Safe work.

For the past year I have been a student of locksmithing. I have been
inhaling all the info i can get my hands on, and practicing everyday. I
feel my skills have been coming along nicely. I also have been picking up
some nice info on this group.
I have found myself fascinated by safe's. Always my favorite to read
about. I have a old locksmith I talk to whenever I can and he kind of tried
to put me off of it, saying it's not worth the trouble , you'll spend to
much time with safes instead of better jobs. I also notice few of the local
smithie's will go near a safe,so I feel it might be a good way for me to get
things going.
There is a lot of material out there on safes and most of it is very
costly. I don't mind spending the money if It's worth it. I would like to do
this the right way.
What is the best way to get started learning the trade? Apprenticing at a
local shop is out , only a few do it and their family only businesses. I
see Lockmasters has a course, any good?
As always thanks for any input. I appreciate your folks time and
expertise.
Jimmy
Reply to
Jimmy F.
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He probable doesn't know much about safework. If you know what you're doing it can be very lucrative. (After the original investment)
I've probably got over a grand invested in books alone - not counting SAVTA technical Bulletins, magazines, and NSO publications. A cheap scope is about $750+ and can go as high as two or three grand. Mini rig is about $700 (not counting the drill) if you watch for specials. A lever rig (for when a mini rig won't work for one reason or another) is about $350 (again, not including the drill). hardplate bits are about $6 and up, each. Some like the Ball Busters (for ball bearings) and diamond coring bits run fro $30 - $50.
When we decided to get into safe opening, we spent a little over $2000 (initially) *at convention prices* and everything we bought would just about fit in a large bread box. It ain't for the monetarily squeamish!
However, once you know what you're doing ***and have a network of friends to go to for help when you need it***, there's good money to be made. I get a _minimum_ of $350 to open a safe. Now I'm talking _real_ safes. Not Sentrys and such.
Not that there's anything wrong with Sentry Safes if you use them for what they are supposed to be used for. (I own one myself). They are intended for protection against *fire*, not burglary.
Most safe technicians start out as locksmith (myself included) and gradually move into safes. Join a local association and Clearstar.
Where are you located?
Very good, but not cheap.
Bobby
Reply to
Bob DeWeese, CML
The thing is you have to look at it in perspective. That money spent is nothing compared to what it makes you. Payback is quick and without it especially the reference material you would be dead in the water. Getting into safe opening is cheaper than setting up to do comprehensive auto work, and alot less hassle.
Once again keep in mind "cheap" is a relative thing. Safe work pays well and as a serious plus unless you do some specialized contracting for ATM or other special equipment it's almost always indoors as opposed to outside at 20 degrees or 90+ degrees.
Reply to
Putyourspamhere
ok, is there a DEMAND in your area for 'safe work'? this is, to get the tools, a high $ area. and then, its still IMO, an 'as needed' thing. Lockmasters? you can go as far as you want, or got the $ for
--Shiva--
Reply to
--Shiva--
I, personally just don't have the time to spend opening safes. Being a one man business. I refer all safe openings to another locksmith firm who have several safe specialists in their employ. When you are flat out running around town doing between 7 to 10 jobs a day for "regular" clients, the last thing you want is a very lengthy safe job. I guess it all depends on how you want to structure you business, (one man show, or have employees), and just which aspects of the trade you personally enjoy doing. The same scenario applies to taking on 'Large' master key systems. You have to realise your own limits, time wise, and work within those boundaries, other wise you will run around in circles pulling your hair out, and losing good 'long term' customers.
Reply to
Steve Paris
I agree 100%! I'm actually getting out of car work. I haven't spent anything on new auto equipment for at least four years now. Now, when a call comes in to make keys to a car, if I can do it fine, (and that's only if I have time / it's not raining / nothing good's on TV / etc.) If I can't, I pass it to somebody else.
And as far as openings go...
1) I've never gotten rained on opening a safe
2) I've never stood up to my knees in snow to open a safe
3) (My personal favorite) I've never gone out to open a safe and it was gone when I got there.
Reply to
Bob DeWeese, CML
--Shiva-- wrote in message ...
While the area i'm at is still small it is a growing area. The area is full of retired people with pretty good dough, and the growth rate of small businesses is rising at a steady rate.
Sorry, I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. could you please clarify? Thanks for your reply Shiva, and to all who have replied. It's nice to know I have a place to ask people with knowledge some important (for me at least) questions.
Jimmy
Reply to
Jimmy F.
BUT, that does NOT, IMO, make the need of a safe man. Sentry safes I am NOT including in this.. Opening a Sentry is another kettle of fish. You dont need a thousand dollar drill rig, or equally high $ bore scope to open one of them.. so far, you are showing a 'possible /potential for house locks, and car..
Lockmasters has 'beginning classes' that last 2 weeks (dont have their latest catalog handy), to ADVANCED classes that get into VERY specific safes, that you will NOT necessarily find in the general publics use.., you could go to school there for MANY weeks, and learn a lot, however, is it something that YOU in YOUR AREA could use? that is what you need to determine.
IE- I know how to make a key for a 'whatsis', but,, the nearest whatsis is 1,000 miles away.. does that do me ANY good, as far as making money? knowing that I will NEVER see a whatsis? I got the information for information sake, BUT, I must also know, it probably satisfied MY curiosity, and I will never have a chance to use it. same with safe work.. you can drop 10 grand on tools-BUT, if you never need nor use them, you spent 10 grand unnecessarily.
--Shiva--
Reply to
--Shiva--
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He's saying Lockmasters is expensive but once again it's a relative thing. You will get high end training that will pay off quickly IF you have demand where you are for that kind of work.
PS If you are going to get into auto work be VERY sure of what's in demand near you and what the market will bare pricewise before you start buying any transponder programing euipment. You can be setup to do basic safe work for about the same price as only one of the programmers you will need to do transponders. You can dump 10K in auto tools nowadays no problem and still not be able to do everything out there.
Reply to
Putyourspamhere
but bobby have you ever been on the floor in a greasy fast food restaurant getting stepped on every 2 min. or climbed through a house that burned down hoping nothing collapses, or have a safe fall on your legs amputating 1 of them ? safe work is not all peaches and cream
Reply to
todd
good advice, if you dont have a market for the work dont invest in it. you can sub it out and make good $$. rather than safe work I would look towards access control and alarm work it is much more profitable, and alarm work you get a residual every month.
Reply to
todd
I agree.. HOWEVER, YOU are in the area that you USE them.. its a necessity, and NOT a waste of money.. for someone starting out, it would be sad to invest 10 or 20k (easily done, BTW) and NEVER see a return on investment. does 2 things, makes the person VERY discouraged, AND in some cases, they quit the business entirely. complaining they can never make money. --Shiva--
Reply to
--Shiva--
I had to service 2 old safes in an amusement/games parlour some years ago. The head thumping music and noise was just unbearable, it really went right through you. And to make it worse the safes were situated right underneath the front serving counter in a tiny cubical, so I was trying to work in between the legs of the busy staff. Wouldn't have been so bad if they were gorgeous gals, but they were big ugly hairy legged guys. Went away from that one with the worst headache I have ever experienced.
Reply to
Steve Paris
I've not taken the Lockmasters course. But I've heard it is good. I used to work for a fellow who was formerly an instructor there. He showed me a bit about manipulation. I havn't used it in years, but probably remember much of it.
Safes and vaults are a specialty unto their own. Without an apprenticeship, about the only way to get started would be Lockmasters, or some other school.
I work on maybe two safes a year. This year I did two lockouts. One, the poor guy caught the tail of his suit coat (his best Sunday suit, too) in the door. Jammed it all to heck. The second one was a lost combination. The very elderly lady had lost the numbers. Very nice gal, too. The lost numbers was a Sentry, so it came open pretty easily.
Reply to
Stormin Mormon

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