If you’ve ever locked yourself out of your car or home, you know it’s a complicated situation. The first thing that comes to mind is to turn to someone to help you solve your problem. But if you can’t get a family member or friend to bring you a spare set of keys, your next resort may be to call a local locksmith.
When "local" is a really long distance
Consider this situation: A company located a long way from where you live chooses a name for its business that is very similar to the name used by a local locksmith. The company publishes its details in the phone book or on the Internet using a local phone number and address. When you call that number, you are connected to a call centre in another location.
You may be quoted a price for the job over the phone, but when the locksmith arrives, often in a vehicle with no sign indicating the name of a locksmith shop, he or she will ask for significantly more than the quoted price. The locksmith is also likely to tell you that he only accepts cash payments.
Some companies that present themselves as “local locksmiths” are listed numerous times in the same phone book but under different names. But calls made to each of these numbers connect to the same central number and are answered by operators in a distant location from where they dispatch untrained individuals to do the work.
Choosing a locksmith near me
What is the best way to choose an honest locksmith near me? Consider finding out which locksmiths are available before you need one, just as you would a plumber, electrician, or another service professional. This approach works well if you’re looking for someone to do security work around your home, such as installing locks on your exterior door or a safe in your bedroom.
But when it’s an emergency, if you’ve locked yourself out of your car and don’t have your keys, you don’t have much time to investigate.
Call family or friends to recommend one of these services.
If you find a locksmith in the phone book, on the Internet, or through a directory assistance service that lists a business address, confirm that the address belongs to the locksmith. Some dishonest companies list addresses with a street name or number to give the impression that they are local businesses. But the address maybe for another business or empty lots if they exist. You can verify the addresses through websites that allow you to check if the phone numbers match the addresses.
Some genuine locksmith companies do not publish an address either because they operate a “mobile” business or because they operate from a home address, and the locksmith does not wish to publish it. If you call a locksmith who does not post their address, ask why. If they reply that it is a “mobile” business, it will explain why the locksmith does not have a shop on the street.
Please write down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of several businesses for reference, so you have them handy if you don’t want to do the job with the first locksmith you call.
If you call a company and respond with a generic phrase such as “locksmith services” rather than a specific company name, be careful. Ask what the legal standing of the business is. If the person who answers refuses to answer, call another locksmith.
Before the locksmith begins work, ask for a quote for the total estimated labour and materials cost. In lock-outs, most legitimate locksmiths will give you an estimate of the total cost of the job.
Before you agree to have the locksmith do the job, ask about additional charges. Companies may charge extra for coming to do the job in the middle of the night.
Never sign a blank form to authorize work.
Find out if the locksmith offers a guarantee. If property damage occurs during the repair or the work is poorly done, the locksmith must guarantee their work.
When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a business card and, where applicable, a locksmith’s license. In addition to checking the locksmith’s business card, check the company name’s invoice and see if the locksmith’s vehicle is marked with a name that matches the name on the business card or invoice.
Keep in mind that the locksmith will also ask for your identification. A reliable locksmith should confirm your identity before doing the work to ensure that you are the property owner.
Some locksmiths can do quick or emergency work from a car, but most locksmiths will arrive in a utility vehicle marked with the company name.
When the locksmith completes the job, ask for an invoice detailing materials, labour, distance charge, and the service visit’s price. This applies whether you need a locksmith for a one-time job or you want to hire a locksmith for several jobs in succession. You should have the information that allows you to trust your locksmith because you don’t want just anyone to access the locks on your home, car, or business.
If it happens again
When you have found an honest locksmith, keep the name and contact information in your wallet and write it down in your home or work address book. Also, to save yourself time and trouble the next time you need a locksmith’s service, you can record this information on your home phone or mobile phone. So next time when you need a “locksmith near me“, you know which one to call.