I’m sure this is a question many people have asked themselves in the past, if you’re reading this then its probably happened to you.
The first thing to do is not to panic, a good local locksmith will always be able to get you into your home or office, but how do you know if you are dealing with a local locksmith and not one of the call centres that will send you an unqualified, poorly trained so called locksmith and land you with a hefty bill?
KLS Locks owner Barry Fitzgerald explains how to avoid the common pitfalls when you find yourself locked out and in need of a genuine local locksmith.
Most people will use Google to find a locksmith but not a lot of people know that the top three or four results for Locksmith Orpington will be adverts, these companies pay Google a lot of money to appear in the top search results and often word their adverts with headlines like “From £49” or “Police Approved”
The truth is nothing is free and these companies have to recover the cost of their advert somehow, so how do they do this?
By over charging YOU – there it is, these companies often use very poorly skilled so called locksmiths who only know how to drill holes in doors and damage locks and doors when there is absolutely no need – why do they do this? Simply to charge you more – why open a door without damaging the lock when they can charge you an extortionate amount sometimes over £500 for a lock that costs £30.
You’re probably thinking that you would refuse to pay – not so simple unfortunately – these companies normally send two or three guys in a car with no sign writing and no way of knowing who you are dealing with – intimidation is very common and it’s not unheard of for people to have called the police to ask them to leave.
The first thing to do is ignore the adverts claiming “From £49” or “Police Approved” the likelihood of you actually paying £49 is about as likely as a white Christmas or Elvis suddenly appearing alive and well (sorry Elvis fans). The police do not approve locksmiths, they may in the future start to recommend that people call a locksmith who is a member of the Master Locksmiths Association (the MLA) and Barry Fitzgerald the owner of KLS Locks is a personal member of the MLA and working towards becoming a Master Locksmith and an Approved Company Member.
Once you have skipped past the obvious adverts you will find the Google Map listings – this is where genuine local locksmiths are normally found. You will normally see the number of reviews and a star rating. KLS Locks is rated 5 stars and has over 120 genuine customer reviews. Beware of companies with only a few reviews or a poorly worded listing.
Once you have chosen who to call you should ensure you ask some questions and also be prepared to answer some too.
When you call KLS Locks in Orpington you will always speak directly to Barry, the owner, and my first question is normally what type of door do you have? UPVC or Timber?
We ask this because it normally, along with our next question – where are your keys? This gives us enough information to give you an accurate price to gain entry and an idea as to whether or not you might need a new lock.
The next question is – where are you? This is quite simply so we can give you an accurate response time, if you are very close to us this could be a few minutes but if we are in Petts Wood and you are in Swanley and it’s rush hour then you may be waiting longer.
We will always give our customers a price and this does not change, if we think you may need a new lock we will say so and provide a range of prices depending on what the lock may be.
We will also tell you how payment can be made, we accept debit or credit cards and cash and always provide a receipt – be wary of any company that only accept cash.
We will ask if you have identification with you, we are required to see identification and to satisfy ourselves you have the right to enter the premises,. Don’t worry if you haven’t got identification with you, we have other ways of checking it is OK to gain access.
If you are happy then you should provide your address, think for a moment if your home or business is easy to find. If you know the house is set back from the road and you always have difficulty with deliveries etc then it’s likely we will have problems finding you too – if this is the case do tell us.
Once we arrive, we will check your identification and make a quick assessment of the situation and the best way to gain access to your property. We have invested in the best tools to ensure we are able to open your door with no damage to your door or locks and will always explain what we are doing.
In very rare cases such as where the lock is damaged we may need to drill the lock to open it, this is rare and of course, we would explain the reason we need to drill the lock make sure you are happy for us to proceed before we start – it’s not unheard of for some so-called locksmiths to get out of their car holding their drill!
Most of the time you will be amazed at how quickly we have your door open and you may feel the need to offer us tea or coffee as thanks – if you do, mine’s a black coffee, no sugar.
While you are getting warm and cosy we will check the lock is working as it should be and ensure you are totally happy before we leave.
You can then relax safe in your home as we head off into the darkness to rescue our next customer (Obviously if it’s during the day you might need to imagine us heading into the darkness)
Hopefully, with this new found knowledge you will be prepared for the next time you are locked out and you may even have our phone number 01689 820095 saved in your phone, just in case.