Last week’s lesson of “How to Start a Locksmith Business” marked the start of our unit on looking at the legal side of locksmithing, as we discussed state and local laws. We looked at specific laws for every state and broke out all the details you need to know, depending on which state you want to start your business in.
If you are looking for even more information on starting your locksmith business, then definitely check out your local chapter of the Small Business Administration.
Assuming you read through the licensing laws required in your state, and you confirmed the viability of starting your own locksmith business, we’re going to move on to the next lesson: choosing your best location.
Location, Location, Location
Several years back Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s) was discussing business with a student. The student made the comment, “You’re in the hamburger business.” Ray shook his head and said, “No, I’m in the real estate business.”
Now, if you read through the lesson on whether or not you should be a mobile locksmith, you may come to the conclusion that location doesn’t matter all that much.
And that’s partially true, because you (unlike other businesses) will have the ability to take your business to the customer, instead of waiting on the customer to take their business to you.
With that said, you’re not McDonald’s. You’re not in the real estate business. But…if you’re planning on having a brick and mortar store there are still several factors to consider.
8 Factors to Consider When Choosing Location
1. Know your demographics.
What type of people shop in the area where you prospective location is?
2. Who are your neighbors?
Look for a shopping center with tenants that will attract customers to AND compliment business. As an example, you may not want to be surrounded by women’s clothing departments.
3. Size matters.
Take out a sheet of paper and layout precisely the amount of space you need. You’ll need to do this in square footage.
Space will be leased on a dollar per square foot basis, so make sure you’re not overpaying by renting more space than you need.
4. Shape is important.
Having a square versus a rectangular store can actually be a big deal. As we said before, make sure you layout your store details to see what shape works best for you and your customers.
Many new business owners have this idea that they absolutely must find a location with large signage capability or high street visibility. While this can obviously be a positive, it may not be as critical as you think, especially since you will definitely pay more for higher visibility.
It may be a better idea to consider the other tenants in the area first. Lots of times an anchor tenant may drive more customers than visibility.
6. The parking lot.
How many customers would you potentially have at one time in your store? If you don’t have that many parking spots available, then find a different location.
7. Where is your competition located?
Map out the locations of other locksmiths in the area. Ask yourself, “How close do I want to be to my competition?”
Typically, locating your business near competitors will enable you to benefit from their marketing efforts, or visibility.
On the other hand, perhaps there is a specific location away from your competitors where you can fill an unmet need?
8. Numbers matter.
Rather, cost matters. All the features you might love about a specific location can quickly add up: Rent, utilities, taxes, maintenance, and salaries are just some to consider.
That sums up our unit and research and legality.
Up Next: You will need a business plan to help make some of these decisions. And luckily that’s the next lesson.