The Locksmith Licensing Charade
The locksmith licensing charade, as many of us have been predicting, has been revealed. The result of this charade has been devastating to many within the industry and to the industry as a whole. The winners, if you can call them that, are some of the larger companies. Everyone else - the mom and pop shops, the consumers, the sole proprietors, future locksmiths, many smaller companies, the reputation and character of the locksmith trade, even local economies and government - has lost. This is no exaggeration. Any industry or trade that has suffered the losses the locksmith trade has suffered under the licensing scam has been severely damaged. This damage was not inflicted by outsiders, but by self-anointed leaders of the trade.
This damage was not inflicted by outsiders, but by self-anointed leaders of the trade.
Imagine if 80 percent of electricians left their jobs. Imagine if 4 out of 5 doctors walked away from their practices. Imagine if there was only one fifth the number of car mechanics available. This is what has happened within our industry and, no, this has nothing to do with Covid-19. This is what happened in the state of Tennessee in the ten year period following the introduction of their locksmith licensing law. In 2006, there were about 5,000 licensed locksmiths in Tennessee. In 2016, the number was reduced to under 1000.
The above-referenced article from the Tennessee Star, written by Tyler Arnold, published March 9, 2020 refers to the dwindling number of locksmiths as “the downfall of the industry.” He reports that Tennessee State Representative “Jay Reedy, R-Erin, told the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee that the state’s licensing requirement has contributed to the downfall of the industry. He said there were about 5,000 locksmiths in the state when the state started mandating the license in 2006, but this number dropped to below 1,000 in 2016.”
The good news is that Tennessee has no dropped its locksmith licensing requirements. Effective May 27, 2021, Tennessee is no longer licensing locksmiths. Tennessee locksmiths were notified in a letter dated July, 7, 2021 from Tennessee's Department of Commerce and Insurance.
It is interesting to note that the Department of Commerce and Insurance’s letter mentions that consumer complaints will still be handled by Tennessee’s Attorney General’s Office. That is where most states handle consumer complaints whether the businesses are licensed or not. In other words, the locksmith licensing law was never really about protecting the consumer, the Attorney General’s Office already did that and will continue to do so.
Locksmith licensing laws are a tool for established businesses to limit competition, and Tennessee’s law did that effectively, costing thousands of jobs.
A mantrap, air lock, or access control vestibule is a physical security access control system comprising a small space with two sets of interlocking doors, such that the first set of doors must close before the second set opens.
The following installation is typically found in check cashing centers, jewelry stores, jails and sensitive government buildings and installations.
Definition of ARMATURE - Armature a piece of soft iron or steel that connects the poles of a magnet or of adjacent magnets
Electronic access control is a lucrative segment in the security industry, use of mag lock, electric strikes, touch sense bars, request to exit buttons, proximity readers, card access and stand alone push button locks should be considered when developing a security scheme for your customers. As in any wired EAC system, cable management and neat terminal connects will ensure quality results.
Members of the Society of Professional Locksmiths understand Electronic Access Control (EAC).
Professional locksmith and security expert Bill Neff is once again excelling by taking his wit, wisdom, and experience into Pennsylvania's new 11th District congressional race, formally the 16th. Bill Neff, aka "Neffy", is a secure choice for the hardworking people of the 11th and Pennsylvania as a whole.
Bill offers 40 years of business savvy in the security industry at a time when safety and real security is needed in our society. It is not a time for posers with sound bites! He built a successful business operation from the ground up from the trunk of a car, a Chevy no less. He is internationally recognized and respected. This is the American entrepreneur story that everyone would agree is exactly the kind of American high flying spirit our country needs.
Neffy is an achiever, a doer, not a slacker and he is a critical thinker (possibly Mensa!) who often offers "blunt and honest" observation and feedback, not lip service. He has a mind keen on numbers and driven to attention to detail and efficiency. He is a "boot to suit" kind of person that doesn't seek handouts and is self-funding his primary campaign and rejecting contributions as he travels the new 11th District in his mobile campaign headquarters known as the Neffmobile!
“In campaigns millions of dollars are often spent in a wasteful manner by people who are pledging to be fiscally conservative. This kind of contradictory behavior makes absolutely no sense to me” Neff said. “It’s no wonder voters are confused by and lack trust in our elected officials”.
“We need to hold our elected officials to a higher standard, starting with making them accountable for promises they make, but don’t keep. I am a strong believer in ‘walking the talk’ & if you don’t support that then you have no business in elected office. Anyone can make empty promises the trick is making promises & keeping them.”
Having been found worthy by our guild by demonstrating Honor, Integrity, Pride and Professionalism, Bill Neff has been initiated into the Society of Professional Locksmiths and the Ancient Order of the Locks. We command all to Honor, Respect and provide privilege to thee, who holds the Secrets of the Keys.
Good Luck Neffy!
Click HERE to learn more about his campaign!
Locksmith Directory Search
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.
Ode to Licensing Arrogance
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.
Ode to Licensing Hypocrisy
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 Gong Show - Friend of the Society of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL)
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.
To learn more about Chuck Barris and to put a smile on your face - YouTube & Chuck Barris Wikipedia
What was you best memory of Chuck, the Gong Show or any of the acts? Post your comments below
LOCKAIDE Lock Picking gun
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.
Need to record an event in low light or night time? Want to make sure your bedroom stays private while you are away? Then consider the night vision clock hidden camera. A short range hidden night vision feature allows this table clock spy camera to not only tell time, but also record audio and video even when the lights are turned off. The functional clock nanny camera features HD video quality and records onto a microSD card. Simple set up and user friendly steps make this spy camera easy to use even for those that struggle with basic computer tasks. You will be impressed with how simple it is to operate and yet, how much you can do with it!
A super wide 140 degree camera coverage offers large room coverage with a single camera. Record with motion activation to avoid wasted recording space, since it supports up to 64GB cards, you will be able to record audio and video files for many hours at a time! You can also take pictures or record only audio using the included remote control. Connect the night vision clock hidden camera to your computer and you also have a web camera for chatting in Skype, face time and more.
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: