Hiring a locksmith is pretty much like hiring any other professional to provide a service, such as a plumber, electrician, or mechanic. You will want to find someone who is qualified for the job first of all, but you also want someone who you can trust and has an easy and pleasant professional demeanor.
For most people who need to hire a locksmith, the need is usually urgent. People who need locks replaced after a burglary or those who have been locked out of their car need a locksmith as quickly as possible. Unfortunately the urgency of the situation makes it more challenging to find a good locksmith. Here are some things you could do if you ever have an urgent need for a locksmith.
If you are locked out of your car, consider calling for roadside assistance first if you are signed up for a service. Most such arrangements provide locksmith services as part of the deal, or you may have purchased similar services separately. This might save you the cost of paying for a locksmith.
If you are looking to change your locks after a burglary or home intrusion, ask your friends and family members for recommendations first of all. You might just be able to find a locksmith who will do the job quickly “off the clock”. This will at least give you some measure of security and a temporary solution as you look around for another locksmith.
In an emergency situation, you may not have a lot of time to look into a locksmith’s background thoroughly. Nevertheless, you have to take some time to confirm that the locksmith you are talking to does indeed hold office where he says he does. A quick online search should let you know whether or not the phone number of your “locksmith” matches the address given. As a last resort you can crack open your window. Just remember this is nearly impossible to do without cutting yourself a bit.
Keep in mind that more and more locksmiths are operating out of their homes, with only a telephone number listed. This is perfectly legal and there is no reason why such a locksmith shouldn't be any more or less trustworthy than someone who is working out of a physical business location. However, it does mean that you should be stricter with regard to looking into the backgrounds of such locksmiths. Sometimes getting hold of a locksmith can be very hard when it's late at night. These work at home locksmith's will probably be your only choice at this point.
When the locksmith comes to your door, ask to see some identification. Any reputable locksmith should be able to show you his identification papers and some form of certification or license proving that he is who he says he is. If the “locksmith” question cannot provide this proof, simply refuse to let him work on your car or home. Only a reputable licensed locksmith should be allowed to touch your important possessions.