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Terminology We Use

A lot of the time I spend on the phone with customers is spent determining exactly what it is that they want to have done. Many times, it is much different than what they originally request.

A common call will sometimes begin with the caller saying "I need to have my car re-keyed." If I were to take the request at face value, that would mean removing all of the locks from the car and changing the physical combination (or key code) to a different code, then creating new keys to match and re-installing the locks in the vehicle. Chances are, the person has lost the key for the car and simply wants a replacement key so that they can drive the car. There is a big difference between the two procedures both in cost, and time and materials required to do each job.

Other times, the caller may just say "how much is a key for my car?"

This could mean two different things. The caller could need...

A duplicate key that they currently have in their possession

A key made from scratch to replace a lost or stolen key, but they do not have an existing key to copy from.

Again, two very different things in both procedure and cost. A duplicate of an existing key is in most cases quick and easy. A "Fit", creating a key without the benefit of having an existing key to copy from takes more skill and time, and therefore is more expensive.

When we are putting together an estimate for the cost of services, we need to know what it is that is needed in specific terms. Over the years we have become pretty good at asking the correct questions to determine what is needed, but the more questions we need to ask, the longer we need to spend on the phone, rather than getting the job done. We have all day, but many times a caller will be under pressure less than patient with all our questions. By familiarizing yourself with some of the terminology below, you can save yourself some time, and us as well.

Duplicate Key:An exact copy of a key that you have currently in your possession.

Fit a key: Creating a key when you have lost or otherwise have no existing key available.

Re-Key: Changing the locks on a vehicle so that the original keys no longer work, and providing new keys that do work.

Extract:  Removing a key that is stuck in a lock or has had part of it broken off.

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