In our first of a series of ‘Interview With a Locksmith’, we are going to be asking some of our Master Locksmith Association members some general questions about themselves and their companies, all questions relating to the Locksmith industry in general. So if you are already in the industry, a outsider looking in or looking to become a locksmith, hopefully some of our members answers will provide a insight into the industry and maybe answer some questions you have had about locksmithing in general.
1. So tell us a little bit of a back story about yourself, when did you become a Locksmith and how long have been a Locksmith?
60 years old. Worked in the trade since 1979. Started cutting keys on the bench in an old fashioned ironmongers. Having previously spent time working as a trainee carpenter I had the skills to fit locks and so that was a natural progression. Learnt a lot from other locksmiths, many of them subsequently joined the MLA,. This encouraged me to consider doing the same.
2. How did you originally get into Locksmithing and Why?
Whilst working in ironmongers learnt to copy keys and making keys to locks. Enjoyed the early challenges and continue to find it rewarding. I also enjoy the contact with the public and find their appreciation of my efforts and skills add to the satisfaction.
3. What advice do you have for people wanting to become a locksmith?
Providing you’re serious and committed then it’s a good trade to learn. It’s not easy but find yourself a mentor who has good breath of knowledge. If you have prior experience then possibly find an expert in a particular specialty, for example a safe engineer, as that often leads to higher earning potential. Do not expect a short training course to provide skills that, in isolation, will make you employable. Likewise, do not expect a short course to provide skills that will earn you a working wage. However these short courses will assist, or broaden, your personal development if you already have some background knowledge.
4. How has being a member of MLA helped you as a locksmith?
Access to other members knowledge is invaluable. Offering to help others reinforces my knowledge retention. As an approved company, membership implies a certain level of knowledge and commitment. This gives customers confidence.
5. How has business been since the recession hit, hiring a locksmith is not something that cannot be avoided when you are locked out..so have people gone the locksmith way in hard times or tried to do the job themselves with a ‘custom’ locksmith job?
Customers definitely seem more concerned about the cost. Many more enquiries come from folk that are obviously phoning more than a single locksmiths to find the cheapest price. The stories of a “disastrous experience” are more frequent. Implying the use of cheaper “cowboy locksmiths” or “friends” is more widespread.
6. What are your plans for the future?
Having recently taken on the lease of a retail shop unit I am obviously confident that the economic situation will improve. Selling products is not the main purpose of the shop. Similar to the benefits of MLA membership the shop gives customers the confidence to make use of our services. I enjoy the challenge of running the shop.
As a hobby and form of relaxation I continue to develop my website and interested in where this initiative might take us.