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Things Your Locksmith Should Tell You

By Jake Matteson

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Locks and Unlocks was created in 2005. After working for another Locksmith for five years, my wife and I decided to start this business so we could have the flexibility to work our business around our lives. Her parents (my mother and father-in-law) decided to retire from their current jobs, and join us in launching this business. Shortly after starting our business, we acquired another locksmith company that was going under, and merged the two.

It is rumored that a lot of locksmiths do undercover work for the cops. Is this true?

I have had a lot of interaction with the police in my profession, but have never been asked to do any such work, nor have I ever heard of any of my colleagues being asked. Therefore I would have to say that is a false rumor.

Aren't keys stamped "do not duplicate" still duplicated often? Why do some keys have this stamp?

That is true, there is no law against making duplicates of keys that are stamped "do on duplicate" it is simply a deterrent to try to keep some form of key control. It will slow down the process of getting copies, but not stop it. We do have keys that are protected by federal patents, and do have rules and regulations against making such duplicates. These keys are typically of a high security nature, and more expensive than standard keys, however they virtually eliminate the unauthorized duplication of keys.

What are a few signs that my potential locksmith is a scam artist?

Any professional Locksmith should act and look "professional". They should answer the phone courteously, they should dress in clothes that have their business logo on them. They should arrive on the job site with a company lettered vehicle. They should be able to give you an accurate estimate of their time of arrival, as well as the cost associated with a perspective job. They should be able to accept multiple forms of payment, and not only insist on cash, as well as provide you with a receipt. They should never dramatically change the price of a job after work is initiated. They should be able to give you a true local street address, not a P.O. Box for their business. Professional Locksmiths will typically be a member of one or more Locksmith associations, such as A.L.O.A. (Associated Locksmiths Of America) and have I.D. to prove it. And last but not least, you should feel comfortable and safe in their presence. You are letting the service providers into your homes, vehicles, and offices. If at any point in your interaction with them, you should be able to ask them to stop working and leave, at which point they should graciously oblige.

Although they may be more expensive, why is buying a good lock better than buying a lock from a big box store?

The quality of a lock can vary immensely from one brand or style to another. The big box stores purchase most products in large volume, and are always cost driven. I bet you've heard the old adage that "You get what you pay for". Well, locks are no exception. Purchasing a lock from a reputable Locksmith will open up a whole world of options, including styles, finishes (colors), and grades (levels of quality), that you simply can't get in the traditional marketplace. Not to mention the expertise that can help prevent a costly mistake with a poor lock choice, and turn it into an investment in your security that is worth much more than what you paid for the lock.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

My email address is jake@locksandunlocks.com, but because I am typically on the road most days, the best way to reach me is by phone 608-877-HELP (4357).

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