It may sound implausible but many locksmith company owners, especially national chains and franchises, simply train their locksmiths to drill out old locks and then replace them with new before trying anything else. This is obviously to save time on the job, charge for new parts and get the maximum profit out of the customer. This is clearly not good if you are a customer who suffers from the experience of needing a locksmith repeatedly due to being prone to losing keys.
Often the solution to getting into your house or business premises can be a far simpler affair, as simple as picking a lock in under 30 seconds, but some shady locksmith companies go straight for the drill and then charge the customer a huge amount of money for the replacement and the privilege of having their quite serviceable locks destroyed beyond repair by a drill bit delivered on the end of a Black and Decker.
These kinds of locksmiths are trained to deliver you a solution that is the easiest for them, yields the most profit from replacement parts, allows them to charge you more money for the service and dismisses any proper and correct solutions that favour the customer. Think of it like you go to a garage to have a puncture repaired but are manipulated into buying four new tyres and an oil change – you are then charged £250 when a £25 service would have cured the problem. These kinds of locksmiths prey on the elderly, single parents, first time customers, the weak and infirm, the poor and people that generally have never used a locksmith or don’t know much about locks. Due to this they more often than not, never get taken to task about the extortionate service they are providing. This in turn gives professional local locksmiths a bad name and ends up tarnishing the whole industry as customers then think all locksmiths are the same.
If you call in a locksmith and before they even discuss your options, they get a drill out and attempt to drill out your lock, you can be assured they are not on the good side of being honest and professional and also don’t take pride in their work. They are there for the quick fix and the most profit. You are not really a customer but a number on a call centre monitor. It can also be because they have been on the job for 2 weeks after 3 days of training and haven’t a clue what they are doing. Drilling out a lock should, 100% of the time, be the very last resort for a locksmith, it should only come after a professional has tried all other tools in his arsenal to get you into your home and even then he should discuss options with you, like you having the choice to try another locksmith for instance. Drilling a lock always destroys it when it could be carefully tweaked open by many specialist tools.
Always research your locksmith, always shop around and always check out the quality of a locksmith’s work and read any reviews, you can do this by checking a locksmith’s social media pages such as their Twitter, Google+, Facebook and YouTube pages. Also see if the locksmith you want to use is a member of any trade bodies such as the ALA or MLA which shows they have been vetted and have pride in what they do.
To get more tips take a look at this video from the Society of Professional Locksmiths, although they are based in the USA the advice they give is relevant and worth taking on board –
My Top Locksmith Tips
- Always read customer reviews.
- Shop around and get quotes.
- Check a Locksmith’s Social Media pages.
- Check if the Locksmiths website is legitimate you can do this by typing it in here http://www.nominet.uk/whois/ for .co.uk addresses and see if they are who the say they are. Here is mine: http://www.nominet.uk/whois/?query=locksmithipswich24hr.co.uk#whois-results
- If a website checked like above does not show a local address and registrant they are not a local company but a national chain or a scam.
- Do a Google search for the Locksmith and see if anything dodgy comes up.
- Check if the have a DBS/CRB check.
- Check if they have a local phone number, a mobile phone number as well as an email address that you can easily see.
- Call the Locksmith before letting them work on your premises if in doubt.
When a locksmith turns up:
- Check their van – is it properly sign written in the company logo and name? If its white and plain don’t bother with them and find someone else.
- Have they appeared at your door with a drill? Find someone else – a professional locksmith will use professional tools in a well stocked van.
- Ask for Identification if you are unsure.
- Always discuss pricing before the job commences.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how awkward you think they are – a professional will easily be able to answer your queries.
- If you are worried never be afraid to call the police.
- Never pay up front and if you are unhappy with the workmanship let it be known.