Own business: key making workshop


Key making is a business with a low entry threshold and high profits when there is flow. By investing 150 thousand rubles, you can earn more than 70 thousand rubles a month.

The provision of small household services to the population remains a popular business area. If you are looking for a simple business idea with minimal investment, then a key making workshop may be a suitable option. The idea is working, proven over the years, but not so common as to worry about competition. With the right organization, a workshop can become a stable and profitable business.

Local market analysis

Before you open a business, be sure to familiarize yourself with the conditions in which you have to work. This is what market analysis is for. With it, you will collect information about the industry and your competitors, which will help you in your future work.

At the stage of collecting information, study the market for the presence of competitive firms, determine the possible scope of work, evaluate the location of the workshop, familiarize yourself with the price level.

Assess the demand and earning prospects. There is always a demand for making keys, so the key maker’s workshop will not be left without work. Therefore, by opening his workshop, an entrepreneur can count on a stable, albeit relatively small, income.  

Evaluate the benefits of a business idea. Why should you choose this area? Why open a key making workshop?

  • the demand for such services is constant and does not depend on the season, holidays, etc.;
  • income from such activities, although small, but quite stable;
  • an initial investment of 150 thousand rubles can pay off in 3-4 months.
  • running such a business is quite simple and you can handle it alone;
  • risks are associated only with subjective factors (poor quality of service, wrong choice of location). It is much easier to manage such risks, which means they can be avoided.

Assess your options. Typically, key making workshops are opened by those who already have experience as a toolmaker. Despite the simplicity of the business, for the quality execution of orders you need to have skills. Then you will earn more. If you do not have such qualifications, you must undergo training.

The main secret of success is the right location. To do this, you need to choose a crowded place that is away from competitors. The main competitors are other private workshops. To succeed in this business and stand out from the competition, bet on a good location, fast service and competitive prices.

Registration of a key making workshop

Any business starts with registration. To do this, you need to choose a certain form of entrepreneurial activity and a taxation system. For a workshop for making keys, it will be enough to issue an IP, indicating the following OKVED code:

  • 28.63 – Manufacture of locks and hinges
  • 95.29.42 – Repair of metal haberdashery, keys, license plates, street signs

As a taxation system, you can choose the simplified tax system or UTII in order to submit a minimum of documentation and pay a minimum of taxes. Experienced entrepreneurs are advised to choose UTII in order to simplify the work with documents. Then you will have practically no accounting, because it is cash payment and UTII. Just note that the conditions for UTII in different regions are different, so you need to consider this option according to your specific conditions.

Also keep in mind: if you plan to use hired labor, then you must register with the off-budget funds of the PFR and the FSS as an employer. In the future, you will transfer insurance premiums for your employees.

This is the main package of documents that you will need. No more licenses and certifications are needed to make keys.

Location of the key making workshop

High foot traffic is the key to success for this business. 90% of customers search “blindly” and at the right time remember where they saw the nearest key making workshop.

Therefore, it is better to look for a room for a workshop in crowded places. This is:

  • areas near public transport stops, underground passages, shops.
  • premises near large markets, public institutions;
  • area in the shopping center.  

For a workshop, an area of ​​​​5-10 sq.m is enough. The main thing is that the master is comfortable. Key making machines are quite compact, but before choosing a room, you should decide on the equipment in order to take into account recommendations on the installation area of ​​each machine. 220 V power supply is sufficient for machine tools.

Renting a room can cost from 3 to 15 thousand rubles per month, depending on the city and the popularity of the place. But if you have capital, you can purchase a kiosk, where you can place a workshop. You will need 100-150 thousand rubles. This money is enough for a kiosk with an area of ​​2.5 × 3 m.

For the operation of the rented premises where the electric machines will be installed, an appropriate permit from the fire inspectorate is required. No more permits or licenses are required.

Key making workshop equipment

For high-quality and prompt service in the workshop, special equipment is needed. Different types of keys are made on different machines. There are combined and automated models on the market that are suitable for working with many types of keys. But such equipment costs an order of magnitude more expensive, so it’s cheaper to purchase three narrow-focused machines. Three will be enough to get you started:

  • Vertical machine. The cost is about 30 thousand rubles.
  • Universal machine. The average cost is 50 thousand rubles.
  • Key duplicator for intercoms. The average cost is 25 thousand rubles.

The market offers a variety of equipment manufactured in different countries. German machines are considered the highest quality, but they are quite expensive. The most budget option is Chinese-made equipment. But their quality is low. Therefore, it is better to purchase domestic equipment – this is the best value for money.

You will also need locksmith tools for work: files, screwdrivers, vise, sharpening wheels, gauges, a set of needle files, etc. The purchase of these tools will have to spend 10-15 thousand rubles.

To equip the workshop, you will need stands, a rack for receiving orders, and a desktop. And this is another plus of 10 thousand rubles to the initial costs. In total, the equipment will require 100-130 thousand rubles.

You will have to spend money on consumables – key blanks. At the start, you need to stock up on blanks of various types in the amount of 10 thousand rubles. Often blanks are sold in large sets, which will last you for several months of work. But here it is important to figure out which of the blanks you need, since different ones are suitable for each key and machine. To begin with, you can purchase the minimum sets of all types and in practice determine which ones diverge in the process of work.

To summarize: for the full equipment of the workshop, you will need capital in the amount of 120-140 thousand rubles.

Key making workshop services

If you do not know how to make keys, then there are several options to learn this. You can get a job as an assistant foreman and gain experience. Another way is to seek specialized training from machine tool manufacturers. The third, most expensive, but reliable option is to purchase a ready-made turnkey business. In this case, you will not only master the skills of a key keeper, but also receive valuable business advice. But you should not hope that a “ready-made turnkey business” is a guarantee of success. They will only give you the basics, but you will have to work with all this.

A key making workshop can provide a variety of services. Usually, masters are not limited to only one service. So the business is more likely to pay off. The main services are:

  • production of apartment keys;
  • programming “locks” for intercoms;
  • key recovery;
  • production of duplicate keys;
  • bulk orders for hotels and various institutions.

You can expand the scope of activities and offer additional services to customers. Their list is determined based on the skills of the master. How can a key keeper earn additional profit? Add as Services:

  • sharpening of knives, scissors, etc.;
  • repair of umbrellas, footwear, accessories;
  • watch repair;
  • emergency opening of apartments, cars, etc.

To provide additional services, you will have to buy additional equipment, but the profit from them will cover the costs. In addition, expanding the list of services will make the business more stable.

Workshop pricing question

Often, key-making workshops do not have a fixed price list. The client pays after the fact, and the price depends on the complexity of working with a specific order. On average, they pay 100-200 rubles apiece for making a duplicate key.

When determining the price for the work, the master must proceed from the fact that the margin from one key is 90%. Those. with the key cost of 10 rubles and the price of the finished work of 100 rubles, the master will earn 90 rubles.

Key Master: Is One Enough?

Usually the key maker is the entrepreneur himself. But with the development of the business, you can hire a qualified assistant or shift, because you have to work every day. The salary of a hired key keeper in the regions is about 15 thousand rubles.

Making a spare key is usually required urgently. If a person comes to your workshop, and it is closed, then the order will go to your competitor. Therefore, think over the work schedule in advance.

Here the question arises, which is more profitable? Save on the salary for an assistant or cut down on the work of the workshop, doing everything alone? There is no single answer, because in each case the result may be different. Only practice will reveal which option is the most profitable. But experienced entrepreneurs advise not to rush to hire staff. In the first months, the profit will be minimal – and it is not a fact that you will have money left to pay for the work of hired personnel. This is relevant only if you consider the workshop as an additional source of income and are not going to fulfill orders yourself. Then you will have to look for a qualified master.

How to advertise your services

The key making workshop is a specific business in terms of advertising. It does not require expensive marketing to attract customers. All that is bet on is a favorable location and outdoor advertising. At the same time, advertising for this business is extremely important. Since the workshop can only be profitable if a large number of people find out about it. What needs to be done for this?

  • Choose the right location;
  • Advertising in elevators is a budget but effective way;
  • Use outdoor advertising: signboard, portable pillar, banners, etc.;
  • Indicate the address of your workshop on various city portals and directories.

All other advertising will be ineffective and will bring you nothing but costs. Sometimes masters forget about one very effective method of promotion. This is quality work. Use good blanks and high-quality equipment, complete orders quickly so that word of mouth works for you.

How much can you earn making keys

The profit of the key making workshop depends on the number of customers. Since the price of the order is small, the entrepreneur will have to fulfill a lot of orders per day – only then will he be able to earn normal money. And here we have to repeat ourselves – place workshops in passing places. Such a point can serve 50-70 customers per day. With an average order price of 120 rubles, the daily revenue will be 6-8 thousand rubles. But in practice, it turns out that a more realistic and achievable amount is about 4 thousand rubles a day. With a 5-day work schedule, you can receive revenue in the amount of 80-100 thousand rubles per month.

To calculate net profit, let’s define expenses:

  • The cost of blanks is 10 thousand rubles;
  • Room rental – 8 thousand rubles;
  • Tax – 6 thousand rubles

Thus, our net profit for the month is: 80,000 – 24,000 = 56,000 rubles per month.

Please note that you should not expect such a profit before 2-3 months of work. People should get used to you, advertising should give the desired effect over time. At the very beginning, most of your customers will be people passing by.

Now let’s calculate the payback period of the initial investment. To open a workshop, you will need capital in the amount of 150 thousand rubles. This money will be used to purchase equipment, register a business, purchase consumables and pay for the first month of renting the premises.

Payback period: 150,000 / 56,000 = 2.7. That is, to recoup the invested funds, it will take 3-5 months. These are quite optimistic figures.Return on investment: 56,000 / 150,000 = 37.3%. This level of profitability for a small workshop is a good result.

If you are planning to develop a business, then you should think about opening several outlets in the city. 3-4 workshops with a good location will allow you to earn decent money and minimize risks. But in this case, you will have to look for qualified craftsmen and add labor costs to the costs. However, all costs will pay off in a few months.

Key business risks

When planning a business, be sure to take into account the risks that you may encounter. If you know about them in advance, you can take action. And this is much cheaper and easier than fixing problems in the future.

Key workshop risks:

  • location errors. Since the right location is the key to the success of this business, the wrong location can ruin the whole thing. To prevent this, analyze each potential point. Decide who your target audience is and choose the places where it is concentrated;
  • intense competition in the area. If there are competitors, you will lose orders and, accordingly, profits. Therefore, when choosing a location, consider the proximity of competitors. It makes no sense to open next to another workshop. But no matter how you win with the place, there will still be competition in the market. To fight it, offer favorable prices, fast service, quality work. Earn the trust of customers – and then it will be much more difficult for potential competitors.
  • In order to open a key business and make money on it, you need to be a specialist in this field and have certain skills.

In custody

A key making workshop is a business that is suitable for a novice entrepreneur. The activity is quite simple and non-capricious, especially for someone who already owns the skills of a key keeper. The workshop has an average rate of return – net profit per month is 50-70 thousand rubles. For a business with a starting capital of 150 thousand rubles, this is an excellent indicator.

To increase profits and make the business more stable, it is recommended to provide additional services. Now there are often workshops in which you can make a key, repair shoes, and sharpen a knife.

In the future, it is worth considering the possibility of opening several outlets in the city in order to expand the business. Despite the opinion of skeptics, such a simple and old service as making keys is still relevant and, if properly organized, can bring good income.


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