30 Under 30: Apprentice Locksmith Zac Grant

Locksmithing is a mystery until you get involved, says a 19-year-old apprentice locksmith. His friends think he picks locks all day, but he is actually programming rekeying, programming transponder keys and duplicating keys as he learns the business.

We’re honest about everything we do. If we mess up, we’ll wait and make sure we do it right even if it means scheduling another appointment to come back. One time we were doing a rekey job and discovered that the previous locksmith left some pins out so we couldn’t work on the cylinders until we took them apart and repinned them. We’re always honest and we’d rather have the customer call us for more work than make quick money one time.


Do you have a lot of regular repeat customers?

Yes we do. Most of them are car dealerships and we get referrals from people a lot.


What else have you seen out there that you’d like to learn more about?

Two days ago I rekeyed my first ignition and then did another one this morning. That was new to me. I keep watching Shawn and I learn; it’s all about having a good mentor.


Do you see yourself having your own lock business one day?

I don’t know about that any time soon. I see what Shawn goes through and how stressful it could get. When you’re the owner, you’re always busy which is good but I’m still young and don’t really want all that responsibility yet.


What do your friends think of you working as a locksmith now?

All my friends knew I was coming here to work as a locksmith. They would say, “What are you going to do, pick locks?” Everybody thinks that’s all we do, pick locks. People always think that. People don’t know what we do. It’s like a hidden skill.


Are you learning more about your own abilities during this time? Are you enjoying working with your hands?

I never had a problem working with my hands but the work is very involved. When I began, it was just cut keys and program; very basic and you really couldn’t mess it up unless there’s a problem with the car and then you can’t program it. When there’s a problem to figure out, you just have to trust yourself and figure it out.


What do you look forward to learning more about? (I point to our front door and ask about the door closer, Adams Rite lock, etc.)

Right now that stuff is all Shawn. I’d like to get more into installing residential stuff. Access Control sounds kind of cool but I don’t yet know anything about it.


What do you think Access Control is? Is it meant to replace the use of keys?

Technology, I think of advanced technology; how does it work? Technology fails sometimes and when that happens, you can always go back to using keys. I prefer the old key and cylinder myself.


Are you thinking that keys will always be around?

I do, yes. They’ll always be around; like the Chrysler Fobix; they have the emergency key in the back in case technology fails. I’m intrigued by Access Control but still think keys will be around for a long time. There are so many keys out there that I just don’t see them all vanishing.


What would you say to people your age; would you recommend it as a way to earn a living?

Absolutely, I’m digging what I’m doing. I wasn’t one for school I guess so going right from high school to this has been great. You get to travel around and meet new people every day instead of being in an office all day.

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