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How to Begin Your Career as a Locksmith
So you’ve completed your locksmith education and an apprenticeship, and you are wondering how to actually establish yourself as a locksmith and begin a career. You have two general options. The first is to open your own locksmith business, which entails such moves as getting business permits, marketing and purchasing locksmith supplies. The second option is to work for an already established locksmith. Here is a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Open a Locksmith Business
Few things are as exhilarating as owning your own business. You have the freedom to select your niche and your hours, and to guide your business to the exact size you want it to be. Downsides include a risk that your business will fail, but a solid business plan and realistic expectations help counteract some of that risk. The research for a business plan incorporates considerations such as your niche, areas of need in your community, how many competing locksmiths you expect to have and what would make your offerings unique. It should also include financial considerations such as how you will pay for marketing essentials such as a website as well as how you will pay for equipment.
Locksmith niches include a focus on vehicles or houses/businesses, and whether you might specialize in safes as opposed to keys. Other ways to specialize are by your hours, for example, offering 24-hour, round-the-clock support. Some locksmiths work with businesses (or homes) only, focusing on security concerns as a whole, including alarms.
The locksmith supplies you need depend on your niche. For example, an automotive locksmith needs a handheld scope. That said, common locksmith supplies include rekeying kits and blank keys. Rekeying tools include key gauges, plug followers, space and depth keys, and lock lubricants. You can find these and much more at CLKsupplies.com. Other locksmith supplies available here include lockpicks, drill bits, key extractors and practice locks.
Work for an Already Established Locksmith
The advantages of working for an already established locksmith include knowing to some degree what you are getting into. There is less personal risk in that you likely are not putting your own funds or capital into the business, and as you build up experience and client connections, you definitely have the opportunity at any time to open a locksmith business. If you are particularly skilled in one area such as customer relations or carpentry, you might also prefer to apply your skills to a larger and already established business rather than start your own.
Many new locksmiths choose to work for other people, such as hardware stores, door manufacturers or organizations that need full-time locksmiths, as they build experience. Later on, they may branch out to work for themselves.
Because many states require that locksmiths be licensed, remember to get that licensure. The website for the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) provides links to state licensing information. It also has the details on how to begin (or further) locksmith education and on convention opportunities. No matter where you work as a locksmith, joining ALOA is a wise investment.
Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, you help your career advancement opportunities by gaining expertise. Some credentials for locksmiths include CML (certified master locksmith), CMS (certified master safecracker), road service locksmith, safe technician and forensic locksmith.
New to the Idea of Being a Locksmith?
If you are only considering becoming a locksmith, now is a great time to do it. You can take many, if not all, of your classes online, if you so choose. ALOA provides educational opportunities, and a few schools throughout the United States offer locksmith programs. No matter the educational programs you are in, you should undergo hands-on training as an apprentice. Your future awaits!