So you want to be a locksmith?

If it was as easy as pay a few hundred pounds, take a short training course and earn more money than a doctor, then doctors would be doing [locksmithing]! 1

Martin Pink, Rapid Locksmiths, Nottingham

The state of the locksmith industry is a poor one. Training houses are churning out hundreds, perhaps thousands, of new “locksmiths” every week. There are now estimated to be over 100 locksmith trainers in the UK 2, so you have to wonder where all those locksmiths are setting up, and where the mythical £1000+ a week is meant to be coming from.

If you are redundant, or leaving the forces, don’t bother becoming a locksmith. Even the best are struggling, and the phone books are full of those advertising for the small section of the market that is lock-out work.

Even if you are the best, will you afford the pages of advertising bought by the national franchises, who churn through half-trained locksmiths, paying them the few pounds they desperately need, before they go bust, whilst feathering their nests?

Or to compete against these same desperate folks when they offer to do a job cutting out the national for £5 over cost? Perhaps most tricky, is will you have the balls of steel required to stand there and tell a customer that the job you quoted at £40 will now be £250 because it was hard, or because you broke their lock, or because you have them over a barrel, because it is dark and cold and wet, or because you have to make the mortgage payment – and this was your only job this week?? – because you only did 15 hours of training before setting up?

Do some research before you start up, and you will find that (if you are in the UK) there are already many well-established outfits struggling, and time-served locksmiths leaving the profession to make more money as plumbers and joiners.

There are also plenty who did a two day course, failed to get even one job from it, and then… set themselves up as trainers! You can imagine the quality of the course, cadged from an already short course, then regurgitated to those who know no better. It’s one way of making the course pay for itself. Often, it’s the only way.

Be careful out there.

(And the same goes for those needing a locksmith as wanting to be a locksmith!)

2 – A look at Google’s adverts reveals 12 companies paying for you just to click their advert as at 12th June 2009. The actual search results contain dozens more.

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