Lockouts are no fun. They can be embarrassing and stressful. Your best bet for finding a great locksmith is doing the search for one before you are ever presented with an emergency lockout situation. Often, car or home lockouts happen before one has had the luxury of searching for a reputable locksmith.
Here are four tips to remember in the event you ever get locked out and need a locksmith’s help in a hurry. These will help ensure you find a reputable, affordable and legitimate professional and not one that will scam you.
Find a Local Company
Many locksmith companies place listings online and in telephone books stating that they are in your area. However, often the company is located in another city. When you contact them, you are calling them in a distant location making the time frame for getting a locksmith to you quite a long one.
If you are locked out of your car, first try calling your car insurance company. They can send a reputable locksmith out to you right away. The same holds true if you have a roadside assistance plan with your car’s finance company.
If you are on your own when it comes to finding someone in a hurry, be sure to ask if the address listed belongs to the company when you call them. If they hesitate to confirm their street address, hang up and call another company. If you have an extra minute, do another search on your phone to make sure that when you search the telephone number given it results in another search showing the correct street address as accompanying that number.
Some locksmith companies will not list a street address even though they are legitimate. This will be the case if they operate as a mobile locksmith business. Again, when you call, ask about why they do not list a street address. If they readily answer that it is because they are mobile, you may just want to double check this with the Better Business Bureau online before going ahead and calling them to help you.
In fact, when you find a few good listings with local street addresses, you can double check their legitimacy by doing a quick search on the BBB online. Come up with at least two companies and call them. Ask the one who offers the best price to help you.
Ask how much you can expect to pay. Be wary of companies that insist on accepting cash only. If someone strongly insists that you can only pay cash, call a different locksmith.
You should be able to get a good estimate of charges from the professional over the phone. This is only an estimate, and the actual charges may vary slightly. For instance, you might need to pay extra for any service call made in the middle of the night.
Ask them about any extra charges when you are on the phone with them. They may charge a base fee for the service call, or they may charge extra for mileage. Reputable, honest professionals will do their best to honor the estimate they provided you over the phone. Overcharging customers is a sign of a disreputable company.
Ask to See Proof of Insurance
Most websites for professional locksmiths will offer proof of insurance. If they do not display this information online, ask about it when you are making the service call. Finally, ask to see the proof of insurance when the locksmith arrives.
Be Sure to Confirm the Locksmith’s Identification
When the locksmith arrives to help you, be sure they arrive in a vehicle that identifies the company name. If they do not arrive in such a vehicle, ask to see a business card and their license, if you live in a state where locksmiths must be licensed.
The locksmith should also ask to verify your information. He or she will want to be sure you are the owner of the car or the home on which they are going to begin work.
If you can, find a locksmith before you need one. If not, the tips above will ensure you find a reliable professional in an emergency.