Picking the right locksmith, and what to look for.
I am reading lots of articles about crooked locksmiths. This problem has cropped up in recent years. You need a locksmith and do an Internet search and a local phone number pops up. And you think you are calling a local locksmith who miraculously says he can come right over.
What may have happened instead is that you have been routed to a clearing house in another state that sends someone to your house who is not licensed and has no idea what he is doing. And later your house is visited when you least expect it. And the visit happens with or without a key to your house.
The locksmith industry is alarmed by this trend. And necessarily!
You have become easy pickings!
The locksmith industry thinks the solution to this is --
Can I cut through the clutter and list some things you can do to be more aware? These are some things to look for when the locksmith shows up, in no particular order. If you see some or all of these things, get another locksmith!
- He shows up in an unmarked car - BIG RED FLAG.
- There is a local phone number, but no local store locations.
- He does not have the "right tools for your job."
- The business has a generic, innocuous name: Locksmith USA
- There is only one, or maybe no, local store locations.
- He demands cash payment.
- The final bill is substantially more than was quoted over the phone.
- He doesn't speak English. Businesses that deal with the public send people who can communicate.
- The work is shoddy looking.
- The final bill presented has a business title with an address in another state, or has a generic "INVOICE" with no address or phone number.
- Instead of picking the lock, he recommends drilling out the old lock set and putting in a new one.
My locksmiths (I use two) have many store locations in many local cities. I started bowling with one of them in 1987 and have used him often ever since. They both have excellent reputations and are licensed. Not all states require licenses for their locksmiths. Hopefully yours does. **
My recommendation: Don't get taken for a ride. And certainly DON'T put yourself in a position to get visited at a later date by someone who is not coming over to help you with your lock problems! Do research and get a good guy to your house. Not someone you will come to regret! And good locks are another layer against the possibility of burglars getting into the house. Pick a good lock and a good locksmith to install it.
** Only 15 states require locksmith licensing: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560