Locksmiths perform critical services for countless people, but this essential profession is frequently misunderstood. No, we don’t have magic keys that can open every single lock on Earth (we’re tradespeople, not Santa Claus). Yes, we can probably help you get back into your business, home, or vehicle if you’ve been locked out—and do a whole lot more besides!

Edmonton 24/7 Locksmith has provided residential, commercial, automotive, and emergency locksmithing to the Edmonton area for years, so we know the profession inside and out (literally). Let us explain to you exactly what locksmiths do so that you know when to call one next time you’re in a jam—or one of your locks is.

Who Can Become a Locksmith?

Locksmiths are professionals who install, repair and adjust keys and locking mechanisms. They also design and maintain safes and master keys (which generally open multiple locks on the same property and are often used by superintendents or business owners).

Anyone who wants to become a locksmith in Alberta is legally required to:

  • Hold a license issued by the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General
  • Earn their certification as a journeyperson

Locksmiths are also prohibited from holding second licenses as either security service workers or investigators. This rule prevents potential conflicts of interest.

Getting Licensed

To earn a license as a locksmith in Alberta, applicants must be:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Eligible to work in Canada
  • Fluent in English
  • Without a criminal record
  • Without any outstanding criminal charges (applicants must also not be the subject of a criminal investigation)

Becoming a Journeyperson

To earn journeyperson certification, aspiring locksmiths must complete a relevant apprenticeship program. Locksmithing apprenticeships are three years long and contain 1560 hours of on-the-job training, as well as 8 weeks of technical training per year.

What Do Locksmiths Do?

Most locksmithing services fall into one of the following four categories:

Residential Services

Residential locksmithing services make homes safer for the people who live in them. They often include:

  • Installing new locks or replacing old ones with more current models
  • Changing locks that have been compromised (often when someone who shouldn’t have a spare key gets one)
  • Repairing locks that have been jammed or broken
  • Re-keying (replacing the old pins in a lock with new ones so that old keys will no longer open it)

Commercial Services

Commercial locksmithing services protect business property and ensure that the right members of an organization can always access the facilities they need to do their jobs. Commercial locksmithing services often include:

  • Replacing lost or broken office keys
  • Configuring keyless entry locks (including digital and electronic systems)
  • Performing commercial re-keying services

Automotive Services

Automotive locksmithing helps keep drivers safe and ensure that they can enter their vehicles easily. Common automotive locksmithing jobs include:

  • Extracting partially broken keys from the locks in car doors or trunks
  • Installing and repairing car ignition switches
  • Dealing with jammed ignition locks and troubleshooting other ignition problems
  • Cutting, replacing, and copying car keys

Emergency Services

Locksmiths often provide emergency services on a 24-hour basis for time-sensitive problems. Locksmith emergencies can apply to homes, businesses, or vehicles, and may include:

  • Solutions for people who are locked out of their homes, workplaces, or vehicles
  • Unlocking and repairing safes
  • Any other residential, commercial, or automotive locksmithing services that must be performed urgently or outside of regular business hours

How Do Locksmiths Work?

The most common job a locksmith performs is letting people back into a property they have become locked out of, often during emergency situations or hours. A licensed locksmith will only bypass locks for customers who can prove that they are the owners of the property being accessed. Proof might include a driver’s license for vehicles, a utility bill for accessing the residential property, a deed of ownership for businesses, or a receipt of purchase for a safe.

If the locksmith can verify that you own the property in question, their first step will normally be to try picking the lock. There are several different methods for picking locks, including raking (where the locksmith attempts to move multiple pins at once) and single-pin picking (which is exactly what it sounds like).

Raking tools are shaped to simulate the grooves in common keys, whereas single-pin picking tools normally have a hook or half-diamond shape at the end to manipulate individual pins. Raking is typically a much faster process, but it only works for fairly generic, low-security locks. Single-pin picking, on the other hand, can open practically any lock with pins—eventually.

Remember, most locksmiths charge hourly for their services, and most emergency jobs cost between $190-320 CAD.* If single-pin lockpicking will push a job over budget or take too long for the customer, the locksmith may suggest drilling the lock out of the door instead. Customers must provide permission before a locksmith can drill out a lock since this process can cause damage to the surface in which the lock is embedded.

Lock Down a Good Locksmith

Quality locksmithing provides you with peace of mind if you ever lose your keys or find yourself unable to enter your property for other reasons. Using a licensed locksmith also gives you the security that comes with knowing your locksmith is bound by legal requirements to protect your interests. For further questions about locksmithing or to request a quote for services, contact us and speak to a friendly member of our team.

*average prices come from homeadvisor.com and are converted from USD.