Southern Hospitality: Finding a Family Friendly Locksmith in Georgia
Nothing is more southern than sweet tea, a warm smile, and fresh, home baked biscuits. Georgia is a state which doesn’t require licensing to operate a locksmith business. Perhaps this is because the state instinctively knows that word of mouth and reputation matter more than a piece of paper. One company, holding true to its roots is STL Locksmith LLC, a family owned 24/7 emergency service locksmith headquartered in multiple locations throughout Georgia, USA. It started off as a sole technician enterprise, but quickly grew into multiple mobile service trucks, carrying around everything possible from home security locks, keyless entry, safes, and locked out car equipment. If you do not live in Georgia, however, there are some core fundamentals and tips you can easily apply to your search for the best local locksmith.
Look for a truly “local” locksmith
The best way to know whether a locksmith is trustworthy is to research them in advance. Call them, ask them detailed questions and check their reviews. If you’re in a hurry, be wary of locksmith companies that answer calls with generic phrases like “locksmith services,” rather than a specific name. If a locksmith cannot or will not provide the business’ legal name, find another locksmith. If you find a locksmith with a “local” address, search for that specific address online and see whether any other businesses use the same address. Ask the company when you call to confirm its location. Also, use extra scrutiny if a locksmith company uses an 800 number instead of a local phone number. It’s often a sign you’re dealing with an out-of-state call center.
Check locksmith ID and licensure
When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a locksmith license where applicable. Only 15 states require locksmith licensing, making it a crime to advertise or work as a locksmith without proper credentials: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Be skeptical of locksmiths who claim to be licensed in states that don’t require licensure. A legitimate locksmith should also ask you for identification to verify that they are unlocking a home or car that belongs to you. Use caution if the locksmith shows up in an unmarked vehicle, or one advertising a different business name than the company you hired.
Ask the locksmith for a cost estimate
Call center locksmiths typically quote prices between $15 and $40 to start. They bait-and-switch customers by advertising low prices, then price gouging after they arrive, claiming the job is more complicated and will cost more. A locksmith’s fee pays for tools, any licensing costs, continued training and transportation to and from a job. No skilled or reputable locksmith that charges $15 for a job could remain in business.
Inquire about additional charges
Ask about extra charges for things like emergency hours, mileage or service call minimums before you agree to have the work performed. The scammers might also claim the lock on your home or car is obsolete and needs to be replaced. They’ll charge hundreds of dollars to replace the lock with what they claim is a high-security lock. But in reality, it’s a cheap lock offering little protection. If the locksmith refuses to answer your questions, hang up. This is a sign of someone who either doesn’t know what they’re doing, or plans to overcharge you for a job.
Watch out for fluctuating bids
If the locksmith’s on-site price doesn’t match the phone estimate, don’t allow the work to be performed. Some locksmiths may demand payment after doing shoddy work or inflating the bill, and threaten to call the police or file a lawsuit if you don’t comply. If that happens, call their bluff. Let them call the police, or offer to call for them. A reputable company won’t drastically change a quoted price.
Don’t let the locksmith drill your lock
If you’re locked out, be wary of locksmiths who recommend or insist on drilling or replacing the lock. Drilling is typically only needed to open high-security locks. Most experienced locksmiths possess the skills and tools to unlock almost any door. High security locks are designed to stop people from bumping or picking a door open, and they require specialized keys cut to comply with the lock’s grooves.
Questions to ask a locksmith before hiring
Ask these questions before hiring a locksmith. If a business can’t provide detailed answers, don’t hire them.
- Where are you located?
- How will you get into the house? Will you need to drill my lock? Can you tell me the exact process?
- Do you need a picture of the lock?
- Can you give me an estimate? What factors will cause this price to change?
- Do you require cash, or can I pay with a check or credit card?
- What’s the name of the locksmith who will be coming?
If you think you’ve been overcharged or scammed by a locksmith, contact your state attorney general’s office. Many state AG offices employ staff to mediate between customers and businesses
While residents of Georgia can rely on years of reputation and word of mouth referrals, other demographics are rampant with fly by night companies attempting to make a quick buck in a high stress environment. Make sure to follow the tips above to protect your yourself and your family when hiring a locksmith. Trust is always the key!
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Photo Credits: Pixabay
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