Comments The Locksmith Journals

20Gauge

Veteran Member
So, here we are again. It surprises me how often people will get to their storage unit and leave their keys at home. (In this case in Melbourne, Fla.) And I hate those circular locks that are so popular for these units today. They are impossible to pick and a real bear to cut through. I mean as long as you have the key, they're great. They are really secure locks. But lose the key and my life just got more difficult. And the people who run these storage units get really upset if I put the slightest ding in the door. Unfortunately that isn't always possible. I did put a few grind marks in this unit, but nothing that would affect the door or it's function. So everyone is happy, for now. Tomorrow if the people who run that place actually look at it they may be upset a little, but still the door has only a couple of scratches and there will be no problem with renting it again. Also the people who called me are emptying it today and they will be gone forever. I don't think anyone is ever going to notice. Still, I'm the professional and doing any kind of damage makes me feel bad. On the up side the customer was happy I got there so quickly, got the job done as fast as I did and tipped me enough for me to get my tank refilled to about 3/4's of the way.

But then again there are times my boss really makes me feel like a thief. I mean he sets the price and I have no choice but to charge what he says, but sometimes I just feel like he is ripping people off. This afternoon I got sent to the other side of town on a job. I was told that the lady had the key in the lock, but it didn't turn all the way and she couldn't get it out. As I suspected the answer was WD-40. I shot some into the lock, jiggled it a bit and the lock turned, the key came out and all was well. He told me to charge $75 to get the lady into her home and $19 to get the key out of the lock. $94 for a couple of shots of WD-40. It seems a crime to me, but I have no choice in the matter. I do believe that one of these days his greed is going to turn around and bite him in the butt.
Maybe not greed but the cost of doing business. If he pays you $15 per hour, then it costs him at least $30 per hour for you to work. Plus the cost of the vehicle and the overall overhead. He makes a profit at that price, but not much of one.
 

day late

money? whats that?
Maybe not greed but the cost of doing business. If he pays you $15 per hour, then it costs him at least $30 per hour for you to work. Plus the cost of the vehicle and the overall overhead. He makes a profit at that price, but not much of one.
True to a point. I "used to be" a subcontractor. Meaning I'm on a 1099, it was my vehicle, my gas, ect, ect, ect, but his tools and parts. I got a commission on everything I collected. So he wasn't paying to maintain my vehicle or my gas. And I know I have put more money in his pocket over the past four or five years than anyone else. So for him to let me go is serious business.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
DL,

We are sadden about your loss of work. At least you will not be meeting people that you do not know and the risks that could present.

Hang in there for this will get better.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
Just to put the icing on the cake, I have been informed that the boss is closing the business on Sunday until this thing is over. I don't see that happening anytime soon. I'm still available to answer any security questions I can that anyone may have. In the mean time good luck to all and stay safe.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Yep, lots of people being affected by business closings. Perhaps you can take this "vacation" to get that book written "The Locksmith Journals" on Amazon Kindle?
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
DL,

Hang in there.

You may be able to comment on what home security system is the best.

Stay safe out there.

Thanks,

Texican....
 

Freebirde

Contributing Member
"I'm still available to answer any security questions I can that anyone may have."

How do you rate this system?

HOW TO INSTALL A SOUTHERN HOME SECURITY SYSTEM
1. Go to Goodwill and buy a pair of size 14-16 men's work boots.
2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.
3. Put four giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.
4. Leave a note on your door that reads ......
Bubba,
Me, Marcel, Donnie Ray and Jimmy Earl went for more ammo and BBQ. Be back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls. They got another trespasser this morning and messed him up bad. I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back.
Cooter


Bet you smiled!
 

day late

money? whats that?
"I'm still available to answer any security questions I can that anyone may have."

How do you rate this system?

HOW TO INSTALL A SOUTHERN HOME SECURITY SYSTEM
1. Go to Goodwill and buy a pair of size 14-16 men's work boots.
2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.
3. Put four giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.
4. Leave a note on your door that reads ......
Bubba,
Me, Marcel, Donnie Ray and Jimmy Earl went for more ammo and BBQ. Be back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls. They got another trespasser this morning and messed him up bad. I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back.
Cooter


Bet you smiled!
After thinking about it, it occurs to me you missed one thing. you forgot to mention all these folks picking up the BEER!!!

On another note, I am of two minds on this one. I understand doing whatever it takes to keep your business going, even in hard times. BTDT. I was laid off and the boss told me the business is closed for the duration of this virus thing. Then yesterday the boss's son makes the mistake of sending a group text looking for help on a lock he's working on. That means the business is not entirely closed, and (of course) the boss is looking out for his own family first. He sent this job to his son. I can't blame a man for that. But if the business is closed, it is closed. Don't lie to me about it and then stay in business, even if it is limited. Still I don't blame him. I would look out for my family first. The difference is that I would tell the people who work for me that I was doing that. And again, he hasn't fired me. I still have all of his tools, pieces and parts. I DO believe he wants me back once things get back a little closer to the old normal. I just have a hard time with the people who can't be honest with me.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
I'm with you on this one. I'd have a hard time going back to him when its over unless he was able to explain the situation a bit better.... "he was going to close out of virus fear and lack of business, but financial problems and people still calling... etc". Or, he might have just been at a hard place. OR, he took the easy way out of telling you that you're laid off and my family isn't. All of these might be reasonable to a different person. Leaving the equipment with you could be a clue to his thinking, especially if it's a fairly large investment.

The problem with trust is that once you break it, I have a very hard time ever trusting you again... very, very hard.
 

Raymond

Contributing Member
I too am a locksmith. We have closed our lobby doors and placed a sign to call for emergency service. This way we can decide whether to take a job or if it sounds too risky. We all stay home until something comes up. The shop phone is forwarded to the boss who can dispatch us as needed. They understand that we have final say on whether to take a job or not.

I have not looked into the whole story myself but didn't the gubmint guarantee loans (to be forgiven) to any small business that keeps its workers on payroll? I can't help being suspicious but is there any chance the boss is trying to pocket everything?

Well, if you are not being called to that work, you can begin advertising directly for yourself.
 

day late

money? whats that?
While it is possible, it is unlikely. We have two offices. One in Gainesville and the other in Ocala. When things were normal, the boss didn't like to even get out of his chair. It's easier to send other people and just sit back and collect the money. As I understand it, the Ocala office has laid off all but one of their people and at first he was busy with offices needing to be re-keyed due to the number of people let go that still had keys. Now that guy isn't so busy. Here in town we had four people including the boss. I was laid off, the office manager doesn't want to even leave his house and the third guy is the boss's son. I honestly think he is trying to just keep the business afloat until this goes away, if it ever does.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Hang in there DL.

Time to do all of those things at home that you didn't have time for.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
I saw a post about that a couple of days ago. It says;

Thoughts and prayers going out to
the married men who have spent months
telling their wives,
"I'll do it when I have the time."
 

day late

money? whats that?
What do you know. There may be a bit of a silver lining to part of this mess for yours truly. It seems that as a sub-contractor I qualify for the gov's. PPP program. (Paycheck Protection Program) I'm checking into it now. It seems Washington will give me a loan at 1% interest to meet my bills. AND if the loan is used to make payroll part or all of it will be forgiven. Well, all the tools and parts belong to the boss, but the vehicle, fuel and maintenance are mine. It short the loan would go to pay my paycheck and nothing else. Of course if it comes from Washington I am always suspicious, so wish me luck.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
DL<

.gov will always figure a way to get the money back, but take it.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
It seems There are two final things to add. I haven't spoken to the boss, but according to things I've heard from other technicians it looks as if the combination of the C-Virus and the boss's attitude is going to put us out of business for good. One of the other technicians called me the other day. The boss and his wife are asking him to go back to work down in Ocala. Well, the guy had lost his mother in law the day before and said he needed some time to adjust and be with his wife after said loss. The boss's wife really stepped in it at that point. She told the guy and his wife that she had a sick child at home and so she didn't care about the passing of the mother in law. Everybody had to concentrate on the business because they were about to go under. You can imagine how well that went over with the tech. and his wife. Good thing it was a video call, otherwise the techs wife would have probably decked the boss's wife.

Even during lockdown, people still have to go out for this and that. I was in Bass Pro Shop yesterday picking up a few things and when I got to the check out the clerk looked at me and asked where she had seen me before. So I asked her;

"Have you ever locked yourself out of anything?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm a locksmith. I open homes, cars, businesses and things like that."

"Oh yeah. I remember. It was my car."

That's one of the fun things about what I've been doing. People see you after a while, they know they know you but can't remember where. When I remind them they always look embarrassed and smile at me. Then they change the subject so they don't get more embarrassed in front of their friends and/or coworkers.
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Time to set up your own business. Get some cards printed up (cheap at vistaprint.com) and be ready to distribute them around town to appropriate people. Think of ways to advertise on-line. You know the drill, don't actually compete with your "employer" until he's gone, but prepare ahead of time to do so.
 

LawPoet

Contributing Member
Before opening up own business, assure yourself that you did not sign any "Non-Competition Agreement" or similar legal document which might trigger civil penalties, BUT:

1. If the job rejects you, you are generally allowed to start your own business. AND
2. Other "work arounds" exist for such "paper obstacles".

STILL, it's best to know in advance what duties you assumed when you became an employee.

Best wishes for success as an "independent contractor". I left "law firms" as an "employee" decades before my retirement and I never regretted my decision. TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR THE "SELF EMPLOYED" CAN BE AWESOME! [You may need to discuss the same with an accountant or similar tax advisor.]
 

day late

money? whats that?
Before opening up own business, assure yourself that you did not sign any "Non-Competition Agreement" or similar legal document which might trigger civil penalties, BUT:

1. If the job rejects you, you are generally allowed to start your own business. AND
2. Other "work arounds" exist for such "paper obstacles".

STILL, it's best to know in advance what duties you assumed when you became an employee.

Best wishes for success as an "independent contractor". I left "law firms" as an "employee" decades before my retirement and I never regretted my decision. TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR THE "SELF EMPLOYED" CAN BE AWESOME! [You may need to discuss the same with an accountant or similar tax advisor.]
I appreciate the advice but you should know that prior to being a locksmith I was a dental lab technician. I ran my own one man shop for 25 years. I was put out of business when they put a dental lab. in the state prison. You can't compete against slave labor. But you are right. The deductions you can get being self employed are unbelievable.

I will also say that right now it depends on what happens. I did sign a non-competition agreement, but if the boss closes the shop, in no longer applies. I will also have to wait and see if he wants all of his toys back, some of them or maybe none of them. I'm sure he could let me have them and use it as a tax write-off. Should that happen, I have a few plans that will keep me working for quite some time.
 

LawPoet

Contributing Member
Any "understanding" or "agreement" you reach with old boss...get it in writing! Two options:

a. A letter, memo, anything which he signs. (BUT, sometimes, other party doesn't like that...O.K.)
b. Back up plan: You write him: "This letter will serve to confirm our conversation of ___ wherein we mutually agreed to the following:
---
---
---
If I have misunderstood our deal, or misinterpreted your consent, PLEASE ADVISE ME WITHIN ___ DAYS. Otherwise, I will be forced to conclude that we have reached a mutually beneficial and willing agreement on this subject.
 

day late

money? whats that?
LawPoet, at one time I was also a grunt. Patience is one thing you learn in the service and that goes double for thick-skulled knuckle-dragging, 11 bullet-stoppers like me. At the moment I'm getting more money sitting at home than I did while I was working. And while the lockdown is starting to ease, it's not there yet. My boss will continue to do what he has been doing, which is try to live the life of Riley while not getting that much coming in. He and his son will be doing the work as they have been, but this wouldn't be the first business he has failed at. Right now I'm going to sit back and watch him spend himself into bankruptcy and if and when things get to a point where people are hiring I'll see about putting in applications. Another option is to put out flyers in the more upscale neighborhoods offering to inspect these higher end homes, recommend security upgrades and offer to do the work or provide a list of things that need to be done. One other thing I have going for me is that there are 177 reviews on Google for the company. I have more than anybody else and they are all positive. That should help with the employment prospects.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
DL,

Good plan on the upscale neighbor hoods which have people with $$$'s. Take cash for it is not reported.

Texican....
 

day late

money? whats that?
DL,

Good plan on the upscale neighbor hoods which have people with $$$'s. Take cash for it is not reported.

Texican....
That is the plan. Especially if this second wave of the C-Virus happens. All those street people will be out of everything and the shelters are full. They WILL begin to break into homes looking for what they want. And that's where I come in.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
That is the plan. Especially if this second wave of the C-Virus happens. All those street people will be out of everything and the shelters are full. They WILL begin to break into homes looking for what they want. And that's where I come in.
DL,

Remember, always carry.

Texican....
 
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