Like every other profession, becoming a locksmith requires certain steps and characteristics. Both steps and characteristics have been discussed here in this article. The very first step in going for any career is to do a thorough research on what the career entails and its requirements. After that, you will compare it with your skills and passion and decide if you have what it takes or if you can give it what it takes to succeed. Apart from a general research, here are the other necessary steps.
Obtain a high school diploma
You should obtain a high school diploma in a course that will give you the basic foundation. While this is not necessary, it will help you learn the fundamentals like the advanced mechanical principles better. More so, the stronger your foundation is, the further you will go. Besides, some states have made it mandatory to have a high school diploma to be licensed as a locksmith. However, this is not in all states.
Apart from diploma, you also need to enroll for a formal training. You will begin to learn the practical of locksmith services from here. Depending on the nature of the training, it could last between 3 months and 4 years. Although longer training programs are better, they are also more expensive.
It is better to get trained by a licensed locksmith that is a member of at least one professional association. This will assure you of the competence of the trainer. This is because your eventual level of expertise will depend on how knowledgeable your trainer is. He can’t impart the knowledge he does not have. As a locksmith, you must be able to fix locks, pick locks, cut keys, install new locks, and even program computerized locks.
It is usually good to support your training with apprenticeship. If your trainer has vacancy for an apprentice, it is better to fill the vacuum. Unfortunately, as an apprentice, you may not be paid or you may encounter poor remuneration. That should not bother you. It is the knowledge that you are able to gather that matters. Remember, knowledge is priceless. If you pick up so fast, your trainer may raise you to the level of a partner if you are exceptionally good.
Obtain a license
It is also necessary to obtain a license to work as a locksmith. Although not all states make it mandatory, some do. Besides, people generally have more confidence in a licensed locksmith since being licensed is an indication of competence. Even if you decide to work in an organization, having a license will brighten your chances of being hired. Most importantly, getting licensed will make you appear in online searches. It is not uncommon for potential clients to search the directory of locksmiths before they hire one. It is needless to say appearing on locksmiths directory will also boost your chances on being hired.
It is also important to get certified. Most organizations only hire certified locksmiths. It is only an individual that may not consider this. And one contract with an organization will fetch you much more money than servicing individuals and servicing an organization is likely to fetch you more jobs. Some organizations can also give you an access to their network of highly experienced locksmiths. Besides, getting acquainted to professionals will give you more reference. Sometimes getting a job is not only about what you know and what you can do. It is also be about who you know.
Knowing the people at the top of your industry can give you the leverage you need to get to the top fast. The only way to gain access to numerous successful locksmiths at the same time is by getting certified and by joining locksmith associations. You can get certified by Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) since it is about the most recognized locksmiths association and it offers several levels of certification. Needless to say you should get to the highest level of certification albeit gradually. Another association that you should consider is Safe and Vault Technicians Association (SAVTA). There is nothing wrong with joining both organizations. It will boost your locksmith career even more.
Work for an establishment
People generally do not want to take chances with an inexperienced locksmith given the importance of security. As a new locksmith, getting clients will be very difficult. And the few that may want to try you out will do so with lower paying jobs. You can’t blame them. Would you allow a new barber to give you a haircut? Or would you allow a new surgeon to carry out an operation on you? The answer to both questions will be no. That is why you will find it difficult getting clients as a new locksmith.
While some new service providers inflate their years of experience, it is really not ethical and neither is it advisable. Clients react badly to lies. You will definitely lose any client that eventually finds out that you inflated your years of experience no matter the quality of your service to him. So, don’t navigate that water. The best way out is to work in a locksmith company where you will gather enough experience before you set out on your own. Besides, you will need to buy your own tools bit by bit from your pay. After working for a particular number of years, you can quit to be on your own. Besides, you may become a partner to the company.
Technology advancement never stops. So, you need to keep learning as new tools and new technologies will continue to emerge. You may also need to continue to renew your professional locksmith certificate to remain relevant. You should not also joke with workshops, seminars, conference… etc. Most importantly, you should never let any material (soft, hard, and E-copy) escape you without reading it. It is important to be abreast of all the ever changing state laws on security and locks.
Important attributes of successful locksmiths
To be able to succeed as a locksmith, you also need certain characteristics in addition to the knowledge and skills that you have acquired.
You must be curious-minded as a locksmith. Locksmiths usually want to know why certain strategies did not work, what caused certain faults, and they always want to acquire more knowledge about their service. Most importantly, they are constantly seeking how to resolve certain issues faster and more easily.
While a lot of people believe that patience is a virtue, it can also be developed. You must be patient to be a successful locksmith. For some reasons, some locks will prove difficult to fix. You need to take the time to find out why. Sometimes, you may also need to carry out certain trial and error several times before you stumble on the solution to certain problems. No matter how well you are trained, you will definitely come across a problem that you were not trained about. That is where your personal experience begins.
You must be resilient. Some lock faults are tough, so you need to be resilient to get to the root of the problem. If you are not resilient, you will usually call for replacement of a lock after struggling with the problem for just a few minutes. If you condemn a lock totally because you could not fix the problem, if any other locksmith gets to fix it, it will be an issue of incompetence on your part. So, you should be resilient enough to try several options before giving up.
Good communication skills
You need to be able to come down to the level of your clients to be able to carry them along all the time. When speaking to them, you need to remove all technical jargons. Sometimes, a locksmith that can explain a situation and solution better are seen as the one that understands the problem more. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.
Honesty and integrity
All successful professionals are usually honest and they have integrity. So, you need to imbibe the two in your personal principles and policy. Always tell the truth all the time and stand by your word. Never promise what you can’t deliver in order to clinch a job. It often backfires.
In conclusion, you need to pass through all the steps outlined above gradually to become a successful locksmith and you also need the few attributes mentioned above too. None of them can be compromised.