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At Home Businesses - Locksmith Home Business Idea

What it Takes to Become a Locksmith

By Ron Dicker

(LifeWire) - Overview of this Business

Prospects for locksmith at home businesses are far better than average, building on potential customers' security fears. The business of keeping the wrong people out while allowing the right people in can gross an established locksmith with a mobile operation between $50,000 and $60,000.

Technical skill is mandatory for locksmiths, and can be picked up at a vocational school or classes sponsored by the Associated Locksmiths of America. Locksmiths need to know key and lock identification, keymaking, and basic building security. The more seasoned and ambitious locksmiths with at home businesses should also master panic hardware and electric security.

Basic lock repair and replacement requires about $1,000 in equipment, but locksmiths who want to make a better wage will need to branch out. A new key-cutting machine alone is about $1,300. Many startups are at home businesses that use home as the office and a van with an elevated roof (to stand) as a mobile workspace. Another option for neophyte locksmiths is buying an existing business from a retiring locksmith. That might also offer the chance of apprenticing before jumping in.

Pros of Locksmith at Home Businesses

  • Many places need a locksmith's services, including homes, apartment buildings, office buildings, banks, museums, churches and schools.
  • Business expansion can happen gradually as you master and acquire more equipment.
  • Providing folks with peace of mind invites positive feedback.
  • Advertising can be relatively cheap and you can build these at home businesses through word of mouth.
  • Couples can often divide up the work, with one keeping the business' books at home while the other does the locksmithing on the road.
Cons of Locksmith At Home Businesses
  • Pricing can be tricky: $55 to re-key one lock door cylinder would work in some markets, but might be considered too cheap in others.
  • Buying expensive equipment does not be mean more business. Taking the next step in some cases requires an investment between $5,000 and $10,000.
What You Need to Get Started in Locksmith at Home Businesses
  • A direct-mail campaign to go along with business cards, Yellow Pages ad, online presence, brochures and vehicle signage is a must.
  • One of your first pitches should be directed at apartment building owners -- they can be among your best repeat customers. Another should go to businesses, because locksmith related jobs for these clients can be more lucrative than residential jobs.
  • Picture ID and certification to show your locksmith customers that you are legitimate. People are letting you into their dwellings and businesses, after all, and trust is essential. Contact your local police department for guidance.
  • Those starting locksmith at home businesses need to inquire about licensing and bonding in their area. Locksmiths must be licensed in Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
  • Have the drive to continue your education through business and technical classes.
  • A van with standup room, as well as the proper tools, are essential for a mobile locksmith.

Locksmith at Home Businesses -- Real-Life Example:

Chris Pearcy of Las Cruces, N.M., tells locksmith.com that he charges $40 for a lockout call.

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Ron Dicker is a New York-based freelance writer who covered sports for the New York Times from 1996 to 2005.

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