Need a locksmith? Here is a great place to start! The Society of Professional Locksmiths directory search is now available. Locksmiths can claim their listing by contacting us.
Disclaimer: Information provided in the online directory on this website is intended to provide a guide to home based and local locksmith businesses in the United States. The information contained is not verified. No warranty, representation or undertaking is made about the content, accuracy and completeness of the information provided. We recommend that you cross reference any service provider to ensure accuracy before hiring. The Society of Professional Locksmiths accepts no responsibility or liability for any loss, damage or injury which may arise from anything contained in this directory listing. No person is entitled to any redress against our organization on any account whatsoever or arising in relation to any information provided.
We recommend the following upon contacting any service provider.
#1 - Ask for a written quote prior to any work, do not sign any paperwork that does not reflect the quote in full, and be sure to read the fine print.
#2 - Ask for identification prior to the start of any work and record the information for your protection. If they refuse, turn them away and find another service provider.
#3 - If you are locked out of your home or vehicle ask the service provider if they will use "non-destructive methods of entry".
#4 - If they insist your lock needs to be drilled to open, ask them if only the "cylinder" will need replacement and what the final cost will be and record it as an add on on the original written quote. If not, consult another service provider in your area.
#5 - If you feel intimidated, being threatened or believe you are the victim of a scam, leave the area and call the police.
Contact the SOPL to report any listing you believe is not valid and we will look into it.
The supposed reasoning of many licensing proponents is that it would establish some sort of minimum standard of competency. The reality is that licenses go to those who pay for them, including scammers. But what of ethics, fair practices, and providing the best possible service and prices to the customer? And what of locksmiths who adopt marketing practices we usually associate with scammers?
As an example, one locksmith has been accused of various unscrupulous practices. The complaint can be found on the Ripoff Report website (https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/terry-whin-yates/vancouver-british-columbia-/terry-whin-yates-mr-locksmith-consumer-scams-education-scams-and-business-scams-vancouve-718436). The subject of the complaint responds, not with a denial or any verifiable correction to any of the accusations, but by posting warnings to consumers about unlicensed locksmiths.
In a separate report, apparently filed by the same complainant against the same locksmith, it is alleged that the subject company “is using a .com URL made up of a local competitor company's name in an attempt to steal business from that company. So pathetic! The website www.robsonlocksmith.com is forwarded to www.mrlocksmithvancouver.com so that people searching for Robson Locksmith, a local Vancouver locksmith will go to this scammer's site. This is fraudulent advertising. The fraud locksmith company, 24hr Mr Locksmith, also uses the name of the owner of Robson Locksmith and "Robson Locksmith" in the meta data of his website.” (https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/24-hour-mr-locksmith/vancouver-british-columbia-/24-hour-mr-locksmith-mr-prolock-mr-locksmith-aaautomotive-locksmiths-scam-artist-locksmi-661722) A screen capture was attached to the report:
The company responded with a denial without evidence, then apparently tries to justify spoofing the competitor’s site by claiming the competitor was not licensed, which would seem to be more of an admission than a denial, albeit with an excuse. They add that “the complaint is a little too detailed for an anonymous posting.” An odd defense at best.
They also say, “Robson Locksmith and Colin Evans are no longer associated with Mr. Locksmith or Terry Whin-Yates.” Yet, if you go to http://www.robsonlocksmith.com/, that’s exactly who you will find. So, if you are a licensed locksmith calling out unlicensed locksmiths, but engaging in tactics associated with scammers, what was the gain? And, does this not prove that licensing can and will be used to protect scammer tactics?
Beyond the blatant hypocrisy that is revealed, sooner or later, by those who support licensing of those in the locksmith trade, is the simple fact that the licensing experiments are proven failures. Purportedly a means to eliminate those in the industry who do substandard work at highly inflated prices, the results of licensing have repeatedly been shown to be quite the opposite. Licensing, itself, is the scam. The failures of licensing to provide the promised benefits continue to show themselves, but three recent news items put it all in a neat little package.
The first, from NBC 5’s Samantha Chapman in Fort Worth, Texas, reports on a “locksmith” damaging a car and overcharging the customer for opening the vehicle. Texas licenses locksmiths, but obviously failed to protect the consumer. If the “locksmith,” or the company he worked for, was licensed, then licensing failed to ensure a minimum level of competency. If he or the company wasn’t, then licensing also failed. It not only failed to protect the consumer, but also failed to protect legitimate locksmiths from competition from scammers. The irony is that the company in question is located only a few miles from the offices of the Associated Locksmiths of America, an organization that has helped to promote these licensing schemes throughout the country. You might think that, under those circumstances, the Texas licensing laws would be the shining example of effective licensing laws if, in fact, there was any such thing. And above all, you would be wrong.
The “investigation” by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the locksmith licensing that failed to protect the consumer, is also quite illuminating. A spokesperson for the company involved says, in the report, that, "We are aware that the Texas Department of Public Safety is conducting a formal investigation, and we are working with them to get all proper rules and regulations in line and corrected. Since their visit with the owner of the company, we have then ordered new business cards, uniforms for each technician, proper presentation for each technician's vehicle, and invoices that have our phone number and company business license number on each of the items listed above." Wonderful; new business cards, uniforms, and invoices – that’ll fix them!
Then, we have a report from Eric Dexheimer from the Austin American-Statesman, also in Texas. Here, we have locksmith Shayne Gatlin, who “worked hard and grew his operation to three trucks and a retail shop, eventually acquiring more than 100,000 customers. The Better Business Bureau granted him its top rating.” After more than 30 years in business, Gatlin has been refused the renewal of his license because he was convicted of a crime as a nineteen year-old, thirty-eight years ago. Even Jim Hetchler, past-president of the Texas Locksmiths Association, admits in the report that Gatlin is “getting screwed,” though Hetchler fails to acknowledge that he and the Texas Locksmiths Association supported (and presumably, still do) the licensing requirements that are currently screwing Mr. Gatlin. Hypocrisy and failure all wrapped in one.
Finally, we have a report from Ross McLaughlin of CTV-News. A wonderful video report of a licensed scammer doing his thing. Pure and simple proof that licensing neither protects the consumer nor legitimate locksmiths from scammers and their competition. At some point, you would think that licensing advocates would stop pushing their failed agenda but, again, you would be wrong.
In a recent Notes from the Editor titled "Ode to Licensing," Locksmith Ledger Editor-in-Chief Gale Johnson laments the fact that more states have not passed locksmith licensing legislation. In 20 years, he says, only 15 states have passed such legislation. He states, “This record is nothing to be proud of.” He’s right. In 20 years years and 15 states, none of these licensing schemes can be shown to provide the promised benefits to the locksmith industry or the general public. On the contrary, licensing is a proven failure.
Licensing has usually been promoted within the industry as a way to eliminate “scammers.” It is interesting to note that Johnson’s letter never uses that term – perhaps because scammers continue to operate as freely in the states that have adopted licensing as those that have not. He did say that proponents claimed that “licensing would keep out handymen and part-timers,” while simultaneously claiming that licensing “should not be seen as protection against competition.” I’ll leave the reader to try and resolve that bit of twisted reasoning.
Licensing is, and always has been, a form of protectionism. As stated by the Institute for Justice:
All Americans deserve the opportunity to earn an honest living. Yet occupational licenses, which are essentially permission slips from the government, routinely stand in the way of honest enterprise. Without these licenses, workers can face stiff fines or even risk jail time. The requirements for licensure, though, can be an enormous burden and often force entrepreneurs to waste their valuable time and money to become licensed. Additionally, these burdens too often have no connection at all to public health or safety. Instead, they are imposed simply to protect established businesses from economic competition.
The costs of licensing provide no demonstrable benefits for the consumer and can also lead to unintended negative consequences for both the consumer and members of the licensed industry. Johnson says that the expansion of the big-box stores have hurt the industry during the same twenty-year period. He might want to consider that several studies have shown that increased costs due to governmental restrictions and regulations may be exactly what drives the consumer to the big-box stores, with another unintended consequence of actually reducing consumer security and safety. In an article from the Library of Economics and Liberty, author S. David Young writes:
These higher costs might be acceptable if it could be shown that licensing enhances service quality. Most of the evidence on this issue, however, suggests that licensing has, at best, a neutral effect on quality and may even harm consumers. By making entry more costly, licensing increases the price of services rendered in the occupations and decreases the number of people employed in them. The result is a "Cadillac effect," in which consumers either purchase the services of high-quality practitioners at a high price or purchase no services at all. Some consumers, therefore, resort to do-it-yourself methods, which in some occupations has led to lower overall quality and less safety than if there were no licensing. The incidence of rabies is higher, for example, where there are strict limits on veterinary practice, and as Sidney Carroll and Robert Gaston documented, rates of electrocution are higher in states with the most restrictive licensing laws for electricians. Apparently, consumers often do their own electrical work in highly restrictive states rather than pay artificially high rates for professionals, with predictably tragic results. Carroll and Gaston also found, using data on retail sales of plumbing equipment, that plumbing restrictions increase the extent of do-it-yourself work.
“Think of the value to our industry if every one of those big box key cutters had to be a licensed locksmith,” Johnson writes. I would contend that the value of our industry is enhanced because the big-box store employees lack the competency of a professional locksmith. Would you rather be a locksmith or a Home Depot employee? If they hold the same license as you, why would a consumer choose you? His statement makes as much sense to me as requiring McDonald’s employees to receive culinary school certification. Think that wouldn't drive up the cost of your Quarter Pounder? Think that wouldn't lead you to flip your own burgers at home? This reminds me of another ludicrous result of licensing in Tennessee (which is one of the more recent states to adopt locksmith licensing).
“The most recent target of state protectionism comes from Tennessee, where local licensing boards are threatening two entrepreneurial women for massaging performance horses, without first obtaining a veterinary license legally allowing them to do so.”
The Society of Professional Locksmiths has repeatedly asked licensing proponents to show where licensing has improved the state of the industry in any location that has adopted licensing. Proponents evade the question because licensing has failed to live up to its promised benefits. They also ignore the fact that SOPL Founder Tom Lynch unveiled, years ago, that one of the earlier scammer incarnations - Run Local – had a license in the states that required it. How many states need adopt licensing before its proponents admit that it is an abject failure? I would suggest that fifteen is more than enough and that it is more important for the industry to increase its own professionalism by setting high standards, not minimums.
Licensing is more about others trying to impose "rules" to protect themselves because of their unwillingness to adapt to change, evolve or do what is needed to compete in the marketplace.
Source: Are you a Professional
Chuck Barris died on March 21, 2017, of natural causes at his home in Palisades, New York at the age of 87. He was a friend of the Society of Professional Locksmiths. He was my friend and friends to everyone in my generation. A sweet gentle and humble man. His smile and spirit made mornings at the local deli a trip down memory lane leaving everyone smiling, happy and laughing. We will miss you Chuck.
A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.
The Lock Picking Gun was invented by Solomon Wakstein of Boston, Massachusetts on October 16, 1934. Barney Zion, owner of the Majestic Lock Company invested in the manufacture of this popular locksmith tool and became the exclusive supplier and name it "LockAide". Barney has past on but the LockAide Pick Gun is still made, sold and repaired at Majestic Lock Company 65 Leliarts Lane, Elmwood Park, New Jersey 07407 Telephone - (201) 791-3490.
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This spy hidden camera uses a MicroSD card (sold separately) and easily connects to your computer for download. If your computer doesn't have a built-in card reader just add a card reader to access the contents of your memory card. Plug it to your computer to access more advance settings and you can explore additional functionality such as cycle recording and more. (Cycle recording means that it keeps recording indefinitely by replacing oldest files with new ones when the memory has been completely used). Place the nanny camera on any table, shelf, desk or find that spot in your home or business that looks like was meant just for it.
The modern design will be sure to fit just right and will not raise any unwanted attention. Recordings are saved in universal formats so sharing your recorded files is easy and does not require special software or players. Operate on battery or plugin for longer recording times.
Spy IR Clock Camera Includes:
Andrew McColley, of Andrews Lock and Key in Mesa Arizona put his foot down after being called by a consumer asking for advice. The locksmith industry is plagued by con artists posing a professionals and Andrew had enough, and took action. Expecting to find an undocumented foreign national as typically found, he finds a young America kid named TY, who for the best I can tell at first glance is naive about someone who he believes is his "boss" instead of con artists or those involved in the criminal network of scammer dirt bags.
Sadly, we are seeing more and more young under informed and employment desperate Americans being seduced into these unethical flim flams. They may not understand the bigger picture, they may have been instructed that this is normal or they may know and thus deserve exposure. I can only think that anyone finding out that they are being used in a con job scam, that they would take a step back and spill the beans on those who they call "the boss".
The locksmith industry is hungry to find a young employable work force, so it is not impossible to walk away from the dirt bags and ask guys like Andy for a job. At least you would be trained properly and have a bona-fide career path. One big question at hand is, how is it that the bad guys are able to recruit these kids and the locksmith industry cannot?
As I stated early on maybe TY is naive and doing what he has been instructed to do by someone he believes is his boss. Maybe he doesn't know any better, maybe he actually believes this is how business is done, or maybe he is not as naive as he acts. The invoice was a screen capture from the video showing 24/7 locksmith at 866-777-1429. However a Google search results in only one reference to this number and it is an investigative report - http://www.thelocksmithpolice.com/precisionlocksandsafes.com.html. In this report we see the same shirt logo that TY is wearing.
Analyzing this video we hear that the consumer was quoted $43 over the phone. The invoice indicates a $14.99 service call & a labor charge of $29.99 which equals $44.98. Close enough! But what is the $244.99 charge for? It lists the Year/Make/Model, the color, the license plate, tools used, vehicle running, and a high security latch? What exactly is a "high security latch" on a Ford Focus? So is the consumer being charged for a "description" of the situation?
Source: YELP ustomer Reviews - http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/24-7-complete-locksmith-service-tempe
Look closely! Those mysterious High Security Latches seem to be everywhere!
Young TY likes to point out that the consumer "signed" the generic invoice. There was no company name, and Ty would not identify his company so there is no "contract" with a ghost! But let's clear the air so the consumer understands how professionals perform such services when it comes to signing an invoice. Below you will see a common invoice that provides for two signatures by the customer.
The fist signature (#1) is the Authorization For Services, which basically means you are representing yourself as a person having the authority to hire the locksmith to perform a task. If you mislead the locksmiths then you are committing fraud. It is at this point that the professional locksmiths will ask for your identification and record that information on the document. The second signature (#2) is where the customer would sign off on the completed job, indicating a satisfactory completion. This example does not include those words but as I mentioned, others have customized versions. If not found, either the locksmith should write it or the customer should decline signing it if they feel there is a problem.
That is how it Works!
Much like trade unions who choose to strike or those who assert their right to protest and stand up for what they believe is right, Andrew McColley of Andrews Lock & Key said enough was enough and had the chutzpah to do something about it. Something the majority of locksmiths and other locksmith associations only talk about. He confronted the issue head on and that is how it works!
A word of advice to others like young TY, if you don't want to be exposed for what you are doing, then it is time for you to make choices. You can visit a professional locksmith and seek out advice and embark upon a career path with integrity or find yourself confronted, and possibly the next YouTube star.
For Additional consumer advice, click the following links -
Consumer Lockout Response & Service
To Pick, Bypass or Drill a Lock?
So was TY a bad boy? You decide. Add your comments below
Pruchase professional business forms from Professional Business Products 800-355-6322 or visit www.pbp2000.com
"This is profession does not tolerate indecent thoughts. If the ancestors allowed you to follow this line of work, you must acquire passion for it along with strong integrity" Ngyuen Long
This is a great presentation that many can appreciate. From humble beginnings, this locksmith has learned a profession in which honesty, passion and integrity are expected. His willingness and desire to find a "pupil" to pass on his skills is admirable, yet disheartening. Does this sound familiar?
In the simplicity of this five minute video, Ngyuen Long sums up what every professional understands....being a locksmith is not a joke.
Share your comments below!
Barry Campbell, with Altic Lock Service, of Indianapolis, shows the crowd what the inside of a door latch locks like and explained how they are used. He also brought a Door Devil, which helps keep the door from being kicked in, to show the audience.
Barry is the Director of Operations for the Society of Professional Locksmiths. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University with a degree in Criminal Justice and has worked in private security, investigations, and loss prevention. He is the author of A Homeowner's Guide to Residential Door Security. Barry also is a former professional member of the International Conference of Building Officials and a current Building Safety Professional member of the International Code Council.