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Guest downsarf

My first question is why do you want to do it as a sideline ? The locksmith is totally saturated by lots of poorly trained people calling themselves locksmiths.

Think of it like learning to drive, unless you put in the hours you wont really get anywhere. The locksmith trade is made up of many different areas.

Lockouts,bench work,door hardware,fire exit hardware,access control,safes,auto,upvc and more.


What exactly is it that you want to learn ? Only once you know can you choose a course.


I personally think as a sideline, don't even bother, as far too many are already doing that and the domestic work has thinned out because of it.Unless you spend £££ on marketing,have the right contacts or specialist niche skills you wont make a fortune.

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As a locksmith myself, i can recomend a couple of very good locksmith courses. The thing you have to look out for are the courses that will offer you the earth and give you a mole hill.

You will not automaticaly become a locksmith when you have done the course, all you will have done is to learn the very basics of locks and how to minipulate the very small tolerances that they have.

I have always said it was like learning to drive. When learning with an instructer you are learning how to pass your test, only when you have passed your test do you learn to drive, the same is with locksmithing.

Please ask a lot of questions on this forum before parting with a lot of your hard earned cash.

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forget it as a sideline, it will not work out, if just looking at sidelines then learn basic woodwork and do fresh lock fits, learn upvc cosmetic or strip repair , learn to fit security grilles, all a good sideline for a shop.


as a sideline lockouts will never recoup your investment in lock tools and adverts as not enough of this work exists anymore, you wont get the lucrative contract stuff until established and good enough, courses wont give you this.


Lockouts are all you learn on these courses and with this forming just 5% to 10% of what a locksmith does you will be a long time trying to make it pay if at all.


learn woodwork , upvc repair and it will make you far more long term.

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Some excellent replies to the opening post there guys...well done. I totally agree with all said.

There are too many cowboys in this industry who spoil it for the professionals.


A similar post you may want to read viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2990&st=0&sk=t&sd=a


I must say also, We have some excellent members in the Key Cutting section who come up with countless interesting threads.

Keep up the good work fellas'



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As a trainer of locksmiths, I reckon a basic course would be about 13 weeks followed by two years, split between bench work, shop work, out work and emergency calls. As has been stated a two day open up course and then being supplied lots of useless toys is a big waste of money. To open a lock with the right tool may take hours to perfect and believe me this skill is lost unless you practice, and this has to be done on fresh locks, the more you try to open a lock the more it wears down and you get familiar with that one lock.

I no longer train as 'I am no longer required' and my views differ from theirs.

Many of my friends tell me they get at least one phone call letter of visistor a week offering to work for free to 'gain experiance' - what right minded idiot is going to have a no nuts in his shop, van and train him to take away the few customers there are about.

Rising security standards in the UK have meant that the house upgrade of 15 years ago is not the job it was - anyone who has a care has upgraded his house and anyone that hasn't doesn't give a tinkers curse.

I would like to go back to training but is there the need. I now have specialised in disablility access control, for both domestic and commercial premises Blood pressure down - stress levels low.

As a side line is a No No wait until you get the stupid idiot who calls you at 3 in the morning to cut a spare key to his Datsun as he is on the morning flight to ******* and wants to leave his friend a spare key - but doesn't want to pay a call out for £5.00 key.

Invest in something else an ISA may give better rewards

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We are not Locksmiths have looked at this a few times but have quickly changed our minds. Todo it to a good standard you have todo the right training and have the right equipment in my view.


We have a little cobbler near us who does this as a (Side Line) did a days course. Like everything he does, it is on the make do system [-X


We have customers in complain he has butchered there door and the lock dosn't work as good as it should. Which must effect his main business :?:


Stick to what you are good at leave locksmithing to the experts. Or make a decison to make it a career change and go for it. But please not as a bit on the side.


We get asked if we offer a locksmith service, so we always make sure we have plenty of cards of a couple of local respected locksmiths. We only reccomend a locksmith we know and trust . For excample we use Phill from P&R locksmiths who is a member on here. :D


Only my thoughts

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sorry i didnt really mean to say doing it as a side line,i wanted to involve it in the buisness by taking on an apprentice learning the shoe repairs and key cutting and when hes trained i can put alot more effort into the locksmithing and running the two buisnesses together,but knowing i was leaving someone in the shop capable of cutting keys and shoe repairs this is a long term plan not a short time idea.what knowledge im really after is any cobbler that has started as a shoe repairer then gone into locksmithing running them side by side,what problems uve faced,cost,what kit you need and what courses.



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The MLA, in my opinion are the best organisation to be affiliated with, they seem to have the highest profile with the general public, have good relationships within the whole sale industry. (extra discounts for MLA members etc.)

As mentioned before you have to be 100% commited to that side of your business, you'll need someone to run you shop if your out all day fitting locks. There can be no, closing the shop or only doing things after hours. You'll just come across as a un-proffessional, un-reliable shoe repairer trying to make some money on the side, and when it comes to peoples security, its a very serious business.


I have listed a few expensess to consider


18-25k a year on additional member of staff experianced enough to run your shop while your out (if your lucky enough to know one)

Around £7000 for a clean reliable Mid size van.

Initialy £3000 for courses then on going as your experiance grows

£5000 on basic tools and equipment including additional key machines and locksmith tools

£7000 on advertising including web,118, local papers,sign writing and yellow pages

£1000 additional Liability and vehical insurance

£3000 on stock to include cylinder,mortice,window,shutter and multi-point locks, safes and additional padlocks to current stock


This is just to start with, I've estimated I've spent between £80000-£100000 (not including stock) on this side of the business in the 8 years i've been trading as a Locksmith.


People like Mick Friend are very handy to know, and the MLA forum like this one is very good, there's always someone who can help when your stuck and often do.


Good Luck



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have to agree its not something to be done half hearted, covering domestic,auto and safes i carry in excess of 110k in equipment and stock.

i would also agree the mla do have the highest profile and well worth joining, as are ICL , not as high a profile but still excellent wholesaler relationships with discounts for all members from safeventures, sks , greenfox solutions, UAP to name just a few, as well as the added benefit of alot of work being passed around by the members and a number of national contracts serviced via member to member.


An association affiliation is not compulsory, many of the top safe engineers and locksmiths in the uk belong to no group at all, but it really helps long term to strengthen your business.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest stealthlocks

Best thing you can do is contact local locksmiths near you and put a sign up in your window offering a locksmithing service, Then pass it on to them for a percentage.

I get quite a bit of work from cobblers in my area.

Its a bad idea running it as a side line to your shop, Ive been there and done it before the locksmithing game became saturated. What you gain from one you lose from the other.

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As with shoe repairs it takes years to train a locksmith to be even competent at the trade, too many try and do it after a few days training, more often than not ends up being no more than a costly mistake.


All courses offer just opening training on basic locks, openings form just 10% of a locksmiths workload, so of little use long term, with 9 out of 10 new start ups going bust in 1st 12 months in this field you would think people would start wising up soon.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi - Hope you don't mind me mentioning another site / Forum - but this is a topic I started ...




Have a look at this link (I think you have to register to see it) But these are 100% replies from " other " people / Locksmiths who have done courses with different locksmith training schools (Including Rapidlocks who gets a 5 Star rating :) ) Please feel free to take a look .



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  • 1 year later...
Guest john-locksmith

its good that you are joining locksmith course. one thing you should always remember you need to be jack of all trades to become a good locksmith and keep yourself abreast with latest trends

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  • 2 months later...
Guest Hawkster

Hello iam new to this site and iam looking for some locksmith training in and around the Bristol area, mainly on upvc doors.. I have a set of lock picks that I have been practicing with but I need some help from a Pro…. Iam willing to pay cash for a day or two of training. So if you can help me please PM me.

Many Thanks to you all



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