Locks provide security for our homes, businesses and vehicles. But when you accidentally lock yourself on the outside, you might wish for just a moment that locks didn't exist! It's time to call a locksmith, but whom should you call? Who should you trust to safely open your car or home? Let's take a look at some "musts" to look for when choosing an emergency locksmith.
One of the first things to consider is whether the locksmith is local. Locksmiths that are located in another city may charge more to travel. Local locksmiths generally have an office nearby where you can actually visit when future lock or security needs arise. This enables you to establish a relationship with your local locksmith and build trust. It's a good idea to find a couple of reputable locksmiths you can trust in your local area. If one's not available right away when you need emergency locksmith service, you can call on the other and hopefully get your problem resolved immediately. This is very important if you frequently need the services of a locksmith for your business.
Keep in mind that some locksmiths may operate a "mobile" locksmith service. This means they likely operate out of their home and do not have an actual storefront. If this is the case, you might find others who have used their service or research them through the Better Business Bureau or a local consumer protection agency.
Ask friends and family if they know of a good locksmith. If you live in a small town, there may only be one or two 24-hour locksmiths. But for larger cities, there could be 25 or more to choose from. Others who have used a locksmith can let you know which they prefer to help you narrow your choices.
Use Internet Resources
Many locksmiths now have their own website describing their services, hours of operation, fees, etc. This gives you a quick way to research multiple locksmiths in your area and compare the services and pricing. Some Web listing services provide information on multiple locksmiths in your area. You can use these to find locksmiths initially and then compare by doing a little research on your own. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, you might be able to use your mobile phone to access a locksmith directory online. Some services will even contact the locksmith right away for you to save time.
If you are locked out of your vehicle, be sure to search for an auto locksmith online or in your local yellow pages. Some locksmiths specialize in automobiles, homes or businesses. An auto locksmith will be able to unlock your car safely without harming the door or lock.
Note: If your insurance company or other service provides assistant roadside service, be sure to call them first. This could save you time and money on locksmith services, jump-starts if you have a dead battery, flat tires, towing, and those embarrassing moments when you simply run out of gas!
Locksmith Liability and Pricing
Be sure to ask the locksmith if he's insured in case damage occurs. Liability insurance will likely cover any damages that occur while the locksmith is performing the work on your car or home. An insured locksmith may charge slightly more for his services, but you'll have peace of mind when choosing someone with a professional outlook on his business. Also, confirm pricing before agreeing to the service. Make sure there are no hidden charges, and ask about potential additional charges if the locksmith runs into problems with your lock. Beware if the locksmith tells you immediately that he will need to drill and replace your lock instead of opening it. Professional locksmiths can usually unlock almost any door as long as prior damage doesn't exist.
Be on Guard
Notice the locksmith's vehicle....whether it is clearly marked with a company name or logo. Also, be wary of someone who doesn't verify that you are the actual owner or an authorized person to have a car, home or business door unlocked. A reputable locksmith WILL ask for your identification before performing the work. This protects you and others from break-ins and theft. Once the work has been completed, ask for an itemized invoice that breaks down the labor charges, parts, service fee, etc.
Finding a dependable 24-hour locksmith doesn't have to be complicated. Prepare in advance for emergency situations. Keep a list of reputable locksmith phone numbers in your wallet or purse at all times. Or bookmark a website directory of local locksmiths so you can access it easily from your laptop or mobile phone when you need it. Set back some extra cash in your emergency funds for locksmiths. You never know when you'll need one!
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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