There are very few guarantees in life, but one thing is sure; as long as people still use locks and keys to secure their homes and workspaces, they will need reliable, qualified locksmiths. Locks continue to evolve and grow sturdier and more technical over time, creating an even bigger demand for experienced locksmiths.
Locksmiths are the ones people call when they lock themselves out of their house or office, break the key in their lock, or need to change their locks. But that’s not all. Locksmiths don’t only pick locks and make duplicate keys, they also repair and replace damaged locks, help you gain access to your home, car, or office if you lose your key, and work with security companies to come up with the most secure, pick-proof locks possible.
If you’re considering becoming a locksmith or opening your own locksmith business, the good news is that the industry is growing steadily, increasing by around 2% in the past five years.
If you want to run a successful locksmith business, you’ll need these eight essential tools to get your business off the ground.
1. Key Machine Makers
The first piece of essential equipment every good locksmith needs is a great-quality key machine maker. Locksmiths use this tool to make and replicate new keys in a number of situations such as when a key has broken in the lock or a new lockset has been put in and a new set of keys is needed. There are plenty of models on the market, so do some research and opt for a high-quality key machine maker that works with modern lock and key technology. If you’re working in a small space, there are plenty of compact key machine makers out there that don’t take up too much room.
2. Lock picks & tension tools
Every locksmith’s tool kit should contain locks picks. If you’re starting out, choose a set with at least 9 diverse picks including a basic hook pick, ball picks, a diamond pick, a variety of rakes, and tension tools. A locksmith can do a lot with a well-stocked lock pick set.
3. A broken key extractor
A common reason why people call a locksmith in a panic is that their key has broken inside the lock. This is where broken key extractors come in. Keys wear down over time, causing them to snap, they can also snap if they’re being jabbed into the wrong lock or handled roughly. A broken key extractor comes with several different configurations to get rid of broken keys or fragments stuck inside keyholes and other locking systems. It’s definitely a must-have tool for any locksmith’s business.
4. A plug spinner
Another essential item for a locksmith is a plug spinner. When a lock is picked in the wrong direction, you might need a plug spinner to reset it. A plug spinner works by rotating the interior of the lock back to the right position without needing to pick the lock again. Some locksmiths may even pick a lock in the wrong direction on purpose, depending on the lock. Some locks are actually easier to pick in the wrong direction, making it easier to pick it in the wrong direction and use a plug spinner to turn it back to the right position, opening the lock quicker.
5. A pick gun/locksmith’s gun
Many locksmiths will opt for a pick gun rather than a hand pick when opening a lock. While pick guns are often more efficient than traditional hand picks, there is still a lot of skill required to use them properly. Pick guns work using kinetic energy to level the lock pins to the shear line.
6. A lighting scope
One of the biggest on-the-job risks for locksmiths is getting injured due to bad lighting. When working in tight, dark spaces, it’s important to use a hand-held lighting scope to make sure that you can clearly see what you’re doing.
7. Lock pin tumbler tweezers
Lock pin tumbler tweezers are made from stainless steel and built-in grooves for a firm grip and increased dexterity when grabbing thin pins easily. They are perfect for getting a good grip on cylinder pins in locks and other equipment.
8. Protective wear
While not necessarily a tool of the trade, protective wear is essential for all locksmiths. You’ll need to invest in sturdy, cut-resistant gloves to protect yourself from pesky splinters, safety glasses to protect your eyes from metal shavings, sparks of fire, or other debris, and protective footwear like steel toe boots to support the feet during long days of standing.
Whether you’re a novice thinking of joining the fast-growing locksmith industry or you’re a seasoned locksmith who wants to keep up with the latest trends, choosing the right tools for the job is the key to success. These tools can be used in a small space and, with regular maintenance, will stand the test of time. When it comes to picking locksmith tools, reliability and durability should be a top priority. These five must-haves are all you need to run a thriving locksmith business for years to come.