Do you think that a locksmith seems like a good career choice? Having done the job for a good number of years, I believe there are definitely positives to this line of work but also some serious negatives. Here are some key points to consider.
1. Flexible working hours
In principle, a mobile locksmith can have flexible working hours, perfect if you have children to pick up/drop off, etc. In practice, however, it can mean being on call for most of the day. People get locked out at all times, including the middle of the night and expect a locksmith to be available to help. To make a reasonable living, you have to offer a 24/7 service, at least until you are well established. After a few years, you may be able to reduce your hours, although this is not always possible and will depend on the amount of work in your area and the level of competition.
2. Location matters
If you live in a small village, you are likely going to have to travel a distance to each locksmith job. This can be time-consuming and expensive for fuel. Living in a town or city centre is usually more cost and time effective, so if you prefer rural living, this is unlikely to be the job for you.
3. Continuous training is required to keep on top of the latest locks
New locks are continually being developed and a good locksmith needs to keep their skills up-to-date. This means that even when not working a locksmith will have to spend hours practicing and training on how to pick or decode the latest lock. If this seems like a lot of hard work, this is not the job for you.
4. You need to be a good problem solver
Even with all the practicing and training in the world, there are days when you will come across a lock that you haven’t seen before. A locksmith will need to rely on their creativity and logic to find a solution. Good problem solving skills are a must!
5. Something different every day
Perhaps one of the best aspects of being a locksmith is that no two days are the same. You also get to meet some interesting people and visit some unusual properties. It definitely helps if you are a people person and can chat easily to customers.
6. Costs of tools and equipment can be substantial
When you start out, you will need to invest in quality tools, equipment and a range of locks. You will also need a van to get about. This can be a substantial outlay for a new business.
7. Fierce competition
This is probably the biggest challenge of being a locksmith. If you search for a locksmith online you will be faced with pages of results. Doing a good job every time and getting good customer reviews is of course essential. However, finding other ways of making your business stand out from the crowd is important too. Hero Locksmith is an accredited member of the Edinburgh Trusted Trader Scheme, backed by Police Scotland. This means that I have been fully vetted by Edinburgh Trading Standards. I believe that making the effort to become accredited is an important and worthwhile step because it assures my customers that I am a reliable and trusted locksmith.
8. Being your own boss
Being self-employed and being your own boss is great, as you get to make all the decisions! However, it also means that when you are not working you are not earning. Being a locksmith can mean irregular hours and the stress of waiting for the phone to ring. If you can’t live with unpredictability then this is not the job for you.
Being a locksmith can be a very rewarding job but it is not without its challenges. Helping someone who is locked out of their home, can’t lock their front door or has had a break-in, is very satisfying but the unpredictability of work compared to the assurances that a regular 9 to 5 job gives, can be too much for some.