There will be times when you need the assistance of an emergency locksmith, such as in a lockout situation. Locksmiths offer invaluable help and service when you’ve lost your keys, or when you’ve accidentally locked your keys inside your car or home.
Outlined in this article are some useful tips to help you find a reliable locksmith in your area.
Think Before You Hire
During emergency situations, people are often in a panic and don’t stop and think about who to call when they need a locksmith.
They simply assume any locksmith will do, and hire the first one they see. This is a big mistake.
Locksmiths vary in their skills and knowledge. During emergency situations, it is in your best interests to work only with the best locksmith available.
Beware of Locksmith Scams
In addition, some locksmiths take advantage of a customer’s desperation. They prey on people who need help, and charge them rates that are extremely unfair. You’ll need to find a way to avoid these locksmiths, and to hire someone fantastic.
Preparation is Key to Finding a Good Locksmith
The best way to find a good locksmith is through research. You can start by finding referrals. Ask the people you know about locksmiths they’ve used. If they want to know why you’re asking, tell them it’s because you want to be prepared in case of an emergency.
It’s likely that you’ll get a few good suggestions from your family and friends, but you’ll want to look at local review websites too. See what people have to say about the locksmiths in your area. Pay close attention to both the positive and negative comments. All of them can be helpful.
Check the Locksmith’s Website
In addition to finding referrals, you should check out the locksmith’s website. This should help you decide whether or not you want to work with them in the future.
As you examine the website, take note of a few important things:
- Is the locksmith sufficiently experienced?
- What kind of training do they have
- Do they offer 24 hour services
- Will you be able to count on them during an emergency?
You should also see if they post their rates anywhere on their page. While these rates will just be a rough estimate, they’re a good way to get an idea of how much their services will cost you. It’ll also allow you to compare services from locksmith to locksmith.
If you do all of the above, it’ll be easy to find a locksmith you can count on. You may want to put the number of the two best locksmiths you find in your phone. That way, you’ll have a back-up option if one of the locksmiths is unavailable.
What if You Haven’t Had Time to Research
If you’re in an emergency situation and didn’t get the chance to research beforehand, here are a few things you can do to avoid getting taken advantage of by scam artists.
Note the Company Name
One of the first things you should do is pay close attention to the name. Some scam companies try to copy the name of a legitimate business so that they can trick people into calling them instead. Make sure someone isn’t trying to use someone else’s good name in order to get your business.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to the name they say over the phone. Did they actually state the name of the business? If they didn’t, you should ask them to. Some non-reputable locksmiths don’t tell you their name on the phone to avoid culpability in the future.
Get a Clear Estimate
When you talk to the locksmith, make sure they give you a clear estimate. If they don’t, call someone else.
You’ll also want to ask what their price includes. Some locksmiths quote a reasonable rate, but then tack on astronomical costs for things like mileage. Others add on a “service fee” that’s hundreds of dollars all on its own. You don’t want to give them a chance to do that to you.
Tell the locksmith that you’re going to need a written copy of the estimate before they begin working. This will give you additional protection. If you have something that proves they quoted you a reasonable price, trying to charge you a high rate afterward won’t hold up in court.
When the locksmith arrives at your home, make sure that you have the estimate in hand before any work begins. Check it and ensure that the price is the same as the one they told you over the phone.
You must insist on an accurate estimate; otherwise, call another contractor.
Warning Signs of a Bad Locksmith
There are also a few things you’ll want to look out for once the work begins. A qualified locksmith won’t need to remove or replace your lock unless the lock itself is damaged or defective. If someone tries to do this, it’s a sign that they don’t know what they’re doing.
When it comes to emergency locksmiths, you should never feel as though you don’t have a choice. If you don’t want to work with someone, you don’t have to. Renting a hotel room for the night is cheaper than paying for the work of a scam artist.
Finding a Reputable Locksmith
There are many reputable, friendly locksmiths out there that do excellent work. You should try to find these locksmiths so that you can take full advantage of their services. Everyone should have the number for a great locksmith. You’ll never know when you need one.
However, if you don’t have time to find someone great, you’ll need to be cautious. There are locksmiths out there who do bad work, and they’re not people you want to hire. Take care to protect yourself, and work only with qualified and excellent locksmiths.