Finding a good locksmith can be one of those things that really saves you the one or two times you actually need it. For this reason it is important to get the contact information of one or two really high quality locksmiths in your area just in case you ever need to make that call in the future. In this post, we will go over a few tips to finding a good locksmith, and what to look for in the process.
On average, a typical locksmith job will cost about $150. Now, bear in mind that this price totally depends on the type of job you have them doing and the geographic area that you live in. For example, rekeying will be a much different cost than simply unlocking your door for you. It is important to take a look at some prices in your area from different companies to get a feel for what the average is across the board, then find someone you are comfortable with using.
Are They a Real Business?
Some of you reading may think this is absurd, of course they are a real business! Not so fast unfortunately! There have been a number of false locksmith listings in Google and Yellowpages over the last couple of years that, have ended up costing homeowners lots of extra money and actually made national news. The general gist of it is that you will find a “locksmith” listing pharmacy online, call the number and instead of getting in touch with a business, you will be redirected to a national call center. The call center will then forward your information to a local contractor, who will come out to your location and do the work. On the surface this may not seem too bad, but in reality the problem stems from the contractors. There is no way to tell if they are licensed, have a criminal record, or even know how to do the work. On top of this, numerous reports have surfaced of contractors charging customers up to 100 times the amount they were quoted over the phone, especially in instances where the customer is desperate (locked out in Buffalo, NY during winter for example).
To avoid trouble with these shady practices, it is best to find a locksmith that has a physical location. To do this you can simply ask them over the phone, or take some time to find a few in your area before you actually need them. A great way to go about researching is to find a directory of local providers in your area and use those as a starting point. Many directories will make entrants prove they are a real business in order to get listed, and this can be a great way to start off a pool to pick from.
Real locksmiths will always show up wearing a name tag and in a marked vehicle. If you do not have time to do research beforehand, ask to see the locksmiths name badge and take note of what vehicle they arrive in. If things don’t check out, politely ask them to leave as you have no idea who you may be dealing with.
Once you have found a locksmith with a brick and mortar business, you can give them a call to see what their qualifications are. Most states (if not all) require locksmiths to be registered, complete a certification course, and stay up to date on their licenses. Just look up the licensing information in your state and use it as a base to ask if your potential locksmith has passed and/or has it.
These steps may seem like overkill, but at the end of the day a locksmith will be dealing directly with the devices that keep your office, home, car, and personal belongings/property secure. There have been cases where fake locksmiths have cloned keys, cased houses, and extorted money from homeowners, so it is important to take steps to ensure you are in the right hands.