10 Consumer Tips For Hiring A Locksmith in Los Angeles

by Daniel on

To be an informed consumer in Los Angeles, you need a good working knowledge of the signs of quality for the businesses you patronize. Hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles is no different. There are some tips that LA residents can take advantage of so that they can better navigate hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles.

1.  Ask To See A License 

In the state of California, all locksmiths are required to be licensed. This is not true in many other places in the USA, but if you are hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, it is illegal for an individual to install, repair, open, or modify locks without a license. 

It is also unlawful for an unlicensed individual to originate keys for a lock. Duplicating an existing key requires no licensing, and this can be done by employees in most hardware stores in Los Angeles.

The licensing process is essentially proof that someone has undergone criminal background checks from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and California Department of Justice (DOJ). This is not a license that is meant to establish competency, experience, or prowess in the field of locksmithing.

By presenting oneself as a locksmith without a license, they are breaking the law. Not having a license does not necessarily mean that a locksmith has a criminal past, it just means that they are not a locksmith. Maybe the most important part of hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles is making sure you are getting a locksmith.

2. Finalize A Price Before Service Begins

When you are hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles you need to know how much the job costs before the job begins. Most reputable locksmiths will give you an estimated price for the job over the phone, but this is not always the final price. This is not a bait and switch. It comes down to communication and the need for professional in-person evaluation.

It is only when a locksmith can verify the details of a job that they can determine the proper locksmith service cost. Unless you have accurately explained and diagnosed the issue over the phone, there is likely to be new information, which affects what the job will entail. For this reason, a locksmith will likely charge a fee for the service call. 

A service call charge is there because a locksmith is traveling to your location and giving their professional insight into your situation. You are using their service to find out more about your predicament. After this assessment, the locksmith will know what to do, but before the work begins, always clarify the final charge.

Hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles who seems to mislead you about a price may seem malicious or predatory, but it could also be simple miscommunication. Clarify, and you will never feel taken advantage of. If the locksmith will not give you a price, proceed with caution. Have them explain why they cannot tell you the price, and evaluate their reasoning.

3. Check For Experience

If you are hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, the business could be new or the technician could have moved here from somewhere else. Both of these things are very common in Los Angeles, so do not be alarmed by fresh faces with a company you have used before or by a company that is recently established. It is the experience of the technician that matters most.

In the service industry, what you are paying for is expertise, skill, and knowledge. Without an experienced technician, the service price should be much lower, but you will also be taking a risk in terms of how well the job will be done. Lockouts are some of the most dangerous jobs for under experienced locksmiths because there is a high chance that locks or the door will be damaged.

Also be sure the experience of the locksmith is relevant to the work you need to be done. Someone who has been a locksmith for 20 years might not have worked extensively with safes, whereas a technician with 5 years experience could have spent that time working exclusively with safes. The focus of a locksmith’s experience needs to be investigated when hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles.

4. Search For A Big Staff

Los Angeles County has approximately 10 million people living in it. This is a diverse city with extremely diverse needs, and it takes a sizable and diverse team of locksmiths to be able to provide residents of the city with everything they need. When it comes to hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, you need a technician who is the best at doing what needs to be done, and that takes specialization.

A greater number of employees means there is more room for specialists. With a more intimate team, they will have to be jacks of all trade and masters of none. If the job is simple and common enough, you might not need an expert, but a company with a bigger staff will still benefit you.

More staff means greater availability and faster emergency response times. There being so many people in LA, the queue for a quality locksmith can build up fast. Hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles is very difficult when a quality company is not well staffed enough to take on work.

A big staff is also perfect for Los Angeles because it allows mobile locksmiths to be stationed around the city. With a less centralized workforce, Los Angeles traffic can be avoided by having locksmiths in every corner of the city.

5. Investigate Their Reputation

Experience means nothing if a company has predatory business practices. It is difficult to determine genuine online locksmith reviews, both positive and negative, so if possible ask for personal recommendations from people you trust. You can also call the business before hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, and among your other lines of inquiry, ask about specific negative comments you have seen.

Problems with prices should alarm you because you already know not to consent to service without agreeing to the final price. The biggest red flag is a persistent track record of customer’s property being damaged during servicing. Only trust photographic documentation.

Be aware that a company with a few instances of problematic servicing is not always a sign of a horrible locksmith. Many dedicated locksmith companies fire employees as soon as incidents are reported and take steps to rectify mistakes. When hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, documented instances of poor service can be forgiven if the company also has a reputation for remedying their mistakes.

6. Inquire About Hours Of Operation

A big logistical concern is hours of operation. Many people hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles need 24-hour service. LA is a city where people stay up late working or having a good time, or they have to get up early to try and beat the traffic.

When you are getting in your car or coming home, you might break your keys, find you have lost your keys, or otherwise lock yourself out. For this reason, when a locksmith is open is a tremendously important concern.

You also need to be aware of the different costs for different hours. It is very likely that there will be different costs associated with emergency services in general, but prices will also vary depending on the hours you call. There is a lot that goes into determining the cost of an emergency locksmith in Los Angeles, and you need to know that price even before the service call.

7. Look For Memberships, Awards, & Accreditation

As we have already established, it can be rather difficult to determine the reputation of a locksmith company without knowing someone who has dealt with the business themselves. 

A solution to this problem is when hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, check to see if the business has been the recipient of any awards, achieved some form of special accreditation, or if the business is a member of a locksmithing organization.

These special distinctions are a way of determining what a locksmith’s peers think about the company. Not every locksmith is involved with a security community, but it does give some indication of a level of dedication to their profession.

A company without such renown should not be considered suspect. But when someone is winning awards, or otherwise looking to make themselves stand out from their competition in this way, it is a good sign of quality.

8. Beware Of Destructive Entry

Destructive entry is any method a locksmith uses where the device will be rendered inoperable as a result of the service. In layman’s terms, destructive entry is when you have to break it to open it. There is nothing wrong with hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles who uses destructive entry. These are valid locksmith methods, but they result in the need for replacing the broken materials.

There are instances where a locksmith will have to drill a lock to open a door, safe, etc., but this should be done for very specific reasons. These include a level of security that cannot be overcome with covert or surreptitious means of entry, the customer’s time constraints, the fact that the device has already broken, etc.

What you need to be careful about is hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles who is looking to make money by doing the job fast. They may say a lock uses security pins, or that it cannot be picked when you have a simple Kwikset, Baldwin, Schlage, or Defiant deadbolt. 

By pretending that something is a high-security lock, a shady technician can charge for all the services someone legitimately would need after a necessary destructive entry. Beware of a locksmith who will drill when they don’t need to.

9. Ask Questions About The Work

Hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles who cannot discuss their work, and explain what they are doing, literally does not tell you much about their abilities. When a technician can walk you through what they are doing or the process they are going to use, you get a sense of what they know. Teaching demonstrates understanding.

When hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, you don’t need someone who is eloquent or a master orator, but if they can talk to you about their work in a way that you understand, there is a good chance they know what they are doing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if they speak in very insider terminology and demonstrate a complete immersion in their field, that is also a good sign. 

It can be difficult to tell when someone is too immersed in their industry and when a locksmith is trying to pull something over on you. Use your instincts. Is the technician confident in their explanation? Can they provide clarifying answers when pressed? 

If the locksmith starts to get frustrated, regardless of their skill, their customer service is not up to par. Hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles should mean you are involved in the decision making, and for that, you need to understand what you are deciding.

10. Walk Away If You Don’t Feel Comfortable

One tip that most people do not stress enough about hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles is you should stop the service when you no longer feel comfortable. Pay the technician for the work that was done. If any service has been provided, hopefully, it is only the assessment that comes as a part of the service call charge.

Be respectful, clear, and stern, when you do not want to continue. Hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles should not be a negative experience, but when things start to take a darker or shady turn, you need to end the transaction and call another locksmith. Use these hiring tips to determine when things are not how they should be. Do not settle for subpar locksmith services in Los Angeles.

Closing Thoughts

Use your own discretion when hiring a locksmith in Los Angeles, but inform your final choice with these tips. If you do those two things, you will hire a great locksmith. This process can be quite time-intensive, so for those looking to hire the best locksmith in Los Angeles, you can skip the steps and call Locksmith Pros USA. We have already done the work to fit this criterion perfectly. Let us know how we can help you.

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