Rethinking Our System

Aug. 4, 2011

During the second week of each month, Locksmith Ledger sends out a web newsletter. The newsletter is designed to promote thought and discussion about happenings in our industry. Our latest newsletter featured a comparison between the locksmith trade and the carpenters trade. The comparison described how the carpenter trade is organized and how their organization benefits each individual carpenter.

Some of our newsletters have elicited comments from readers, but no locksmiths have chosen to contact us with comments on the issues presented in this particular newsletter.

However, we did receive an E-mail from Steffan George, director of business development for the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) in the UK. The topic of our newsletter prompted Mr. George to describe recent locksmith developments in the UK. He stated that MLA is "..funding the development of a nationally recogised qualification and apprenticeship framework to help 'legitimise the profession' of locksmithing."

Another E-mail came from Ron McLennan, president of the British Columbia Association of Professional Locksmiths (BCAPL). Mr. McLennan sent me copies of suggested forms which must be filled out plus information on the training required before any person can become a locksmith in British Columbia. BCAPL has been working very closely with the Canadian government for the certification of locksmiths in that province.

In a related incident, a phone call was received today from a locksmith on the east coast. He asked if Locksmith Ledger had any suggestions on how to put scammers out of business. He stated that a locksmith company had inserted dozens of phone numbers in his local directories and in his opinion the addresses were phony and those locksmiths were scammers. I asked him if he had locksmith license laws in his state and he answered no.

My answer to that locksmith was to tell him to contact the better business bureau, local television stations, Google, goverment officials - anybody that can exert some legal pressure at the local level. This was not what this locksmith wanted to hear. He wanted to know who he could contact and have them do the work. He really was hoping that Locksmith Ledger could solve his local problem.

It appears that groups like MLA and BCAPL are ahead of us on this issue. They both seem to have enlisted the govenment as a partner in their certification efforts. There is strength in numbers and the scammers currently have the organization and they have the numbers. As long as legitimate locksmiths do not mobilize and at least move towards state by state regulation, there can be no complaint when some phone bank litters the country with locksmith phone numbers. As it is, regardless of their training or expertise these phone banks have the same right as we do to start a locksmith business. At least until they do something wrong and it can be proven in a court of law.