How to Find a Locksmith – 10 Tips For Choosing a Reputable Locksmith Service
By B. A. Mallow
Perhaps you just got back from vacation only to discover that your keys are still somewhere in Florida. Or maybe the burglary down the street has you thinking twice about that broken lock on the back door.
Sooner or later, most of us will find ourselves needing a locksmith. Whether the job is big or small, it’s important to do your homework. A locksmith will have complete access to your home, car, or business, leaving you vulnerable if the job is not done right.
Here are 10 tips for choosing a reliable, professional, and trustworthy locksmith:
1. Ask trusted friends and neighbors for a referral. If you can’t get a personal recommendation, try checking with:
* Organizations in your area that rate service businesses, like Consumer Checkbook or Angie’s List
* A local security or construction firm — some keep locksmiths on retainer
* A trade association with a member referral service, like the Associated Locksmiths of America
2. Find out how long the locksmith has been in business. One who has been around several years in the same location is more likely to be reputable.
3. Ask if the company does or has done business under any other names. Sometimes companies will change names to ditch a bad reputation.
4. Ensure the locksmith has all required business licenses and permits. Licensing is not always mandatory, so find out what is needed in your area. If licensing is required, ask how to verify authenticity.
5. Find out if the locksmith is bonded and insured and for how much. You want to make sure the coverage is enough to cover any losses you may incur from property damage or faulty work.
6. Ask about certifications and professional affiliations. Trade associations keep their members informed of the latest industry developments. Members must often meet rigorous standards and some associations even require that their members pass a skills test. While this doesn’t guarantee proficiency, it does improve the odds.
7. Ask for recent references and check them.
8. Get a written estimate. Give as many details as possible to get a more accurate quote. Ask if any additional charges will apply and about any discounts for which you may qualify.
9. Contact the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no unresolved complaints. Also check with the local chamber of commerce, police department, and office of consumer affairs.
10. Ask what information will be kept on file after the work is done and why. Make sure all keys are turned over to you and that household locks are not set to accept a master key.
It’s wise to seek out a good locksmith before you actually need one. If you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a crisis, you may not have time to thoroughly investigate your options. Using the above tips will help you find a dependable and qualified locksmith so you’ll be ready whenever you need one.