We’ve covered this topic in one way or another one a regular basis, because hiring a trusted locksmith is vital for your home or office security. To give the topic a different spin, we’ve created an ABC list of what to do to vet your locksmith
A – Attend to a Local Search
We cannot stress the importance of using a local locksmithing business too much. National locksmith links that you find online are really just a marketplace. They may or may not have legitimate locksmiths in your area, as they outsource jobs to people that pay to be a part of their service. When you call a national locksmith number, you don’t know who they’ll send out to you. Do a local Google (or search engine of your choice) search to create a list of locksmiths in your area that you can vet.
B – Better Business Bureau Research
When you check out a business in the Better Business Bureau you can often find out some critical things about them. If a business is accredited with the BBB, then you know 1) they are a legitimate business, 2) they uphold the BBB Code of Business Practices, and, 3) what their BBB rating is.
- BBB Accreditation is for businesses located in the US and Canada. These businesses have to apply for the accreditation and commit to following the Code of Business Practices. They have to prove they’ve been in business for at least 6 months, and that they are trustworthy.
- The Code of Business Practices and Standards for Trust outline behaviors that we simply expect of those we do business with. We expect businesses to be ethical, to have integrity, to try and resolve differences equitably, to be honest about their services and products, transparent, etc and so forth. These requirements may seem like common sense, but it is nice to know that a BBB accredited locksmith has contracted to follow them.
- When looking at the BBB rating, you want to select a business that has a rating of A+. Anything below that means that there are serious unresolved issues regarding that business and a NR rating means there is insufficient data to give a rating. In either case, you’re taking a risk engaging with those businesses.
C – Certified and Licensed?
Check to make sure that the locksmith is properly licensed and certified. The business license has to be displayed prominently in the business and often the business license is listed on business cards, letterhead, and on websites. In the US, locksmiths should be certified with the ALOA (American Locksmiths of America) and/or the SAVTA (Safe and Vault Tech Association). These are the main organizations that provide training, continuing training, and certifications to locksmiths and technicians.
D – Drill Down through Reviews
Nowadays, online reviews are invaluable in determining a businesses modus operandi. If there’s a fair mix of reviews (good and bad) and the average for the business falls between 4 and 5 stars, that business does their best by their customers. There may be a few unhappy customers, but the majority are satisfied with their experience.
On the flip side, if the business has a review of 5 and all the reviews are fluffy in nature without a pros and cons experience, or there aren’t enough reviews left to give a fair average, you may have found a scamming locksmith. And, if the reviews are 3 stars or lower, there’s something seriously wrong with the way that business operates.
The more reviews left for the business the better. More data is more accurate.
E – Examine Their Business in Person
There is no substitute for going to a business in person. You get to see the locksmith and often the business owner in their element. You can see how they interact with people, you can get a feel for their expertise and if they specialize in anything, you can get direct advice on your options based on need and budget. You can get direct input on what services they offer and whether or not they fit the bill for your need. If your visit leaves you feeling good about that locksmith, save their information somewhere to use when needed.
F – Find out Job Specifics
Often this step will be done while your examing their business first-hand. You’ll want to make sure they are properly insured and bonded, what their job estimates are (bearing in mind it’s just a rough estimate), and as mentioned above, what services they offer. And, any special charges, if applicable.
Special Note: You want to do all of this research before an emergency occurs so that you aren’t desperate and you know exactly who you can call in a pinch.