The 5 Most Popular Tools and Items of the Locksmith Trade »
Some tools are necessary for locksmiths to succeed in their duties.
Some tools are necessary for locksmiths to succeed in their duties.
Find a 24-hour local locksmith now so you're ready when an emergency happens.
Pricing for locksmiths can vary, so make sure you know the average charge before contacting a professional over the phone.
A professional locksmith company usually provides a host of services for residential, automotive and commercial needs. Locksmith companies can help out in emergencies if you're locked out of your house or car in the middle of the night. They even perform consulting work for businesses by recommending the types of locks needed to secure facilities.
Even if you consider yourself a responsible person and check your pockets or purse for your keys before you leave your house, you're bound to lock yourself out of your residence at least once in your life. Some people don't have a landlord to let them back into their apartments, while many homeowners forget to give a spare set of their house keys to family or friends.
In the event you're locked out and don't have any other options, such as a key hidden under your welcome mat, you will need to contact a locksmith service to get back into your residence.Trained professionals can pick your lock, allowing you to get back into your house or apartment and go on with the rest of your day.
Besides emergency services, a specialist can also change the locks on your home if you lose your keys or if burglars break into your home. Rekeying your residence can protect you and your property from criminals gaining re-entry.
Did you leave your keys in your car? This is another common type of problem locksmiths solve. In the event you lock yourself out of your vehicle or your small child or pet is trapped inside your car, call a locksmith service.
Besides removing a stuck key from your ignition or picking your door lock, a specialist can also assist you if the locks on your glove compartment or trunk are broken.
The locksmith industry must change with the times since many locks include computers and electronic parts. Computer chip-enabled security systems that use card swipe or fingerprint and eye scan technology are a new norm for companies seeking to protect their operations from intruders.
Locksmiths are adapting to new services for commercial enterprises by offering to fix or install electronic security systems. They also work with card locks and generate duplicate key cards just as they do for standard metal locks and keys. Some businesses also hire locksmith companies to install and maintain security cameras for their facilities.
If you find you're having trouble inserting a key into your door's dead bolt or regular keyhole, don't force the key through it. It could be that the lock's pins are jammed. Use a silicone spray to grease the keyhole so you don't do any damage to the interior workings.
Keep in mind that reputable locksmiths know how to pick a lock without damaging its exterior or inner mechanisms. Be wary of a professional who harms your lock or tells you he or she needs to drill it out and install a new one.
Besides receiving training on how to properly pick all types of locks, professional locksmiths carry a large number of tools that work with most any style of dead bolt or latch. Therefore, a scrupulous one doesn't need to damage or replace locks to help you gain entry into your home or car.
Emergencies can happen. Keys get stuck in a home's lock or break off in the keyhole, or car keys get caught in the ignition switch and you find yourself a long way from home.
It may seem like a catastrophe but it's a regular occurrence and happens to everyone. A locksmith can be the answer to your problems, but depending on where you are and when you call one, it could cost you quite a bit.
Pricing for locksmith services fluctuates, and trustworthy companies will charge you based on the time of day you need them and how far they must travel to get to your house or vehicle. It can be tempting, especially when you're in a predicament, to call the first locksmith you find. Since you might not have any other resort when you're in desperate need to get back into your house or car, it pays to research a few companies before an emergency arises.
Look for reputable locksmiths and program their numbers into your cell phone so you have a dependable professional to rely on in case of emergency.
Since a business will charge you more if it has to travel farther, do a search for one that's close to your house so the service people can reach you sooner and bill you less.
When it comes to your vehicle, look for companies that are located near where you're stranded if possible.
Since pricing for locksmith services isn't always consistent, examine the average prices for common jobs around your area. Locksmith Ledger International, a trade publication for the profession, informally polls its readers every few years to develop a national average.
The following is a list of the national average rates for common jobs:
Key duplication is generally inexpensive, but can run from approximately $4 for an American single cut all the way up to $72 for a new transponder car key, which includes electronic chips to lock and unlock your vehicle's doors and trunk.
If you lose your house keys or someone steals them, you may decide to get your locks rekeyed. Knowledgeable locksmiths use a tool kit to change the inner workings of the lock so it's no longer operable with the old key. It's a more cost-effective solution for ensuring safety than changing all your locks.
The national average for rekeying a lock's cylinder ranges from $5 to $22, while replacing the lock can cost up to $120.
Due to the voluntary nature of the Locksmith Ledger International survey, service rates could vary.
You want to find a locksmith service that can put you at ease, especially if you call them when you have an emergency. Give these best practices a try before making a selection.
Ensure the Company Has a Physical Location
A service without an office building could spell trouble for your pocketbook. Locksmiths charge by the distance they need to travel to reach your house or car. If their office happens to be a van, there's no telling where they are in town.
Also make sure that the business you choose has a local phone number. When you call a locksmith who lists a toll-free number, your request is going through a call center and out to someone who could be located anywhere.
Search for Locksmith Service Reviews
Before picking up your phone to call for assistance, do a search for local locksmiths and read through a few of their reviews. Pairing reviews with specific locksmith companies will help you narrow down your choices.
Browse Your State Locksmith Licensing Board Website
Some states require locksmiths to obtain a license to practice their craft, and a few, such as California and North Carolina, maintain searchable databases for licensed locksmiths working in the region. States that require a license include: Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
Check Consumer Protection Sites
To ensure you hire the right company for the job, check local consumer protection services websites to see if the locksmith business has any public complaints on file.
If it turns out that the service you want to hire has complaints filed against it, it may be best to move on and look elsewhere.
Avoid a potential scam by asking a few questions before requesting help.
Are You a Member of The Associated Locksmiths of America?
If the business says it's part of this organization, ask whoever comes out to your car or house if he or she has proof of membership and check it along with his or her locksmith license.
Does Your Business Go by Other Names?
When selecting an enterprise for the job, it's a best practice to ask if the locksmith company goes by any other names than the one listed online or in the phone book. To protect yourself against shady businesses, request the full legal name of the locksmith service. If the organization declines to give you its legal name or argues with you about it, they could be scammers. A full legal name isn't proprietary information and it shouldn't be a hassle for the company to provide it.
May I Receive an Estimate For the Work?
Get an estimate for the job whether it's to unlock your car door or rekey your home. This way you will know the amount you might need to pay. Also ask if there are any additional fees associated with the work.
After the locksmith completes the job, ask him or her for an itemized invoice that explains and details the cost of the parts and labor. You want to know how much the company charges for its actual work versus how much it's billing you for mileage.
Are You Insured?
A real professional shouldn't damage your locks when trying to pick them, but if your locksmith does harm the inside or outside of your locks, you don't want to pay for it. Hire a locksmith that's insured so making fixes for any faulty work doesn't come out of your bank account.
Do You Accept Credit Cards?
In this day and age, it's odd if a business doesn't accept credit cards as payment. However, some locksmiths do not take cards. You'll want to avoid these companies. Even though they might not be scammers, cash cannot be traced. If you end up unsatisfied with the work they do, you're responsible for the cost without any real means of getting it back.
Once your locksmith arrives on the scene, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you received a reputable professional and not a fraudster. Bona fide locksmiths will ask you for your identification before starting any job. They must make sure you're the homeowner, car owner or tenant before picking the lock. Be wary if the service person doesn't ask you for an ID.
If the price the locksmith quotes for the job appears to be very low or if the final bill is nowhere near the estimate, end the transaction.
Always remember that you can cancel the job whenever you want. Do not pay the locksmith until you're happy with the work. You can avoid scam artists by keeping calm and researching services before you're faced with an emergency. Therefore, ensure that any company you decide to hire answers all the questions you have. If they want your business, they should do their best to accommodate all your needs.