Those who run locksmith businesses play an integral role in South Africa. It is an extremely important service due to the high crime rate, with approximately 1.2 million housebreakings recorded in the 2019/2020 period.
Locksmiths are not only companies we call when we have locked ourselves out of our home or car. They are also businesses that keep us safe by installing quality security systems and locks.
Improving your Locksmith Business
Give your clients more value
By adding additional services which have a low cost to entry, you can increase your profits and customer satisfaction. Some examples of these services include key cutting, fixing car locks, ignition repair, and replacement, and installing electronic locks.
Remain open after hours
Try to remain open after hours. While personal time away from work is essential, being available after trading hours can bring in extra clients. This will show clients you are reliable, and will result in repeat business and referrals.
Ask for feedback
Have a feedback book that you take with to clients, or keep in your shop. Alternatively, using Google reviews is a smart way to increase your SEO efforts, and prove to other potential customers that your services are professional and valuable.
Security is top of mind for most South Africans. You can further assist your clients by providing additional security services through partners that operate in the same industry as you. These can include alarm installations, camera installations, 24 hours security service, and installation of trellidors and safes.
Increase your skill set
You can attend training courses which improve your skills at managing different locks and using new technologies. Investing in your skills is always an effective way to increase your value proposition. The more you know, the better service you can offer.
Ramping up your Inventory Management
Locksmith inventory management software
There are many different software platforms for inventory management, ExCel being the most common. However, the most efficient way for you to manage your inventory is to use software that is specifically designed for your industry. There are a few global software developers who have these products, such as smart service.
Organise your van and store
Keep labelled containers in your van to store items. If you have a large van, you could even install a chest of draws for easy access. Organising your inventory in your form of transport and in store will mitigate unnecessary back-and-forth trips, and it will ultimately allow you to maximise how much service you can provide in a day.
Keep up your Competitive Analysis
A great way to learn about some of your competitors would be to look them up online. You can start with a Google search of locksmiths within your area, and if you want to you can dig deeper and look up their social media pages.
What to look out for in your competitive research
- Their proximity to your shop.
- What products and services do they offer?
- Their pricing compared to yours.
- Your competitors operating hours.
- Do they have any strategic partnerships?
- How are they marketing their business?
Visiting your competitors
If your competitor has a physical shop, you can visit their shop and have a look around. Ask their staff questions about their products and services to get a better understanding of their service offerings and pricing.
Growth Potential for a Locksmith Business
The average locksmith makes about R89,80 per hour. While this is not much, your growth potential is relative to your goals. You may have ambitions to create a franchise across the country, in which case you will have a large amount of competition, but you can become very profitable.
Interesting Industry Facts
- The Locksmith's Association of South Africa is the official representative for the locksmith industry in the country. They have been in existence since 1987, and have branches in the Eastern Province, Free State, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Northern Province, and Western Cape.
- To become a locksmith in South Africa, you need to undergo training at a training school which is accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority.
Ways to Improve the Marketing of your Company
Improve your social media pages
Keep it looking professional and add new content as often as possible. Some content can include photos of work being done, special pricing offers in the form of visual adverts, and re-sharing articles from other sources related to your industry.
To efficiently reach your audience you will need to pay for some advertising on social media and Google. For these adverts to work well, you need to understand your target audience, and read up on the benefits of PPC (pay per click advertising). It is an effective way to drive leads to your business, both online and offline.
Join forces with a strategic partner
Create a business relationship with strategic partners whereby you promote each other's services on your websites, social media pages, and even hand out flyers or business cards at your shops.
Sourcing Finance to Grow your Business
Apart from common financing options like bank loans and credit cards, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition can offer financial assistance and incentives. Click on the ‘financial assistance’ tab and conduct research.
It can be challenging to raise capital if you do not have any collateral such as property or other assets. You could consider using the Angel Investment Network, a platform that connects business owners looking for capital, and investors with equity and industry knowledge.
Reasons for Exiting
It is important to plan for the future of your business, and this includes conducting research and preparing to sell your business (even if you don’t plan to).
After running your business for several years, you may want to sell it to retire or to build a new business that you are more passionate about.
You may want to only sell a certain number of shares to bring in someone new to run the day-to-day operation and still receive some dividends every year or quarter.
You could attempt to be acquired by a competitor, or you could sell your business through a broker. Regardless of the avenue you might take, it is integral to keep your business in top shape before selling it. This will directly impact the valuation of your business, which you will use to negotiate a deal with a potential buyer.