Most of his jobs are taken up by rekeying jobs – people want to change the key to the property but don’t want to switch the full locks out.
He says this is especially important when moving into a new property, you never know who else might have keys. It’s a quick job but it gives tenants and owners a sense of security.
Justin says a lot of private landlords don’t realise they should be doing this and most of those jobs come from professional property managers.
Even off-the-plan properties should be rekeyed before anyone moves in. In big apartment developments master keys are given to all contractors while they work on the building. That means when you move in any number of people could have a master key to your property so it’s important to rekey.
A lot of renovators are putting internal locks on bedroom and bathroom doors to give their tenants more privacy. It’s a simple thing that tenants really appreciate.
Insurance premiums go down when there are deadlocks installed on all external doors and window locks on all the windows.
They also go down further when alarm systems or camera systems are installed.
This is the day (and the night) in the life of a locksmith.
8am: Justin arrives at the Toplock factory in Northcote to start the day. He’s on night shift as well today so he’ll be working through the night. His dispatcher is already at work and has a full list of jobs ready for him and the growing team of locksmiths.
8.10am: Justin leaves for his first job. It’s a house in Coburg. It’s not too far and Justin makes good time.
8.40am: Justin arrives at the house and talks to the owner. The owner’s husband lost his wallet with a spare key hidden inside last week. His address was written on his drivers license and the owner thought she heard someone trying to open the back door last night. It’s a simple rekeying job.
9:00am: Rekeying is a quick job so he’s done in 20 minutes. He invoices the owner and heads back to the car to get his next job. It’s an industrial office out in Keilor East.
9:30am: Justin arrives at the office. He has a quick chat and gets started. The new tenants want to put locks on the three internal office doors. He switches out the old knobs with new keyed knobs. He boxes up the old ones so they can be reused if need be. Some of the doors weren’t quite latching properly but a quick bit of chisel work clears it up.
10:00am: He invoices the client and heads back to his office.
10:30am: Justin has a lot of administration to do. With the recent expansion of his business he spends more and more time running the administrative side of the business while his team of locksmiths run all around Melbourne.
2.30pm: He’s finished his administrative work and it’s time to hit the road again. He has a call out to a renovator in Brunswick who needs some work done.
2.45pm: It’s an old terrace being refurbished and the owners want internal locks put on all the bedroom and bathrooms. Tenants like it especially if they’re sharing a house. It gives them some extra privacy.
4.00pm: The whole house now has locks. It took a while to resit some of the doors and get them latching properly. He heads back to his car to get his next job. A nearby real estate agent wants the locks rekeyed for a new tenant.
4.20pm: He arrives at the Carlton house to rekey the front and back door. It’s a quick job for Justin.
4.40pm: He gives the new keys over to the agent and heads back to the office to prepare for the night shift.
7:00pm: Justin’s rested and eaten and ready to start the night shift. Once a week someone has to take the night shift and be prepared for all sorts of jobs.
9:00pm: The first night job comes early. It’s a call from Richmond where someone has locked themselves out. He heads over to let the tenants back in on a rainy night.
9.20pm: The traffic isn’t so bad at this time of night so Justin gets there quickly. He lets the tenant back in using a pick gun and heads back to the office.
11:00pm: Another call from someone locked out in Collingwood.
11:15pm: They’re drunk but nice. He lets them in with the pick gun again. All documentation is completed and ID is sighted to make sure it’s the right person.
2:00am: No one calls until 2am. He wakes up to take the call. Someone gets a quote, decides they don’t want the job and don’t take the job.
3:00am: He gets another call. The person is calling from a public phone box and needs to be let back in. They have bars on their windows so they couldn’t smash it.
3:00am: He lets them back in with the pick gun again and heads off.
7:30am: The night shift ends with no other call outs and Justin is free to go home and sleep.