SFIC cores are a type of interchangeable lock. An operating key opens the door and a special key called a control key removes the lock core from the the lock itself – without needing to disassemble the lock.

The ability to remove the new old lock and put a new one in has several advantages. 1) a property owner can rekey their on locks instantly. 2) the locks are high quality and very hard to pick 3) the keys are not easily to duplicate. 4) it takes a lot less time to switch over a large facility, say, 30 plus doors.

Some people find it hard to understand how SFIC locks work. That makes sense until you demonstrate it. It almost looks like magic.

While thinking about SFIC systems I realized something interesting. Traditional keys offer savings but you need a locksmith to change them. Electronic Access control is more expensive but users can add and eliminate users quickly. SFIC systems are really the middle ground between these two systems.

“Please submit a proposal”

“Could you provide an estimate?”

“How much will it be?”

We’re asked all the time by our Cleveland neighbors to provide pricing information for locksmithing, access control, and security cameras. There are a few reasons why it’s often times complicated to provide an exact price. We’re not trying to be obtuse and hide pricing – it’s just more complicated than most would imagine and there are several reasons why.

Pricing Approach – materials versus labor: Some people will charge $100 for a part and $100 for labor. Some will charge $200 for the part installed. The result is the same price. There is some psychology involved. Some people don’t mind paying for materials with a manufacturer warranty and installer gaurentee but don’t like paying for labor. Some people don’t want to pay more for a part than they can get it online for and don’t mind paying for labor. It’s tricky to make everyone happy. But we strive to provide competitive pricing that’s fair and transparent.

It costs $100 on Amazon: Yes it does. However, ordering the product, doing the invoicin, accounting, opening up the package, disposing of the packaging materials and preparing to install it can easily take half an hour. That’s not including actually installing it, testing it, and putting our name on it with a warranty.

Apples to Oranges: The other company was $200 cheaper. Maybe. Are all the products exactly the same? Do they have the specialized tools and training to install it correctly? What kind of warranty are they providing? If they find something needs a 5 minute fix or adjustment will that do it and bill extra for it? Are all of the consumable products (wire, connectors, cat5 cables etc) quality UL rated products?

Just Come and Look at It: At Lock Alchemy Locksmiths & Security we love doing site visits. It’s great to come out and meet people in person. Get an in-person view of what we are qouting out. Unfortunately, some people have ruined it for everyone. Some people like having service workers come out to give specific product information and try and buy them and install them on their own. Part of our service is designing a system. We won’t come out and qoute smaller jobs. It’s just not time or cost effective. We will provide over the phone/email/text qoutes though. We qoute it and we stick to it. This often time doesn’t work in our favor and we do an extra hour of labor. We’re okay with this because it’s the best way to fairly and efficiently take care of customers. Of course we do site visits for larger projects at no cost. We’ve found that this balance works for us and our customers.

Hourly versus per Job: At Lock Alchemy we are a results based company. Opening a door may take 5 minutes and installing a difficult cameras may take 5 hours. Either way we price things out by the job / result. This transparency allows us to know what we’re getting into and for the customer to know. No surprises!

Tiers: Option A, B, & C. We try to provide various options and price points for our clients and educate them about the differences between different options.

How to Evaluate Qoutes: The other company was cheaper so we’re going with that. Look at the cost, the quality of products, the level of professionalism, and the total cost of ownership. A difference of $200 in a qoute can easily be eclipsed by additional work costs, frustration of call backs, and total cost of ownership (contact fees, licensing fees, replacement parts etc.)

Harder than we thought? We agree. Pricing out work is a necessary part of our company and we strive to make it as painless, transparent, and fair as possible. Reach out to us for any proposals or bids you’d like for your next locksmith, door, security camera, or electronic access control project!

The proliferation of smart locks, DIY, alarms, Wi-Fi Cameras, and DIY home automation kits have had a huge impact on the industry. Many people think that The DIY market is cripplingly traditional manufacturers and installation companies. It has impacted some but it’s actually been a help for most. Many customers see items like smartlocks or cameras and want them. They might do a little research and find out it’s harder to install than they thought or the products don’t have the features they want it need.

Product selection fatigue is real. There are more products every day that have different models, price points, features, and limitations. Researching the perfect product can be extremely time consuming. Online retail reviews can be fake, positive because they meet their needs, negative because they didn’t meet their needs, or negative because the person installed the product incorrectly. Online reviews are helpful but real world experience with the same product in different applications is something you aren’t likely to find online.

Manufacturers are smart and have huge advertising budgets. Professional video editing and sped up installation can set consumer expectations high. Anyone who’s watched online tutorial videos knows installing things is never a easy as it seems. “Simple” repairs can become frustrating and time consuming if one it two things are different.

If a consumer product is $100 and a commercial product is $500, do you really think they are the same in durability, function, and reliability? Are companies really just that dumb? Nope. Not everyone needs commercial grade equipment but believing they are comparable isn’t wise.

Here’s some example. A consumer grade smart lock is $50-200. The door must be prepped appropriately for the lock to work. Most of the times, especially in newer homes, there aren’t major issues. A standalone trilogy alarm lock unit retails for about $300-400 and requires fairly extensive installation which includes drilling additional holes in the door. Holding a consumer smartlock and a trilogy lock you’ll notice a huge difference. First off, the trilogy weights a lot more, everything is metal, and the quality and finish are noticable even to a novice.

Another example would be a ring doorbell versus a skybell or even a Hikvision smart doorbell. There’s only a $50 price difference or so but they’re do much better. Why aren’t the skybell and other professional doorbells more popular then? A lot of that is marketing. Nest and Ring have huge advertising budgets. Many people still call us to n install them. Especially if they have an usual door set up. Knowing exactly how and where to set up a doorbell is also something that comes with practice.

Here’s yet another example. Arlo security cameras. Battery powered sand WiFi. Sounds great until you realize you need to go in a ladder 3 times a year to grab the battery to charge it for 6 hours. Also, many home networks aren’t set up to provide a good WiFi signal to the exterior of the home. NEST cameras have the same WiFi issues. However, they do have AC power adapters. Getting an AC power adapter in an attic and our of the house to a security camera while maintaining water proofing is not something most home owners are interested in. Upgradable, rugged, quality, reliable, and brand agnostic IP cameras seem more appealing even considering the higher initial cost.

We here at Lock Alchemy always believe in people’s ability to complete work. We’re not saying it’s impossible for the average home by owner to make a passable installation and save money. We are saying we know what to purchase, where to get it, how to install it, maintain it, and service it – correctly.

DIY systems have done a lot of advertising for us. They’ve also done a lot of consumer mis-education. Many people think that they can buy off the shelf camera systems and everything is going to work out with an easy installation – so why would I pay that much money for someone else to do it. Call, email, or text us and we’d be more than happy to give you a run down if options for smart locks, electronic access control, security cameras, and home security systems.