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.