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You never think about how important it is to have a good locksmith in your Rolodex until an emergency comes up. You lock yourself out of your house or office, you cannot get into your car when you are in a rush to get somewhere … you know the drill. In situations like these, having a locksmith you trust that you can pick up the phone and call to bail you out is invaluable.

But finding a locksmith that is reliable and affordable is not as easy as it sounds. You need to do your due diligence and follow a smart procedure when choosing the best possible locksmith to fit your needs. So when considering Vancouver locksmiths, there are several factors you should keep in mind.

Ask Your Friends and Family

You can do all the necessary research, but sometimes word of mouth can be the most effective method at finding a quality locksmith. If somebody you know and trust has a locksmith who has gotten the job done for them while proving to be trustworthy can make your decision of who to hire much easier. If a locksmith has done a good job for a friend or family member, for your purposes, you have tangible proof that locksmith is good at what they do.

Research Professional Reputation

The Better Business Bureau exists for a reason, so make use of it. If you are researching Vancouver locksmiths, looking into a company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau and checking reviews and complaints can, at the very least, may help you narrow the field.

Consult Web Reviews

Online reviews are not an exact science because they can be tainted by those with agendas or even by competitors who pretend to be reviewers, but they can still be very useful if you’re seeking a consensus opinion.

If nothing else, a website like Yelp allows you to see a collection of reviews that can show you either a negative or positive trend in what people are saying about a particular company, which can help steer your search if you are looking for a way to choose between Vancouver locksmiths.

Make Sure the Locksmith is Properly Licensed

The temptation may arise to use an unlicensed locksmith because that company may be cheaper or more responsive due to a desperate need for business. You should avoid this temptation at all costs because unlicensed locksmiths are far more likely to cause you headaches.

Whereas you have little to no protection with an unlicensed locksmith, a licensed locksmith is insured against occupational hazards, can be tracked down by law enforcement, and can be punished if they do something wrong, so they must behave accordingly.

With unlicensed locksmiths, there can be issues with lack of financial protection in case damage is done, and you could find yourself in a situation where you’ve unwittingly hired a fly-by-night company and have no recourse.

It is always better to select a locksmith with whom these are not potential problems, so you should insist that any company you hire is properly licensed and insured.

Shop Around

When deciding which Vancouver locksmith to hire, you want the best possible company to handle your needs, but odds are the price is going to be a major consideration too. This is why contacting companies and getting estimates is such a crucial part of the process. That said, it is important to understand that some locksmith work requires a higher level of expertise and may not be able to be done cheaply.

For example, the need to deal with laser beams or electric fences could be part of the equation. It is also possible that a computerized lock system could be involved, which would entail knowing cryptography and codes to fix or install. All of this must be kept in mind when comparing prices quoted so that, in the end, you can make your decision based on who is offering you the best combination of expertise, service, and price.

Look for Price Transparency

One issue you may encounter when deciding which Vancouver locksmiths you want to work with is that an estimate you are given could be misleading. Companies sometimes put a price on the website or give you an estimate that is significantly lower than what they are actually planning to charge you for the totality of the work you need done. While this is not an entirely uncommon practice, it is definitely sneaky and in no way above board. That is why when you are getting ready to finalize your decision you should verify exactly how much the work is going to cost and get an agreement in writing.

Getting an agreement in writing will legally lock in the price and remove the possibility of a company pulling a bait-and-switch by quoting a price and then using hidden fees and other tricks to pad your bill and drive the final price up.

Be Aware of the Potential Need for Specialization

While it is quite obviously more convenient to have one locksmith company handle all of your needs, this may not be possible. This is especially true if you are dealing with a complex system that involves multiple layers, which could be the case with an office building’s lock system. If this ends up being the situation, it makes your job harder because now you have to shop for multiple locksmiths or find one that is capable of handling numerous tasks.

Keep in mind that even if the locksmith company you select cannot handle all of your needs, that locksmith can be a big help to you since it is likely to have connections to other companies who can take care of what your chosen locksmith cannot do themselves.

With that said, some companies are a jack of all trades in this industry, so it may be in your best interest to spend time finding the right locksmith.