Cheshire Patch welcomes a new business, and its owner, George Beebe, to town. He recently explained how he got into the trade:
How did you become a locksmith?
I worked over 20 years repairing, servicing and installing ATMs. When the company I was working for was sold, I was approached to work for a locksmith and thought it would be similar work.
What kind of training is required?
I went to school in Texas at the Association of Locksmiths of America school and learned the basics. Because my VA education benefits had expired, I wrote my congressman to see what could be done about extending them. Nothing could be done immediately, but Congressman Chris Murphy then introduced a bill, Restore the Promise Bill, to extend benefits, and the introduction was covered by Meriden Patch.
A prominent security school in Kentucky. Lockmasters Security Institute, saw the article in the Patch, and invited me to attend an intense 2 week course, free of charge. They work with the government a lot and want to help Vets in different capacities. I also attend different classes locally, when they are offered. It is similar to earning CEUs for teaching. To get to a higher level of locksmith, you need to have so many classes before you can take the test for the next level.
Do you have to be bonded?
By being a member of ALOA (Association of Locksmiths of America), you are bonded.
What's the key (no pun intended) part of your business? Deadbolts on home doors, unlocking cars for unlucky drivers, etc?
Home security is a major concern. But I can do car lockouts and commercial work. What starts out as a simple deadbolt can turn into fixing a door that closes improperly, hinges need work, etc. I have a checklist to go through when dealing with a door. So, the main part of the business is, not to just duplicate a key, or install a deadbolt, but to make sure the customer feels safe in their own home - to make sure all entry aspects of their home are secure.
Do you work on safes?
I have worked on safes, but since I am just starting my business, I don't have all the equipment necessary for all safe work. Therefore, I am concentrating mainly on residential and businesses.
How true are films like "Oceans Eleven," where a master locksmith can open anything?
There are master locksmiths who can open anything. But, in Ocean's Eleven, it only takes a minute. In real life, it takes a little longer!! As in every career, the more you do, the more you learn and the quicker you can do it.