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LockedOut – the Uber of Locksmithing: Good Idea or Not?

It’s on everyone’s lips, and it has become a model on which many start-ups are basing their new businesses. It’s hot, it’s hip and it’s trendy. So when LockedOut came up with their model, which was quickly dubbed as the “Uber of locksmithing'”, it garnered instant attention.

How Does LockedOut Work?

The creators of LockedOut went with a simple goal: Making it cheaper, safer and easier to find and use a mobile locksmith. You will simply download the app to your phone, track a locksmith and pay for your services all on the same, easy-to-use platform.

As with most new innovations, there are some people who comment on their website with negative slants against the company. However, Ray Wang expertly answers the questions and most often sways the dissenters. It seems like a startup with transparency and ethical values that inspires confidence.

So What’s the Problem with LockedOut?

It’s not really LockedOut that is the problem… The problem is that, as with Uber, there are copycats. Companies that try to duplicate the success of reputable inventors.

With Uber, they were able to provide an alternative in a highly regulated industry – or monopoly -, which was set up for exploitation. However, when you compare the two industries, the differences are alarming enough to show that it may not be such a good idea. Other important aspects to consider, include:

While people plan to travel, they do not plan on needing an emergency locksmith. Therefore, they may not see the value in wasting data on a locksmith app, even if they knew about it. The market is therefore relatively small.

The two industries have very different governmental restrictions. Usually, when hiring a locksmith, you want to use someone who has offered great service in the past.Becoming an Uber driver doesn’t require much more from you than simply driving your car as usual, but to deliver professional locksmithing services, you must be licensed and remain at the cutting edge of industry trends – an aspect that is hard for a company like LockedOut to regulate. That makes it harder for someone in an emergency situation to accurately assess the abilities of a locksmith.

It’s not as easy to track a locksmith’s work as it is to calculate the distance a car travels. In fact, many people have been conned by locksmiths advertising low rates and then doing a bait-and-switch, by telling the customer more work needed to be done for more money. LockedOut does have a $75 standard call-out rate for a lockout, but you never know what additional costs you may incur when a licensed locksmith decides to pull a scam.

It is easy to assess a bad driver, but not so easy to spot security flaws. Your family should feel safe and secure in your home and car, so it is important to know that you have hired the right locksmith. According to Ray Wang, nobody is allowed on the platform without an internal background check. New York City does not license anyone with a criminal record to become a locksmith, however, those laws differ from one state to the next, and even more between countries, when the app becomes available worldwide.

Lastly, LockedOut is currently only available on Apple devices, which further creates a smaller market for freelance locksmiths to reach their target market.

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