Locks are the primary defense your home or business has against burglaries. Don’t be fooled into thinking burglary rates are so low in your region you don’t need to worry.
In 2017, there were a little more than 1.4 million burglaries across the nation. Of those, almost 70 percent of victims were residential. A little more than 30 percent were commercial properties.
Your door locks matter because they deter lazy criminals and make it more difficult for anyone to enter your home. Since they’re working with such an essential part of your home, you want to be sure you choose the best professional locksmith.
But how can you ensure you’re hiring the best option?
There are some questions you should be asking a professional locksmith before hiring them. These will tell you everything you need to know about how professional the company is. Continue reading to learn what those questions are.
Who Might Need to Hire a Locksmith?
Most people will need the assistance of a locksmith at one point or another. If you get locked out of your house, business, or car, you’ll need a locksmith. They’ll also assist with creating new keys and creating better home security.
To find the best professional locksmith, you’ll need to ask the one you hope to hire a few questions. These questions are detailed below.
Questions About the Business and Staff
The questions you should be asking about the business and staff will help give you a sense of security. Nobody wants to hire someone who doesn’t take their job seriously or isn’t correctly set up for business.
The following questions can help you ensure your company’s safety and ensure you’re getting a professional locksmith instead of an amateur.
Are You Licensed, Insured, and Bonded?
These three things are among the most important. All professional locksmiths must be licensed in their region. This ensures you’re getting a professional locksmith.
Insurance helps if something goes wrong. If something important is damaged while a locksmith does their job, insurance will help both you and the professional take care of things with minimal hassle.
A company that is “bonded” means they’ve set aside money in a bond. This money is for clients who file a claim against the company for damages. It works hand-in-hand with insurance to ensure your damages are repaired.
Do You Have Any Additional Certifications?
Additional certifications aren’t necessary, but they’re preferred. Holding additional certifications shows the locksmith is serious about their trade.
Do You Perform Background Checks on All Employees?
Most locksmith companies will have at least two employees. Large locksmith businesses might have a dozen or more employees.
These employees will be tinkering with your locks, which are your primary home or business security. You want them to be vetted through background checks. Otherwise, you don’t know if a criminal is working on your locks.
Can You Provide Upfront Pricing?
A great locksmith can provide upfront pricing for any project. Upfront pricing means no hidden fees. If there are uncertain factors that could change the price, the company should discuss this, so you know what to expect.
Are You Local?
You don’t want to wait around for hours on a locksmith. A local company will have faster response times than one with a physical office outside your area.
What Is Your Average Response Time?
Most locksmiths will know about how long it takes them to respond to a customer’s call. The average response time for emergency and non-emergency calls may be different.
The most essential response time is the one for emergency calls. This lets you know how reliable the company is when you’re in a bind.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
There’s nothing wrong with a new company headed by someone with a lot of experience. Everyone has to start somewhere. Generally, however, the more years someone is in business, the more valuable hands-on experience they have.
Do You Verify My Identity Before Entering My Home or Business?
If the answer to this question is “no,” you should consider it a huge warning sign. A trustworthy locksmith company will need to verify your identity before entering your home or business.
If a company didn’t verify your identity, they can’t be sure the home or business is yours. This means they could be helping someone break into somewhere they aren’t meant to be. A company that puts safety first will take all possible steps to prevent that from happening.
Do You Provide a Warranty on Your Services?
Some locksmith companies will provide a warranty on all services performed. The warranty isn’t usually very long, ranging between a few days and a few months. The length of the warranty often depends on what type of services are being guaranteed.
A warranty of any kind gives you a little peace of mind. If something goes wrong, you know the locksmith will stand behind their work and fix it.
Questions About Availability
Other important questions are about availability. You want to know the professional locksmith you choose to hire will be available when you need them most.
What Are Your Hours of Operation?
Lock and key issues don’t only occur during regular business hours. For this reason, many locksmith companies provide their services 24/7. It’s also important to ask when scheduled appointments are available because most won’t offer those around-the-clock.
Do You Provide Emergency Services?
Emergencies with locks happen at all hours. Does the locksmith company you hope to hire offer these emergency services? Even locksmith companies that hold regular business hours will often dispatch someone for emergency services after hours.
Are There “Premium” Times Where Services Cost More?
Companies offering emergency or 24/7 locksmith services sometimes have “premium” times. During these hours, locksmith services will cost more.
Keep in mind hours of higher service charges aren’t a bad thing. These service charges allow the locksmith company to keep someone on call. The extra charges shouldn’t be excessive, however.
Questions About the Services Offered
Not all locksmith companies will offer the same services. It’s essential to ask the business you hope to hire which services they offer. Even if you won’t use all these services, there is always the potential a new need will arise.
Do You Work With Transponder Chips?
Transponders are a special kind of car key that have a transponder chip in the head of the key. This chip transmits a signal to a receiver in your dash.
Without the correct signal from a transponder chip, your vehicle won’t start. It’s an added security measure that helps prevent your car from being stolen.
Not all locksmiths work with transponder chips because they require additional tools and skills. If you have a transponder chip for your personal or business vehicles, it’s best to ask if a locksmith will be able to service it for you.
Do You Offer Free Estimates on Larger Projects?
Locksmith companies often work on home security beyond locks and keys. Some will offer video surveillance or installation of home security systems. These are large projects that require an in-person estimate.
Another time you might need an in-person estimate is when rekeying or replacing all the locks in your home. You might want to do this after a break-in or when moving into a new home.
Ask the professional locksmith if they offer free estimates on these larger projects. Many companies do, but not all of them.
What Locksmith Sectors Do You Work In?
There are three primary sectors a locksmith company might work in. These include automotive, residential, and commercial. Many companies operate in all three, but it’s always best to verify.
What Exact Services Do You Offer in Each Sector?
Asking what services are offered is essential because it lets you find out whether they provide all the services you might need. It’s easiest to use a single professional locksmith for all your related needs when possible.
Other Essential Information About Professional Locksmiths
Besides the questions listed above, there is some essential information you should know about professional locksmiths. Knowing this information can help you choose the best company for your unique needs.
What Services Are Offered by Residential Locksmiths?
A residential locksmith is best known for assisting in home lockout situations and creating spare house keys. They can also repair or replace your home’s locks. Another service a residential locksmith might offer is rekeying your home’s locks.
What Services Are Offered by Commercial Locksmiths?
Commercial locksmiths will offer many of the same services as a residential one. The key difference is that commercial locksmiths work on businesses of all sizes.
Besides those basic services mention above, a commercial locksmith can install and repair commercial-grade locks. They will often provide a variety of security solutions for businesses, also.
What Services Are Offered by Automotive Locksmiths?
An automotive locksmith is one who works on your vehicle. They can assist you in car lockouts and with copy sets of your vehicle’s keys. An auto locksmith will also be able to repair your car fob and ignition switch.
Many car locksmiths are equipped to work with transponder keys. Another typical service offered is car key extraction, when your vehicle’s key has broken off inside the ignition.
What Other Steps Can Be Taken to Ensure You’re Hiring the Best Locksmith?
Besides asking the essential questions above, there are a few other steps you can take to ensure you’re hiring the best locksmith. Check out what those steps are below.
Ask for Recommendations
Ask people you trust if they’ve used a professional locksmith previously and inquire about their experience. You might want to ask your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
Read Online Reviews
Another place to get recommendations is online review sites. There are a lot of websites that allow customers to rate the companies they’ve used before. How satisfied most previous customers were is a good indicator of how happy you’ll be with the company.
Check out the Company’s Website
The company’s website will tell you a lot about them. It will likely list the services offered, hours of operation, and contact information. You’ll probably want to take a look at the website before making your phone call.
If some of the questions listed above are answered on the website, it can create a much shorter phone conversation. Also, take a look at the locksmith’s blog if they have one. It will help you get a feel for the company’s voice, professionalism, and dedication to their customers.
Consider the Phone Call You Make
When you do make your phone call to ask these questions, consider how you were treated. Ask yourself whether the person you spoke to was friendly. Did they listen to your questions and respond politely?
The same applies if you went to a locksmith’s physical location instead of calling. How good (or bad) a company’s customer service is will tell you a lot about them. If they care about their customers, they’ll make sure their customer service is always top-notch.
Do You Have More Questions About What to Ask a Professional Locksmith Before Hiring Them?
It’s important to ask a professional locksmith all the questions mentioned above relevant to your situation. Since they’ll be working with one of your home or company’s primary security, it’s vital you only hire the best possible option.
Do you have more questions about what to ask a professional locksmith before hiring them? Or, do you need the services of a professional locksmith for your home, car, or business?
Contact us today. One of our associates would be happy to answer any questions you still have. They can also schedule you the appropriate service if desired.