You throw a glance over your shoulder at the competition—nope, you’re not running a marathon; you’re starting a business!

Locksmiths are always in demand, and you want to know how much it costs to start a locksmith business without losing your life savings. We’ll run through each step with (both paid and free) options to bootstrap your way from an unhappy employee to boss.

1. Research the locksmith market

A customer calls in and urgently needs your services. Can you predict what they want? Which city they’re in? How about what services they’ll need next year? With market research, you can. Research is the foundation of the business of a locksmith and deserves to be taken seriously.

Here’s how to get the scoop:

Free research:

  • Current customers: Conduct a survey on customers’ challenges.
  • Online reviews: Are customers heated about a $100 upcharge? Did a locksmith install gold knobs that didn’t match the silver in their home? Take notes on your competitors’ blunders.

Paid research:

  • Research firm: IBISWorld experts analyze 22,500 locksmith businesses. Read their in-depth report for $925.
technician working on computer

2. Get educated

Starting a locksmith business feels like pulling off a heist. You wonder if you’ll get halfway through, and a nagging voice in your head asks if you really have the chops to pull it off.

You may face a steeper learning curve than other locksmiths, but luckily you don’t need a 4-year degree.

3. Choose your locksmith specialization

Do you dream of spending your days on ignition switch or cylinder repairs? If so, “how to start a car locksmith business?” is your next question.

A profitable business specializes in one area and charges top dollar. When you focus on one area, you can invest in quality auto entry tools and avoid spending money on too much equipment.

There are 3 niches that a locksmith can work in:

  • Residential: homes and residential properties
  • Commercial: offices, businesses, and industrial units
  • Automotive: Locked-in drivers or forgotten car keys

Grow your business with Workiz

The leading field service platform for teams. Schedule jobs, dispatch, invoice, track performance, and get paid — all in one platform.

4. Write a business plan

Business plans document your goals, services, and execution. You shouldn’t start a business without a plan. It will hold you accountable while you organize, manage, and measure success.

You can hire a business plan writer for as little as $100.

If you write one yourself, it must include:

  1. Executive summary
  2. Company description
  3. Market research
  4. Organization and management
  5. Services and products
  6. Marketing and sales
  7. Finance and funding

Locksmith business plan examples are available for free on

person analyzing statistics

5. Plan your income goals

How much money does a locksmith make? The average salary is $46,583, but as a business owner, your income should be higher.

Your income should cover living expenses, overhead, self-employment taxes, and employee salaries if you plan to hire a team.

Know these numbers:

  1. Your service prices
  2. Your business expenses
  3. Your yearly salary

Once you have the figures, calculate how many clients you need to bring in to reach that revenue.

6. Name and register your company

Naming your business isn’t just fun and games…
It’s about creating an impression on your customers and building a strong brand that makes sales. If you’d like more information on creating a strong brand identity for your locksmith business, check out this helpful article. Yes, it was written with HVAC pros in mind, but most of this info also applies to locksmith businesses.

Next, you’ll need to register your business as an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship.

Legalzoom offers online filing services, and prices for an LLC are between $40-$500.

person filling a form

7. Get licensed and permitted

A locksmith license shows you mean business and will establish authority.

Licensing requirements vary by state. For example, California’s application process doesn’t require training, while in Tennessee, you must complete 30 hours of training.

Other states require an exam or apprenticeship.

In general, you can expect to pay a $100-$200 fee and show that you have no felony charges.

8. Get insured

What if a client accuses you of misplacing (wink wink) expensive jewelry? If you’re not prepared, a hefty lawsuit can close your doors and ruin your reputation. Locksmith insurance covers costs to damaged property and liability claims.

Companies like Insureon offer 4 insurance packages for locksmiths. Coverage averages $600-$1,200 a year.

9. Business tools and equipment

Business tools:
Use Workiz’s drag-and-drop calendar tool to see your schedule at a glance, invoice, and take payment in the field. Never underestimate your timeframes or miss a deadline. Give customers peace of mind with automatic customer notifications sent straight to their phones when you’re running late.


Essential locksmith tools such as a lock pick set and broken key extractors should always be in your toolbox; essential tools such as lock pick set and broken key extractors should always be in your toolbox. Shop the best deals through Home Depot or Lowe’s pro membership.

locksmith tools in action

10. Market and advertise

The fastest (and most affordable) way to advertise your locksmith business is with a marketplace like HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, or Thumbtack. Millions of customers flock to these sites to find local locksmiths for their offices, homes, and cars.

Set up a profile in as little as 10 minutes, add your services and contact information, and let the leads start rolling in.

Run a few paid online advertisements with Call Tracking to see which site provides the most quality leads.

Grow your business with Workiz

The leading field service platform for teams. Schedule jobs, dispatch, invoice, track performance, and get paid — all in one platform.