Over a year ago, Phila-Locksmith detailed how the convenience of Uber’s mobile application could be utilized for locksmiths. Enter LockedOut, a mobile application which operates in the same way that Uber does, created by Ray Wang. For those unfamiliar Uber allows for a user to request a driver, similar to a cab, to their location while also tracking the GPS location of the driver and offering an accurate estimated time of arrival (ETA). For anyone waiting for a locksmith, having an exact location and ETA would be extremely beneficial in deciding which service provider to choose. However, there are serious hurdles for LockedOut to overcome in order to be successful in a very competitive industry.
How LockedOut Works
In order to access LockedOut, the user would need a smart device which has the ability to use internet enabled applications. The user would download the application before they were in need of any service. Once the user is locked out of their home, or car, they would be able access the application and request a locksmith. In beta testing, LockedOut is offering a flat rate unlock fee which is $75. After you have agreed to the price and requested the locksmith, a map appears on the screen with the GPS location that your locksmith is currently at and a real-time ETA of when he will arrive at your home. All-in-all the LockedOut application seems like a perfect tool to fight price gouging and false wait times in the locksmith industry, however; there are some clear issues that the application will have to deal with before being viable against stiff competition.
The Drawbacks of the LockedOut Application
LockedOut is great in theory, but how successful can it be in challenging an already competitive industry? One of the first issues with LockedOut is inherent in the technological state which LockedOut exists. Since LockedOut is a smart phone application, the user would have to download the application to their phone in order to use it. If this does not happen before the user is locked out, they would likely call a locksmith using a more traditional medium. Since being locked out of your home, or car, tends to happen in unforeseen and unwanted times it is highly unlikely that the individual would want to download an application to their phone rather than calling a locksmith directly. Additionally, the flat rate cost of their lock out service could be another potential drawback. Despite the fact that many locksmiths charge much more than $75 to unlock doors, it will be tough to overcome the service call advertising of many locksmiths. Customers may see the $10 service call for the locksmith and opt for that choice over the $75 choice. Unfortunately for those individuals, it may end up costing much more for the $10 option than the $75 option. These are just a few of the minor issues that LockedOut will have to deal with in order to build brand recognition that would allow them to flourish as a lead company.
LockedOut seems to have a good idea going, however; industry competition will be a tough wall to climb in order to become profitable. It remains to be seen whether LockedOut will be able to compete as a mobile application against locksmiths who use other online methods to attract customers. The fact that customers are getting a verified professional with a GPS locator would surely be a benefit, but it will remain to be seen if customers will be attracted to an application which may only benefit them a few times per year.
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