When most people think of a locksmith, they think of someone who picks locks for a living. While this is part of the job in the case of an accidental lockout, a locksmith does a great deal more than that. A locksmith career can be a very exciting and rewarding one.
What Does a Locksmith Do?
A professional locksmith often deals with locks. If your keys are stolen, a locksmith can change the locks for your protection. If your lock is no longer locking, or is very difficult to unlock, a locksmith can repair the lock. An experienced locksmith can also install door closers, and cut various types of keys. Professional locksmiths also know the fire regulations when it comes to doors and their locking systems. They can usually repair a door when it is not opening and closing properly, up to fire code. Knowledgeable locksmiths also know how to change the combinations in safes. My sources tell me that forgetting a safe combination is a number one reason for a phone call. They recommend buying a biometric safe such as this one to help prevent the need for a locksmith service charge. However, the flip side is also true – as this gun safe review article states there are many safes that are too easily compromised.
Basic Skills Required to Be a Locksmith
There are a few basic skills necessary in becoming a locksmith, and not all of these skills are learned, they are qualities which an individual posses.
Good customer service: Being able to deal with customers is extremely important when you are a locksmith. Customers may be angry that they have lost their keys, or that their locks do not work. Being able to deal well with various personalities is necessary in this field.
Positive attitude: As with any job, a positive attitude is necessary for a productive career.
An aptitude for learning: There are many different aspects to learn when working to become a locksmith. Having the ability and the desire to learn is very important.
Becoming a Locksmith
When you have decided to pursue a career as a locksmith, there are a couple different ways that you can get the training you need. Once you have received the training, there are a few tests that you can take to become certified.
Apprenticeship: Being a locksmith’s apprentice is one way to get the training that you need. As an apprentice, you would learn on the job from a qualified locksmith.
Correspondence courses: There are various correspondence courses that you can take to learn how to be a locksmith. While these courses can be very informative, it is a good idea to seek apprenticeship as well.
Exams: After you have completed your locksmith training, you can take a test to become a Certified Registered Locksmith. After you have passed that test, you can move on, and take the test to be a Certified Professional Locksmith. In order to gain the highest level possible, you must pass the Certified Master Locksmith exam.
The average salary for a locksmith is $45,873 a year. The actual salary you would make annually would depend on the state you live in, and the company that you work for. If you work for a company which offers twenty four hour service, you could make a great deal more money after regular business hours.
Starting Your Own Business
Once you have passed your locksmith exam, and you decide to go into business for yourself, there are several steps that you should take.
The first thing that you should do is become familiar with the legal requirements in your state, such as bonding, licensing, insurance, and certificating requirements.
Get formal locksmith training, and give yourself the time to strengthen your skills.
Before you open your business, you should practice your skills by doing jobs for free for friends, family members, and work needed in the community.
Choosing a specialty is good for marketing. While you will most likely do jobs in all areas of the job, choosing a specialty to market your business is a good idea.
It is necessary to purchase the tools and supplies needed to complete various types of jobs. A good kit would contain a generator, key duplicator, re-keying kits, lock pick sets, code cutting machine, and lockout kits.
Finding a good location with plenty of room and parking is a good idea.
Having a vehicle with your business logo gives your business a professional look, and is also good for advertising.
You need to decide if you want to run a one person business, or hire employees. If you choose to hire employees, it is important that they are licensed and bonded.
Setting your prices is necessary. You should look at what other companies are charging to give you an idea as to what you are going to charge.
Building your business through word of mouth works. When you do a job, request referrals.
Networking with other businesses is a good way to help your business thrive.
Placing an advertisement in your local directory is a good way to get your name out there. You can also create a website with your services, hours, and pricing. Make sure that you are also listed on Google Places, Yelp, and Mapquest so that customers can get correct directions to your office.