A resource for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.
Posted On by Hugo Reed
The locksmithing is an industry that comes under intense scrutiny, time and time again. The locksmith industry is densely populated, and at any given time, you can find over 50 locksmiths in a local area willing to help you out. However, are they really there to help? Will the fact that you are in desperate need of help make you a victim?
Many of the people who request the help of locksmiths are not aware of some of the things that they need to look out for to avoid being duped, or to ensure that they are getting the best service for their money. Hopefully, a look at some of the most alarming locksmith facts will give you some insight into the things you should pay attention to and the things you should make sure to avoid.
Yes, you read that right. Isn’t that shocking? Out of 50 states, only 15 require practicing locksmiths to be licensed. What this means is that anyone outside of those 15 states who claims to be a locksmith, does not have to show you any certification that proves that they are a locksmith, you merely take their word for it. This makes it hard for people who need professional help to get it. Simultaneously, this makes it difficult for the real professionals out there who are willing to help. Many states are densely populated with locksmiths that have no certifiable training, and this makes it hard for people to get in touch with locksmiths that can really help them. If you are stuck in a lockout (be it a car lockout or a home lockout) and you search for a locksmith near you, there is a 50/50 chance that you may or may not be helped out by a legitimate locksmith. The states that require locksmiths to be licensed are:
If you happen to call a locksmith within any of these states, make sure that you request to see some form of identification and proof that they are licensed. For other states, you can still request that they provide you with some form of proof, but keep in mind that they are not required to be a licensed locksmith. If you happen to find one that is, then that’s great! Keep using that locksmith.
Many people underestimate the importance of using a licensed locksmith. Licensed locksmiths have undergone rigorous background checks, as well as being thoroughly trained. This vetting gives them the opportunity to be licensed.
More recently, some states in the US have been calling for more regulation on locksmiths. One such example is the State of Georgia, which was spurred into action by the collaborative work between Jack Wynn (President of the Georgia Locksmith Association) and Rep. Harry Geisinger. Many believe that regulating this industry will help weed out the dishonest locksmiths that are cropping up at a rapid rate. These scam locksmiths make it hard to know which technicians a customer can trust.
As surprising as this may seem for an industry this invasive, most countries do not regulate locksmiths in any way or form. The trade of being a locksmith centers on helping people out of tough situations or advising them on how to improve their locks. No matter what service is provided, a locksmith takes a step into the customer’s life and for a few brief moments has unrivaled access to their private spaces. This is one of the reasons that most people believe locksmiths should be heavily regulated or, at the very least, monitored. In some parts of the United States and also in Canada, locksmiths have to undergo rigorous training as well as background checks before they are licensed and certified.
This is merely a way of preventing any wrongdoing that might crop up later. For those states and countries that do not have any regulation whatsoever on lock picks and locksmithing, you realize that people take advantage of those in need of that service. This is because they are not legally bound to be licensed in order to practice locksmithing, so any layman can pass himself off as a locksmith. Some of the countries that do regulate lock picks, lockpicking and locksmithing are Japan, Poland, Hungary, Canada and the United States (in select states).
According to data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the locksmith industry is one of the most promising and is set to experience rapid growth. In a 10 year projection that was published in 2008, the BLS claims that there will be a steady increase in job opportunities for locksmiths and that by the year 2018 there will be approximately 24,800 licensed locksmiths which represent a 12% growth, 2% more than the national average. You may not think of this as an alarming fact (if you are a consumer, it can give you more options) but as a locksmith this is something that should alarm you.
In an industry already filled with unlicensed technicians that make it increasingly hard for legitimate locksmiths to do their job well, the possibility of having more locksmiths is akin to having too many fish in one, very small, pond. In the future, the one thing that will set them apart is the skill set that they apply to their jobs. The data gathered by the BLS, postulates that most locksmith jobs are gradually gravitating more towards individuals who have a dexterity for electronic security equipment. Locksmiths will no longer get by with the basic knowledge of bypassing pin tumblers and deadbolts because they will have to improve their skillset.
With the locks for residences, commercial businesses and facilities being improved, their skillset will need to reflect this as well. The increase in job opportunities for locksmiths is dependent on the expected demand for more locksmiths. The BLS expects that many major industries, businesses, and even residences will need the services of advanced locksmiths in the coming years. The security industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and it’s ever changing nature will change the way traditional locksmiths operate.
This might also be alarming for consumers but on a very different scale. This will only make it harder for customers who are trapped in an emergency lockout and need help. If they do not already have a go-to locksmith they will have to navigate through endless search pages trying to find the locksmith that is right for them, but with so many locksmiths available at any given time, how will they know which one to choose?
As absurd as it sounds, many owners of locksmith companies train their employees to drill and replace locks before they do anything else. This does not bode well for many of the customers who end up needing their services time and time again. Your problem could be one that requires a really simple solution, something as simple as picking the lock so that you can regain entry into your home. However, because these shady and nefarious locksmith companies would like to charge you more money for the service they are offering, they are trained to bypass all plausible solutions and only carry out the most expensive one. This involves drilling the lock that is currently on your door, which effectively destroys said lock. Once this is done, they coerce you into having them install a new lock for you, so you end up paying for the service and the price of your new lock. In most of these cases, the lock could have been picked in a matter of minutes and it would not have resulted in your lock needing to be replaced.
If a locksmith that is helping you attempts to drill the lock in your door before they do anything else, you can most definitely be certain that they are attempting to scam you, or that they genuinely have no idea what they are doing. There are many options that are available to locksmiths before they have to resort to drilling the lock. As stated earlier, the act of drilling a lock irrevocably damages it and will force you to replace the lock with a new one. It is important that customers (homeowners, car owners, office managers) who employ the use of a locksmith understand how they work and the tricks the dishonest ones use to trap you into paying hefty sums.
Take a look at this video, where you will see several locksmiths go straight to drilling the lock on some doors when they could have easily picked the lock. In response to a question as to why they did that, one locksmith claimed that it was the only way to help the customer back into their property.
This fact is not so much alarming as it is informative. When you go into the barbershop to get a haircut or to the salon to get a touch up on your amazing hair-do, you already have an idea of just how much you are going to have to pay. There are set prices for the varying services that these professionals provide, and customers know this when they request a service. When it comes to locksmiths, there is no set price that a majority of locksmiths adhere to. The prices for services vary from locksmith to locksmith, and is something that is constantly fluctuating due to the niche nature of their market. The locksmiths in two different states will have vastly differing price ranges and may offer varying services with a few commonalities. However, the more reputable locksmiths will be able to give you an estimate or a price range before they even begin helping you out of a lockout, or provide whatever service you need from them. They will also update you on any changes to the cost of a service as they go along.
It is hard for a locksmith to give you a complete price range when they have not been able to physically assess the damage or the situation for themselves. However, a reputable locksmith will still be able to give you a range and will gladly explain how the price may vary depending on the work that needs to be done. Here’s what you should expect when calling a reputable locksmith.