Actually, for those that have completed a professional certificate program, either through an online opportunity or through a local community college, most Locksmiths usually do become self-employed. Locksmithing can be a lucrative small business, however, there will be some start-up costs and other miscellaneous expenses to consider before taking the plunge into small business ownership.
Most importantly, you will need the proper training. Certificate programs are available, which enables you to proficiently learn your skills. An apprenticeship opportunity will provide additional training to ensure that you are ready to successfully operate your own business. If additional experience is needed, volunteer to install locks for your family and friends.
Automobile lockouts will contribute to most of your business, however, in addition, you may want to choose a specialization such as, in residential applications or in the areas of commercial installs and repairs. If you are really ambitious, why not do it all?!
After you determine your intended area of expertise, please consider the regulations that your state may require of you.
- Is licensing and bonding required?
- Is insurance required to protect your customer, as well as, yourself?
- Although a formal education for locksmithing may not be required, does your specific state require it?
- Do you need a professional certificate as proof of your training?
All good points to consider before investing your money in a small business.
With your training and legal aspects taken care of, now you are ready to set up shop. More points to consider: Do you intend to work out of your home? And if so, does your neighborhood or homeowner’s association allow that? Perhaps you need to rent a workshop and office space. You will need enough space to repair locks, store extra repair parts, in addition to, an office area to conduct financial matters. When choosing a workspace, please consider the possibility of expansion. As your business grows, you may want to consider adding on additional Locksmiths, an Office Manager and a Dispatcher. Will you have ample space to accommodate other employees, if needed?
You will need to purchase the equipment needed to do a good job. Of course, if you can, the most up-to-date tools and technology that is available will help you to do your job most efficiently. Always buy your equipment from reputable vendors and check reviews from others who have already made a purchase.
Tools needed may include:
- Key Cutters
- Router drills
- Key extractor
- Plug Spinners
- Electric pick guns
- Locksmith hammer
- Mechanical and computerized picks
- Router drills
- Tension wrenches
And, advanced tools such as:
- Specialized tools like automotive lock picking tools or safe cracking tools
- Key Decoders
- Lock bypass tools
- Drill jigs and guides
Excellent service after the sale is very important.
For off-site jobs, you will need transportation. Most Locksmiths enjoy the convenience that a van provides. You can keep your extra parts and tools in the dry and handy, always. Stay organized with shelves and storage bins. You will want your company name and phone number prominently displayed.
Now, you have your space and equipment in place, but:
- Do you have a financial plan in order?
- Have you determined the pricing for your services?
- Do you have a budget for inventory, equipment and advertising?
If not, you should do this as soon as possible. Sticking to a financial plan will ensure your success.
Always do a good job! Word of mouth advertising can make you or break you. Positive referrals will help you grow your business exponentially. Today’s technology allows potential customers instant access to your business name and phone number, as well as, customer reviews… the good and the bad! Determine the best type of advertising that is relevant in your area. You may also want to consider attending home and garden shows to showcase your talents and products. And, without a doubt, it is helpful to join your local Chamber of Commerce and stay involved.
Whenever possible, attend networking events to promote your business, keep up with the latest technology and training, in addition to, associating with other small business owners and Locksmiths in your area. If you are interested in this trade, please see our list of Best Online Schools for Locksmithing Diplomas.