It’s happened to all of us.
You step out of your house or car, close the door — then realize you locked your keys inside.
It’s unfortunate and a bit embarrassing to get locked out. But for homeowners and car owners, it’s likely not a matter of if, but when.
Locksmith services can help get you back inside. But locksmithing, more so than most industries, has a direct effect on your security.
Trustworthiness and quality work are top priorities when searching for a locksmith. Read on for tips on how to find a good locksmith business online after a lockout.
Like most searches these days, your research will begin with a trip to your favorite search engine.
With only a few searches, you can vet several companies or individuals who provide locksmith services.
Look For Local
The first step is to look for locally based locksmiths.
Local locksmiths provide many benefits, chief among them being proximity and less travel time in case of an emergency. Local locksmiths are also easier to work with and hold accountable.
Some ads online may make a company look local, but they aren’t. Phone numbers may go to a national call center, and they’ll send you a contractor. It’s harder to verify qualifications for a contractor like this, and there’s little quality control by the company.
If a business has locations throughout the country, make sure they have verifiable locations. Reliable companies will have a brick-and-mortar address that you can check on Google Maps.
Once you’ve found a few potential companies near you, you’ll want to dig deeper and find out more about them.
A trip to a company’s website can give you some details about pricing, qualifications, and work hours. But you’ll also want to check some third-party feedback.
Although they’re anonymous, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The comments are from real customers, and not from the company’s advertising.
Entire websites, such as Yelp, are built around reviews. Google, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau also make it easy to leave feedback.
Reviews tell you a lot about a company. Quality, customer service, and pricing details are all things reviewers talk about. If you find locksmith services with a lot of reviews, it likely means they have a lot of business.
Don’t be afraid of a few negative reviews. Any company will make mistakes occasionally, and they can be learning opportunities. If you see a negative comment, see if the company responded in some way to correct the mistake or apologize.
Of course, overwhelming poor reviews are a good indication to stay away.
Locksmiths quite literally hold the key to your security. Unfortunately, it’s an industry that’s susceptible to scams.
Someone could install a lock they could break into later. They could also drill and damage a lock unnecessarily to force you to pay for a replacement. Dishonest in the payment process is also a threat.
Be very careful in choosing locksmith services. The safety of your family and belongings may be at stake.
What are some red flags you may find during your online search?
The lack of a verifiable location of a business is an indicator of something shady. If it’s an individual working from home, it’s fair not to include an address online. But their website should be clear about it and detail the areas he or she services.
A company with no reviews is also concerning. They might have quality services and just haven’t optimized their online presence, but a good company should at least have a Facebook page.
Questions To Ask
On the Phone
When you narrow down to a few options, the next step is to call them. Ask questions and make observations before scheduling a visit.
First, when the operator answers the phone, they should provide a full business name as part of their greeting. They shouldn’t hesitate or say something generic. If they do, it might be a sign of a scam.
You should also ask the operator to confirm the address that you have listed for the business.
Other questions pertain to the actual job.
Find out if there’s a warranty on the work or if insurance covers any problems. You should also get an estimate over the phone and find out if there are any additional fees, like emergency or travel fees.
If you’re comfortable with the answers the business provides to you, you can schedule them for a visit. But your vetting isn’t done yet.
When the locksmith arrives, ask to see an ID and a business card. The name and business card should match the information you already know about the company.
A responsible locksmith also will ask you for your identification. They need to confirm they’re providing service to the correct person. An apathetic locksmith is a bad locksmith.
The locksmith should also be able to provide a locksmithing license. A license is required for locksmiths in several states. Even if you aren’t in one of those states, it’s good practice to ask.
Before they start to work, ask for a written estimate from the locksmith. It should be comparable to the one you received over the phone. If the locksmith jacks up the price without a good explanation, he may be untrustworthy.
If at any point something seems out of place or suspicious, feel free to ask the locksmith to leave. You do not need to invite someone into your house if you’re uncomfortable.
Most people don’t think about needing locksmith services until they’re in an emergency situation.
Being panicked or time-restrained makes you more likely to make mistakes. You may not be able to properly vet a locksmith, leaving you open to scams or poor quality work.
Homeowners should be prepared for any situation that may arise at their house — a broken lock or being locked out included.
Begin your vetting process before an emergency happens. Good companies will be happy to answer your questions even if you’re not in immediate need of locksmith services.
If you find a company or two you like, save their name and number on your phone for easy access.
Find Great Locksmith Services
A trustworthy and reliable locksmith is essential for any family to know.