Before you think about becoming a locksmith or opening your own business, you need to get a solid understanding of how to obtain a locksmith license in your state.
In the US, 16 states require a locksmith license in order to legally market services, hire employees, apply for jobs, handle some high-power and advanced tools, and practice a specialty such as residential or commercial locksmithing. Businesses that hire locksmiths without proper licensing can get fined, sued by customers, and even shut down, a risk you wouldn’t want to take with your company. After all, new locksmith businesses already struggle with purchasing the right tools for their technicians, maintaining inventory stock and vehicles, and most importantly—budgeting on marketing and advertising.
If your state is one of the 16 that require a locksmith license, we’ll guide you through the application process.
Below are the 16 states that require a locksmith license to operate a company and get hired. Licenses may only be required for business owners, individuals, or both. Make sure to click on your state for more details.
After researching and reviewing the locksmith license requirements in 16 states, we found that there are basic prerequisites and documentation you’ll need to have ready to ensure the process goes quickly and smoothly.
While the legal age to obtain a locksmith license is 16 in a few states, the average legal age requirement to get a license and open your own business is between 18 to 21.
If you’re applying as a company, you’ll need to have your business legally formed. Make sure your LLC, partnership, or corporation is in good standing, all your documents are updated, and all your fees are paid. You’ll be asked to submit proof of your business entity.
Some applications also require business owners to choose a “qualifying agent” for their business; a qualifying agent is someone who is responsible for the completion and monitoring of the application until you’ve been approved. It can be the owner of the company or one of your employees, such as a manager.
Business owners must have liability insurance to cover bodily injuries, medical payments, and legal fees in case of customer lawsuits. The amount of insurance required ranges from $250,000 to $1,000,000.
You’ll have to pass an FBI criminal background check in most cases; some applications simply ask you to write down if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and to provide court documents and police records. The top reasons your locksmith license may get denied are: previous convictions for crimes related to locksmithing, violent assaults, robberies, or failure to pay child support.
The majority of states do not classify a felony conviction as an automatic disqualification for licensure. Most will weigh the time that has passed since the offense, the context within which offenses occurred, and will evaluate good behavior.
Also, you’ll need to get fingerprinted either at your local police station or at a verified fingerprinting vendor recommended by the state.
A recent photo, driver’s license, state ID, or other documentation will be required.
A certificate from a locksmithing school, certification, course, apprenticeship under a licensed locksmith, or specified units or hours of job experience are required in most states.
In many states, you’ll have to study for and pass a locksmith exam in-person at a designated location or online. The exam material is outlined, and study materials are given in the form of recommended books or other resources.
Read more about the application process, required documentation, and contact information for each individual state. Whether you want to be a technician or eventually work your way up to becoming a business owner, our guide will help you prepare and get started immediately.
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