How To Choose The Right Locksmith

Choosing the best locksmith is not as easy as it sounds. Most people don’t care too much about whom they use as a locksmith, and if the job in question is getting a car open, most people could care less as to whom they employ. But it matters. And in Florida, it matters even more.


Florida Does Not Regulate The Locksmith Industry

Florida does not regulate locksmiths. To get a license to be a locksmith, merely go down to
City Hall and pay $50 for a city occupational license. This “license” is nothing more than a tax one pays to the city in order to conduct business there. It is merely a tax receipt; nothing more.

Anyone can call his or herself a locksmith, and many of the so called locksmiths in Tallahassee have discovered they can open cars with a tool, and have quickly assumed the locksmith title. They set up a listing on Google, and use key words like “cheap locksmith,” “best locksmith,” and the like. This is sort of like a guy discovering he knows how to apply a band aid, and declares himself to be a neurosurgeon!

More often than not, such “pretend locksmiths” do not purchase a license.

But it gets worse: The locksmith referral services (aka fake locksmiths) enter the picture. Because there are no regulations, various individuals set up web pages and Adwords campaigns, and dupe the public into calling them for locksmith service. These individuals are no more locksmiths than I am a NASCAR driver, and yet their activity is entirely legal. Once they receive a call, they refer the job to a another person (who may or may not be a locksmith) and that person does the job, paying the referral service up to 50% of what they are paid. Tallahassee is inundated with such referral companies, and many of these web page operators are not even located in Florida. These “contracted” locksmiths drive vehicles around town that have “Locksmith” signs on the vehicle, but no company name, as they represent no actual company (usually these vehicles have no contact information on them either).

Because Florida does not regulate the industry, locksmiths are not required to have insurance, or training, or even the tax certificate mentioned earlier. No one checks, so often these “locksmiths” have no paperwork whatsoever. Locksmiths in Florida are not required to undergo any sort of background check; people simply assume we are honest (most of us are, actually, but not because any agency requires it). As of this writing, there is one locksmith in Tallahassee who is a convicted sex offender!


How Can I Protect Myself and My Family?


It is easy to counteract the effects of no regulation. Use reputable companies; companies that are not only licensed, but insured. Companies that have a reputation in the community, and have references. Companies that are members of the Local Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and also have professional affiliations or contacts.

I Do Not Have The Time or Desire To A 3 hour Research Project on Locksmiths

You don’t have to spend a lot of time and energy checking out a locksmith. You can check the little things first (often at the company’s web site): Is the technician clean, well dressed, and basically decent looking? Although this is a subjective judgement, it is the first impression that often gives you some basic information. Along those same lines, is the technician in a uniform, or have company insignia and/or identification? Does he/she have business cards? Is the service vehicle marked with locksmith insignia, INCLUDING the company’s name? A reputable locksmith company will have all of these things.

Ask to see the company’s insurance coverage document. Reputable companies keep copies of these documents in all of their trucks. The company ought to have good reviews online; Google Reviews, Angie’s List, Yelp, etc.

A good locksmith company has references, and can provide you several. Of course, the personal reference is the best (we consider personal references to be GOLD)

In Tallahassee (and probably every other city in Florida), there are two kinds of locksmiths: One is a professional locksmith company; and the the other is simply a guy looking for a job. The guy looking for a job might be a good, decent guy, with real locksmith skills, and he might have insurance, and he might be affiliated with other professional locksmith agencies and associations, and he might have a good, solid reputation in the community.

He might.