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A new beginning!!!! Hello :)

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I am a newbie so please be gentle

After suffering a life changing accident in 2015, in my wisdom I decided to become and Auto Locksmith!!!!  Im only looking to be part time and cover locally (Surrey).

Is anyone interested in doing some buddying work? Ive completed the Hickleys 10 day course and dived straight in and bought their Auto Locksmith Package and a van, I just feel I need some "Hands on' training.

I will travel and pay if required.

Thanks in advanced :-D

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Good luck, but you are now entering a saturated market - almost everyman and his next door neighbour are locksmiths or auto locksmiths. I am not sure you will find anyone even miles away willing to help as the market shrinks- Currently people are almost giving away keys and travelling huge distances as customers quote - 'This guy said £x' as Martin says rush to the last price. You will need some hefty insurance cover and a small pot of gold for the jobs you cock up and have to get another or the main agent to fix.

I hope after you bad accident and lobbing all your cash at this someone may help, But even I, who now specialise in access control, are finding numpties using telephone wire in jobs travelling 200 miles to do a job and undercutting me by £100 - guess who gets the call to go fix it 

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I doubt it was mentioned prior to you training and buying kit , but mick is correct the market is indeed saturated and rates are dropping faster than a tarts knickers , so many have joined and fuelled the race to the bottom and its a race that when won everyone has lost.

following a short basic training course you have the very basics only , it will take years to gain competence , some achieve this quicker than others , it all depends what you put into it , i advise plenty of bench practice and time in the scrap yards and on old bangers to gain experience and confidence , this is still the best way to learn .

research your area very well , learn who your competitors are , what the local rates are and the most common jobs you are likely to see , more affluent areas will see alot more high end and newer models where as less affluent areas will see older and less high end vehicles . this then gives you an idea of how many competitors you actually have , what the rates are locally and what cars your likely to see most of which guides your software and stock buying needs, all research that ideally should have been done and a business plan made prior to training and buying kit , you would at least know if viable before parting with a large sum of money.

i dont envy you , as i would hate to be starting out now , despite the job being easier due to equipment doing more and being more reliable , dependent on what equiptment you have . the one thing i can guarantee you is that what ever kit you have bought , it wont be enough , you will quickly learn you need far more , that is the one constant in this trade , it changes so quickly and is expensive to keep up and maximise coverage. it is an expensive trade where kit and costs have doubled yet rates have in some areas halved which is a huge inbalance .

the best advice i can give is do alot of research , alot of reading online , alot of bench practice and as much time playing with scrap cars as you can get .

form a business plan , work out your costs per job well to include business running costs , wage , taxes , parts, tokens  etc , add a percentage for ongoing investment and work out what you need to charge to survive and grow , you can then at least ensure your not on road to destruction .

as mick has said , dont neglect insurance , liability and indemnity insurance that actually covers you to work on cars at the roadside , also your own vehicle insurance ensure your covered for business use and also that you are covered when working on a car on the public highway , as you will have keys and be running a car on the highway when working on it , so need to be insured for that car 3rd party at least.

dont neglect stock , most who ring you once advertising with lost keys will want someone today , if you cant do it today there will be someone else that can locally , so stock is essential , which comes back to research as you will have an idea of the most common stock you need for the area you are working in .

i wish you the best of luck , it is an interesting and great trade , you will get out what you put in to learn , its expensive , unforgiving and you will see rates drop as more and more set up , less jobs as more and more can be cloned , but if you survive and establish yourself , then you will enjoy it .

but you are very much on your own , you learn what you get stuck in and learn , you learn from getting in the brown stuff and figuring your way out of it and learn from it , but in reality your on your own , especially when the shit hits the fan .

im sorry if not what you want to hear , buts its accurate so useful , you will get help on the forum if stuck on things or with questions as a helpful forum , so welcome to the forum , read and enjoy .

please dont take it the wrong way , but the last thing the trade needs is more part timers , all it achieves is to kill trade for those that do it full time for a living .



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  • 11 months later...

you will find it very hard to get local auto locksmiths to buddy up with , this is very much a solitary life , you will understand why in the years to come when new starts want to cosy up to you for help . theres not many that will give the time of day to someone setting up to be a competitor in an already saturated market that they will be struggling to get by in.

you look to be covering a huge area , and an area renowned for slow moving traffic and motorway car parks appearing daily , good luck and all the best with this , moving away from kent was good for my sanity on the road, so select quality stock as in such a big area call backs will be costly , then the sods law days when each job is at the furthest extremity from the last of the area , your advert of arrival within an hour will be hard to meet at wrong time of day , i despise that m25 and area as spent too many years of mylife on the m25 and m20 , one of the things i miss least about moving north.

nope its not cheap at all , i have 1 van on road , i carry now around £120k in remote and key stock so i can do most jobs same day , and another 140k in equipment , tools  and token free diag , so your correct its not a cheap business , and i still spend up to 15k a year on upgrades which then brings more expense on the new coverage key stock . it never stops being expensive , it will continue to be expensive until you retire , expensive is the only constant within this trade, though only expensive to keep up and buy kit and stock , its getting cheaper and cheaper rate wise causing a big imbalance for many. in my next life i plan to come back as a distributor .

you will now soon realise just how many fools exist doing any remote key between £60 and £80 all in and the numerous beer money boys working for a pack of fags that exist , mostly on facebook with their chinese tat offerings and unsustainable low prices , you will see these quickly dissappear to be replaced by 2 more and so on , this is the bargain basement the trades become. learn to do the type of jobs the new boys cant do as these at least still pay well .

welcome and best of luck , but outside of socials at trade shows you will find it hard to buddy up to anyone worthwhile within your area other than those who want a nosy to check you out and decide how to best compete with what you will offer , no one helps the new competitors in their own area too  much as affects there own business , to them your just another of the 5 to 10 new starts they see each year in the area . concentrate on what you do and get stuck in local friendships build up over time and normally from trade show socials .

you have to ask yourself , if you are having to graft out a living in an oversaturated market , how much help will you want to give new guys setting up in your area to reduce your living further ? then you understand why this is rare.

attend trade shows , and meet and socialise , join forums and read .

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watch this space and your email box for a certain firms key programming and training roadshow in mid/west wales shortly ! it will soon be full of hopefull fully trained locksmiths armed with a smart pro and a zedfull and keydiy.

wait till the inevitable call out cancels when a few minutes away as found the key , found someone cheaper or one of the other 4 locksmiths they called got their before you , shit happens and you cant charge a fee as advertise no call out , people panic and often phone more than 1 locksmith , if long distance or a run of over an hour which some will be in the areas your covering its advised to take a deposit especially at night . 

i dont envy you , thats a huge area if covering it all on your own with 1 service van , and promising a 1 hour arrival time especially when crossing counties , the m25 or going into london , and covering all of these 24 hours , i take my hat off to you .

cant fault your enthusiasm and really do wish you luck and hope it lives up to expectations


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Hi 247 locksmiths .Just a quick note regarding your internet ad be very warey using car manufacturers logos i had a legal case with vw after one of their agents reported me for using their roundall logo without been an approved repairer.spoke to a guy in London who took them on as a vw specialists it cost him 50k.

Mike hometune

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3 hours ago, Simes said:

.but you are a miserable bunch!



I think that it was more of an honest appraisal of the auto market. The days of charging dealer prices are long gone as the race to the bottom continues. You really really do need to be very specialised with a bottomless pocket to survive now. Oh and a great working relationship with all the local Main dealers helps.

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2 hours ago, 247autolocksmith said:

You lot are a happy bunch!!!

First year in and still going stong. I'm not the "Mr Beer Money" nor do I have any chinese fake equipment. Every market has room for the right person if approached right. Name a single trade that isnt full of beer money chances.


Anyway it was worth a try

Well said and we’ll done!  I got the same message 10 years ago!  No one says it’s going to be easy, but if no one new came into the industry, what happens when everyone retires!  Not every customer shops around either.  In fact my experience is they buy based on referral , speed and efficiency of service, the person that actually bothers to return the call...  For the record, I have never tried to beat my competition on price.  If you need a joiner you have time to shop around, if you lost your car keys, you just want it fixed.  I set my price and stick to it.  I don’t always get the job, but my price is my price, take it or leave it.  You have to have confidence in your own service.  

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  • 3 years later...

I'm back after five years and going from strength to strength still!!! Thank god I didn't listen to the happy bunch on here and run a mile from the industry, haha.

I've seen new companies come and go, but mainly the old dogs who are unwilling to learn anything new.



car key replacements

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