A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Ralph Goodman
What does it take to become a locksmith? Well, aside from the dedication it takes to learn the skills of the trade, what underlying factors of a person’s personality make them a plausible candidate to become a locksmith? Take a look at what we found out about some of the characteristics that a person must have to be an excellent locksmith.
In order to cement your name into the locksmith hall of fame (don’t take my word for it, there are other things you have to do to qualify for the hall of fame) an individual needs to be realistic. Most realistic people are generalized as being practical, persistent and mechanical. Mechanical people love to work with their hands. This is one of the essential skills that a locksmith needs to possess. If you don’t love working with your hands then you most definitely will not excel at being a locksmith. A majority of the actions carried out by a locksmith require that they are constantly using their hands to solve problems, pick locks and generally fix things (like broken car key extractions for instance). If you are not passionate about your job, the chances of you becoming good at it are slim to none.
For people that are constantly questioning the way things work, and wondering why something is used one way and not another, locksmithing might be your calling. Locksmiths have to be naturally investigative, and curious people, in order to do their jobs efficiently. They are the type of people who are constantly intrigued by the way things work. Were you one of those kids who took everything apart, essentially becoming the bane of your parents existence? We totally understand you! The natural inclination to see how something is put together is one of the few things at the heart of becoming a locksmith.
In addition to understanding how things and mechanics work, locksmiths (being naturally curious people) need to be able to accurately judge a situation and know the right questions to ask. For instance, if a locksmith is responding to a call about a home lockout, they should be able to read subtle signs and make deductions so that they proceed in the best possible manner to rectify the lockout. In some rare cases, locksmiths walk into the middle of domestic disputes (where a husband might be locked out and trying to get back in when his wife is not home) and they have to be curious enough to pick up on things that are out of place.
A locksmith’s love for puzzles cannot be overstated. If the thought of something that is broken down into different pieces gives you a rush, as you think of all the possible ways you can put it back together, then you might want to change your profession and become a locksmith. If you’re already a locksmith, then stay right where you are. Locksmiths view every task as a challenge and they consistently step up to the plate to try and solve it. This is an excellent trait to have because you will most likely never get tired of the work you are doing. Locksmiths are constantly presented with challenges of varying degrees of difficulty, and their love for puzzles is one of the things that helps them get past each and every one of these challenges. For an amazing locksmith, the harder the challenge the more they enjoy it. If you think i’m lying, take a look at how complicated the process of rekeying car ignitions can be, or just try explaining a master key system to the average homeowner.
It goes without saying that a locksmith has to think outside the box in every single situation that they are presented. It doesn’t matter if they are trying to help a family out during a lockout, or if they are advising a homeowner on how to upgrade their home security. Locksmiths have to constantly think in the paradigms of a locksmith, a homeowner, a child and even a burglar. It is their job to provide solutions to lockout problems and to also help homeowners assess the state of their home security. These solutions work to the benefit of each of these groups of people except burglars, we don’t want that. A locksmith has to be receptive to trying new methods of solving things and can never be too strictly attached to one way of doing things. So if you’re the type of person that is constantly exploring different options you might want to explore the option of becoming a locksmith!
We all know a night owl or two. These are the people who function best when everyone else is asleep, when it’s quiet and the stars are out. I am one of those people, so I understand them. It comes in handy during college (the countless number of all-nighters) but also if you are a locksmith. Aside from the fact that the brain of a night owl functions at much higher levels late at night, this is a good trait for a locksmith to have because the nature of the business demands it. Some customers suffer lockouts late at night/odd hours and this is why Emergency Locksmiths and 24-hour locksmiths exist. They have to respond to calls at late hours and still be fully functional so that they can properly assess the problem and provide the adequate solution to it.
If you can’t take no for an answer, and you are not easily perturbed by hindrances, then WE WANT YOU! That was a reference to the recruitment poster for World War I and World War II, but in case you are confused this is not a recruitment for war. However, if you’re the type of person who is good at bypassing things, then you have one of the underlying qualities of any locksmith.
The industry of locksmithing is one that changes at a rapid pace and works constantly to keep up with technological advancements, such as the advent of smart locks and other home automation devices. As such, it is important to have locksmiths that are always willing to say ‘yes’ when everyone around them is saying ‘no’. For instance, one of our twitter followers, cites his earliest experience with locksmithing as when he attempted to break the lock on his computer at home. His parents wanted to reduce his computer usage, so they put a physical lock on the computer. So then he figured he could jimmy the lock open with a pair of tweezers. He couldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I am pretty sure he has graduated from jimmying locks to either being proficient in single pin picking or raking.
The point listed above is what leads me to discuss this next trait. A locksmith should ideally possess a strong code of ethics and a moral compass that points true north. Essentially it is modeled after what Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Most locksmiths have an interest in bypassing anything that can be viewed as restricting. This interest is one of their greatest strengths, but it is also one of the things that makes them exceedingly dangerous. Locksmiths have a natural inclination to try and bypass things, so it is important that they do not overstep their boundaries when they are called or a job in someone’s home or office. The nature of their jobs makes them privy to certain aspects of people’s lives, and as such, it is important that they do not take advantage of this unparalleled access.
This is one of the most subtle traits that every locksmith needs to have. Most people will probably read this and think that patience is a virtue that every human needs to possess, and I completely agree with you. However, when it comes to locksmiths, they need to have that virtue in double doses. The art of being a locksmith requires an immense amount of patience for trial and error. Picking a lock is not easy and sometimes it takes a good amount of time and commitment to make sure that is done right and that the mechanism is not broken in the process. A good locksmith must possess massive reserves of patience to overcome the pressures the job presents. These pressures are not only from locks or from the difficulty that some locksmith services present, sometimes they need a lot of patience to deal with the customers that engage the use of their services. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true.
This characteristic goes hand-in-hand with patience. It is one of the things that every locksmith needs to make sure that they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities. It may seem insignificant to readers but imagine, if you will, how annoying it must be when you are learning to pick a lock and it takes hours on end to perfect your skill and even then there may be a lock that might stump even you. Like patience, resilience is a virtue that everyone must possess, but one that a locksmith should value even more. If you have the ability to look past struggles and minor annoyances, and tell yourself that you will not give up, then this just might be the profession for you!
Yes, you read that correctly. Locksmiths need to be sociable and easygoing, and ideally, they need to know how to smile and make people feel at ease. Locksmiths deal with many different customers, and in most cases the customers are in the midst of an emotional crisis. This could be because of the anxiety that being stuck in a lockout is causing, or because they might not be able to get in contact with someone (maybe a parent) who is stuck behind a locked door. When locksmiths are sociable, they automatically set their customers at ease, or at the very least help them calm down a notch. This trait is invaluable when it comes to being a locksmith, it helps your customers feel a lot more comfortable and it makes your job a lot easier.
For a locksmith to become one of the best at what they do, they need to possess a strong stomach and cannot be squeamish. Most people will probably laugh at this and wonder what at all would call for a locksmith to possess this trait. Locksmiths, believe it or not, have a higher probability of being in more hairy situations every day than the average person. For instance, one of our locksmiths was called in by the police to help unlock the door to a residence. The current inhabitant had overstayed their welcome and the house was being foreclosed on. Our locksmith walked up to the door to help the police officers unlock the door, where he was then greeted by a rather livid individual waving a gun in his face telling him to back away from the door before he got shot. True story!
This is only one example of the things some locksmiths have to face day in and day out. In an article published in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago locksmith Clark Houghtby discussed some of the things he had seen on the job. These instances ranged from finding a dead body in a trunk, unlocking a home filled with dead abandoned animals, as well as being asked by the police to open a home where a couple had committed suicide. There is a lot that a locksmith could come across during their career and they need to have stomachs of steel to deal with these.
If you’ve always found it hard to sit still and stay in one place for too long then you should probably consider being a locksmith (if you don’t want to become an explorer). Locksmiths are constantly on the move, and they are always in new environments with nothing but their wits and their lock picking tools about them. In order to enjoy the job and perform your duties adequately enough, you need to be alright with the constant movement and variations that the job requires. This is normally best suited for people that are always on the move.
It used to be that if someone loved tinkering with things, and understanding how they came apart, they would very likely do well as a locksmith. This still holds true, but with current advancements in technology, a love for hacking things is also a trait that shows that you could become a stellar locksmith. Hacking and tinkering essentially operate on the same basic principle of trying to understand how something works. By learning how it works, you can learn to bypass it. The increasing popularity of smart locks and locks that don’t employ traditional methods is proportionally increasing the need for people who are naturally inclined to hack things. People with this character trait want to understand how things work and aim to bypass it. If a locksmith doesn’t possess this trait, it will most likely make it hard for them to stay abreast with the changes that the locksmith industry is currently facing, and the ones it will face in the future.
Every locksmith needs the ability to think ahead of the curve. If you were always that person who was one step ahead of everybody else, and could prepare for eventualities before they happened, then you just might become an amazing locksmith. Locksmiths need to know how to plan ahead and calculate almost every possible outcome. This helps them provide the appropriate solutions to the problems their customers are facing, as well as giving them insight into how to best improve their home security as time goes by. It helps when a locksmith can flow with the tide of the industry and quickly adapt. Foresight will also help to anticipate the changes that are coming.
A locksmith needs to be competitive in every aspect of their lives. Please note that I did not say they need to be a jerk, merely competitive enough so that they are always striving to do better and be better. A competitive spirit makes a locksmith ten times better because they are constantly working to improve and get better. This simultaneously makes for good practice and ensures that a locksmith is never rusty but is instead adding more skills to their skill set.
There is a lot of hard work that goes into becoming a locksmith, and it is not guaranteed that merely possessing any of the above traits will make you perfect for this job. These traits are only half of the equation. Even though they do make the equation much easier to solve. Becoming a locksmith requires a lot of time and commitment to learning about locks and security measures of all types. You must be adequately equipped to deal with whatever predicaments may arise. It also requires that you, as a locksmith, have an understanding of just how big of a mantle you are choosing to do. The job is 50% skill and 50% service.
The act of helping people out is at the very heart of being a locksmith, and this applies in varying situations. Whether you help someone back into their house, or you help design a new lock that revolutionizes security, whatever it is, you helped someone out. So if you have any of the above traits, and you’re looking to be of much greater service to people everywhere, then consider becoming a locksmith. It’s a lot of fun!