Locksmithing is a profession that involves a lot of skill and competence. Depending on what you decide to specialize in when you open your business, the tools and equipment required to do the job will vary. Not so long ago, locksmiths were able to open small key shops in their town and make a nice living. They didn't need a lot of equipment or tools and the cost of the start-up inventory was minimal. These shops specialized in residential work such as installing door hardware, lock installation, changing out locks, rekeying locks and making copies of keys. Unfortunately, the local lock and key shop is a thing of the past in many cities and towns across the US. The superstore chains like Wal-Mart and Home Depot have all but put these neighborhood staples out of business. Don't despair; locksmithing is a recession-proof business and locksmiths will never be without work! The business model has to change with the times and adapt to new technology as with any other business.
Locksmiths today work with an assortment of special tools designed for the trade as well as hand and power tools commonly found at hardware stores. Many locksmiths choose to make some of their tools themselves. The tools of the trade can be purchased from locksmith supply houses. Many locksmith supply houses will sell only to locksmiths, but there are many others that will also sell to other security professionals. Any locksmith will tell you to buy the best grade tools you can. You can't imagine the headaches you'll face if you're on a job and your tools break because they are of poor quality or work improperly. A locksmith needs reliable, high-grade tools that will last a long time and do the job right. Buy the best you can, a little at a time, and, as your business improves you can add to your toolbox. Space is another consideration. You'll need a place to store your supplies and equipment, to work in, and have enough room to be comfortable.
Beginning locksmiths and students of the trade will also need all kinds of locks to take apart, examine, repair and salvage for parts. Look for used and second hand locks from junk yards, garage and yard sales, salvage yards, and pawn shops.
Locksmith duties include installation, repair and maintainence of all types of major locks, door closures, and panic hardware systems.
They must know how to:
- Open locks by use of lockpicking tools, dismantling or other methods; repair locks by replacement of broken parts; adjust or recombinate locks to the master / sub-master system in use.
- Assist in determining methods to be used, including but not limited to key cutting and duplication, adjusting or changing key combinations and recombinating locks.
- Perform periodic maintenance and repair on door closure systems, including but not limited to key card systems and electromagnetic systems.
- Use key cutting machines, drills, saws, buffers and grinders, key gauges and locksmith tools.
- Perform other related duties