Is it important to choose the right locksmith for your residential or commercial property? Well, let’s just say that it’s a lot better to choose a qualified, genuine locksmith than one who isn’t.
Locksmiths play a key role in upholding the security of your property, and by extension you, your family, and any personal belongings therein by providing professional lock and key services such as lock upgrades, home security installation, door and window lock fitting, and much more.
Below are a few key reasons why it’s important to choose a good, honest locksmith near you.
What makes a good locksmith?
A good locksmith is one who can resolve security issues with your property in a timely fashion, at fair and agreed upon prices, using industry-approved tools and techniques. Specifically, you should look for the following in a locksmith when choosing who to call:
- Training & qualifications: your preferred locksmith should be sufficiently qualified and ideally have many years of experience. We will touch on this more below;
- Dependable & professional: the locksmith should be able to respond to your call in a timely fashion and arrive at your property at an agreeable time, especially if they advertise 24/7 emergency lockout services;
- Clear & transparent rates: every locksmith near you should be willing to provide a free, no-obligation quote for their services that is honoured when they invoice you, without any hidden fees added on. This will be expanded on in the following section.
Furthermore, you should always keep an eye on ‘green flags’ that separate genuine, trustworthy locksmiths from rogue locksmiths. These include:
- Clear & professional communications: genuine locksmiths almost always respond to telephone or online enquiries personally and do not use call centres to process your call. The locksmith should be able to competently answer any enquiries you may have regarding prices, response times, and more;
- Vehicle livery & branding: professional locksmiths use branded vans and other vehicles to carry out work. Make sure that the locksmith arrives in a branded vehicle and not a personal vehicle;
- Professional services: novice and experienced locksmiths alike know that in 99% of situations, a door can be opened with non-destructive methods. Your locksmith should be able to – most of the time – access your property without causing damage to the locks or door;
- Police vetting: trustworthy locksmiths should have no problem obtaining police DBS checks which sets them apart from rogue locksmiths operating scams.
Why it’s important to avoid bad locksmiths
The risk of dealing with a rogue locksmith
Of course, you probably want to always choose a good locksmith and never want to consciously contact a bad locksmith, but there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing as the saying goes. Unfortunately, there are many rogue locksmiths operating in the UK that prey upon homeowners and engage in scams such as bait-and-switch schemes.
If these scammers could be easily spotted then they’d likely never be contacted (and that would be a good thing), but they often cannot be easily distinguished to the average homeowner for a few reasons.
Firstly, the most frequently requested service from locksmiths in the UK is emergency lockout assistance. Since the customer is under duress and feels the need to regain access to their property immediately, they often contact the first locksmith they find on a hasty Google search, for example. Unfortunately, most of these scammers spend considerable money on ensuring that their businesses are advertised amongst the top results and thus funnel all phone calls to a call centre, so these types of customers may not be aware of the scam at all until the ‘locksmith’ has completed the ‘job’.
Secondly, rogue locksmiths tend to have legitimate websites or simple landing pages to attract victims. Many use a virtual address so as not to give away their real location, so this can further make them appear to be legitimate.
Legitimate but poor quality locksmith services
Aside from rogue locksmiths, there are some locksmiths in the UK that may provide supbar services that could put your property security at risk; or, at least, at greater risk than before. Since locksmithing is not a regulated industry in the UK, it is reasonable to expect wide variation in quality of services provided by locksmiths. That doesn’t mean you should have to spend your hard-earned money on poor quality work, however.
Generally, poor quality services leads to dissatisfied customers and poor reviews online, so always take a moment to read authentic customer reviews on Checkatrade, Google reviews, and other websites where it is difficult to manipulate customer feedback.
Services offered by reputable locksmiths
Residential and commercial locksmiths in the UK offer a wide range of services to secure your property. The most common service they provide is 24/7 emergency lockout assistance, but an experienced locksmith generally offers many other services as well, such as:
- Security surveys: as security professionals, locksmiths can often provide full and unbiased home or business security surveys that identify security vulnerabilities such as the need to upgrade to British Standards approved locks, rekeying or replacing locks in the event of a lost or misplaced key, and more;
- Security upgrades: whether you’re moving into a new home or your home or business has old or outdated locks, a locksmith can replace and fit high-quality locks to improve security on your property;
- Safe & vault installation and relocation: homes with personal security or fire safes or businesses with cash vaults or safes can benefit from the installation and relocation services provided by locksmiths. Many can also open safes and cut double-bitted security keys for safes and vaults as well;
- Boarding up services: abandoned homes or businesses as well as businesses threatened with property damage or doing temporary remodelling can benefit from high-quality boarding up services often provided by locksmiths in the UK.
Locksmith credentials and qualifications
Locksmiths in the UK operate in an unregulated market and do not require any licenses as is common in many other jurisdictions around the world. While this means that they don’t need any credentials or qualifications, they do stand out from the competition if they hold accreditations from reputable organisations and can garner more trust from their customers.
The ‘gold standard’ of locksmith credentials in the UK is generally accepted as the MLA Exam offered by the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA). Successful completion of the exam entitles the locksmith to be an MLA-approved QML (Qualified Master Locksmith), and it also requires that the locksmith be police vetted and regularly inspected.
Other organisations such as the UK Locksmiths Association have recognised training courses as well as a requirement that their members are DBS checked.
Rated Locksmiths members are also thoroughly vetted before being approved as listed members on our platform.
While not all genuine locksmiths hold these types of qualifications, they do separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff. Rogue locksmiths do not hold these qualifications but may make claims that they are “police approved,” for example, so it is wise to be sceptical about locksmiths that lack qualifications.
The importance of positive online reviews
In today’s digital age, having a positive reputation and good customer reviews is essential. Of course, word of mouth reviews are also (and in many cases, moreso) beneficial, but the bulk of customers today use search engines such as Google to find a locksmith in the UK.
Always try to choose a locksmith business that has numerous good reviews on a platform that is difficult to fake, such as Checkatrade or Google reviews. Any locksmith can create fake testimonials that make their business seem more genuine than it actually is.
Local knowledge and expertise
A local locksmith operating near you is almost always preferable to choosing a national locksmith franchise that may lack local expertise. While lock and key systems don’t drastically change from one region to another in the UK, a local locksmith can generally respond much faster to enquiries. Moreover, local locksmiths near you are often small and independent businesses operating in your community that benefit the local economy and improve security for your home or business as well as for your neighbourhood, for example.
Furthermore, local locksmiths tend to have an existing network of contacts in your area that may be important for specific services. Eviction lockouts and coordination with a bailiff and local police authorities are a good example of this.
Developing long-term trust and a positive reputation
Hopefully, you won’t need to contact your local locksmith too often. Nevertheless, a locksmith should provide you with a sense of trust and ongoing security through their services as well as their ability to respond to any further enquiries you may have, as well as call-outs for their services in the future.
Trust and reputation are supremely important for locksmiths due to the prevalence of rogue locksmiths that prey upon victims in cities such as London and Birmingham. Although price is an important consideration – and rightfully so – for homeowners and business owners looking for a locksmith in the UK, trust and reputation should be amongst the most important considerations.
Choose the right locksmith by using Rated Locksmiths
The most important things to look for in a locksmith near you are: trust and reputation, positive online reviews, local expertise, training and qualifications, DBS checks, and a wide range of services beyond emergency lockout assistance. They should also be willing to provide free and transparent quotes for their services, without any hidden fees, and they should also not use call centres to process your call or send someone in a personal, unmarked vehicle to your property – these are signs of a rogue locksmith.
Choosing the right locksmith – one that is genuine, trustworthy, and operates legitimately – is extremely important for peace of mind as well as for your own security. Choose Rated Locksmiths and get in touch with vetted and approved locksmiths anywhere in the UK.