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How to choose a course avoiding the rip offs

Information on Locksmith training, certification, licensing, and operating a business.

Moderator: keysman

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Postby lockpick1968 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:57 pm

Foley is a good coarse to start with in the field of locksmithing if thats what your after..I got my start there, and there are several other locksmiths in this state that have been in business since Foley existed or longer. They have good technical help when you need it and have tried absolutely ever possible thing you can to solve your situation, call them and you will get to speak with a professional Tech (Lockie) and they will give you pointers to help you out.
8)
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Lockmasters Course

Postby Roger E » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:47 am

I was all set to sign up for the Foley Belsaw course, and then suddenly had the opportunity to attend Lockmaster Security Institute's two-week locksmithing course last month at the expense of my employer. I guess it's been previously discussed, but I thought I'd chime in about my experience.

I had spoken previously with an instructor there who told me that upon completion of the course you would be well-prepared to start up a locksmithing business, and I would have to say that statement was way too optimistic. However, it did provide a good, broad overview of the field, and I can't see how a mail-order course would be comparable.

They've got some top-notch instructors who provide personal attention, and I think the course is well worth the money. That said, it showed me how little being "certified" means. One student didn't attend a large portion of the course, and we later learned that she was provided with the final written exam and allowed to complete it outside of class. She arrived to turn it in as the rest of the class were taking the exam onsite. It served to show me that a piece of paper, even from a respected school, really means very little in locksmithing.
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Postby maxxx » Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:28 pm

My take is that there are so many ways to earn a living from locksmithing, I doubt there is a course wherein one size fits all.

Commercial locksmithing: narrow stile alum door locks, panic bars, closers.
Residential locksmithing: lockouts, change outs, rekey, upgrades.
Auto: Vats & transponders & remotes and lockouts.
Wholesale: you would need to know alot about locks to sell them.
Flea Market key cutting. Lots of money there to suppliment your day job.
Forensic Locksmith. Not steady but big bucks when it rolls in.
Corporate on site Access Control. Gotta love your own office and paycheck for reading the newspaper and drinking coffee.
Institution Access crontrol. School Districts pay huge bucks. Universities as well, and have a large staff of locksmiths.
Video monitoring. Somebody has to install and maintain the system.
Bank safety deposit lock work. usually on contract.
GSA safe tech. Including just a certified inspector.
Safe sales, installation and maintainance.
Locksmith school instructor.
Bio-metric access control specialist. Somebody has to tell the nerds how to install it.
Lock mfg. trainers and field reps.
Lock mfg. sales.

Point is, no single place or institution can offer training in this field. Best bet is to take a training program that can tell you day by day what the course of instruction is and who is teaching it, if they are an accredited institution with the state, yudda yudda.

Do your homework, before you write a check. There exists no place that will teach you everything. I would want a flesh & blood instructor so that I could say "hey wait a minute, I didnt get what you just said. Did you say you cant pick a GM sidebar?" And what does "drilling at 1 7/16" at 82 mean when the glass relock did whatever it did?". :wink:
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Postby jbraddi » Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:38 am

Hi, I'm living around London and wondering if any of you experienced locksmiths out there can tell me, if this sounds like a good way to go about entering this line of work.

1. I was looking at doing a three day course with the UKLA just to see what is involved. (Also has any one heard of the united kingdom locksmith association?)

2. I was then going to do a 5 day course with Walker Locksmiths (the one that advertised above!), as this is local to me and seeing as it is 5 days I could develop my skills further.

Finally I was going to undertak the 5 residential with the Master Locksmith Association, so I can get there approval.

Then I was hoping to get an appreticiship with a local company or maybe Timpsons for a a few years. If not I would work for myself as a 24 hr on call mobile locksmith until I could get employment with a company.

I know these two day courses are supposedly shams but do you think this is a good way to get into the industry?


Cheers for reading my stupidly long post.

James
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Postby lockey1963 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:22 am

If really thinking about a 2 day course then why not go with the firm that taught the guy that taught UKLA their 2 day course 3 years ago, thats right only 3 years experience, trained by matrix there letter of thanks is still on their site.

The guy who trained them all is ken at justlocks who has been going longer than 10 years.

UKLA are an unrecognised non locksmith association with no standing in the industry, MLA are still the No 1 for recognition followed by ICL who are knocking on the door and emerging as a good No2.

why waste money doing 2 seperate courses to learn the same thing ? and i guarantee you will be angry at what you wasnt taught from the 1st course.

stick with MLA or ICL , the MLA being the longest but most recognised route and the only exam process thats considered a qualification.

save your money and spend it where it can give you a chance of survival.
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Postby jbraddi » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:37 am

Cheers for the advice. Ive been trying to find out about the UKLA and glad I found the truth out..

With the ICL how many people are in each class? I emailed them but never got a reply.

Cheers for the advice, saved me a fair bit of money there.

Finally one more question, after the courses what would people recommend I do?

Cheers
James
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Postby lockey1963 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:49 am

Your chances of an apprenticeship are very very slim, but also pointless setting up without adequate advertising and investment budget.

The ICL do not run training classes, they use accredited trainers, one does strictly 1 to 1 the other does 1 to 1 or 4 trainees to 2 instructors.
If after training you need to email their training partners.

MLA have larger classes, but very good, but a much longer process, but worthwhile in years to come.

If after a taster as said , justlocks is about the most trusted of the short cheap and cheerfull courses and the only one of the short courses to stand the test of time.

safeventures do good NDE courses, as does chris belcher and mark francis at south west safe tools, though more specialist areas.

Timpsons may employ you as a trainee and put you through their training program.

don braiswood and dg supplyline do good upvc courses a must learn area not taught on any of the courses you mentioned, and of course carpentry skills are another area that needs to be learnt and not taught on the courses above.

If going for it, then forget 2 days and just go for the 1 x 5 day course with MLA or ICL trainers, if unsure and you want a taster then justlocks for this.

Failing that read through sites like this as plenty of good info here.
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Postby taylorgdl » Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:40 am

A couple of extra notes to the above:

MLA course (General Locksmithing) does not teach you any lock bypasses/picking on the first 5 day course.

http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/training/outline.asp

Chris Belcher and Mark Francis do not teach people that are not already locksmiths (as far as I'm aware).
It's all about the tension . . .
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Postby lockey1963 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:42 am

also worth mentioning that chris belcher only now offers training on his tool range.
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self taught

Postby rat eater » Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:17 am

I can tell you my experence, I ordered some disks from that school you are woundering about there fine if you don't know any thing about lockpicking, (if you get the disks for free) It took me 2 years to learn this skill alot I learned from this sight, some from cd's on lock picking from HPC. I talked to other locksmith, but there closed mouth for good reason. I read books etc. I plan to become Certafied with ALOA they have many good courses so... good luck
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Postby johnthelocksmith » Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:25 pm

I tried the Locksmith Video school and for the $65.00 and $6.00 shipping for a total of $71.00 for 1 Video CD which was only 44 mins. long. I would have to say that it might not be worth the high price. It is good quality stuff but to pay $71.00 for only a 44 min video CD. is kinda a rip off. He claims to have FREE LESSON give away every month and I entered in a few but all I got was a FREE TRAINING news letters about the same topics. Maybe, it was only that video that was 44 mins. but for what he charges I won't invest anymore money with that guy or his school.
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Re: How to choose a course avoiding the rip offs

Postby rich1977 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:20 am

Hi Guys....new to all this....want to get on a course and build up slowly, and maybe one day (with luck on my side) have a half sensible business.

There are loads of courses to choose from, some good, many bad...I know one or two to avoid like the plague...but has anyone heard of Island Locks from Middlesex...from the novice (that's me) point of view they seem ok.

Anyone agree or disagree with this?

Any suggestions for a good 2-3 day starter course that will prove to be a good start?

Thanks for your help! :D
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Re: How to choose a course avoiding the rip offs

Postby 79commando » Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:51 am

As you say there are loads of courses out there and also information as to who is good and who to avoid. The one thing that is missing are the customers. No end of training or money is going to help if your area is saturated with locksmiths and for locksmiths i mean; joiners, glaziers, general handymen, taxi drivers and the odd thousand labourers who have been laid off the building sites.
The majority of surviving locksmiths are kept going by repeat customers built up over the years. The new domestic market is dire with some guys getting less than 5 jobs per week.
As a rough guide work on it costing you about £10 per hour in tools, stock, insurance, advertising, fuel, van etc before you make a penny. You are going to need about £400 per week before you start paying yourself a penny.
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Re: How to choose a course avoiding the rip offs

Postby lockey1963 » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:23 am

i dont want to teach you to suck eggs, but have you thought this through fully, can you answer the following,

1) have you researched your area your market place and formed a business plan ?
2) looked into marketing and set a realistic budget ?
3) booked onto any business management courses, ie , running a business, marketing , bookeeping etc etc
4) have you found a niche market or decided what market you want to aim for
5) have you decided what area of the business you want to work in, ie general domestic or auto ?

These should be your first area of expense and thought, well before training, as the answers from here will give you info on what likelyhood of making even a modest living exists in your area, where openings exist, ie auto , safes etc, this allows you to seek the best training to suit your needs and business.

from here you now have to ask some practical questions;

6) what is your basic carpentry like ? if lacking very important training far more lengthy than lock opening training
7) whats you upvc fitting, toe and heel and repair skills like ? again a priority
8) if choosing auto , whats your electronics skills like ?

all of the above will generate more money than lock opening and changing, without basic carpentry the fitting jobs and lucrative burglary repair work will elude you, due to the popularity of upvc and ally, this is an area you definitely need to get trained in, well before you look at lock picking, and both carpentry and upvc take longer to learn than basic entry.

once these areas are sorted then its time to look at your entry and picking training, if you still see any opportunity in this industry, as lock opening will only form between 10% and 20% of calls you get , if you can only do this you wont last 5 minutes.
decide what you want from the industry and where you best fit in, then get the correct training in the correct order and improve your very slim chances of survival than if you have just done a 2 to 3 day course.

In all honesty a 2 to 3 day course anywhere will do very little for you and will in all honesty be throwing good money away, if intent on doing this, then choose a trainer whose trainees are doing well and still in business after 12 months, ask for references from your trainer.

if i had to suggest a route for someone it would be the MLA route, if this is unworkable and you have to go the private route, then id follow following;

don braidwoods 2 or 4 day upvc repair course in swansea 1st details at dawta
basic carpentry training
A good NDE course with a recognised specialist in this area

and before all of this proper research into your area and industry sector you wish to work in, as only 1 in every 100 new locksmith start ups survive 6 months even part time, you will need between 10 and 15k minimum investment to have any chance at all in reality.

im not trying to put you off, but see far too many casualties and upset people selling up their dream for pennies on ebay.

None of the 2 or 3 day courses will give you enough knowledge and ability to make it today, 5 years ago maybe but with over 2000 new starters a year and more if you include the part timers offering £20 openings and with only handfull surviving in an over saturated market place, only by carefull planning and proper structured training in the right areas can you hope not to be one of them.
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Re: How to choose a course avoiding the rip offs

Postby travispopalockmn » Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:00 am

hey guys you dont always have to go out and start your own. Who needs to reinvent the wheel. I know i dont. I am new to locksmithing 4 monthes old just a young guy trying it out. so far i love it! do you need to start your own or could you work for a company who knows what they are doing. Thats what i have done and they train me for no expence of mine. Take it slow nobody runs before they walk. If anyone is looking for a job look and live in the USA look up POP-A-LOCK you will like what you do. thanks for reading.
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