Charging Labor : Locksmith


How does everyone here track labor? Do you use a stopwatch? Do you use a system of standardized charges instead? I have a few example scenarios.

Say you are doing something for the first time. You know it is going to take you longer than it should because you are learning. Do you charge for the entire amount of labor or do you estimate how long it would have taken you if you knew what you were doing? The first time I installed a deadbolt in an unprepped door, it took me almost two hours. Now, it generally takes about 30 minutes, assuming nothing goes wrong. I only charged 1 full hour of labor the first time, even though it took me longer. Now I just charge half an hour, even if it takes me 45 minutes.

I’ve heard some people like to charge extra for things like “preparing metal door” and then add labor on top of that. I don’t really feel that is an honest way to do it. Maybe it is though, maybe I’m thinking about it wrong because I’m just a guy who works at the shop, maybe the owners here charge like that because they know everything costs money, like that hole saw you just dulled on the door.

Let’s say that new deadbolt needs to be keyed to the customer’s current key. Do you install the deadbolt up to the point where you would normally be removing the lock to rekey it and then stop your stopwatch, go rekey the lock, return and resume the stopwatch, and then finish installing the new lock? That’s kind of how I do it. Probably a better idea to get everything keyed the way it should be before starting the installation though…

What about when you are replacing hardware? Say you are directly swapping one old knob for a new knob. Do you charge labor for that? I don’t really like to because I would have had to basically remove the whole thing to rekey it anyways.

What about when you are doing like 10 rekeys on a property, but then there are little things that need to be done to get everything to work properly? This strike needed to be adjusted, this knob was on upside-down, this latch wasn’t working properly, so you had to test and replace it, etc., etc.?

Basically I’m just trying to get a feel for what the most honest way of charging labor is.



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