Imagine it: you’re walking home after a lengthy day at the office, only to find your lock refuses to work and you’re stuck outside the house. What are the options? Sleeping at a neighbour’s or calling in a locksmith to get the problem solved as soon as possible.
The above scenario is a dicey one. Your neighbour may not be around and you’ll have to wait outside for them to get back. Secondly, you may not be sure if the locksmith you called is reputable. Dubious locksmiths could take hours to get to your location and when they finally do, they could end up charging you eye-watering amounts and other hidden fees!
So how do you find a reliable locksmith every time you need one?
Ask For Referrals
This is one of the best ways to find highly reliable locksmiths. Quickly talk to your neighbours or call up nearby friends to help you with the contact details of a reputable locksmith within your area. If they were satisfied with the locksmith’s services in the past, there is a good chance that you will be, too.
Look Closer to Home
When looking for locksmiths, you need to avoid calling customer care centres in big establishments. Many of them will not have any locksmiths on the ground in your area. What they will do, is outsource your issue to the nearest partner locksmith to you. Unfortunately the locksmith may be too far away and in some cases very few background checks have been carried out. A locksmith closer to home should be able to give you a reasonable response time and allow you to verify business or home addresses provided by them.
Conduct CRB Checks
The Master Locksmiths Association has made it compulsory for all locksmiths to be cleared by the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB). If you are not faced with an emergency, you should find some time to confirm the criminal history of the locksmith you are calling in.
Ask About ALL Fees Upfront
Time and again, we hear stories of locksmiths fleecing customers. Some of their tricks involve not telling you about a call out fee which you are obligated to pay for calling them out of their office or outside work hours. There are also some stories of locksmiths insisting on drilling through your lock so as to charge you for new locks (which they always have with them in their car).
To avoid this, explain what services you require, up front and ask for a complete run down of all fees you are expected to pay. If the fees are uncomfortable, look elsewhere. A good locksmith doesn’t always have to destroy your lock and fix a new one before analysing other possible solutions.
Ask About Insurance
You should be sure the locksmith is protected against work related injuries, to be sure you aren’t dragged into a lawsuit. You also need to be sure the locksmith has adequate insurance to cover for any accidental damages in the course of their work.
Watch Out For Signs Of Unprofessionalism
Did the locksmith turn up in a car without a logo? Is he inappropriately dressed? Is he demonstrating incoherence? Did they begin the work without first asking for your identification, to verify that you’re not a burglar? These are the most common warning signs that tell you the locksmith is not a professional.