Locks to your homes or business are the key to your prized possessions, expensive technology and furniture – so finding a locksmith you can trust is effectively protecting everything you own.
There are thought to be thousands of unregistered trading locksmiths. Here are some top tips for finding a good and trustworthy locksmith.
Changing or fixing a lock might be an urgent job, but take time to do some research and find the best company for the job. Your life possessions are counting on it.
1. Check reviews
The internet is a great tool for finding good suppliers and using reviews to find a good company is not different for locksmiths. Just make sure they are not affiliated with the site you are looking at the reviews on.
2. Check the locksmith is who they say they are
Before you let a locksmith into your home, check the phone number and the address listed online correspond. Phone up and check they are who they say they are.
3. How long have they been in business?
Find out if they have been in the same area for a period of time. If they have been moving from location to location then that is enough to raise the red flags. But, if they have been established in an area for a long time, the chances are they are giving a good service or they wouldn’t survive. You don’t want to automatically distrust a new business as they will want to grow and build, but do your homework to ensure they are genuine.
4. You don’t always have to replace a lock
Make sure you get a good reason from your locksmith as to why they are wanting to replace your lock. Most good locksmiths should be able to get into your lock without have to remove it or drill holes. And if they can, it may mean you just need a new key. This could save you a lot of money.
5. Better to be safe
Google the person who is coming to your house and get a feel for who they are. At the end of the day, you are trusting them with access to your home, you have to feel comfortable with having them repairing your lock and being able to get into your house or apartment. There are lots of unscrupulous and unqualified scammers who are just trying to make a quick buck. Don’t be shy to take every precaution.
Check the credentials for the locksmith you are appointing to do the work for you. They should be able to provide you with official documentation and the names of the bodies they are accredited to or proof of the training they have undertaken. Like any other service, you want to be using someone who has training and experience, and is recognized in his or her profession.
7. Handyman help
A handyman is not qualified to understand how to fit or change locks. You need to ensure you are choosing a qualified and experienced locksmith for the job.
8. Beware of Adverts
Many scammers try to lure new customers by promises of discounted prices, free or low call out fees or unrealistic turnaround times. Don’t be fooled by their claims. If it sounds to good to be true, then beware.
There is a also a method of baiting people into business. Many unscrupulous companies will advertise a special rate, but when they get your business there will be lots of add on costs. Make sure you get a clear quote so you know exactly what you are paying for.
If you are looking for a locksmith in a local directory the don’t automatically go for the one with the biggest advert. The bigger the advert just means the company has a bigger marketing budget. It doesn’t mean that they are more qualified or offer a better service than a company with a smaller advert. Still do your due diligence.
9. Professional Associations
Locksmiths have a professional association that qualified and bonefide locksmiths will be members. You can get online and find out what the official qualifications are, if they should be carrying ID, what that ID should say and they are likely to have a list of those locksmiths who are registered with them.
10. Be prepared
Locksmiths will know the answers to any questions you have about the job you are asking them to do. Don’t be afraid to quiz them to help ascertain whether they know what they are talking about.
11. Are they who they say they are?
The chances are, if you need a locksmith you are in a hurry. When you are phoning for a locksmith, make sure they answer with the name of the company and not just a generic answer like “locksmith services”. You want to know who they are and how they operate, so you need to know the name of the company so you can check them out. A generic answer like this is a tell tale sign that they might not be the real deal.
12. Go local
Use a local company rather than calling a national call center. These national organizations will sub the work out to locksmiths local to you, but they may not be very diligent with their checks, so you don’t necessarily know who will be getting.
Word of mouth is always a safe bet. Use social media or friends and family to ask for recommendations. People are never going to recommend someone they have not used themselves and had good service from.
14. Get three quotes
You will probably be in a rush to get a locksmith when you need one. Believe it or not, but the cost for the same job can vary dramatically from company to company and from area to area. Take the time and get three quotes for the same work. Overcharging is common in the locksmith industry, so by getting three quotes you can be sure you are getting a good deal.