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Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

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malfunctionjunction

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Joined: Thu May 07, 2015 9:52 pm

Location: MN

Post Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:43 pm

Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

Hey everybody! I don't post much, but I've been more or less lurking for a while. Some background: I used to be an in-house locksmith for a large non-profit, mostly dealing with Best, but locksmithing had long been an interest to me. Recently I left that job and moved, and I'm in the process of slowly starting my own shop. I'm planning on doing stuff in person, as well as having an online presence where people can order keys cut by code. I'm going to focus on commercial and residential locks, but I want to be able to do some basic automotive stuff. (Lockouts, duplicate keys using factory programming methods as necessary, etc.) I've been dabbling some, and I have the luxury of growing this slowly instead of having to bet the farm and go all in on it. I don't have any plans of opening up a storefront, I plan on doing more mobile/on-site service.

Sorry for the long intro, getting to the meat of this post, I've been getting blanks online based on who had them and who had price on them, including keycraze, clk supplies, lockpicks.com, keyblanksales.com etc. Anyway, as I increase my quantities (I'm buying KW1/SC1/SC4/etc 250 at a time and others 50 at a time) and diversify what I keep in stock, this is getting both tedious and expensive. Maybe this is all that's available at my level, but I'd really like to be able to order straight from Ilco/esp/jma/etc or a top-level distributor of some sort. Something to where I can order anything a given manufacturer has from one source without paying crazy markups. Any ideas?

Further, what's the best way to get OEM Schlage stuff, like Everest? I've been ordering from absupply and other sites, but they're sometimes around $3 per blank, depending on what I'm after, they're slow shipping, and the most recent ~$175 order I made had a shipping price over $50. Pretty ridiculous for ~60 keys.

Finally, I did some brief research on becoming a registered dealer or whatever a given manufacturer refers to it as, where I'd be able to offer customers restricted keyways, like Everest/Primus, Cormax, Medeco, Instakey, etc. But nothing I could find on those manufacturer's websites made it really clear how to go about this or what the requirements were. (I'm assuming some may want me to do a higher volume of sales than I do now, buy in at a significant up-front cost, or simply not go through locksmiths as distributors.) Do any of you guys have any recommendations as to which manufacturer(s) I should focus on, and what it would take to get in?

More background info, in case you're interested, I have a 1200 with just about every accessory, a pak-a-punch, an automatic duplicator, a tubular code machine, a couple of manual duplicators, and a bench top punch for best. I'm looking to get a high-security machine soon, strongly considering an Ilco Swift Plus. I can cut Medeco keys, pin Medeco original and biaxial, pin Best a2/a4, etc. There are some tools I haven't purchased yet, but I've got a lot, including what I need at this stage more often than not. I'm probably average at picking but have never tried impressioning.

Thanks in advance, any tips will be highly appreciated!
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mdc5150

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Post Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:55 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

I'm not sure who the big distributors are in your area but you need to pick one and start doing business with it. You can rarely order straight from a manufacturer for product unless you have a project so big it puts a demand on the factory at which point most manufacturers will try to screw you out of the deal all together so keep that in mind before you give any customer info to a distributor or manufacturer.

Get to know some of the people at your distributor. They will get tired of hearing from you if you are only ordering 10 blanks at a time. These people make a commission on sales and they are happy to take your order but if you are taking up a bunch of their time for small orders they will not be all that helpful. On the other hand if you can relate exactly what you are looking for and get straight to the point, and make orders worth their while they can be a very valuable resource.

Restricted keys and locks can be ordered from these distributors at different levels. There is a regional restriction which means you get that keyway within a certain radius usually 50 miles. Then there is the very expensive patent restriction which means you are the sole owner of a keyway and even most large shops can't afford that, those are usually reserved for an end customer like a government entity or fortune 500 company.
Then there is the distributors restricted keyway. They are restricted to a particular distributor and the distributor is the only place you can buy it. Some of them will sell that keyway to anyone who buys from them and others will give you a regional restriction.

Some of the big ones across the US are Intermountain Lock (Mostly western U.S.) Clark/Anixter, U.S. Lock, and thats about all I can remember right now.

Also, yes some blanks will be expensive, $3 a blank is not all that unusual. You need to charge accordingly if you want to be in business and make money.
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jeffmoss26

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Location: Cleveland, OH

Post Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:09 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

what mdc said. A couple other sources in no particular order: Security Lock Distributors, Zipf, Akron Hardware, IDN, HL Flake
femurat: They're called restricted for a reason...
Innerpicked: The more keys you carry, the more important you look
GWiens2001: Great video! Learned a lot about what fun can be had with a forklift and a chainsaw.
pmaxey83: but i first have to submit the proper forms for a new hobby to my wife
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magician59

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Post Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:13 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

This is exciting news! Keep us in the loop as your business develops. Let me know if you ever come to Houston for trade shows, etc.

I agree with the previous replies. Establish early relationships with your local and regional distributors. Also, as far as it depends on you, establish good relationships with your local competition. You never know where your next referral (It could be huge for your business) will come from.

Keep in touch with us, too. We have valuable experience to share.
Last edited by magician59 on Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nemo Malus Felix
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Visitor

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Post Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:13 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

You buy into a system, it's the only way you do it. Getting friendly with a distributor might get you an odd blank here and there but no supply chain.

If for example you want to cut multloc interactive you need to become a multiloc agent and buy their package. They normally come with a machine to cut keys, a load of key stock and some lock stock but more importantly gives access for replacement stock and code details.
It isn't cheap though.
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mastersmith

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Post Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:39 pm

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

Another thing you will need to pay attention to is whether or not you are required to buy minimum quantities of product in a given time frame. If you are growing slowly you may not sell enough product to require replacement. It can get expensive having stock taking up space for extended periods of time. Most companies want you to be actively moving their products. Good luck, and yes, keep us posted!
Mark
"All ye who come this art to see / to handle anything must cautious be...." Benjamin Franklin
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Visitor

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Post Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:59 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

Yes good point I forgot to mention, it's the constant minimum numbers that kills it for a lot of locksmiths, they either don't take the system up or they drop it not long after. You have to be shifting some stock.
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TylerJThomas

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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

Post Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:27 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

Visitor wrote:You buy into a system, it's the only way you do it. Getting friendly with a distributor might get you an odd blank here and there but no supply chain.


Not true. A few platforms are available through distribution with no buy-in requirements. Some manufacturers, like Medeco, offer specific keyways through distribution.
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chieflittlehorse

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:40 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

Try Amazon or Ebay, you'll be surprised.

I found restricted keys that's supposed to only go thru from the manufacturer.

CLH!
You leave my GRAPHITE alone!!!
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mdc5150

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Post Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:42 am

Re: Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems

Visitor wrote:You buy into a system, it's the only way you do it. Getting friendly with a distributor might get you an odd blank here and there but no supply chain.

If for example you want to cut multloc interactive you need to become a multiloc agent and buy their package. They normally come with a machine to cut keys, a load of key stock and some lock stock but more importantly gives access for replacement stock and code details.
It isn't cheap though.

Anyone can buy MTL 206S from a distributor now. No buy in needed. Of course it's hard to cut those keys without the extremely expensive key machine but they don't require a buy in per se.

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