A locksmith is a person who makes, repairs, and creates locks for residential, commercial, and automotive purposes. Locksmiths are also known as carpenters or car clerks, although locksmiths do not need to be able to construct locks or even open them. People who work in the locksmith business usually have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some states also require locksmiths to be licensed.
To become a locksmith you may receive a high school diploma or GED (General Equivalent Diploma) degree and perform locksmith services as an apprentice for two years. Apprenticeship is two years and can then be extended to three years through a reciprocating state board. In most states, to become licensed, you must take a four-year degree course. You will take courses such as computer technology, chemistry, mechanical engineering, home repair, commercial locksmithing, and so forth. During your training you will learn about security issues, locks, key cutting devices, key making, countermeasures for locks, cutting tools, and so forth. There is usually a locksmithing shop in every city or town where there is a population of more than five hundred thousand people.
A locksmith must be licensed in every state before he or she can practice. States usually do not license locksmiths unless they have completed an apprenticeship program and have passed a test based on the rules of their state. In some states, passing a background check is also a pre-requisite. Some states allow people with the GED and bachelor’s degrees to open their own locksmith shops and others require licenses based on experience. Some states require locksmiths to be insured, bonded, or insured against theft, loss, or damage to property. Some states, like California, even require locksmiths to have a state license, but all other states’ licenses are not required.
When you are looking for a locksmith to repair your locks or to install new locks, the first thing you should do is get some references. Call friends or business owners you know and ask if they can recommend someone. You may be able to find good locksmiths by asking your neighbors, friends, co-workers, or your boss for names of locksmiths they trust. If you have a lot of valuables at home, it may be safer to use a company that offers both services, rather than one locksmith that only does one type of work. If you are going to hire a locksmith to repair your home or vehicle, the locksmith must be able to remove old deadbolt locks and rekey all of the locks in your home. The good locksmith should also be able to replace any lost or stolen locks.
A professional locksmith should also be able to replace any damaged locks in your home or office. This includes taking out the key that opens your garage door and putting it in another location so you won’t accidentally lock yourself out again. Professional locksmiths can also rekeying deadbolt locks in order to make them resistant to forced entry. In addition to having the tools to rekey your home or office, the professional locksmith should also know how to replace locks made from heavy materials such as deadbolts, which are sometimes very difficult to open. A professional locksmith may also be able to provide you with emergency services, such as removing intruders from a house or business once they have gained access through the use of a false key.
When you hire a locksmith to help you with your needs, make sure you are working with a locksmith that charges a flat rate rather than an hourly rate. Most locksmiths today offer free estimates on new keys or remotes, so you will know ahead of time the total cost of the job. Some locksmiths may charge a flat fee for a certain period of time, such as a day or a week, and some will work on an hourly rate. If you already have a good relationship with a local locksmith then ask for a break in the estimate, in order to know what the locksmith will charge for his services. You can find out this information from local locksmiths by asking them directly or by going to the local consumer affairs office where you would have your locks checked.