Where We Are, and Where We Are Going

Recently a customer asked me about specific  services that High Quality Locksmith performs. I
though it would be a good idea to mention our services, and to touch upon our future plans regarding
locksmith services.

Our Current Status

HQL specializes in residential rekey jobs, commercial rekey jobs, emergency services (residential, commercial, and automotive lockouts) and automotive locksmith work. We sell safes, and perform some service work on Sentry safes. We normally do not do work on safes, or
on safe deposit boxes. High Quality Locksmith sets up and administers master key systems, and we also
service and install restricted key systems.

Our Future Status

Eventually we will increase our on site inventory for safes, especially Hayman and Hollon. Along with this inventory expansion, our services will also expand to include safe work, such as combination changes and safe servicing.

Automotive Locksmith Expansion

The necessary equipment for automotive locksmith work is very expensive. Currently, High Quality Locksmith can make and program keys for most foreign and domestic vehicles, although European models are typically not included in this assessment. With the aquistion of specific programming
equipment we intend to start making keys for BMW and Mercedes.


A New Shop Location

The addition of a primary shop location on Monroe Street is currently on “the way, way, way, back burner,” so to speak, and may never actually materialize.   There are weak arguments supporting this addition, but most logicial and conservative arguments demolish such an idea. Colleagues have encouraged me to seriously consider this option, but even in the most conservative sense I think such a move would require substantial  across the board rate increases, and the Tallahassee population, by and large, cannot support rate increases. Times have changed, and brick and mortar locations are no longer important for mobile, service oriented businesses. They are nice, of course, but no longer figure prominently in the mobile locksmith business plan.

Good Locks. Sometimes price doesn’t matter.

Often I am asked which locks and/or hardware are the best for residential application. It is unwise to specify a certain brand over another. Often people define (erroneously) the quality of a lock system by how easy it is to pick. Picking, or lack thereof, does not define lock quality, but this factor deserves mentioning……

Certainly, some of the more expensive locks are more difficult (or almost impossible) to pick, but a lock is only as strong as the door it secures, as well as the frame it’s bolt engages. If the door is a hollow core door and the frame is thin or cheaply constructed, the high quality lock will do little to prevent entry.

A skilled locksmith can pick locks. This is a job requirement.  But sometimes a dime store lock can be difficult to pick, while an expensive name brand lock can be picked in seconds.  Most of the difficulty (or ease) to picking a lock comes from the placement of it’s internal pins. If a lock has all short pins,  generally it can be picked easily. A lock with long pins mixed with short pins will generally be more difficult to pick. To see if your lock has short pins next to long pins, simply look at your key. Does the key have deep cuts, next to shallow ones? If it does, it may be a little more difficult to pick.

Picking locks is a skill and an art, and it requires practice.  As most people cannot pick locks, how difficult a lock is to pic is usually not a significant concern for people. Most criminals do not pick locks; they prefer unused locks.

Of GREATER importance is the quality of the metal, and the quality of the installation. The lock should be heavy and solid, and it should mount solidly in the door.  A deadbolt should mount cleanly in the hole drilled for it. Sometimes, a a do-it-your-selfer will  fail to drill the hole large enough for the hardware to seat properly. This leaves a gap that invites a prying/crowbar attack. The bolt should also be solid, and when engaged, it should slide all of the way into the door frame. A deadbolt not fully engaged with a frame (because the bolt hole is not deep enough, or is not aligned properly) is not truly “dead,” and can be “walked open” with a screwdriver or other instrument.

It’s All About the Keys

There are many brands of locks, but relatively few key ways.

The 4 most popular key designs in the United States are (in order) Kwikset (KW1), Schlage (SC1), Yale and Weiser. Many other key patterns exist, as well. Most of these other key patterns are used exclusively for commercial applications.

Many other companies are licensed to manufacture their locks using the aforementioned 4 key designs. Lowes has it’s Carriage House design, which uses the KW1 key way; Home Depot does the same with it’s Defiant brand. Of course, Kwikset, Schlage and Yale name brands are popular.

Yale uses a Kwikset key way for it’s residential applications, and has it’s own key type for commercial applications. Schlage has it’s own key way which sees extensive commercial and residential use.

Sergent, a high quality lock, also appears in residential applications but is more likely used commercially.

The quality of a lock is defined more by the quality of it’s installation. A poorly made lock is easy to detect; but economics usually prevent such locks from remaining available for purchase.

The only truly ineffective lock is an unused one.