How to Find and Hire a Reliable Locksmith

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated January 20, 2022
 A locksmith repairing a door lock
Photo: RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Once you find a reliable locksmith, you’ll happily add them to your contacts list

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The key to choosing a reputable locksmith is asking as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. In-demand locksmiths know home security is nerve-wracking, so they’re happy to answer all of your questions and offer helpful suggestions. Whether you’ve purchased a new home and need lock updates or have an emergency lockout situation, this guide can help you find and hire the best locksmiths near you

Where to Find a Professional Locksmith

Reputation is everything when it comes to home safety professionals, so tap into your network of friends, family, and neighbors for the names of trusted locksmiths. If you want more information about any of their suggestions, check out FindALocksmith.com, provided by the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). ALOA only includes locksmiths credentialed with their organization. 

What to Do Before Hiring a Locksmith 

To save everyone time, have an idea of what you want the pro to do before giving them a call. The more details you can provide beforehand, the more prepared they are when they arrive. The two biggest points to consider are your overall budget and whether you need new locks or rekey the ones you have. Talk to the pro about both options.

Information to Give the Locksmith Before the Appointment

Before calling multiple locksmiths for estimates, spend some time inventorying your current locks and doors in the house. You may even want to share some photos for clarity. 

Provide the locksmith with:

  • The number of locks to change, including the back and side doors, sliding doors, and garage door

  • A description of the current locks, such as double vs. single cylinder deadbolt and brand names 

  • Whether you need more or upgraded locks 

Ask About the Locksmith’s Qualifications and References 

Professional locksmiths have no problem sharing information about their licensing, insurance, and bonding. They’re proud to stand by their work, so they’ll eagerly share referrals.

Tips for Hiring a Locksmith

A locksmith using a screwdriver installing new dummy lock
Photo: photovs / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

If you’re lucky enough to have a brick-and-mortar locksmith shop nearby, pop in and check out the store. You’ll get an idea about how they treat customers and run their business. Regardless of how you contact them, you’ll want to know more about their background and services. 

Schedule an Interview

An interview should tell you everything you need to know, so go ahead and schedule a time to chat with a couple of pros you're thinking of hiring. Here are some questions to ask: 

  • Do you have a valid state license and registration?

  • Can I conduct a background check? 

  • Are you part of any professional locksmith organization, like the ALOA or the Society of Professional Locksmiths? 

Read Over the Contract and Make Payment Arrangements

After you have the information you need and feel comfortable hiring a locksmith, talk to them about your contract details, including how and when you’ll pay for services. Also, ask about:

  • Start and complete dates 

  • Who shops for supplies 

  • Deposit amount

  • Travel fees

  • Final payout amount 

Look for Red Flags When Searching for a Locksmith 

If a locksmith is unwilling to answer industry-standard questions like whether they have proper licensing or their prices during the research and interview process, choose another company. Reputable pros are transparent with their customers. 

Other red flags include promises of low rates (without hearing about the problem) and unrealistic response and completion times. These red flags could indicate the locksmith doesn’t have the skills to do the job correctly. You can always check out the Better Business Bureau website to read over previous complaints. 

After Your Locksmith Has Finished 

After the final payment has been made and your house is safe and secure, help out others searching for a locksmith and write an online review describing your experience. If you’re happy with the service, prepare for the future and ask your locksmith about emergency services like accidental lockouts. You could also go the extra mile and offer your name as a future referral.

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