Information on Locksmith training, certification, licensing, and operating a business.
I was in the same boat about January 2004. No one would hire me in the mom and pop shops we got here. So I signed up for the Foley Belsaw Course, got through it and bought some basic tools and manuals. In this area, the main jobs you get is Car openings and rekeying. Very seldom a home or business lockout. Some people in other areas from what I understand, make a living on just lockouts alone. So, I put out a few business cards out and some ads about 2 months ago and are starting to get a few calls. I base what I am going to learn next on how many calls I get for a particular job request. I also am going to a seminar next week on â€“ Basic Electricity, small IC Cores, and Auto Key Making in 10 minutes or less. And also Life Safety Codes. I read everything possible on Locksmithing. I think you could get into the trade with this course if you got the right motivation. I donâ€™t take any job I donâ€™t feel comfortable with. Turning down jobs also will motivate you to learn more. In our phone book there are about 25 locksmiths. I have never seen hardly any of them out on the road. There are 2 major locksmiths who you see all over the place. I am not sure what the rest of them do. I also looked in the phone book to see what services they offer. I am going to go after and push CCTV, which not one of the other locksmiths even mentions they do. Also I am researching some residential and commercial keyless entry locks to try to push. I want to find my niche I guess. I am going to be completely mobile. When my truck isnâ€™t on the road doing jobs, it will be on the road talking to potential customers. I know this is Lockpicking101, but most of my questions in the forums will be unrelated to picking. So far, I have had to pick only one lock. My point is before I ramble any further, is I know what my limitations are, and I am going to go after what I can do hard, and not worry about what the other locksmiths are doing. I will keep learning in the process and hopefully one day be fulltime.
- Posts: 61
- Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:06 pm
- Location: Gulfport, MS
Yup, good posts and points all.
I, too, will speak briefly in defense of the "ma & pa" shops of the world because as of right now, I'm a one-man operation. I, too, could not budget for a second helper because at this point I don't have enough work for myself, let alone another employee and all the costs that surround that.
Some of those "ma & pa" shops are that way just because that's the way they want to be. They are not necessarily business hungry people looking to expand and incorporate. They are satisfied with the business they have and the clientele they serve, so don't get harsh on 'em when they say "no."
If you'd like to go to work for a smaller, one or two person operation, here's what I would like to see in a potential employee, and would have to give serious consideration to:
Someone who not only knows a little about locksmithing, but is will to go out into the public and SELL! Locksmiths quite often are NOT salespeople (I'm still working on that) and more often than not salespeople do not have a sniff about locksmithing. If you can bring both to the table when you go to job-hunt, heck, I'd probably hire you myself.
Last edited by Varjeal
on Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
*insert witty comment here*
- Posts: 2936
- Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2003 4:05 am
- Location: Western Canada
Chucklz wrote:I have an idea for you. You are at college. Colleges have locks, and probably at least a few locksmiths. Why not see if you can get into some of that work?
Exodus5000, Chucklz has a great idea there, perhaps you can talk to the maintenance superintendent/supervisor and work out some arrangement.
I don't work, I participate.
- Posts: 149
- Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 7:28 am
- Location: Maryland, U.S.
When I started as a locksmith I ended up working almost 5 months as an unpaid apprentence doing work that the others got paid for, for free. But, they taught me EVERYTHING, I read everything they had in the shop, in this trade it is very important to read anything on the subject you can get your hands on. They said I took up impressioning faster than anyone ever has in their experience training people.
One thing to avoid, dont talk about picking into homes, playing with locks on other peoples doors, etc. when I started all I said was that I had some mechanical drafting skills, was a college student, and was willing to train for free provided I had free axcess to their library of information. so I read about 40 books, all 26 books on lock manipulation (a-z) and several on auto locks etc. now they pay me 50% of what I make on a call so it isnt that bad a profit
its probobly more than you could expect to make as a college student, plus you set your own hours.
Some things you might want to tell them is that you see it as a job that you can take with you anywhere as a fall back, that as population and crime increase your bisnuess will increase
and that when the economy drops (and crime rises) you will be one of the few that still make good money. If you have tried to pick locks before, tell them but be VERY careful when it comes to the law. Dont talk about anything fringe (eg. psudo legal or offensive) for about a week after they accept you.
Something else, realize you do NOT know everything, and treat everything as if you were learning it from scratch take time and great care to watch everything they show you, then try it yourself 50 times+ till you get it right every time you go in and sit down and try it. Things like impressioning are like that, you really need experience to get it consistantly and get it right.
Society creates the crime, the criminal completes it
- Posts: 122
- Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:38 am
I'm hardly in the learning phase of things yet. But with me already having a small business that I have owned for almost 10 years now I wanted to diversify and add something new. I should get my F-B course soon.
In the meantime I contacted a few construction contractors that are customers of mine now, they thought it was a great thing to get in to. Only one locksmith here makes house calls. All the rest never leave their shops. There is only 4 here total anyway.
They are going to help me in the learning side. When a sub looses a key to a house, wood yard etc... the locks have to be changed, when they dismiss a sub, the locks have to be changed.
The locks on the house are their locks until the house is finished then they are replaced.
If I want to get hands on during/after the course, come to where they are building and I will be given a list of everything that needs to be done and I can pick what I need to learn or do, re-key, pick etc. as much as I want. Even if I really mess it up to not worry, they have someone they use right now that can be brought out. If I can do it, it will save them money, if I can't it doesn't cost them any more letting me try.
The only thing is they do not pay for labor when I'm in the training/learning stage of things.
Sounds like a good win, win, learn and learn with an actual hands on training and have the chance to make money in the end from a customer we already know.
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- Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2004 5:04 pm
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