5 questions to ask when selecting a lock company
A good lock on the door is a retailer’s first line of defense against loss. Whether you run a single-location boutique or an international brand, it may be best to engage the services of a lock and security provider.
Joey Dalessio, General Manager of Codelocks Inc., shares some tips on what you need to know before you hire a locks and lock systems supplier.
What are your needs?
There are still some retailers who just need someone to install physical hardware, but increasingly, lock systems are integrated with cameras, alarms and mobile devices. Do you need mechanical locks or a keyless electronic system? Do you want analytics that tell you if someone enters a space they normally wouldn’t have access to?
“Sometimes you’d need several companies to achieve that; sometimes you’d want to get that from a single source,” Dalessio said. “Typically today, chain stores are served by NSPs (National Service Providers.)”
Are they code-compliant?
The overlapping network of federal, regional and municipal regulations designed to protect public safety and welfare has changed the playing field for people who install and maintain lock and security systems. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides guidelines for automatic door-opening systems, which can cost several thousand dollars and are definitely not a DIY installation, Dalessio said. “It’s a job that needs to be done by someone who knows all the rules and is able to keep you in compliance.”
Are they certified?
Numerous institutions, ranging from technical schools to professional associations, offer various types of training and certification for locksmiths and security providers. Generally speaking, Dalessio said, “There’s not one organization I would recommend over another, but if someone is certified from ALOA, that matters.”
He is referring to the international trade association ALOA Security Professionals Inc. (formerly known as the Associated Locksmiths of America), which offers certification at six levels, beginning with AFL (ALOA Fundamental Locksmith) and moving up through increasingly senior levels of CRL (Certified Registered Locksmith); CPL (Certified Professional Locksmith); CML (Certified Master Locksmith); CPS (Certified Professional Safe Technician), and the highest designation of CMST (Certified Master Safe Technician).
Are they licensed?
This question is especially significant for businesses that operate in more than one state. “So many states have different laws,” Dalessio said. Although only about 15 states have licensing that specifically covers locksmithing, they all have regulations requiring licensing for low-voltage wiring, which relates to life safety.
“In many cases, you have to answer the standards set up by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).” Exit and egress doors must open in an emergency; locking them incorrectly can be life-threatening.
Are they insured?
It should go without saying, but a lock company should be able to produce proof of insurance ranging from $1 million to $5 million, “depending on the size of the job.”
Beyond these considerations, Dalessio said, the technology around locks and lock systems is changing fast, so “it would be good to have a company that was savvy enough to know what’s going on.” The right lock company won’t simply be the one that can fulfill the needs you have today; it will be the company that can anticipate and satisfy the needs you don’t yet realize you’ll have in the future.
By: Sarah B. Hood