When you need the services of a locksmith, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if it is a matter of emergency. Under certain circumstances, it may be tempting to find someone willing to do the job quickly for as cheap as possible. However, this could have some unwanted effects, as these cheap and quick locksmiths may not be of professional quality and may make matters worse or supply a product that is not sufficient quality.
It is also important to watch out for fake local locksmiths. Some locksmith companies will claim to be local and will create multiple listings in a phonebook under different names. However, when someone calls these numbers, the call is actually re-routed to a central number, often not in the same city, where the operators send untrained people to do the work. They often show up in an unmarked vehicle and ask for more than they quoted you over the phone, and sometimes they only accept cash.
Obviously, in an ideal situation, it would be wise to research a locksmith company before hiring them for the job. However, this doesnt really work in emergency situations such as getting locked out of your house or car. Here are some tips for how to find a quality locksmith on short notice:
In the event you are locked out of your car, try calling roadside assistance first. Many of the services offered are sometimes included when you purchase the car, or as an add-on to insurance. These programs often have a list of pre-approved companies. If you do not have roadside assistance, try calling friends or family for recommendations.
Look into listings you find in the phonebook. Websites can be used to match phone numbers to addresses, and this will help you discover whether the address is real or fake. If they do not list an address, ask them why.
If the company answers the phone with a generic phrase rather than a company-specific name, be wary and ask for the legal name of the business.
In addition to getting a price quote, be sure to ask about additional fees such as for mileage or for responding at late hours. Do not allow the work to be done if the locksmith arrives and asks for a different price than you were quoted.
Find a locksmith that is insured. When the locksmith arrives, ask for a business card and a locksmith license, if applicable. Also check to be sure the invoice includes the companys name. An expert locksmith will also want to confirm your identity and ownership of the property before working.
After the work is done, get an itemized invoice that includes charges for parts, labor, mileage and the service call, in order to reference the price later. There are many other ways to be safe when choosing a locksmith, however if you follow these tips you will be off to a great start.