When it comes to starting your own business, you have a plethora of industries you can choose to go down. However, one direction you can choose to go in is helping people in crisis, such as providing emergency locksmith services. 

Imagine that it's been a long day at work, and you make your way to the car in the parking lot. Your heart skips a beat as you realize you see your keys resting peacefully on the passenger seat of your car. Your car is locked, you don't have a spare, and you're out of luck. This situation is where a locksmith can come to save the day. An invaluable and always in demand service, not to mention profitable!

There are many specialties within the locksmith business, with car locksmiths being a popular choice. If you're wondering how to start a locksmith business, read on!

What is a Locksmith Business?

Locksmith businesses provide services such as installing, designing, picking, and maintaining locks. Locksmiths can be general or specialize in specific types of services, like a car locksmith. Car locksmiths do all of the above for cars while specializing in helping locked-out vehicle owners regain access to their cars without damaging their key inserts.

How to Start a Locksmith Business?

The guidelines are similar, whether you want to learn how to start a car locksmith business or, more generally, a general locksmith business. You'll want to create a locksmith business plan, form your LLC, get the proper equipment, and market your business. Below is a general locksmith business plan to set you up for success. 

Locksmith Business Plan

Regardless of what type of locksmith business you choose to pursue, a business plan is the most vital and critical first step you can't afford to mess up. You'll want to answer as many questions as possible before starting to provide your service so you can provide the best customer service possible. We've come up with some steps to consider adding as part of your business plan that will get you up and running in no time!

Forming a Legal Entity 

The bare-bones and foundational first business step is to structure your locksmith company legally. You have an array of options to choose from, including choosing to register as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. 

For tax structure, you will want to consult an accountant after registering your business to ensure that you're compliant by law and using the most efficient structure. If you're located in the USA, you will need to apply for an EIN, a simple and free process.  

After you're officially registered, it's time for business insurance. Business insurance covers your costs if your business causes material damage or harm to one of your clients or their assets. The last thing you want to worry about is damaging a safe or car door and being stuck with the bill. 

Business Licensing

Currently, nine states require locksmiths to have a license to practice: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. 

Before you can even think about offering your services, you must comply with state and local business licensing requirements. Some states also require a criminal background check. To ensure that you're fully compliant, check out SBA's reference to state licenses and permits and cross-check your location.


High-quality and durable equipment is vital to providing services that make your clients want to return for more. These are the essential tool you will need to kick start your locksmith business:

If you want to provide emergency car locksmith services, you'll also need a vehicle or access to a trusted family member, which you likely already have. 

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Car Locksmith Business?

Starting a locksmith business doesn't have to cost you your life savings. Luckily, it is one of the most lucrative business structures as you don't need a significant upfront investment. Considering paperwork fees, the purchasing of supplies, and ongoing monthly costs such as business insurance, you can start with costs varying from $5,000-$10,000 (assuming you don't have any tools at home).

If you're lucky enough to have some of the above tools or have a friend who wouldn't mind lending you supplies during your startup phase, you can start with a few hundred dollars.

How Much Can You Charge Your Customers?

Locksmiths charge anywhere from $35 to $200 per hour depending on operating region, years in business, and demand. You can charge a higher rate on weekends and evenings, which many locksmiths do due to "after hour" services costing more. Consider raising your rates to match competitors with similar operating models if you're providing mobile services on client sites. 

How to Market Your Car Locksmith Business?

We have arrived at the most exciting part, marketing your new venture! Getting the word out about your locksmith business doesn't have to be complicated. Start by spreading the word to family and friends, providing quality services, and asking happy clients to lead referrals your way.

Down the line, Google will become an asset to your marketing strategy. You will need to get a website up and running and direct traffic towards your service packages. Since Google uses an algorithm to curate local business in its search results, it's essential that you invest in a good website, set up a Google Business Profile account, and invest in an SEO strategist to drive organic traffic to your site.

Final Words

You've now taken the bold step of researching business models with intent, and if you're convinced that starting a locksmith business is your next move, follow our above business plan above to get things started and build some traction.

Like any new venture, with persistence and patience, you'll surmount any obstacles and reach the goal of financial freedom.

Building a locksmith business is exciting and rewarding, so gear up, and good luck on your journey to becoming a business owner!