There have been quite a lot of speculations and misconceptions about locksmiths. While some of these myths are entertaining – outrageous, even – some hinder us from getting the much-needed services that we can actually request from them simply because such misconceptions gave us the wrong ideas. Let’s go over some of these:
- They can open everything
While the best ones can open almost every lock there is, don’t feel frustrated if your locksmith tells you that they’re not able to unlock something. There are times when even the most modern tools and even the best of them cannot bypass the mechanism on a certain lock. For instance, older vehicles may not be unlocked and the workaround for this is to bring them to the dealer or repair shop so their technicians can install a new ignition lock cylinder and hand over a new key.
They may also need to perform precision drilling on your safe, especially the high-security ones. They will know how to repair or restore this afterwards, but drilling any lock entails risks like cosmetic damage.
2. This is a very easy job
On the contrary, their jobs are more complicated than we think. There is no one-size-fits-all method in unlocking homes, cars, and vaults. In fact, while there are generalists available, you will find that a lot of them specialize in certain locks because lock types and key types are different. There are automotive locksmiths, residential locksmiths, and commercial locksmiths. Before you book a service call, make sure to specify what help you need from them.
3. They should be paid the same rates
Competition these days is stiff, so these professionals aim to always upgrade their skills, techniques, and tools. When you pay a qualified expert, you’re paying the cost of the replacement parts, labor, their time, experience, and expertise. There are overhead charges and call out service fees to consider, as well. This is why some may charge more than others.
4. They judge their clients
You don’t have to feel embarrassed about forgetting or losing your keys. It happens to the best of us, and your locksmiths won’t judge you for it. They get a lot of calls about getting locked out, so you’re not an isolated case altogether. They are there to help, and they, above all people, know how normal misplacing things truly is.
5. They are only good for house lockouts and cutting keys
While this is the top reason why people call and ask for their help, locksmiths can actually do more than just help during lockout situations. They can help repair, install, and replace locks on your doors, windows, and cars. They can also install security systems and keyless entry equipment.
6. They only work during business hours
There are many 24 hour locksmith services in your area. All you need to do is make a quick search and you’ll be able to find your options. To keep up with competitors, many companies have resorted to offering 24/7 locksmith services. After all, lockouts may happen at any time – morning, evening, or dawn. They may also happen during weekends or holidays. You shouldn’t have to wait until business hours or until the next business day to ask for help.
7. Anyone can be a locksmith
Yes and no. Anyone can learn these skills, but it takes years of training and apprenticeship to be able to master the craft. There are 17 states that require locksmiths to have their licenses. These states are: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.
Their state laws, on average, require aspiring locksmiths to pay $167 in fees, complete a training program and apprenticeship, which is roughly 54 days of education and experience. They will need to pass one exam after.
If you’re looking for a locksmith in downtown LA, for example, you’ll want to check for their license first, as California requires locksmiths to have a license before they can operate.
8. They have a master key that they can use on every lock
They don’t have a master key that can be used on every lock. Instead, they can either crack the code of the key or make an impression. If you don’t have the original key handy, they dismantle the lock and crack the code of the key. This means determining the pins that compose the code of the lock. They then use this to create a key to match the code.
Another method is getting the impression of the lock by inserting a blank key and turning it. When the pins press against the key, it will leave marks that the locksmith then uses to determine where to make those cuts.
9. Locksmiths are allowed to duplicate any key
Experts from West Coast Locksmith have confirmed that all locksmiths are allowed to duplicate any key as long as this is not marked “Restricted.” To heighten security, lock companies have come up with patented restricted keys that are harder to copy because of their design. These are not readily available on the open market; new keys can only be cut by the authorized maker or the master locksmith who originally designed this. You’ll find that they either have two rows of cuts or dimples cut and are marked “Restricted” or “Duplication Prohibited.”
Locksmiths will need special equipment to create a copy of these kinds of keys. Apart from that, U.S. patent laws also do not allow unauthorized duplication of restricted keys. Penalty for attempting to circumvent this law may be up to $10,000. Only authorized manufacturers and locksmiths are allowed to duplicate them.
If there is anything involving locksmiths that you are unsure of, the best way to clear this out is to verify with these professionals. These misconceptions have been around for quite some time and may have caused some people discomfort and unnecessary worries when they make their service calls and work their locks and keys.
Trustworthy locksmiths from reputable companies can be plenty of help when you’re stuck in certain situations or when you need to install new locks or rekey your home. Don’t hesitate to give them a call and ask them as many questions as needed. If there’s anything we can learn from this, it’s that we should avoid misconceptions and, instead, talk openly to our locksmiths.