Sacramento area locksmiths open up about their businesses
As a locksmith, what are some of the services you provide?
Ferrell: "We work on lock-outs for homes and automobiles. We also rekey locks for homes and businesses."
Wallace: "We open cars, houses, garages and safes. We offer complete servicing of safes and often duplicate keys."
Who we talked to
John Ferrell, owner
Economy Lock Key Inc.
Steve Wallace, owner
Wallace Safe & Lock Co. Inc.
128 Court St.
Richard Vanina, owner
J & J Locksmith
3201 Fulton Ave.
Vanina: "We protect the community by helping people get into cars, houses and safes they've been locked out of."
Are there any types of jobs you won't do?
Ferrell: "I try to stay away from drilling safes, if I can."
Wallace: "No. We have never refused work."
Vanina: "If they don't have ID, then we don't do it."
How do you charge?
Ferrell: "It's by the job and distance. There's an service call fee of $65. If they're out of our regular service area it's $75."
Wallace: "We have a trip charge of $72. The jobs are charged by the hour, at $72 an hour."
Vanina: "The charges depend on the number of locks and the job itself. It can vary greatly."
What's the average fee for customers locked out of their house, their car or their safe?
Ferrell: "A car would cost less than a house. The typical cost for a car lockout is $65. For a house lockout, it's $80."
Wallace: "It's a flat fee of $85 for both a house and a car. Safes depend on the type and it's $250 and up."
Vanina: "For a house or car it's typically $75. For a safe it's between $150 and $200 minimum."
What's your experience as a locksmith?
Ferrell: "I've been a locksmith for 12 years."
Wallace: "I've been doing this for 31 years."
Vanina: "I've been in this business for 32 years."
What happens if the customer's ID is locked up and they can't get to it?
Ferrell: "I tell them up front they need to be the registered owner. Then, we unlock the vehicle and hold the keys until they provide the necessary ID."
Wallace: "We go with our better judgment. We ask for identification the minute the vehicle or home is open."
Vanina: "It's a judgment call situation. If you swear your identification in there, it better be, because if it's not, we're calling the police."
What's the hardest lock you've ever had to open and how long did it take?
Ferrell: "We handle a lot of property management evictions. When a tenant gets evicted they can do strange things like put super-glue in the locks. Those are pretty hard."
Wallace: "Once we had to bore through a cement wall to open a bank safe that had malfunctioned. It took over eight and a half hours."
Vanina: "A drug distribution center that supplies one of the hospitals had their safe broken into. Trying to get in the [thief] welded the doors shut. It took us over 10 hours to get it open."