I travel pretty often to see client properties and help them improve and automate their operation.
One thing I get asked often is what I think of the August Smart Locks? Do they really work? Are they worth the money?
If you don’t have time to read this whole post, then I’ll quickly share with you that the August Smart Lock works well, it does have areas that need to be addressed, and it can actually facilitate you earning incremental profit from our guests.
Interested in the details? Let’s keep moving.
So up until two weeks ago, I had only two distinct angles of experience with the August Smart Locks.
First, I have personally used them as a guest on at least 6 of my Airbnb trips.
Secondly, many of my Airbnb hosting clients use the August Smart Lock on a variety of their properties, and they have provided me plenty of feedback.
Now it’s time for me to add the third angle to my repertoire…putting the August Smart Lock to the test in my own home.
I am going to walk you through my personal experience with the lock (the good and the bad), and I will even share with you a way to increase the ROI on this lock.
Let’s get started.
Unboxing & Inspection
Unboxing the August Smart Lock is just as exciting as opening your first iPhone!
The packaging is clean and simple, and there are visual-based instructions for installing your new lock.
Not all deadbolt door locks are the same, so August includes a few adapters to assist you with installation.
Before we put the lock on the door, let’s look at the smart lock itself.
The moment you pick it up, you feel its durability and strength. Some users say the lock is too big or that it looks clunky on the door.
I strongly disagree and here’s why.
The August Smart Lock is built to keep you, your family, and your stuff safe; so bigger and stronger locks are okay with me!
And, it doesn’t change they way the outside of the house looks, so who really cares? Look at this before and after picture below of the inside of the door. It’s really not that big.
Installing the August Smart Lock
After unboxing and inspecting my new gadget, it was time to install the August Smart Lock to my door, and see how well this thing actually works.
The entire installation can be done with just a Phillips screwdriver.
See the expanded picture below to see how everything goes together.
Looks simple enough, so I gave it a try.
I won’t say it was painless, but it was not difficult.
Amanda and I took turns between steps and as fast as you start, you’re done.
Pretty much anyone can install this lock if they just follow the instructions in the box; it’s literally only 8 simple steps.
The one part that I had to actually ‘think’ was when I chose the correct adapter and mounting plate for my door and lock. August provides a chart for you to figure it out quickly.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the installation, because here’s a video of a professional installation of the August Smart Lock that can give you everything you need to know.
If you have two locks on your door (one on the doorknob plus a deadbolt), then you may experience some unexpected lockouts. The August Smart Lock works on the deadbolt only.
I highly recommend replacing the bottom door knob lock with a blank handle that has no lock. Not every house has a bottom lock; so this practice is common. And that little dinky lock on the door knob does nothing…your deadbolt does the heavy holding.
Replacing the door knob is a cheap upgrade and it will make the Auto-Unlock/Lock feature much more useful.
You can get at least two common types of handles including the keyless knob and the mushroom handle as seen here.
If you don’t want to remove the bottom lock, that’s fine. Just do what you feel is right for your space and neighborhood.
The August Smart Lock will not work with a few types of locks including: Integrated Lock & Handle, Mortise, and Rim Cylinder. No worries. August does offer you access to their network of smart lock installers who can help you out if you have one of these lock setups or just don’t want to install it yourself.
August App & Lock Connectivity
Since I already have the August app installed on my phone, I had my girlfriend Amanda go through the process so I could experience it again.
Setting up your account for the August app is a bit more lengthy than other apps, but I believe this is rightfully so.
We’re dealing with security and access to your home and/or Airbnb listing. Spending 3 extra minutes (one time) to set up a secure account is well worth it for you and your guests.
Think back to when you first used Square, the smartphone credit card swiper. In the beginning it was a small hassle, but now it has improved the way we do business.
Setting up the smart lock in the app was easy. Turn on the lock, connect it to your phone with a few taps, calibrate it, and you’re ready to rock and roll.
Something I read about is that August plays nice with other big companies. The August Smart Lock directly integrates with your Apple HomeKit and Nest products. I don’t have either of those, but if you do, then you’re in luck.
What I am most happy about is the direct Airbnb integration. When guests book your space, Airbnb will send temporary keys directly to your guests for the length of their stay. Key exchanges don’t get much easier than that folks.
With the app, one thing I noticed is that sometimes I would have to open and close it to get the bluetooth on my phone to ‘talk’ with my lock. I could call this annoying, but it’s only takes 2 seconds, so I’ll let it slide.
Airbnb Pro Tip: Since it does take a few minutes to setup an August account, I highly suggest you message your guest a few days before they arrive and tell them to create their August account before getting to the front door of your Airbnb. Sometimes there’s bad weather when guests arrive, and the last thing they want to do is make an account and verify their credentials to get access to their space.
One of the nifty security monitoring features of the August app is that you get to see who has locked and unlocked the door and it’s time stamped. This is helpful if you want to check in and see when guests actually arrived or what time your cleaner actually ‘clocked out’.
Lastly, there is another feature on the August app called August Access where you can make an order with a service like Postmates and they can drop orders off in your home or Airbnb rental while you’re away. Sounds neat, but I didn’t take the time to try it out. Please leave a comment if you have been able to try this feature out.
Testing the August Smart Lock
Alright…the lock is on, the app is setup….now let’s do some testing!
Below are some of the features I tested and my feedback about each.
This is the basis of the whole product…does the magical app make the magical lock work?
Yes, it does!
And that first lock command you send from your phone to the lock…it’s almost enchanting to see the lock move.
The manual lock and unlock feature works well, but I noticed that since you don’t ‘hold and pull’ the door with a key (like normal), your deadbolt may not line up with the strike plate as easily.
There is an easy fix.
When closing and locking your door simply grab the doorknob, and pull or push as necessary to line up the deadbolt with the receiver.
If you have a lots of play or movement when your door is ‘closed’, then consider adding some weather stripping or purchasing a tapered deadbolt from the hardware store.
Checking Lock Status
Have you ever left the house and forgot whether or not you locked the front door? I’ve had that thought more than I’d like to admit.
Rest easy, August gives you the ability to check the status of your smart lock…but there’s one catch.
For this feature to work you will need the August Connect device which gives your lock relay access to a wi-fi connection via bluetooth.
I don’t have the August Connect in my own home so I couldn’t test it here at my house, but I have received feedback from Airbnb hosts that this does come in very handy. When you have a cleaner or service worker coming to your place, you can quickly make sure they locked up after they completed their task.
Some hosts say that it sometimes take a long time to get a response back from the server (1 min+), but oh well, it’s not the worst thing in the world.
Even if it is slow, you can ACTUALLY get the answer to the question, ‘did someone lock the door?’ if you’re patient.
Now did it really lock? There have been cases of false positives that the door appears to be locked on the app when it really isn’t…what gives?
This is most likely from poor calibration of your lock, so recalibrate your lock and this should hopefully fix itself.
It’s always good to follow up with whoever is going in and out of your space. If you experience false positives often, then remind your service worker or guest to double check that the door actually locked behind them.
I was not able to try this feature out directly, but I can only surmise that it’s not the specific reason why I would invest in this lock.
I’m sure it feels futuristic for your house to recognize its owner and open up automatically, but it has a narrow amount of use cases.
It seems like it would be useful in situations when you’re approaching your house with your hands full.
Something like you’re walking from the car with all the groceries in one trip…no need to fumble for a key because the smart lock recognizes you and you’re in. That’s great, but doesn’t happen often.
If you do choose to use the auto LOCK feature, just be responsible. I will always double check that my front door is locked when I leave. Again, encourage your guests to double check that the door is locked.
Living with the August Smart Lock
Amanda and I lived with the lock on the front door of our apartment for about a week and it worked out well for us. No major issues and the lock worked as I expected.
Installation wasn’t bad (you only have to do it once), and the lock made an interesting talking point when we had visitors come over this past week.
After using it, I believe it has the most value for spaces that have higher traffic from many people; lots of in and out like big families or an Airbnb rental.
In our home situation, just two young people in an apartment, we don’t really need it. It’s more of a luxury for us.
Now, if you’re the person in your group that always has the latest and greatest gadgets, then pick one up. We’ll see, maybe this lock will grow on me and I’ll love it.
Is the August Smart Lock Good For Airbnb Hosts?
If you are trying to provide the premium and unique experience for your guests, the August Smart Lock is a solid choice.
I love the integration they have with Airbnb because it makes delivering keys incredibly simple. Also, guests just love trying out new gear and seeing cool new gadgets while traveling; that’s part of the Airbnb experience.
However, August Smart Locks will not fully replace physical keys, rather they add flexibility and automate your current key exchange operation.
Why won’t it replace fully keys? Your guest may lose their cell phone, the battery may die, or they may not even have a smartphone. Things happen…that’s why.
That being said, you should put a spare physical key in a lock box near your entrance as a backup for your guest.
Improve the ROI on your August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock will run you anywhere from about $199-220 depending on where you purchase it. That’s a pretty fair price to me especially since it can help your earn some extra profit with this little trick I’m going to teach you.
Go get the August Connect, an August Smart Lock, and a deadbolt kit. Then attach the smart lock and deadbolt to and interior door; ones like the garage entry door or for a particular room in your home.
Now here’s how you make money.
For example, if you have an arcade or theater room in your Airbnb rental, you can charge guests for special access to this premium area of the property.
Maybe you have a garage full of bikes and pool toys…one tap and your guests have instant access to more fun!
Did you pre-purchase some event tickets or expensive party favors for your guest before they arrived, but they haven’t paid yet? Use a closet with an August Smart Lock to act as an ‘escrow’ for these high ticket exchanges.
You can collect payment through apps like HonorTab or Paypal, and unlock the room from the other side of the world with your nifty August Smart Lock.
My Final Verdict
I believe the benefits of August Smart Lock outweigh the potential issues that you may experience with it. And if you do experience any issues, you can easily remedy 99% of them if you just put a little thought into it.
The August Smart Lock is a product that all serious hosts need to consider purchasing, especially if you are looking to scale your operation to multiple units.
This lock is a seamless way to automate your key exchanges since it directly integrates with Airbnb. This buys you valuable time for more important tasks.
You don’t need to make the August Smart Lock your primary method of entry either.
Consider having August as a backup for when guests lose their keys. No more having to drive across the city to drop off a key at 2am; just one tap and they’re in.
For some hosts, this lock may seem like a high price tag item, but this is an investment in your business. The smart lock allows you to potentially earn more money with the strategy I gave you above, so for me, that alone is enough reason to definitely purchase the August Smart Lock.
Smart Locks are the future, and they are also TODAY for the hosts that are forward-thinking. Put this helpful piece of technology to work for yourself sooner rather than later.
Strengths of the August Smart Lock
- Direct Airbnb, Apple HomeKit, and Nest integrations
- Remote unlocking (with August Connect) for upselling amenities or special access
- Unlimited keys with records of who accessed the property and when
Weaknesses of the August Smart Lock
- Takes time to find the right closed-door position to line up deadbolt
- Phone app needs to be rebooted often
Opportunity Areas for the August Smart Lock
- Offer an all-in-one solution with tapered deadbolt for smoother locking
- Offer simple handles for bottom door knob replacement
You can get your new August Smart Lock today on the August Store or Amazon.com.
Let me know your experience with the August Smart Lock.
Please leave a comment below.