The 8 Key Questions to Ask a Locksmith Before Hiring Them
Photo by Maria Ziegler
Quick question: do you know where your car keys are? How about your house keys or your work ID badge?
Every week, one in four American adults lose their keys. They spend upwards of 15 minutes trying to find them, often causing them to be late for work or school.
We all know someone like this, and it’s funny until it happens to us. If you’re suddenly locked out of your home or car, you’re going to need to find a locksmith you can trust.
In this article, we’ll give you the inside scoop on locksmith services and share the questions you should ask before you contract for services.
Find a Reputable Residential Locksmith
The hunt for a good locksmith often begins on the internet, but how do you know if you’ve found a trustworthy company? Here are a few key qualities that every good locksmith company should have.
1. Do They Offer Emergency Service?
If you’re locked out of the house, every minute counts. You might have a pot of water on to boil or even a kid inside who needs you.
The most important feature of a good locksmith is that they can get to you quickly, even on nights, holidays, and weekends. You never know when you’re going to have a lockout emergency.
To start an internet search, put in your city and then “locksmith emergency service.” Ideally, take the time to perform this search before you need a locksmith and keep their number in your phone.
We offer emergency service ’round the clock including extraction of broken keys and car key replacement. We have on-call technicians who service the greater Fort Worth area and will arrive within half an hour, day or night.
2. Are They Licensed, Bonded, and Insured?
Surprisingly, only 14 states require that locksmiths have a license. Texas is one state that does require a license, so any company should be able to provide you with their license number.
Once you have a copy of the business license in front of you, you can enter it into the Certificate Verification page of the Texas Secretary of State website. If you can’t verify the locksmith’s license, it’s time to find a different company.
We have been in business for more than 10 years and are proudly licensed, bonded, and insured. In addition to our 24/7 emergency services, we also offer
- complete lock replacement after a burglary
- key extraction if a key breaks in a lock
- lock upgrades and master keys
- recovery services after natural disasters
- deadbolt or mortise lock installation
We are more than happy to provide our license information to our customers.
3. Do They Conduct Background Checks on Employees?
In addition to meeting license and insurance requirements, you should always ask your locksmith about their technicians. How do they screen their employees? Do they perform background checks and drug screens?
When a technician arrives at your home or office, they should always have proper identification. If the name on their ID doesn’t match the name that the company gave you, do not let them into your home.
Ideally, the tech will arrive in a clearly-marked truck or van. They will present their identification and have a friendly demeanor.
Each of our locksmith technicians has more than five years of experience and we screen them thoroughly before hiring them. You can easily schedule an appointment online or call us with any questions you may have.
4. Do They Have Consistently Positive Reviews?
Instead of searching for an auto locksmith online, you might want to ask your friends and neighbors who they trust. You’ll save time wading through endless lists of questionable service providers and narrow down your list much more quickly.
Once you have a few candidates lined up, take the time and see how well they’re reviewed online. Are there consistent complaints about late service or shoddy work? Time to move on.
Another way to double-check your locksmith is to check their rating on the Better Business Bureau website. Most businesses have the occasional complaint, but only the best ones are able to resolve them quickly.
To start your search, talk to your mechanic about who they’d recommend for an auto locksmith. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
5. Do They Offer a Wide Range of Residential Services?
Locksmithing is much more than dealing with home lockouts, although that is a key feature of our business.
We offer residential and commercial services including
- car key replacement
- closed-circuit TV installation
- high-tech lock systems
- vehicle ignition repair
- complete rekey for new homeowners
This last item is vital if you’re thinking of buying a home. One of the first things you should do after you move in is have all of your locks replaced, including your garage and basement doors.
Reputable locksmiths are your first line of defense against home invasions, which occur once every 22 seconds in the United States.
What to Look for in a Commercial Locksmith
As you focus on improving your home security, you might be wondering how your business security measures up. When you find a locksmith you can trust, talk to them about whether they can provide commercial services.
6. Can They Perform a Comprehensive Security Audit?
The first question to ask the locksmith is whether they can do an audit of your current security. If you’ve had a break-in or a security breach, you might want to think about installing:
- magnetic door locks
- automatic door closures
- high-security entry systems
- keyless entry systems
- mortise door locks
We work during off-hours so we don’t disrupt your business flow. Just let us know what you need and we can perform a comprehensive diagnostic of your business security.
The average cost of a data breach is more than $1 million. Can your business afford to lose that much money?
7. Do They Guarantee Their Work With a Warranty?
Any experienced locksmith company will guarantee their work. Whether it’s for a residential or commercial project, make sure to ask about the length of the warranty.
There are different types of warranties. Some cover the parts, while others cover the actual work being done. Just talk to your locksmith before they start your commercial upgrades and ask for a hard copy.
In addition to getting a warranty statement in writing, you should also be able to get a price estimate before your locksmith starts work.
The reason that your locksmith may not be able to give you a firm price is that each project is different. Your business’ locks may be more complex and take more time to upgrade.
If you need emergency service or are located outside of the locksmiths’ service area, you should expect a slight increase in price. We have a list of starting prices and can often give you an estimate by phone.
8. Can They Deliver Experienced Customer Service?
It’s harder than you might think to find outstanding customer service. If you can find a locksmith that is communicative, professional, and friendly, then you’ve got yourself a keeper.
In general, you should look for a company that responds to your questions within 24 hours. If you need emergency service, they should pick up the phone promptly and schedule you a service call immediately.
You should also be able to get an estimate written on official company letterhead, along with a written guarantee of work and parts.
Great locksmiths are patient, knowledgeable, and committed to customer satisfaction. They will do more than just change locks or open safes. They will provide you with security solutions.
Automotive Locksmith Services: Way Beyond AAA
The great thing about professional locksmiths is that they offer automotive services that are far and above regular roadside assistance.
Of course, a locksmith will help you get into your car if you lock the keys inside. Did you know that they can also
- unlock and re-key your trunk
- replace your key fob
- extract broken car keys
- repair and replace your ignition
- quickly laser cut new keys
We can perform all of these services for any type of car, foreign or domestic. Just let us know what you need to have done and we’ll put you into our schedule.
If you’re the type of person who tends to lose keys, you should probably have a backup key or two. Parents of teens who’ve just started to drive should also have a spare key in case of an unexpected lockout.
When you buy a car used, you should definitely re-key the entire vehicle to minimize the potential for break-ins. If you have a commercial fleet, you may want to upgrade and re-key your vehicles once every two years.
Scam Alert: What Some Locksmiths Don’t Want You to Know
We take pride in our honesty, integrity, and customer service. There are thousands of scam artists out there, however, waiting to gain access to your home or office.
Here are a few tips we’ve put together about avoiding those scam artists.
First, don’t let anyone drill your door open. Professional locksmiths are capable of opening most locks and don’t typically need to use a drill.
Once scammers have your entire door lock removed, they’ve got you on the hook for as much money as they can get. Even if they do replace the lock, they may keep a set of keys for a break-in at a later date.
Next, try not to pay cash. Although we accept cash, we also accept debit cards and credit cards. For major projects, we can issue an invoice once the price is established.
Scammers often want you to pay cash so there’s no record of the transaction. They might give you a receipt with a phony address or signature that won’t hold up in court.
Finally, check the vehicle when the locksmith arrives. Is the van unmarked? You might be in a scammer’s sights.
All of the steps we’ve described in this article will allow you to find a trustworthy local locksmith. Don’t let anyone near your home or office doors unless you trust them 100 percent.
If you feel like you’re about to get scammed, you probably are.
Standard Price Ranges for Locksmith Services
Now that we’ve talked about scammers, let’s take a look at what you should expect to pay for a few different services. These prices are a starting point and will vary according to the complexity of the lock and the time it takes to do the work.
In general, a car or home lockout will start at $30. Business lockouts also start at $30, and safe lockouts start at $70. We charge a standard fee of $19 as a service call fee and will let you know in advance if we have to purchase new parts for your lock.
Changing a lock will start at $40 and copying a car key starts at $59. If you need us to laser cut a new car key, that service starts at $90.
We try to keep our prices as low as possible and will never do work without your approval. We also provide custom estimates for larger commercial projects.
We’ve been in business for 10 years and are committed to providing top-notch service at reasonable prices.
Do Locksmiths Offer Service Discounts?
When you think about your home security, do you know for certain that your family is safe with the locks the way they are? Would you feel safer with a few more deadbolts and a brand new set of locks?
Or are you just tired of losing your car keys?
Now that you know all about the wide range of locksmith services we offer, we can help you make a plan to remedy your security issues.
If you book a locksmith service with us online, you can save money. We offer a few options including a 10% service discount, 15% off an entire home re-key, and 50% off a second car key.
Give us a call or send us an email at [email protected] We’ll work with you to resolve your situation quickly and without hassle.
Everyone loses their keys now and then, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster or an emergency.