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Where to get blanks, how to get restricted systems




Posts: 18

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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Posts: 1099

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:35 am

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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Sargent Mossberg
Sargent Mossberg

Posts: 2083

Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:21 am

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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Posts: 837

Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:38 pm

Location: Houston, Texas

Post Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:13 am

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

This is exciting news, Jeff! 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.
Nemo Malus Felix

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