Here at the Master Locksmiths Association, we get many questions about people wanting to know how to become a locksmith, some have just left school or the army, some are looking for a career change.
Below are tips to help you in a career as a potential locksmith, from what qualifications are required, advice on training providers, hours you may work to what you put in a future locksmith business plan.
1. Locksmith Qualifications
We are currently working to develop an Ofqual regulated nationally recognised qualification with the specialist awarding body ABBE (Awarding Body for the Built Environment).
Watch this space for more information.
For more on the topic of locksmith qualifications, please see our locksmith qualification page.
What if I take a course at the MLA? – We provide all attendees of our courses with a certificate of attendance.
2. Skills Required
Skills for going the self-employed route:
Should you go self employed as a locksmith and setup your own compay y.ou will need business skills on top of locksmithing skills.
Skills you will need as your own locksmith will range from marketing, accounts, setting up a website, general business knowledge, that’s if you’ve never run your own business before.
Skills Working for an established locksmith company:
Working for a already established locksmith company means you will only need to concentrate on your skills as a locksmith ( mechanical engineering, carpentry, people skills etc.. ).
Skill Tips from trading trading – Find out what skills are required to be a locksmith here.
3. Do your research – Important Questions to ask
- Where will you be working?
- What’s the area like?
- Are there many Locksmiths already in your area?
Expert Tip: do a Google search, look at your potential competitor’s reviews
- Are there any gaps in the market?
Expert Tip: Does a Safe specialist live in your area? Who fits Security Grilles and Gates in your area?
- What sort of locksmith work is required in the area?
Expert Tip: Is lock snapping common where you live?
4. Training Is required – Difficult to Learn Online!
You will need to think about training to become a locksmith as there are different courses available.
Do you want to take a locksmith course or take an apprenticeship in locksmithing? – be aware that the government’s trailblazer apprenticeship scheme ceased in 2016.
The type of training you do will depend on the type of services you want to offer – see tip #5 below.
Once you’ve been trading as a locksmith you may want to look into offering more services, think of taking intermediate and advanced courses in areas such as lock opening, furniture locks and working with aluminium doors.
Request Course Info & Prices
5. What Services you offer as a locksmith
Think about what locksmith services you want to offer (and more importantly what sort of services are required by customers):
- Auto Car locksmith – requires taking a Auto locksmith course
- Security Safes ( safe engineers ) – learning to crack open safes
- Commercial – access control, alarms etc..
- Domestic Homes – 24 emergency lockouts, security upgrades –
- What services will your customers want in your area?
Find your niche and dominate it!
6. Start a business plan
With all the costs of starting up including:
- Training needed
- Equipment such as locksmith tools ( letterbox tool, pick set, drill, pick gun, key extractor etc.. )
- Van (and associated vehicle costs)
- Advertising and marketing (offline and online)
- Separate Telephone line setup (especially if 24 Hour)
- Website costs such as yearly domain hosting, purchasing a website address, https certificate cost, firewall security etc….
- SEO costs – so your website ranks high on Google – Become an MLA Approved Company we rank high!
- Social Media Advertising – get your business noticed on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram
- Insurance & business rates
- Stock required – locks, key blanks
Don’t underestimate these costs!
7. Hours you may work
A lot of locksmiths offer 24-hour emergency service, how will this fit in with your family life? Is it something that you want to offer.
- Are there a lot of emergency locksmiths in your area?
- Is there any safe opening experts in your area?
- What about auto locksmiths in your area? especially 24 hours?
8. Locksmith Training Providers
Do your research on the Locksmith training provider, whilst there is a lot of good quality training available there is also a lot of poor training out there.
- Ask existing locksmiths who have done a training course who they used and what the course was like.
- Ask locksmiths in Facebook groups where they trained
9. Never Stop Learning
Finally don’t forget you never stop learning, with new products, changing standards etc..
You will always need to keep up to speed and refresh your knowledge. For example, MLA members do this by regularly attending regional meetings.
Make sure you read our locksmith terminology guide which teaches all about the names of different lock parts.
There is also Europe’s largest exhibition MLA Expo, there will be over 70 training classes and seminars taking place over the weekend, some of these are FREE.
10. Don’t Believe the Hype
Don’t believe the hype spread by some training organizations who sell locksmithing as a ‘get rich quick career’ – short courses will not automatically lead to a £60K a year career as a locksmith
Companies that sell locksmith tools as part of their training:
Be wary of companies that sell locksmith tools as an add-on to their training courses, this is where companies can make a large amount of profit.
Also, tools required will depend on the type of work you end up doing, and to a certain degree the area in which you’re based.
We at the MLA do not sell any locksmith tools ourselves but can highlight the kind of tools required as well as point you towards trusted companies in the industry to buy them from.
BONUS TIP: Join the UK’s Largest Locksmith Association
Should you want to become a Locksmith you will have the opportunity to join the MLA, this will come with many benefits.
Personal Membership – Various options depending on how long you’ve been in the industry.
Approved Company membership – Use the converted MLA Logo on your website, promotional materials and even your company van.
Featured on our Find A Locksmith page on our website – promotion for your company on our site ( #1 on Google for many Locksmith terms! ).