The job of a Locksmith has been around since the Egyptians and as one of the most adaptive industries some skills and pathways have changed since then, offering a diverse and varied career for all Locksmiths. Alongside the traditional ideals of Locksmithing, auto Locksmithing now is a speciality that people trained in the Locksmith industry consider. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about Auto Locksmithing, and how to train as one.
What is an Auto Locksmith?
An auto Locksmith is someone that is specifically trained in the locks and keys of vehicles. Although most if not all Locksmiths will have an understanding, auto Locksmiths are specifically trained and hold a wealth of knowledge and expertise in order to assist with emergency car entries and broken car keys.
It’s not just the standard mechanics of a key and lock, auto Locksmiths know some tech too. Modern cars and vehicles often come with an electronic car fob that allows for a car to be locked and unlocked all from the use of a couple of buttons. Likewise, newer cars are now not bothering with a key at all, but rather using ignition chips that connect to internal car computers for keyless ignition. With this entire technology, auto Locksmiths are trained on how to programme electronic keys, communicate with the internal car computers, and also cut new car keys.
Auto Locksmith Services
There are a few different services that an auto Locksmith can offer, below are just a few examples of what services customer might want and what you as a auto Locksmith could offer them:
Lost/Stolen Car Key Replacement
When a car key is lost or stolen new keys need to be programmed and the previous one deprogrammed so that the car remains secure and the owner has access. When an auto Locksmith is fully trained, they are able to enter a cars’ internal computer to program, change and deprogram car keys and fobs.
Broken Key Lock Extraction
Should a key get stuck in the car door or ignition, auto Locksmiths are highly skilled in key extractions, so that the key is removed without the lock being damaged.
Vehicle Entry and Key Retrieval
Accidents happen where keys get locked in cars, so an auto Locksmith needs to be trained to open a car without causing damage. There are many different techniques and approaches that an auto Locksmith will use to open a car and retrieve the keys, all of these techniques would be covered in an auto Locksmith course.
Central Locking and Transponder Programming and Repair
A transponder key, although very similar to a remote key is a bit tricker and requires some specialist training as with it’s third layer of security an auto Locksmith must have a thorough understanding of not only the internal mechanical workings but digitally too.
Broken Car Key Repair and Replacement
Keys always break, whether it is the physical key or the remote key, an auto Locksmith is able to repair the issue or provide a replacement.
A spare key is always a good idea, whether it is a full programmed car key and fob or just a spare key, an auto Locksmith may be asked by a customer to create a spare key.
Auto Locksmith Equipment
Not only do auto Locksmiths carry all the same tools as normal Locksmiths as they will often work as both, but one of the biggest differences is the need for a computer. The reprograming of keys, ignition chips, car deadlocks etc means that a computer or other handheld device shall be needed in order to understand, program, and transmit encrypted data in the car’s internal computer.
Much the digital work is done through the use of specific software that allows you to access the internal car computer to make the necessary changes. This software will allow you to access information about:
- Transponder Systems
- Blank Keys Referencing
- Vehicle specifications
- Bitting Information
There are a range of tools that you will need for basic auto Locksmithing, items such as specialised screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, nut drivers and a 2-1 wedge are just a few of the basic tools that any auto Locksmith should have, however there will also be more specialist equipment that will be required depending on the type of services you offer and what suits your techniques best.
Key Cutting Machine
The need for a Key machine will be dependent on the services that you are looking to offer and the amount of capital you have as they are very expensive to purchase. We would recommend that you begin trading as an auto Locksmith and then wait to see if the demand is there so that the cost of the machine is a worthwhile investment.
What Training Do I Need?
Like with usual Locksmithing, we would always suggest that you take an Auto Locksmith course. If you are already a trading Locksmith a shorter, specialist course may be perfect for you to gain the specialty to also advertise auto Locksmith services. However, if you are a complete newcomer to the industry, we suggest that you either undertake a Locksmith course to learn the basic skills needed and to have a broader skillset and then undertake a specialist auto Locksmith course or to complete a Locksmith course that has an extensive auto Locksmith section. The route you take will depend on what services you are looking to offer and what suits your timescales and budget, however we always suggest that a broader skill set will help with confidence and experience.
Auto Locksmith Prices
As a more specialist service, you can charge more for some services than others. As there are fewer individuals who are auto Locksmiths compared to regular Locksmiths, the cost of an auto Locksmith tends to be higher. The estimated price for an auto Locksmith can be anywhere from £120 to £140. However different factors may affect what you charge for your auto Locksmith services.
Factors that Affect Price
- Breakdown of Costs
Is your price all inclusive of the work that needs to be done, including parts? Are you going to charge an hourly rate and then parts on top? How you intend to breakdown the costs will be an important factor in how much you charge. The important thing to remember is that the pricing should always be fair to the customer, reflective of the services that your offer.
- Time of Day
Premium pricing is normally charged outside of normal working hours. For example, a customer will expect to pay more at 11pm then at 11 am as the call out was outside of working hours.
- Parts Required
If certain parts or equipment are required to carry out a job, they may need to be factored into the overall cost of the job.
Working as an auto Locksmith allows for flexibility of working hours to create a better balance between working life and personal life. The ability to choose your own hours, areas that you will cover and the services that you offer allows for complete flexibility to fit around the other important aspects of your life.