and reviews your target market and the competition. You’ll need a business plan to get funding and to help guide you as you manage your business.
- Find a source of funding. Even if you start small, you’ll need money to buy tools and equipment, and to cover the costs of registering and promoting your business. You could use your savings, apply for a small business loan, or try a crowdfunding site.
- Invest in the necessary vehicles and equipment. You’ll need a work vehicle, tools like key cutters and lock picks, and equipment for making new keys. You might be able to get good tools second-hand for lower cost when you’re just starting out.
- Build your online presence. Help customers find your business by claiming a Google My Business profile, setting up social media accounts, and creating a professional website. Make sure your website shows up to date prices, lists all the services you provide, and offers easy ways for clients to contact you.
- Set up an online booking system. An online booking widget like vcita sits on your website and syncs with your calendar, to allow clients to easily schedule appointments on your website without having to wait for you to answer the phone or reply to emails.
Streamline your new locksmith business operations with vcita
Now that you’ve established your new locksmith business, it’s time to think about the best way to manage operations. Your business might still be small, but it’s a good idea to streamline your admin processes right from the beginning. This way, you won’t have any confusion about appointments, responsibilities, or payment processes, and you’ll be able to grow your business without stress.
vcita offers an easy-to-use locksmith business management app that handles online job booking, team schedule coordination, invoicing, payments, marketing, and more. With vcita, you can:
- Invite clients to schedule jobs whenever they like through the online booking system and booking widget on your website, to make booking more efficient and convenient.
- Send professional estimates and invoices, accept online payments, and get paid faster. No more chasing clients for checks or dealing with paperwork.
- Automate follow-ups like payment receipts, and ask clients for referrals and reviews. Asking for Google reviews is a great way to improve your search ranking and credibility
- Remind customers about upcoming bookings automatically through email and/or SMS, to help reduce last-minute cancellations and no-shows.
- Manage your team’s schedules and job assignments in one place. Easily see who is available and dispatch the right technician for each job.
- Gain insights into your business performance with reports on revenue, jobs completed, customer retention, and more. Make data-driven decisions to boost growth.
Using tools like vcita that are tailored for service professionals let you focus on delivering excellent service and building client relationships rather than tedious admin work. The affordable plans provide an easy, low-cost way for new locksmith businesses to hit the ground running.
The keys to a successful locksmith business are in your hands
With the right planning and tools in place, you’ll be well on your way to opening the doors to your own successful locksmith business. Keep working to build your experience, refine your services, and establish a loyal customer base through great service and word-of-mouth marketing. Starting any service-based business is hard work, but with passion, perseverance and the right mindset, you can build a thriving locksmith company.