Key cutting machines provide duplicate keys in a matter of minutes. Many businesses have key cutting machines located somewhere in their business site. Customers present the key that they want to have copied and the machine can make a duplicate either by using a computer analysis of the original key or by another method. There are many different types of key cutting machines that can cost from around $400 up to $10,000. The more expensive types of machines are often found in large hardware or home improvement stores where many customers have keys made each day. Businesses that have only occasional demands for keys usually invest in a much less expensive model.
Automatic key cutting machines are the most convenient type to have in a business. They are also the most expensive models to own. The operator only needs to put the key into the machine and the shape of the key is traced automatically. Within seconds, a titanium blade cuts out the shape in a blank key. Other types of machines that are referred to as semi-automatic use the same method to trace the shape of the key, but high speed cobalt steel is used to cut the new key into the proper shape. Manual key cutting machines were used years ago and are still in use in older businesses. Making keys with this type of equipment requires the operator to form much of the shape of the key and to check each section to be sure that it is cut properly.
Those who want to start a side key cutting business may want to consider buying a used key cutter. Even used machines can cost a lot of money, and considering the low price that a customer pays for a replacement key, businesses need to make a lot of keys even to recoup the cost of the machine. Some older models can be found for around $350, and most of these are for cutting keys in manual mode. Business owners need to consider the cost of training an operator for the machine. If a clerk or other employee does this, the potential machine owner should also consider who will wait on customers if the clerk is busy making a key. It is possible to get a used automatic key cutting machine for about $1,000.
Locksmiths often own a key cutting machine since it is an important part of their business. Most locksmiths find that an automatic machine saves them time that they can use to earn more money when they need to pick a lock or install new locks somewhere. Putting a machine into a locksmith business or starting a side key cutting business is a smart move since keys are needed for almost every type of business. Residential customers may not require new keys to be made often, but car dealerships often do need duplicate keys to give those who buy new cars. If a business is able to get business clients who have large orders, the key cutting machine can be a very good investment and addition to an existing business. There are numerous other businesses like hotels, laundromats, schools, stores, shops, and restaurants, and many others who often need duplicate keys made.
Replacement parts for key cutting machines that are routine are blank keys and lanyards to sell with the new keys. Since all machinery eventually requires replacement parts, there are websites that sell all of the parts for common brands of key cutting machines. There are cutting wheels, nylon brushes, wire brushes, adapters for cutting, and other parts. Companies that sell replacement parts also often sell key rings, key racks, and special designer keys in colors or with images on them. They may also sell antique style keys for old skeleton locks.