We may not need them more than once or twice in a lifetime but making sure you choose a reputable locksmith is still important. In truth, anyone with the right tools can call themselves a locksmith which makes it a lot more difficult for the humble consumer who is just looking for someone to do a good job. The industry is not regulated by the Government.
As you would if hiring an electrician or someone to carry out building work, it always pays to shop around and not just pick the first locksmith you come across in the papers or on the net. Most people nowadays will either go off recommendations by friends and family or search online. You will find a number of local companies offering locksmith services but don’t take them all at face value – it’s just as easy to put up a website as it is to call yourself a locksmith nowadays.
A little due diligence is required if you want to make sure that you get someone reputable. One key thing to look is the quality of their site and how easy it is to understand. Things like quality controls and organization memberships should be highly visible.
Also look for the number of services that the locksmith provides as this usually says something about their competency. Another thing you can do is check online for problems or complaints about the company or individual.
Check for Memberships
Most reputable locksmiths will be members of a particular organization or group that helps maintain standards in the industry. The main ones to look out for are:
- The National Network of Approved Locksmiths (NNAL) – all members are vetted so that you know they have been CRB checked, their skill level has been verified and they all carry a membership card.
- The Master Locksmiths Association – again all members are vetted and are fully qualified and are regularly checked to make sure they are delivering a quality service.
Any business that is providing a service such as changing locks should carry its own insurance so this is worth checking out, particularly if you are dealing with a small firm.
You will want to get more than one quote for the job you need doing and you shouldn’t feel pressured into making a decision there and then. Beware of companies that quote very low, as this will more than likely start to creep up as the job proceeds. Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you are going to have to pay and be wary of quotes that are vague or may have additional costs put onto them.
Cooling Off Period
Unless you have an emergency that needs to be sorted out right now, you should give yourself a cooling off period. If you have collected a number of quotes it helps to put them to one side and then go back to them with a clear, rational mind.
Finding a reputable locksmith in your area is not difficult as long as you follow the points above. The primary consideration should be looking for membership of a locksmith organization such as the NNAL or MLA, which should ensure that you are choosing a company which has been vetted and uses trained locksmiths.