Not intended as a flame, Peter, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people look at "Locksmithing" as a hobby - or even a "part-time" business - for that matter. Seems like everyone and thier uncle want's to retire and become a locksmith, for something to do and a little extra pocket change.
It's one thing to install a deadbolt or replace a knobset for a friend, but that's not really locksmithing.
It's one thing to illegally possess lockpicks (hoping you don't get caught, or if you do, being able to explain your way out of it) so one can impress thier friends, but that's not locksmithing.
Let's say you have a freind who owns a business and he asks you to install his deadbolt that he picked up at Home depot, on the back door of his business. You, being a good friend, (and maybe even in the interest of making a few bucks on the side), install his new double cylinder deadbolt on the rear emergency exit door.
A year later, you finb yourself in court, facing serious jail time and the possibility of losing your home, while your $200/hr lawyer explains why.
Seems your friend had a fire in the front of his store and when the smoke cleared, there was a pile of bodies just inside the locked back door. (He promised to leave it unlocked during businiss hours, but that day he got busy and just forgot.) What's that you say? You never took a $200+ Life Safety Codes class and you had no idea at the time that what you were doing was agaist the law? Tough luck.
There's a lot more to locksmithing than the back of a matchpack or the trolls on this NG would have you believe.
Then thre's the tools and equipment required to really do this kind of work. Hope you have some deep pockets.
Sorry to throw ice on your fire, Peter. I don't want to discourage you from entering the field, but if you're going to do it - do it right.
As far as where to learn, you can get the "very basics" from any number of corrospondance courses. Or if you have a few thousand dollars you can take a couse at Locksmasters or MBA (both located in Kentucy).
After that, join a local association. Get to know the pros in your area and I'm sure more than one will be willing to take you under his or her wing and take over teaching you where the course left off. Otherwise, you're flying by the seat of your pants and bound to get in over your head very quickly.
As far as a FAQ - there is one but I have no idea how to get to it, but I'm sure someone here will post its location.
The Ads are to get you there and get your money. Even after you take certain corespondence courses, you will probably get tons of trash mail advertising things that "work in seconds" or "pay for themselves in one job". All Marketing.
I second Bob's advice.
I took a corespondence course in 1995.I was well aware that there was alot more to locksmithing that can be put in a course like that.
I am an ALOA member, but am not satisfied with the way ALOA is handling things. I have a course at Lockmasters later this year.
I suppose that is why you seem addicted to lower case.
It's a little old, but not much changes in locksmithing, except the need for locksmiths is dropping exponentially.
If *I* were you, I would purchase a crate chock full of locksmithing tools, books, gizmos that go out of date when next years autos are released and so forth.
Then, you can sell this crap to people interested in starting their own locksmithing business.
You'll make a hell of a lot more money and you ever have to leave your house!!
Locksmithing is like that "I Love Lucy" episode where they want to go into business for themselves and buy a Diner. Business sucks and they end up selling it back to the guy who sold it to them. At a loss of course. When asked how he makes money with the diner, the guy says "I make my real money selling and buying back the place from people like you who want to go into business for themselves".
One piece of advice is be careful about advertising on eBay because the crybabies in alt.locksmithing will shut you down because they don't want you "giving away their secrets". Selling some locksmithing items is against ebay's policy as well, but dorks like keyman troll ebay looking for people to report.
You have to wonder when keyman gets time to work his locksmithing business.
I've found that learning how to pick and impression gives you the best working experience there is. lockpicking101.com has hours of reading on it, not just on picking. they're more open than this group. atleast that's how I function, I learn how something works at its very base, making more complex issues trivial to debug. like if you know how to read strace, are famaliar with system calls then you can look at a process that includes a great panoply of services and find the one offending and causing the segv. shortly after you beat the other sysadmin for implementing ldap auth and not starting nscd which then caused apache to dump core on every request. stupid linux monkeys...