The US locksmith industry generates in the vicinity of 2 billion dollars per year. Those numbers are trending upwards on an annual basis and for a good reason...
There are a lot of locks out there and a bunch of them like to wreak havoc on their owner's lives.
We've all been there before... Getting locked out of our house. Getting locked out of our car. Needing to change our locks because that key we cleverly hid under that rock magically disappeared.
Whatever your lock-related drama is, there's a great locksmith that's ready to help you out. To make sure that you get the very best one, below, we walk you through some tips that'll make your hiring efforts a lot more stress-free.
1. Find a Smith That's Local
When we need a lock smith, the first thing that most of us do is hop on Google and type in, "locksmith". Sometimes though, the locksmith that gets shot to the top of your search results isn't the locksmith that you want.
Many locksmiths that are located far away from your neighborhood will buy advertisements targeting your area to make it seem like they're nearby. While these locksmiths will come out to your house/car to help you with what you need, it'll probably take them a while and you might incur extra fees for their trouble.
Bottom line, if you see an ad that says, "Locksmith in Denver. Click here for more", click to learn more, go to the website's "locations" tab, and see where the smith is actually based.
If they're far away, go with somebody else.
2. Review Services Offered
Some locksmiths specialize it getting into car doors. Others just do housework.
If you have a particular job that you need doing (which we're guessing you do if you're thinking of contacting a locksmith) never assume that the smith you're contacting is capable of the task at hand. Read their website copy carefully and make sure that they explicitly state that they do the kind of work that you're looking for.
If their website isn't very informative, hop on the phone to discuss your job with the locksmith outright. They'll be able to let you know if they're right for the job.
3. Check Hours of Operation
It seems to be that the worst lock problems like to rear their heads outside of business hours.
Locked yourself out of your car at 3 am and have the street sweeper coming by in 3 hours? You're going to need a locksmith.
Unfortunately though, when you're caught in a late-night/early morning pickle, you don't need just any locksmith. You need a smith that's willing to work after hours.
Those smiths are few and far between.
Our advice if you're trying to get a smith to come out after hours is to call them rather than trying to book their services online. If you can't get through, check their website to see if they have a special emergency number.
Also, be aware that locksmiths will always charge a premium for needing to come out after hours so don't be surprised when your bill is way higher than it was that last time your smith came over to fix your doorknob at 2 pm.
4. Review Your Insurance Policies
If you have home or car lock troubles, it may be that your insurance has provisions which pay for or heavily subsidize a locksmith coming out to lend assistance.
The best way to find out what your insurance offers is to give them a call. After you've described your situation to your insurance representative, they can advise on how your policy helps and in most cases, will even connect you with a locksmith in your area.
We can't stress enough the importance of contacting your insurance provider before reaching out to a locksmith. If you hire a smith without your insurance's guidance and then try to bill back your provider, they will almost certainly deny your claim.
Insurance providers work with a specific network of smiths that provide them with discounted rates. Getting help outside of that network is probably not allowed by your policy.
5. Make Sure Your Smith Checks Out
It doesn't take much to open a business today. That fact means there are a lot of fly-by-night companies sulking around trying to get people's business with no intention of doing good work.
There are a few ways that you can protect yourself against these rouge operations.
For starters, make sure that any locksmith you hire is licensed and insured. In almost all territories, a business license is required to be a locksmith. While insurance may not be required in your territory, it should be a personal requirement because if a locksmith damages something without insurance, you'll be liable to foot the bill.
Another great way to ensure that your locksmith is worth working with is to check online reviews. Review aggregators like Yelp or Google are very helpful to that end.
With a quick online search, you should be able to quickly determine if your smith's reputation promotes their services or doesn't.
Our Final Thoughts on Finding a Locksmith
Finding a locksmith is easy. Finding a locksmith that's local, good at what they do, available and covered by your insurance policy is hard.
Do your best to check the boxes that we've outlined in our write-up to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck when bringing on a lock professional. If you find that you need more advice on locksmiths or other home/lifestyle-related questions, check out more of our helpful content.