27 May Top 10 Myths About Locksmiths
1 – Lockpicking on TV is accurate.
Whether it be James Bond, Dexter, or Sherlock Holmes lockpicking isn’t as easy as they make it look. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to an open up and my customer says, “this is taking you a lot longer than MacGyver” . Sometimes the lock will pick open right away (and then the customer claims how easy it was, and how it shouldn’t cost that much) and other times it takes 15-20 minutes to pick. Every lock is different, sometimes they’re grimy, sometimes the door frame is in the way, and sometimes your locksmith may have to drill your lock out and replace it. When you call, don’t always expect to be in right away and don’t put too much pressure on your rescuer it will only make it harder.
2 – My key says “do not copy” so it hasn’t been copied.
If you have a standard house key with this stamp on it there are no legal restrictions behind anyone copying it.. Most locksmith shops will cut them without question. Hardware stores might not. But the only way to restrict key cutting on your key is buy a key restricted lock. There are several of these locks out there that can run from $50 up to $150 depending on the other levels of security. Keep in mind a few things with these locks though: Your keys will be more expensive, proof of ownership is always required to copy keys, and if you are locked out at night it may require destroying the lock to get in.
3 – The only time I’ll need a locksmith is when I’m locked out.
Locksmiths are a great resource for many other things worth consideration. A locksmith can make your keys operate smoothly, a locksmith can master key all your rental properties, and a locksmith can install new locks. From commercial to residential to safes to automotive, locksmiths are trained well in their field and are more specialized than someone in construction. They can usually offer better pricing than automotive dealerships and sometimes better than hardware stores. Consider a locksmith if you’re upgrading your door hardware. They can offer advice on what to buy, or offer a good deal on bulk buys and quality parts.
4 – The locksmith can quickly do it.
One of the most common and frustrating misconceptions I experience is when a customer calls me in a rush to quickly get into their safe, or quickly make keys to a vehicle. Vehicles, safes, and locked doors have one main purpose: to keep people out when they’re not supposed to be in. This applies to locksmiths as well. Sometimes it’s easy, but other times it’s a long expensive process. These services are specialized and can be very difficult. Give your locksmith time and space, it will get done faster and better.
5 – I need to protect my home from lock picking.
If it gives you peace of mind then by all means, you can buy a high security deadbolt for your home. But most burglars aren’t well versed in lock picking or even lock bumping. Anyone interested in breaking into your home will do just that, break in. Kicking in a door or breaking a window is much faster and easier. Look at strengthening your door frame and your windows to protect your home, or consider an alarm system for security. There may be the odd guy who uses his lock picking skills for evil, but for the most part people who pick locks are at-home enthusiasts or trained and bonded locksmiths. Which brings me to number 6:
6 – I’ll buy some lockpicks and do it myself.
Depending on your region, lockpicks are restricted and hard to get a hold of. If you can find a way to get some, just having them may be against the law. Lock picks and other locksmithing equipment is restricted for good reason. Non-locksmiths who obtain lockpicks may only be able to carry/use their picks within their home. Again, these rules can be different in every province or state. There is also extensive practice and training required to pick a lock, if not done properly you can wreck the lock you’re working on. Leave it to the professionals.
7 – Locksmithing is easy.
The responsibilities, extensive training, and hours worked are some of the reasons you may pay more than you expect for a locksmith. Always being expected to get you in easily, quickly, and cheaply can wear on a locksmith. The high stress situations like open ups for police, evicting tenants, and locking out spouses are dangerous situations and definitely keep us on our toes. That and the potential to be called 24 hours a day while still required to be efficient is tough. It takes a dedicated and passionate locksmith to stick to it with a good attitude.
8 – Just break a window, it will be cheaper.
Unless you work as a glass supplier, calling a locksmith is definitely cheaper than replacing a window. Pricing can vary greatly by region but at least make the phone call before you resort to breaking anything. Give your locksmith a call, and a quick quote could save you a lot of money. Late nights, early mornings, and long distances from a city center may cost you more than an average customer but it’s still better and safer than breaking anything.
9 – Keychains are a versatile toolbox in your pocket.
Cutting packing tape with keys, using a key to pry something, or hanging countless items from your keychain will make any locksmith cringe. The slightest bend or worn spot can cause your key to stop working in your lock. And hanging heavy items from your keychain can cause your ignition or key to wear out quickly. Have only necessary keys on your ring and use them for it’s intended purpose. Break up your key chains into separate groups if necessary.
10 – All locksmiths are trustworthy.
It’s a bigger problem in the states than in Canada, but there is a locksmith scam that plagues the continent. It’s actually one of the fastest growing scams in the US. An out of town “locksmith” will advertise locally and become a first responder to an in distress customer. They will offer very low prices and a very short time frame in order to seal the deal. The customer ends up waiting hours for service and once the locksmith finally shows up he will feed the customer some lies and end up charging hundreds to thousands of dollars. Do your research prior to calling the locksmith. Check on required locksmith credentials in your region and make sure the responding locksmith has those credentials (most regions require a locksmith license). Check for a local address and phone number of your locksmith. If you can remember, try to use a locksmith you’ve seen around. Recognize vans or business fronts and call them directly. Take your time, you may be in rush to get your home or vehicle unlocked but be sure you’re getting proper local service from a legit licensed locksmith.