Beesafelocksmith’s Blog

Thoughts and other things from a locksmith


Countless people call a locksmith in an emergency for the first time.  You gaze at the listings and pick one to call.   Most locksmith businesses are locally run and are bonded, insured, and so forth.  There are unscrupulous businesses that are affiliated with a national chain.  When you call them, the call goes somewhere across the country, the dispatcher will notify the one local to you to proceed.  The dispatcher tells you for instance the work will be seventy-five dollars.  When the “locksmith” arrives, the price goes higher to one hundred or more dollars.  The price usually changes after the work is done and then the fun begins.  Know what services you are getting and have a written estimate in your hand prior to the work.

A reputable locksmith company should have a professional looking vehicle with signage, Watch out for the ones who have the magnetics.  They should also have some type of uniform with company name/logo to match.   Some states require a license number on any advertisement, vehicle, business card, etc.  If you have doubts, ask for an I.D. or call the local police,  Know who is working on your car or buidling.

I just uploaded photos of my vehicle and you can see that it looks professional.  When I greet a customer, I tell them my name and hand them a business card.   I am not a member of ALOA but find their sources very usefull.

The Associated Locksmiths Of America has created a 10-point checklist for detecting a locksmith company that may be engaging in this scheme. Many of the items in this checklist are legal by themselves. However, if several are used together, you may be dealing with a con-artist.

1. Not Familiar with Your Area. To ensure that the company is local, make sure that they are familiar with your area of town.
2. Locksmith Service. Unscrupulous individuals often operate under many business names/aliases. Thus, they must answer the phone with a generic phrase like, locksmith service. If the call is answered this way, ask, What is the legal name of your business.
3. ALOA Logo. Does the Yellow Pages ad contain a logo that makes them appear to belong to ALOA? While many locksmiths do belong to the Association, some unscrupulous individuals trick the consumer by falsely using the ALOA logo. You can always check to see if in fact these businesses are members by calling ALOA, (800) 532-2562 or
4. Unclear Business Name. Look closely at the ad(s). Is the specific name of the business clearly identified? Does it appear that the dealer actually operates under several names? If a Web address is listed, does the name on the Web site match the name on the ad?
5. Under Same Ownership. This confusing statement, often found in small print at the bottom of a full-page ad in the Yellow Pages, is often legally required to prevent a business from deceiving the public. The statement itself may be a warning sign that the company operates under several aliases.
6. Service Vehicle. Some legitimate locksmiths will work out of a car or unmarked van for quick jobs, but most will arrive in a service vehicle – a van or truck that is clearly marked.
7. Identity. A legitimate locksmith should ask for identity and some form of proof that you have the authority to allow the unlocking to be done. You have the right to ask for the locksmith’ss identification as well. Does he have a business card? Does he have an invoice or bill with the company name printed on it? Does it match the name on the service vehicle?
8. Estimate. Find out what the work will cost before you authorize it. Never sign a blank form authorizing work.
9. Invoice. Insist on an itemized invoice. You can’st dispute a charge without proof of how much you paid and what the payment was for.
10. Refuse. If you are not comfortable with the service provider, you can, and should, refuse to work with the locksmith.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Home Security | , , , | 2 Comments