Where We Are, and Where We Are Going

Recently a customer asked me about specific  services that High Quality Locksmith performs. I
though it would be a good idea to mention our services, and to touch upon our future plans regarding
locksmith services.

Our Current Status

HQL specializes in residential rekey jobs, commercial rekey jobs, emergency services (residential, commercial, and automotive lockouts) and automotive locksmith work. We sell safes, and perform some service work on Sentry safes. We normally do not do work on safes, or
on safe deposit boxes. High Quality Locksmith sets up and administers master key systems, and we also
service and install restricted key systems.

Our Future Status

Eventually we will increase our on site inventory for safes, especially Hayman and Hollon. Along with this inventory expansion, our services will also expand to include safe work, such as combination changes and safe servicing.

Automotive Locksmith Expansion

The necessary equipment for automotive locksmith work is very expensive. Currently, High Quality Locksmith can make and program keys for most foreign and domestic vehicles, although European models are typically not included in this assessment. With the aquistion of specific programming
equipment we intend to start making keys for BMW and Mercedes.


A New Shop Location

The addition of a primary shop location on Monroe Street is currently on “the way, way, way, back burner,” so to speak, and may never actually materialize.   There are weak arguments supporting this addition, but most logicial and conservative arguments demolish such an idea. Colleagues have encouraged me to seriously consider this option, but even in the most conservative sense I think such a move would require substantial  across the board rate increases, and the Tallahassee population, by and large, cannot support rate increases. Times have changed, and brick and mortar locations are no longer important for mobile, service oriented businesses. They are nice, of course, but no longer figure prominently in the mobile locksmith business plan.

Locksmiths and Bonding: Here’s a “bonded” surprise for you…..

“Licensed, Bonded, Insured.” “Certified, Accredited, Bonded.”  “Bonded for your Security.” These terms, as well as many variations, are the mantra of most locksmiths. For most locksmiths (in the Tallahassee, FL., area, anyway), these words are merely words, and nothing else.

There are primarily two kinds of bonds. The first is the surety bond. This is a bond that insures performance. If a small locksmith company wins a bid for a large construction-lock installation project, this bond is issued prior to the bidding process to guarantee that the winning bidder starts, and completes, the job. If the contractor/locksmith walks away without finishing the job, the bond pays for the remaining work to be completed by someone else. This is used to guarantee performance, and shows that the bidder is serious about doing the job.

Another bond is the guaranty bond (yes, the spelling is correct). This bond is a bond that pertains to the individual and/or the agency the person works for. It is a guarantee of the person, himself. If the person steals from his customer, or does anything to hurt his customer, the bond reimburses the customer. Liability insurance covers negligenet actions; bonds cover intentional actions.  The bond covers criminal acts outside the scope of liability insurance. It is wholly different.

Here is a surprise: 90% of all locksmiths in the Tallahassee area are not bonded, or even insured. Some have their premises insured, and that’s it.

Locksmiths are responsible for the safety of their clients. The confidentiality of security information and key codes is extremely important. You could easily make the mistake of having a convicted burglar or sex offender re-key your house! A bond is issued by an entity, whereby the entity says, in effect, “we have checked this person out, and stand by him/her. If this person uses their locksmith skills to rob or otherwise take advantage of you, we will reimburse you up to the the maximum amount of this bond.” Needless to say, bonds are not issued without some sort of vetting process.

High Quality Locksmith, is an active member of ALOA, and we are bonded by this organization. Additionally, our comprehensive liability insurance, issued by the Hartford Insurance Company, also covers our customers. HQ Locksmith also has a second bond, issued by the National Locksmith Association!

The next time a locksmith says that he/she is bonded, ask to see the bond. Anyone can say they have one, but very few can produce this upon request. Very few actually know what a bond is!

High Quality Locksmith maintains copies of our bond and our insurance policies on board our trucks. Our bond is also on our web page, at https://hqlocksmith.com/our-credentials.






A Professional Locksmith Will Have Credentials

In Florida, as well as most states in the US, there are no laws regulating the locksmith industry. Broward and Dade counties require licensing for locksmiths in their counties, but this is the only real licensing requirement in Florida. The City of Tallahassee issues a “tax receipt” sort of license for $50; this is the only license, per se, required of locksmiths in this area. Anyone can get this license for $50. Interestingly, the City Commission has eliminated this “tax receipt” requirement as of the end of 2017!   All so-called “locksmiths” say they are licensed, bonded and insured, and many of them are lying. Insurance and bonding is not required; moreover,  no one actually enforces whether a locksmith has that aforementioned, city issued, $50 tax receipt, either.

Is this alarming? Absolutely! As a result of this, anyone can decide he is a locksmith, and put it on Google, almost instantly. Tallahassee sees 3 to 4 new “locksmiths” every few months; they come and go with the frequency of the seasons…… It is ironic that your hairdresser, or the local tattoo artist, are subject to more government oversight than the person who makes the keys to your house, or car.

The real, genuine, trained and professional locksmiths submit themselves to voluntary regulation, and have valid liability insurance policies, as well as valid bonds. ALOA ( http://aloa.org )  is  the premier organization for locksmiths, and conducts background checks, and imposes specific requirements upon their members. Very few locksmiths in Tallahassee are ALOA members.

High Quality Locksmith is a member of ALOA, maintains liability insurance, and is bonded. These are specific professional credentials that we maintain. Honest locksmiths make an effort to be identified as such. Many of the so called “locksmiths” you find on Google are fake, who’s sole experience is breaking into someone’s car the week before, and who’s complete training consists of nothing more than a couple of YouTube videos. Training, real locksmith experience, and professional association membership separates these glorified handymen from the professionals.

It is important to note, that less experienced locksmiths, who are honest and trying to move up in the industry, may not yet have the qualifications to join an organization such as ALOA (one of the requirements is that the applicant must have at least 2 years experience in the industry). Now, it is incumbent upon dedicated locksmiths to join ALOA, but not having yet reached that goal does not necessarily make one dishonest, or “shady.” Far be it for this writer to denigrate my less experienced colleagues; I am sure there are some decent people out there trying to make it in the industry. We all started out at the bottom, more or less.

But, repeating what I said earlier, REAL locksmiths make a bona fide effort to be identified as professionals. This means insignia, identification of some sort, business cards (or at least a receipt that has the company name), and insignia of some kind on the service vehicle. Credentials of some sort, even if they are just basic ones.

All good locksmiths are proud of their trade. Proud of what they do, and gratified when they do a good job. Inasmuch as they are proud of their own efforts, they should be proud of their identity, and should have those business cards, signs on  their vehicles, and some sort of insignia on their clothing.

Beware of the locksmith who lacks these basic items. Lack of these simple items could easily indicate this person is just a semi-talented handyman, who my know a  little (very little) about locks.

Of course, the ultimate set of credentials not only includes the business card, identification, company shirt or uniform, marked company vehicle, identification badge, etc., but also includes true liability insurance, professional association memberships (ALOA, Board of Realtors, etc.), and professional business association membership (Chamber of Commerce).

High Quality Locksmith has all of the above. The complete package. Don’t settle for less.

Good Locks. Sometimes price doesn’t matter.

Often I am asked which locks and/or hardware are the best for residential application. It is unwise to specify a certain brand over another. Often people define (erroneously) the quality of a lock system by how easy it is to pick. Picking, or lack thereof, does not define lock quality, but this factor deserves mentioning……

Certainly, some of the more expensive locks are more difficult (or almost impossible) to pick, but a lock is only as strong as the door it secures, as well as the frame it’s bolt engages. If the door is a hollow core door and the frame is thin or cheaply constructed, the high quality lock will do little to prevent entry.

A skilled locksmith can pick locks. This is a job requirement.  But sometimes a dime store lock can be difficult to pick, while an expensive name brand lock can be picked in seconds.  Most of the difficulty (or ease) to picking a lock comes from the placement of it’s internal pins. If a lock has all short pins,  generally it can be picked easily. A lock with long pins mixed with short pins will generally be more difficult to pick. To see if your lock has short pins next to long pins, simply look at your key. Does the key have deep cuts, next to shallow ones? If it does, it may be a little more difficult to pick.

Picking locks is a skill and an art, and it requires practice.  As most people cannot pick locks, how difficult a lock is to pic is usually not a significant concern for people. Most criminals do not pick locks; they prefer unused locks.

Of GREATER importance is the quality of the metal, and the quality of the installation. The lock should be heavy and solid, and it should mount solidly in the door.  A deadbolt should mount cleanly in the hole drilled for it. Sometimes, a a do-it-your-selfer will  fail to drill the hole large enough for the hardware to seat properly. This leaves a gap that invites a prying/crowbar attack. The bolt should also be solid, and when engaged, it should slide all of the way into the door frame. A deadbolt not fully engaged with a frame (because the bolt hole is not deep enough, or is not aligned properly) is not truly “dead,” and can be “walked open” with a screwdriver or other instrument.

It’s All About the Keys

There are many brands of locks, but relatively few key ways.

The 4 most popular key designs in the United States are (in order) Kwikset (KW1), Schlage (SC1), Yale and Weiser. Many other key patterns exist, as well. Most of these other key patterns are used exclusively for commercial applications.

Many other companies are licensed to manufacture their locks using the aforementioned 4 key designs. Lowes has it’s Carriage House design, which uses the KW1 key way; Home Depot does the same with it’s Defiant brand. Of course, Kwikset, Schlage and Yale name brands are popular.

Yale uses a Kwikset key way for it’s residential applications, and has it’s own key type for commercial applications. Schlage has it’s own key way which sees extensive commercial and residential use.

Sergent, a high quality lock, also appears in residential applications but is more likely used commercially.

The quality of a lock is defined more by the quality of it’s installation. A poorly made lock is easy to detect; but economics usually prevent such locks from remaining available for purchase.

The only truly ineffective lock is an unused one.




We Sell Hollon Safes

We are official distributors for Hollon® Safe Company, and we carry their entire line.

Our previous HQ Locksmith site had a large online showroom. We are currently building a new safe marketing section for this site.

In the mean time, if you would like to see the Hollon Safe line, we will be happy to give you a print catalog.

Our new showroom will be online soon.

Commercial Locksmith

High Quality Locksmith is considered one of the best commercial locksmith services in the area. We are expert locksmiths for office buildings, retail shopping centers, hotels, and other commercial installations. Our primary concerns are high quality, safety and value, as well as ensuring that your business is running smoothly

Below are just a few examples of commercial locksmith work we perform:

    • commercial locks and rekeys
    • mortis cyclinders
    • Exit devices (aka panic bars)
    • high security and restricted key systems


Restricted key systems in commercial settings merit additional mention. A restricted key is a special key that is made to fit a specific type of keyway. The pattern is licensed to specific locksmiths, or it is generally difficult to obtain. Consequently the key blanks are unavailable to the general public. Because the blanks cannot be readily obtained, it is impossible for a person to go to a hardware store and make a copy of their work key. As this is the case, if this person leaves employment, and turns in his issued key,  management can rest assurred that building security is not compromised.