I've been a locksmith since 1998. I've done automotive, lots of residential, and now mostly commercial work. Used to locksmith in the Chicago area, now the Austin area.
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No lock is guaranteed, but some are easier to pick, or cut with bolt cutters. The goal is to make it as difficult as possible; so getting something so thick that you'll need an angle grinder to cut it off would probably be your best bet.
I think that you're probably right about that. My first boss always told me that I would probably see the end of mechanical locks in my day. I think we have 20-30 years before we see it trickle down to lower & middle class due to the cost of it. Obviously it's currently being use regularly in office bldgs everywhere, but the cost is $800+ a door. So they have a ways to go before we see the price drop low enough and have products designed simple enough for the mechanically-inclined homeowner to install it himself. They already have touch-screen deadbolts, remote control deadbolts, & obviously regular keypad deadbolts. Generally the reason businesses want to eliminate keys is for more control. Audit trails, easy & costly elimination of a fired employee, lots of benefits really; but not a lot for residential reasons other than convenience. Which is why we prob won't see it for quite a while, & mostly in high end home with home automation.
Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen 10-pin tubular lock, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. They're just not very common. I suppose you could just count the pins since you can see them plain as day.
We don't count on tips, but they're always appreciated! ;-) Personally, any time I have service work done at MY house, I always try to tip at least five dollars if I have it. If nothing else, offer them something to drink. I'm shocked at how many people don't do either.
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The first thing I'd try is squirting some high quality lubricant in there. Not WD40, and not graphite. Vehicle door locks get dry or corrode quickly, especially if you rarely use it. Secondly, I'd look at your key. If it's bent or a bad copy (possibly not visible to the untrained eye), that is very possibly the problem. A lock shop should be able to read & cut you a new factory-spec key. Past that, it's internal lock damage.
School or work for someone: I've seen a lot of new locksmiths start businesses and fail because they weren't experienced, and were terrible at running a business. Personally, I would say work for someone for a while, learn the business, make mistakes on someone else's dollar, figure out what you like and don't like about the way they do things, and get comfortable approaching almost any lock situation. THEN start your own company. Pay: First of all, it totally depends on the going rates in your area. It varies quite a bit. You'll have to be doing auto for quite a while and get really good (making keys and servicing ignitions and door locks) before you'll make good money. Luckily, a lot of locksmiths hate auto work (like myself even though I did it for 10 years). There isn't much money in residential work. It's all in commercial work.
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