Why aren't more of us locksmiths?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HilltopDaisy, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was thinking about this today. Is it a very expensive field to get into, as far as the equipment/training? I would think that it would be a good job for someone who wants their own business. I understand that it would be a pain in the butt to have to drop everything and go when the phone rings. What do you think? (I'm not thinking of a career change, just wondering).
     
  2. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think this is a good idea, especially if you have aspirations to becoming a spy.

    As for being called someplace at the drop of a hat, I think most times you'd be called to a home or business would be when they wanted to change the locks, in which case an appointment would be made.
     

  3. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I don't know why more of us aren't... but I'll tell you what... I consult to a manufacturer located in a small rural town. He owns a large piece of earth moving equipment which was manufactured in Switzerland. The other day an employee accidentally snapped the key off in the ignition. We got the key out, but then could NOT get it duplicated. The machine is smack in the middle of the lot, we need it, like yesterday, and it ain't moving.

    One of the employees knows someone who knows someone who is a locksmith from god knows where. He arrives at 7 pm on a Friday night and names his price.. it is pretty steep, but hey, it is Friday night during the holidays and the bloody machine is in the middle of the lot. Pay any price. Just fix it by tomorrow morning.

    He did, and walked away with a nice bonus from the manufacturer in gratitude. Nice profession. When you show up everyone is REALLY glad to see you!
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It would be good to suppliment some other income. I know one localy who has run a lock smith shop for over 25 years. His main income is from selling safes of all sizes. Many go to factories and retail stores. It takes an investment plus a few years to get a known reputation. His wife has a job. That's nessesary also.
     
  5. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess I was thinking mostly of the calls you'd get when someone locks their keys in their car. You'd have to be ready to go right that minute. There are 15 locksmiths listed in the phone book, and I live sorta near a big city. I guess there is enough work for all of them.
     
  6. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I looked into it about 10 years ago for my son. The nearest school was 50 miles away, it was a 1 year program, cost about $8,000 but included your start up kit. I think if you lived in an area with more than 1 locksmith, you could arrange to rotate after hours call with someone.

    Locking a child in a car in Florida can be a matter of life and death.

    I think it's a great career for a single mom, or anyone who wants a non traditional business.
     
  7. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    huh? the Police won't unlock your car for you?(or do they have to despatch a locksmith?)
     
  8. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    Police around here stopped helping people who locked the keys in the car.......reason? Because some people complained ( fill in sued) when their cars were damaged (paint scratched) in the process of opening it.

    Had a woman who locked her child in a running car, she left the kid's medicine in the daycare, went back to get it and locked the car (not thinking). Called cops, they said no can do, call a locksmith and by the way, we're giving you a ticket for child endangerment.They did sit there till the locksmith got there, just in case.

    All she had to do was cross the street and offer one of the busboys in a restaurant $20 to get into her car. Trust me........been there, done that. Beats paying a locksmith $75 for the call.
     
  9. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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    About 20 years ago, I locked my kids and my car keys in my car in a bad neighborhood (I laid my purse on the backseat floor while I put the kids in their carseats.) I went to a nearby gas station first, but they wouldn't unlock it for me, so I had them call the cops for me. The cop told me he wouldn't unlock it, I had to call a locksmith. I started crying hysterically and, guess what, he unlocked it. He had a little tool in his wallet for getting into locked cars.
     
  10. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    "and a woman who locked her child in a running car, she left the kid's medicine in the daycare, went back to get it and locked the car (not thinking). Called cops, they said no can do, call a locksmith and by the way, we're giving you a ticket for child endangerment.They did sit there till the locksmith got there, just in case."

    Umm that would be a "keystone cop" that wouldn't open the car, after all THEY'RE ENDANGERING THE CHILDS LIFE, by REFUSING to open door.
    and how would YOU get the ticket?
     
  11. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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    As it turned out she got a pass on the ticket. I'm guessing because they sat there till the locksmith came they were doing their job. Funny thing is most if not all squad cars have a slim jim (and not the meat treat) as part of the equipment, shucks.......even I have a slim jim. Won't do me any good though, it's in the trunk.......... :haha:
     
  12. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    We have locksmiths here, but a lot of unofficial ones as well. Our feed store has a slim jim and a local gas station will unlock your car for $20 any day of the week. My friend just went through this 2 weekends ago. Also, some auto repair shops have the equipment cause they make mistakes with keys too.

    By the way--the police connected her with the gas station guy.
     
  13. Nevada

    Nevada Voice of Reason Supporter

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    Actually understanding locks is an interesting (to me anyway) technology. I love learning about them. I look at lock picking the same way I look at computer hacking, you have to understand it to defend against it.

    A good way to get started is to educate yourself with free information online. A good beginner guide is the MIT Lockpicking Guide:

    http://www.lysator.liu.se/mit-guide/mit-guide.html

    Greg Miller offers more in-depth and practical information:

    http://www.gregmiller.net/locks/

    You may also wish to post lock questions in a forum similar to this furum. You can do that at Lock Picking 101:

    http://www.lockpicking101.com/

    Good luck! It takes an incredible amount of patience to learn the art of locks, but it is a very practical skill that may lead you to a career (hopefully in locksmithing, not lock picking!).
     
  14. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    I'm a lock smith, I have 36" bolt cutters and an 18volt cordless drill with tool steel drill bits. Oh yeah, I have several BFH's :haha:

    Ed
     
  15. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    I've known two locksmiths in two states. One locksmiths for an additional source of income along with his machine shop. The other started a towing business because the locksmith income wasn't enough. He eventually went into towing full time and sold the locksmith business.
     
  16. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    My first job was in a locksmith shop. Many of the skills I learned there I have used over and over. Our biggest advantage was we were in one of the worst crime neighborhoods in NYC. You can make money at it but it is like many other businesses. The service end on locksmithing is OK but the bread and butter used to be lock sales but thanks to mass retailers it's hard to make that bread and butter money.
     
  17. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    So are you saying big retailers like Wal-Mart are running the locksmiths out of buisness?

    BTW, I'm surpised Radioshacks are not in Walmarts, R.S. small sizes would really be Ideal as a good replacement for the electronics dept at Walmart.
     
  18. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Obviously big retailers like Wal-Mart aren't "running" locksmiths out of business. But there was a time when if you needed a lock you went to the locksmith and bought it, even a padlock, phone lock etc. This was a good part of the profit for the locksmith. Now you have so many mass etailers selling these items it's much harder for a small business such as a locksmith to make enough profit just on labor when there was a time when he sold the item also. Another thing that was a steady cash flow item for a locksmith was cutting keys which is now done at almost all mass retailers. Also remember Home Depot and Lowes as Wal-Mart isn't the only mass retailer. Many home improvement wharehouses also offer installation services.
    I worked in a locksmith shop in the early 70's. Locksmithing was no where near enough business to keep the shop going by itself even in a high crime area. We did auto glass, auto airconditioning, sharpening, reglazing and rescreening of home windows, and at one time lawn mower repair.
     
  19. LaDonna

    LaDonna Well-Known Member

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    How many times have you needed a locksmith?
    If the lock smiths depended on me they would all be out of work. I think most people use alternatives to lock smiths.