By way of introduction I am Jack Flam and, my wife Vikki and I own Flam's Lock and Key in Sherman Oaks, a family run business established in 1952. We are the oldest security professionals in the San Fernando Valley and most of Los Angeles. We have been protecting life and property for three generations by providing physical security solutions for thousands of clients for the past 60 years.
We are a Sherman Oaks icon, an integral part of the culture and community and were just given an award as the oldest members of the Sherman Oaks Chamber. I don't claim to know all there is about security but I believe my experience, credentials and reputation give me a pretty good idea of what defines a qualified security professional.
With that said I thought my inaugural post should begin by sharing an industry concern with both the influx and numbers of unqualified company's that call themselves locksmiths. Most of them are out of business within a year or two, but not before ripping you off and leaving you vulnerable with poor security.
Sixty years ago, there were about eight locksmith companies in the entire valley and we all had brick and mortar shops, not just mobile services. We learned a highly skilled trade by apprencticing (now an unknown thing) for three to five years. We specialized in commercial and residential, not automotive, and there was no internet to advertise 'fake' addresses. We learned the skill of master keying by hand, not computer, so that even today we can look at a computerized master program, see the flaws, and perfect it.
Today, there are over 800 listings, mostly mobile, not properly credentialed, and doing automotive lockouts 90 percent of the time. Why? Because they want to make money out the door instead of taking the time to apprentice and properly learn the trade. Making matters worse is the local locksmith school that takes their money, trains them for three months, and tells them they can open their own business.
But the scariest thing of all is that the consumer calls them and does not know the difference.
So, here a few common sense tips before my next blog. They are not guarantees of honesty or knowledge, but better than nothing and apply to most trades.
- Start by asking for referrals, not the internet: General rule of thumb; if you hear three good things about the same company, they usually are good. It's the same with three bad things.
- Know the required credentials and ASK them to fax or email to you: If they have them, they will be proud to send them. Also, know that in our industry, a State Contractors liscense is required in addition to our consumers license, so just saying 'licensed' is not enough.
- A company with a brick and mortar location is less likely to be here today and gone tomorrow: And, they usually have more solutions than what will just fit into a van. They may seem to cost a bit more but the bottom line is less.
- Check to see if they belong to professional trade organizations, like BBB, etc.
Well, I hope this was not too long! It is my first blog, and all constructive input is appreciated! There is so much to write about and as your expert security professional, please let us know what topics you would like to discuss.
Yours in Security, Jack Flam.