Locksmith

Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

THE BRIEF:

Want to know how important a locksmith can be? Just ask Jason Feifer, Entrepreneur's editor-in-chief, who wrote about how he was recently locked out of his office (you can read the story — and the important business takeaways — in the March 2020 issue of the magazine or in a shortened form here).

Working as a locksmith on a mobile basis, from home, or from a retail storefront, you can offer customers a wide range of locksmithing services ranging from key cutting, installing new passage sets, emergency entries, sales of locks, safes, and related equipment and installation. 

ASK THE PROS:

How much money can you make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the mean annual wage and mean annual salary for a blacksmith, as of May 2018, were $21.03 and $43,740, respectively. However, as with most jobs, that contains a huge range — a blacksmith earning in the tenth percentile for his profession might make as little as $24,270 a year, while someone in the 90th percentile would earn $65,870.

What kind of experience do you need to have?

In both the United States and Canada, locksmiths are required to be licensed and bonded, but all states and provinces have their own training and licensing requirements. Here's what that process would look like when applying in New York City.

How can you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

Hiring a locksmith requires trust on multiple levels: Your customers need to be able to trust you not only to keep their things safe (or retrieve those hidden objects), but also to treat the people involved fairly and not rip them off. "Too many businesses treat customers as transactions," Feifer writes. "They just want to win the business, even if the customer is unhappy as a result." If you can earn your customers' trust, you can create a competitive advantage.

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