Have you thought about owning your own locksmith company?

Today, we’re going to talk about the tools and equipment you need to start a locksmith business. I’m Robert and you’re watching locksmith recommended. I’m standing here in my new Mesa location. We just got it all fully loaded up and ready to roll just last month.

So let’s look at that bench back there right over my shoulder to the left. That’s where we keep all our equipment. That’s where we’re going to start today.

Take a look at this keyboard. There are dozens of different types of key types. There’s standard keys, Tibby keys, laser cut keys, barrel keys, all sorts of different kinds of keys that need to be cut. In the past, all of those keys needed a very specific, different type of machine.

SEC-E9 Key Cutting Machine

But now take a look here. This is the SEC-E9 machine. It comes from overseas. And there’s a lot of debate in our industry about whether or not an overseas machine is the way to go.

However, this machine cuts everything. It cuts house keys, standard automotive keys, barrel keys, Tibby Keys, Laser Keys. If you’ve got it, this will cut it. Now, the American equivalent product here will run you about ten thousand dollars.

This machine you can have for about twenty six hundred bucks. I’ll put a link to this machine down below so that you can have it with this one machine. You could cut every single key that you have.

So if you’re going to be mobile only you’ve got limited space. This is the way to go. We’ve had this one for over a year and we’ve had absolutely no problems with it.

Auto Programming

Now, a lot of locksmiths now are getting into auto programming. Most your modern keys have to be programmed to the vehicle in order for the car to run and start to do that, you need key programming equipment. We use two machines here in our shop. If you’re going to be mobile only, you’re really only going to need one.

But you want to make sure that you have one really good car key programmer that’ll do the majority of vehicles out there. Now, most of your car key programmers will handle everything except for the German manufacturers.

Very few locksmiths get into car key programming for German manufacturers because it requires a very expensive investment. And a lot of us aren’t quite willing to take that on. But these two machines will handle ninety nine percent of what you’re going to run into outside of German car manufacturers.

Now, these are fairly expensive. This is the Hotwire from Keyless Ride. This will run you about seven grand investment. This is another one called the AutoProPAD. This is only about a twenty five hundred dollars investment. We like them both. We use them both. But there are some other options.

If you think you’re only going to do some car keys and you want to restrict yourself to just the really common ones and the really simple, easy ones to program, you can get a piece of equipment off Ali Express or Amazon or eBay for about one hundred and fifty bucks.

That’ll handle them, I don’t know, seventy, seventy five percent of the car keys you run into. I’ll put a link to that product below. So that’s a very quick, easy, inexpensive way to get it on the market without spending all that money on these pieces of equipment.

Code Cut a Key

Now there are going to be times when you want to code cut a key, which means you want a factory original key cut to the exact depth that it’s supposed to be cut to, not a duplicate of a duplicate of a duplicate.

There are some times when you can pull a code off a lock and key by code. This is the machine that handles that. This is an HPC. You can cut keys by code on this piece of equipment. Is it absolutely necessary? Not really, because this one that we talked about here, the SCE-E9, will also code cut some key.

However, this one will do a wider variety. So if you’re really looking at offering most complete services that you possibly can, you’re going to want to put one of these in your vehicle.

It’s highly recommended.

Hand Tools

So let’s talk hand tools now. There are a wide variety that really goes beyond the scope of everything we want to talk about here today. But for the majority of what you’re going to run to, ninety nine point five percent of it, just a basic set of hand tools is going to do it for you.

Just any basic kit, screwdrivers, digs, pliers, socket set, that type of thing will handle the majority of what you run into.

Every van, every shop needs a good vice. There are going to be times when you need both your hands to solve the problem. And this vice will act as a third hand holding that for you. If you’re impressioning keys or something of that nature, this is really a requirement.

Now, the other thing that this is really good for is you’ve got a nice flat metal pad in the back of that. If you’re stamping keys for a customer, or are labeling keys, you could put your key on there and give it a good hit with a hammer. And it makes a nice surface for stamping keys. Must have for any van or any shop.

Optional Pieces of Equipment

I want to talk a couple of optional pieces of equipment. Typically, if you have a shop, you would have some of these. One of these is a nice belt sander. I’ll put a link to one below. Again, you’re not going to use this a lot, but there are thousands of different key types.

And especially when you get keys in your shop that are from an overseas manufacturer, the width of one might be a little thicker or a little thinner, and you might have to take the key stock that you have in stock and do a little bit of modification of it to generate a key that works.

And this is perfect and ideal for that. This one’s fairly heavy duty. We’ve had this for a number of years. But again, because you don’t use it so often, the one I linked to below is very light duty and very affordable. And it’s going to more than meet your needs. In fact, this is the one that we have in our other shops.

If you only invest in this SEC-E9, which is fantastic, you may want some backup equipment. If that ever goes down and has to be sent home for repair, you want an affordable way to cut key so that you can still supply service without breaking the bank.

RYTAN Key Cutter

Now, this is a traditional key cutter here. We actually love this key cutting rates by RYTAN. It’ll do all your standard keys, all your standard automotive keys, but it won’t do laser keys. Now, this one’s very heavy duty, very big, last a lifetime. We’ve had this one for 15 years without any problems.

We have this one because we have a shop. In your vehicle, you can get a backup one and I’ll put a link, the one below that’ll do basically the same thing for just a couple of hundred dollars. Now because it’s a backup. It’s not going to be as heavy duty as this is not going to be as great as this. But if you only need it when this one goes down, it’s going to handle your needs.

The other piece of equipment that we use for laser key cutting is this one right here.

DEFU Laser Key Cutter

Now, we actually really like this product by DEFU. Again, we get it off the Express. It’s about one hundred and fifty bucks, but this will handle high security, key duplicates. So those car keys that are high security keys, you can make copies of them using this machine.

Now again, is this robust? Is this going to last you a lifetime of heavy use day in and day out? No, it’s not. But as a backup to this SEC-E9, it’s perfect.

Cutting Steel Keys

Also, if you have a shop, you might want to cut steel keys. What’s a steel key? Steel key flathead steel key like this needs a special machine to cut it. Even the SEC-E9 won’t cut this one.

So what we have here is a steel key cutter. If you have a shop, it’s a good extra piece of equipment you have because you can provide a service to customers that a lot of your competitors can’t. They’re not very expensive anymore.

Other Hand Tools

All right. So those are the major pieces of equipment that you need, obviously are going to be a few other things, some hand tools, a drill. If you’re going to be doing any fresh installation of locks, you’re going to need a fresh installation kit for door locks. But those things are pretty easy to find. You can get them on Amazon. I’ll put a link to a few of the products that we like below, but you should get those just about anywhere and you’re going to have a pretty quick understanding of what you’re going to need there.


Another thing we didn’t talk about is if you have a vehicle, a shelving kit for that vehicle. So you’re going to need a workbench, you’re going to need some shelves, some drawers. Now, this is kind of a hot topic in our industry because a lot of locksmiths will actually build theirs out themselves, fully customized, make the shelving everything from wood or steel or anything else that they have available, whatever their skill set is.

Now us, because we’re rather large, we don’t have the time to do that.

So Adrian Steel makes kits that are already made for just about any van out there. You just put in your van type, I don’t know, pick one, Dodge Pro Master and put in the locksmith kit and it’ll come back with shelves that are already designed to fit that vehicle targeted for the locksmith industry. So that’s what we do. It’s a quick and dirty way to get your van outfitted.

To outfit a van with shelving runs us right around twenty five hundred dollars a vehicle. We have a local installer do that for us. It’s a great way to go with these kits because it’s easy and you don’t have to think about it. After the kits install it, then you can do a little custom modification based on your preference.

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Thanks for watching. Locksmith recommended.


Universal Key Cutter: SEC-E9 http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/crbyppCG

Automotive Locksmith Tools, Car Key Programmers: https://amzn.to/2H60dOE

HPC Key by Code Cutter: https://amzn.to/2H6ZWLk

Our Favorite Belt Sander: https://amzn.to/33zUZnK

Inexpensive Standard Key Duplicator for Backup: https://ebay.to/2Z7CcwC

Inexpensive Laser Key Duplicator: https://ebay.to/2OUbzeV

Adrian Steel Locksmith Shelving: https://ebay.to/2OQBbJB

Our Favorite 18V Drill: https://amzn.to/2H5kdkf

Lock Installation Kits: Professional Kit by Templaco – https://amzn.to/2H4SPD7

Professional Kit by Kwikset – https://amzn.to/2KHxII2

Inexpensive Kit – https://amzn.to/2YKxqtS