We’ve all been there – you close the car door, forgetting that your keys are inside. Or perhaps you lock yourself out of your home. Whatever the reason, you now need a locksmith. But how do you find a reputable locksmith?
In this post, we’ll go over the steps you should take before calling for a locksmith in Tampa, Florida. An entire blog posting on it might seem like overkill, but it does help you find the best locksmith for the job.
What Type of Locksmith Services Do You Need?
Are you locked out of your car , or a building? Is the lock broken? Do you want to rekey for safety reasons? Be as specific as possible when answering these questions. That way, you can narrow down the field of professional locksmiths to choose from.
Ask for Recommendations
A word-of-mouth recommendation from people you trust is a good starting point. It’s even better if they’ve dealt with the service provider themselves. If no one around you can give a good recommendation, then speak to your insurer.
They can give you a list of preferred providers.
Is the Locksmith Licensed?
Any practicing locksmith in Tampa has to have a license from the county’s Consumer Protection Office. Why is this important? The office runs a thorough background check of all applicants and gets their fingerprints.
We can’t emphasize how vital these precautions are. Criminals often try to get work in this kind of field. Working with locks gives them access to your home and keys. They can pass on pertinent information to their criminal associates. The associates can then come to rob you.
Even if the locksmith doesn’t have a criminal record, exercise care. If they’re operating without a license, they could be unqualified as well.
Don’t just rely on the person’s word about their license. In the Tampa area, check it for yourself by calling the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Office at (813) 274-677 9.
Finally, when the person arrives, ask them for their license. They are supposed to carry the license at all times. If they’re doing extensive work for you, they may need to have a contractor’s license too.
What Reputation do They Have?
Start by checking their rating online with the Better Business Bureau. Alternatively, go to the bureau’s offices. Then run a Google search to find reviews. Look on sites such as Yelp to see if any former clients have complained about the locksmith.
It’s normal for there to be a few negative reviews. It’s impossible to please all clients out there. Compare these complaints to the positive reviews. Which are more current? They might have had a service problem a while ago but have taken steps to solve it.
Conversely, they might have offered outstanding service in the past and not kept it up. Check online to see what people are saying about the company concerned. Then decide whether or not to shortlist them.
Check That They’re Insured
Finding an insured contractor is essential. They should carry insurance covering your property and their own. If something goes wrong on-site while they’re there, this is essential. Say, for example, that they break the door handle. Their insurance should pay to have it fixed.
It’s not a bad idea to check whether or not they have liability insurance too. If the worker accidentally injures someone or gets injured on your property, liability insurance is essential.
Are They Bonded?
Hiring a bonded contractor is usually your best option. They’ll reimburse you or the owner of the property if damage occurs. You’ll have to speak to the contractor about the level of protection. But most reputable firms offer you this extra peace of mind.
Ask for a Quote
If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ll have a list of candidates by now. How do you choose which to call? Speak to them and ask for a quote. If they hem and haw, or give you a very vague answer, select someone else.
A professional will know around about how long it takes to pick or replace locks. They’ll be able to give a fair estimate of how long it will take and what supplies they’ll need. Nail this down ahead of time. Where possible, ask them for the quote in writing.
We’re all busy people. A problem with a lock is a frustrating inconvenience. Fortunately, it’s one that’s easily fixed by choosing the right professional for the job. Opt for licensed, bonded, and insured professionals for complete peace of mind.