You never know when you’re going to break a key in a doorknob or lock yourself out of your car. When that time comes, you don’t want to be left scrambling for a trustworthy locksmith. Here’s how to find a local professional who is skilled and reliable.
Look in the Dex directory and pick a couple to call. Make sure to ask for the business name, especially if an employee answers the phone with something nonspecific. If the business named isn’t stated, ask for it. If there is uncertainty or hesitation, cross that name off your list.
Get a sense of each locksmith’s familiarity with your area; professionals who are based near you are generally more reliable and less expensive than those who work for national service providers. Also ask if the locksmith is a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), the leading industry association.
Decide which local locksmith seems most trustworthy and ask for his or her business license number. Florida currently doesn’t regulate the locksmith industry, but you can check whether your locksmith has registered his or her business with the city and the county.
Schedule a consultation with the locksmith. Most legitimate locksmiths drive a marked van that identifies the company, so look for a business name on the vehicle. Remember that you have the right to refuse service if you feel uncomfortable with the contractor.
Be prepared to show proof of ID to the locksmith. Most qualified professionals will want to verify that you are the property owner before letting you into a car or a house. While some property owners may be upset by this, you should take it as a good sign if your locksmith is taking precautions to protect his or her business and your property.
Get a written estimate before allowing the work to be performed. Do not sign a blank estimate. Once the work is completed, insist on an itemized invoice.