1-800-UNLOCKS Blog

Average Locksmith Salary

How much can I earn as a professional locksmith? If you’re considering a career as a locksmith, it’s good to know you can start at an average wage of nearly $17 per hour, or an annual salary of about $35,360, based on statistics as of August 2017. Salaries of newly-licensed professional locksmiths range from $42,645-$55,413 and, best of all, are generally immune to economic downturns like so many other technical industries. Many locksmiths today earn over six figures, through experience, reputation, and diversified skills.


The exact amount you can earn as a locksmith naturally varies, depending on many things. For example, if you start out on your own as an independent locksmith, in a low-population area, your beginning wages will not be as high as a locksmith employed by an established locksmith company in the suburbs.


On the other hand, many independent locksmiths who earn a solid community reputation over time, and face little local competition, can surpass the salaries offered by locksmith companies with many employees. In either case, the bottom line remains the same: providing professional, courteous service to customers at all times will ultimately result in better pay throughout your career. 


But it also depends on the skills you learn along the way. Locksmiths who provide limited services in small communities, are less likely to earn the salary of a locksmith offering high-tech security systems installation and maintenance contracts from large businesses. Likewise, a professional locksmith who focuses entirely on residential services – such as lock installation and key making – can make a comfortable living, but obviously won’t have the salary of a diversified locksmith skilled in residential, automotive, and commercial services.


Then there’s the emergency services option for locksmiths willing and able to assists customers at any time, on any day, under any conditions. Because emergency locksmiths are often summoned in the middle of the night or in terrible weather conditions to quickly resolve a car or home lockout crisis, they understandably charge higher rates and have the potential to earn double that of non-emergency locksmiths.  Emergency services is an excellent way for newer, inexperienced locksmiths to learn the trade swiftly, as well as handle the social aspects of dealing with distressed customers.


How can I make more money as a locksmith?


Here are the best ways to ensure your locksmith career starts of in the right direction, both financially and ethically.


Get your License – The only way to establish and build a reputation as a professional locksmith is to earn a license through an accredited locksmith organization, like the ALOA. Did you know ALOA offers locksmith scholarships? ALOA has what’s called the ALOA Scholarship Foundation. This foundation is a 501(C)(3) organization so it accepts tax free donations. The average sponsor donation for a single student is $1,600. Students generally require at least $2,000 to cover education, travel, and hotel. You can apply to the ALOA Scholarship Foundation hereTodays educated, high-paying customers are extremely savvy when it comes to hiring locksmiths, especially when it comes to home and business security. Scammer locksmiths – those without training or licensing – have no future in the locksmith industry, so obtaining your license is critical to achieving legitimate, legal success in this business. It should be noted that locksmith licensing is not required in every State, and does not necessarily equate to professionalism. For a truly professional and quality locksmith, you’ll need to do a lot more research before calling a locksmith.


Pass background check – Locksmiths are security experts trusted to enter the homes and businesses of their neighbors. Without a background check, why would anyone allow you access to their valuable property for any reason? What’s more, virtually no established locksmiths will hire a new employee without a satisfactory background check. Their reputations are on the line every time they’re hired to do a job. Get your solid reputation verified and earn the trust from clients that you deserve. Trust translates to success in the locksmith world. 


Have a clean appearance – This may sound superficial, but think about it: Would you trust your home or business locks to a person who shows up looking like they haven’t bathed in a week? You’re a professional locksmith. Show pride in yourself and your appearance, and the client will respect and trust you much more easily. We’re not suggesting you shave off your beard, but keep it trimmed. Love your mullet? Great. Just don’t show up to a $ 1 million home without it tied back. It’s all about courtesy. If you take care of your appearance, a client will pay you again and again to take care of their security needs. It’s really that simple.


Accumulate experience – Even if you must teach yourself in your spare time, learn as much as you can, whenever you can. Tag along with other locksmiths if possible to see how they handle complicated jobs. Seek out and attend a variety of locksmith classes, even if they’re not in your areas of interest. Experience builds upon itself, especially in an industry as diverse as locksmithing. Find the determination to learn as many different disciplines as possible outside of your primary area of expertise. Even veteran locksmiths know the advantages of continuing to gain experience. That’s what makes them successful.


Be prepared to work overtime and crazy hours – When someone locks themselves out of their house at 3:30 a.m. during a February blizzard, who do they call? An emergency locksmith, of course. And they absolutely rely on a locksmith to rescue them under these conditions without question. So, whether you’re just starting in the business or a seasoned veteran, it is imperative that you put yourself in the place of the customer ahead of yourself when conditions are at the very worst. The end result: an eternally grateful customer who will happily pay for your services and never forget how you helped them out of a jam. Oh, and they will tell everyone they know about the great job you did during the blizzard.


Specialty Certification – The more areas you achieve expert status in via certification, the more in demand you will be by higher-paying clients. Training and certification for every aspect of the locksmith trade are constantly available and accessible, no matter where you are located. Whether it be as a Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL), Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL), Certified Master Locksmith (CML), Certified Automotive Locksmith (CAL), Certified Professional Safe Tech (CPS), Certified Master Safe Tech (CMST), or even certification for a specific security product – certification translates to better jobs and higher pay throughout your career. Here’s the first source for more information on certification: Associated Locksmiths Of America. It should be noted that some locksmith shops are looking for technicians with a specific set of skills such as Access Control or Safe Opening. Having a full range of skills won’t necessarily equate to a higher-paying position, but could work in your favor during the hiring process. It could help the business owner choose to hire you over someone with fewer certifications.


Salesmanship – Not all locksmiths are cut out for sales, but it’s always a tremendous advantage to be able to present your skills and products in a courteous, appealing way to potential customers. Know your strengths and train yourself to describe them confidently to customers during the very first contact. Let’s face it, most people are not locksmith experts and will come to you for answers to a multitude of problems they do not understand. As a highly-trained, knowledgeable locksmith, you should be able to quickly respond to any security question, while convincing the customer that you are the professional they need to do the job correctly and affordably. The best salespeople sell because they believe in what they’re selling. Believe in your talents and the customers will return to you over and over when they need a locksmith they can trust.


How Do I Get Hired As A Locksmith?


Now that you’ve decided you have a passion for locksmithing, you’re mechanically inclined, you like learning new skills, and have great customer service skills, you’ll need to find a paying job as a locksmith. Getting a job as a locksmith is the best way to hone your skills and earn money immediately. Starting your own locksmith business is another way to get your foot into the locksmith industry but that comes with a wide variety of additional expenses. When starting your own locksmith business, you’ll need to have a work truck, key-cutting machines, inventory, insurance, on and offline marketing material. If cash is tight, getting hired as a locksmith may be the best choice for you. Especially because you won’t have to handle all the other aspects to owning a business such as marketing, accounting, sales, ordering, collections, quoting, taxes, etc.


The best way to get hired as a locksmith is to have a completed resume and cover letter. Then, start local. Find your local locksmith with our locksmith directory and contact them for an opportunity. If that doesn’t work you can contact 1800-Unlocks customer service and we can try to help find you a prospect, especially if you’re willing to relocate.

Sam Wilson
Author: Sam Wilson

I am a licensed locksmith and the owner of 1-800-Unlocks. The goal of our locksmith directory is to provide a safe place for customers to find a local legitimate locksmith and avoid the pitfalls of being a victim of scamming locksmiths.

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