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10 Tips on Hiring a Pro Locksmith Company

No one wants to need a locksmith, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Perhaps you’re locked out of your car or lost your house keys. A locksmith will be your first call, but which one do you choose? With so many companies offering pick lock services, it’s important to know how to select the best one. Our tips on hiring a pro locksmith company will help you choose the best one and save you the headache of learning the hard way.

Tip 1: Hire a Local Locksmith

When you start to search for locksmiths, specifically look for locksmiths in your area. The benefit of hiring a local locksmith is not only the fact that they can reach you quicker if you have an emergency lockout situation, but also that their insurance and licensure will be valid in your area. Particularly if you live near the border of another state, hiring a locksmith based elsewhere may mean that their license and insurance does not cover your location and, therefore, you’re left vulnerable.

Tip 2: Look for Family-Owned and Operated Locksmith Companies

There are certainly some corporate locksmith companies that are reputable with great customer service, but choosing a family-owned and operated locksmith has a couple distinct benefits. First, working with a family-owned business means you receive services from a professional who is personally invested in the company. Additionally, supporting family-owned businesses means you contribute to and strengthen your local economy.

Tip 3: Choose a Certified Locksmith

You wouldn’t choose a physician who wasn’t licensed to practice medicine, and you shouldn’t choose a locksmith who isn’t certified. Locksmith certifications, offered by Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), are only awarded to professionals who have proven knowledge in various domains of locksmithing. There are multiple certifications offered by ALOA, and attaining any of them means a professional has demonstrated adherence to the latest standards of locksmithing practice and technical proficiency.

Tip 4: Select a Licensed Locksmith

Currently, only 15 states require locksmith licensing. These states include:

  1. Alabama
  2. California
  3. Connecticut
  4. Illinois
  5. Louisiana
  6. Maryland
  7. Nebraska
  8. Nevada
  9. New Jersey
  10. North Carolina
  11. Oklahoma
  12. Oregon
  13. Tennessee
  14. Texas
  15. Virginia

If you reside in one of these states, ask for a locksmith’s proof of current licensure before services are rendered. For customers living in a state not listed above or who are unsure of a company’s licensure status, experts recommend checking with the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and online complaint sites to see if there are any complaints lodged against the company. Also, see our last tip to review the ALOA’s scam checklist.

Tip 5: Check for Current Insurance

In certain situations, damage can occur to your car, home, or business during a lockpick job or after security solutions are installed. In addition to licensure, current insurance is an important thing to check for before hiring a locksmith. An insured locksmith is able to provide proof of insurance and, should damage occur to your property, offers coverage that protects both you and their company.

Tip 6: Hire a Specialized Locksmith

Once you find a locksmith provider you like, you want to be able to go to that company for all your locksmithing needs and not just emergencies. The best locksmith companies will offer additional services, such as commercial and residential high-security lock installation, wall and floor safe installation, and key duplication. Look for locksmith companies who offer a variety of specialized services even if you don’t need the services right now.

Tip 7: Talk to Your Friends and Neighbors

If you’re not experiencing an emergency lockout, take the time to ask friends and neighbors if they’ve worked with local locksmiths who provided great service and reasonable prices. You would be surprised how often locksmiths are needed! Often, you’ll find that simply asking people you know for recommendations can be a great way to locate professionals in any industry. If your friend or neighbor has had a bad experience with a company, find out ahead of time and save yourself the grief.

Tip 8: Look for Professional Associations

Professional locksmiths spend a long time practicing their craft before going into business, so they’re motivated to be active members of industry associations. In addition to participating in local locksmith societies and your local Chamber of Commerce, locksmiths also belong to professional organizations like the Associated Locksmiths of America, the National Safeman’s Organization, and the Safe and Vault Technicians Association. Ask your prospective locksmith if they are affiliated with any of these organizations.

Tip 9: Check Online Reviews & Listings

Your fellow consumers are great resources when it comes to determining which locksmiths are reputable and which should be avoided. First, check to see if available locksmiths can be found on industry-specific directories like 1-800-Unlocks. Reviews and listings on 1-800-Unlocks can be trusted as our staff routinely verifies the accuracy of listings, checks whether locksmiths who advertise insurance are in fact covered by current insurance, and features companies that only offer up-front, honest pricing. Additionally, search for online reviews on their Google My Business listing and Facebook business page.

Tip 10: Learn the Locksmith Scam Warning Signs

The primary reason we’re sharing our tips for hiring a pro locksmith company is that customers across the country have been victims of locksmith scams. All professional locksmiths and 1-800-Unlocks are doing their part to make sure consumers are informed and vigilant in choosing a locksmith. The Associated Locksmiths of America offers some great tips that will help you determine if a company is professional or a potential scam:

  • False advertising. Some locksmith scams falsely advertise that they belong to ALOA or 1-800-Unlocks. Always double-check with 1-800-Unlocks or ALOA to ensure the company is actually listed.
  • Generic greetings. If a locksmith company answers the phone as “locksmith service” instead of a business name, this may indicate they operate under a number of aliases. Always ask for the company’s legal name and cross-check their name with reputable organizations, like ALOA and 1-800-Unlocks.
  • Unfamiliar with your location. Most locksmith scams know that customers want to work with a company in the area, so they may claim they are local when they really are not. This is evident because when you describe your location or landmarks, they ask for more detail or are completely unfamiliar with the area.
  • Service vehicles. Professional locksmith companies have a designated fleet of vehicles that respond to service calls, which often feature branding, logos, and license information. If your locksmith arrives in a personal vehicle or unmarked van, it’s recommended that you seriously question their credibility and request further proof that they are professional locksmiths.
  • Identification. Security is a highly sensitive business. Professional locksmiths also get scammed by “customers” who call to get a car unlocked when the customer is not the property owner and has malicious intent. This leads professional locksmiths to ask for identification and proof of ownership before providing services. If a locksmith does not ask for this information, you should question whether they are in fact, professionals.
  • Pricing. Professional locksmith companies provide detailed written estimates and obtain the customer’s written agreement to pricing before performing the work. Be skeptical of any locksmith who asks you to agree to a blank invoice or doesn’t provide a clear answer as to the cost of services. Consider choosing a different locksmith if you experience either one of these warning signs. Locksmiths do not charge exorbitant prices. In fact, you can research just how much an average locksmith is earning to fully understand that service pricing should be reasonable.

Make the Right Choice

When it comes to your security, you never want to choose just anyone; you need to be able to trust your locksmith. By following our tips on hiring a pro locksmith company, you can guarantee your locksmith will be licensed, insured, local, and family-owned, which means they’re reputable and available when you need them.

To browse 1-800-Unlocks’ list of trustworthy, reliable auto locksmiths, click here to find a company near you.

Sam Wilson
Author: Sam Wilson

I am a licensed locksmith and the owner of 1-800-Unlocks. The goal of our locksmith directory is to provide a safe place for customers to find a local legitimate locksmith and avoid the pitfalls of being a victim of scamming locksmiths.


  1. Not many people would think to do it, but I really like that the article recommends hiring a specialized locksmith. After all, a good locksmith can do a lot more than just let you back into your home or car. A professional, specialized locksmith can help you set up security systems around your home, re-key all of your locks, or even recommend security solutions for businesses.

  2. My sister is always locking herself out of her apartment, and I suggested she hire a go-to locksmith for when this happens again. You had some great tips for choosing someone like this, and I liked how you said to talk to friends and neighbors if they’ve worked with local locksmiths that provided great service and reasonable prices. This is a great way to find a good locksmith, and I’ll share this with my sister to help her choose a good locksmith

  3. I like the tip that you gave to ask your friends if they know of a locksmith who they would refer you to. My wife locked her keys in her car, and I need to find a reputable locksmith to get us back in. I will be sure to ask my friends if they know of a good locksmith who they would refer me to, so I can be confident that they will be good for our needs.

  4. My wife and I just moved into a new home, so we are wanting to replace the locks soon. I like your point about checking reviews for different locksmith companies first. We’ll be sure to do this so we can narrow down our choices based on what past customers have said.

  5. I like that you suggested taking time to ask your neighbors and friends who may have experienced an emergency lockout for a recommendation for a locksmith. We’re new here in our place, and we need to have the locks in our house replaced. There was a time that we almost got robbed due to defective locks. We can’t afford to lose our valuables.

  6. Thanks for pointing out that it’s best to hire a locksmith that offers a variety of services to make sure that they can provide all the additional services that you may need. My husband lost his car’s keys the other night, and he couldn’t remember where he might have left it. He said that he wanted to have his keys replaced. Since I saw some damages on our locks, we’ll surely find one that can provide a lot of services for us.

  7. It’s interesting that you talked about hiring someone local and making sure they have the right certification, such as the ALOA. I almost got locked out of my house today so I’ve been doing research on locksmiths in case it happens again, and I found it interesting that you talked about finding someone that is close to you so you don’t have to wait for too long. This article definitely helped me get ideas of the kind of locksmith I want, thank you.

  8. Thank you for mentioning specifically what kind of certification locksmiths should have, like the ALOA. Last week my brother got locked out of his house and he had to call a locksmith, so I’ve been doing research in case it ever happens to me too. Thank you for the tips on hiring a trustworthy locksmith, I’ll remember them if I ever get locked out too.

  9. It sure was nice that you pointed out that it’s best to hire a local locksmith because they can reach your place quicker. As you said, they can greatly help you during an emergency lockout situation. My husband and I could not remember where we kept the key to our storage room. We need to access it as soon as possible because we have a hunch that it’s being infested by termites and rats. We want to save our valuables from getting damaged. We’ll do all your tips to find the best locksmith that can replace our key.

  10. I like the tip that you gave to choose a locksmith who is referred to you by family or friends. My wife and I have been talking about finding a locksmith because we lost the key to our safe, and it would be important for us to know that we can find one that we will be able to trust in hiring. If we choose to find a locksmith, I will be sure to look for one that is referred to me by family and friends.

  11. It sure was helpful when you suggested hiring a local locksmith because they can reach your place quickly and have a valid license in your area. My husband could not remember where he kept the key to our storage room. We need to access it because we need to get some of the bank documents that we need to present in order to get approved for a personal loan. Since we don’t want to damage our storage room’s doorknob, we’ll get the help of a locksmith.

  12. I wanted to thank you for this advice for hiring a locksmith company. You mentioned that it could be good to find a specialized one even if you don’t them them right now. It does sound important to think of what services you might need in the future, in case that could affect on what locksmith company you hire.

  13. Great idea to look for locksmith companies who offer a variety of specialized services even if you don’t need the services right now. I’ll be honest: I don’t need a locksmith right now. But I might start looking for one in the event I get locked out of my car.

  14. I like that you mentioned that it’s best to hire a local or family-owned locksmith business. Lately, I’ve been trying to support local businesses in my area rather than large corporations to support the local economy. Of course, it’s also important to check their credentials and make sure that they’re certified. Those are two aspects I will definitely look for the next time I’m in need of a locksmith.

  15. I appreciate your work. I love all these awesome tips for Hiring a Pro Locksmith Company.Thank you for sharing your worthy tips with us.

  16. My mom has been thinking about hiring a locksmith because she recently lost her keys and she needs to get them replaced. She has also been considering changing her locks just in case her keys turn up in the wrong hands. I’ll have to tell her about your suggestion to ask around for locksmiths that did a good job and has reasonable prices.

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