5 Questions to Ask to Ensure You Hire Trusted Locksmiths

5 Questions to Ask to Ensure You Hire Trusted Locksmiths

There are many reasons that you may need to hire a locksmith for your home or business. It might be an emergency situation – you’re locked out and misplaced your key – or maybe you want to upgrade your building’s security. Whatever the reason, it’s important to have a trusted locksmith you can call on in times of need. 

In most areas, there are many options for you to choose from, so how do you select the right one? Choosing the right locksmith is crucial; after all, the security of your home or business depends on it.

Many people, unfortunately, select their locksmiths based solely on the factor of cost. However, if you always opt for the lowest-priced services you can find, chances are you will not end up with a locksmith you can really trust. While you certainly shouldn’t be overpaying, there are a lot of factors that are more important to consider when putting your safety and security into the hands of a professional.

Here are five questions to ask to ensure you hire trusted locksmiths:

1. What Services Do You Offer?

Before you start to dig too deep into what makes the perfect locksmith, you should first find out what services your potential candidates offer. After all, you’re trying to see if they are trustworthy and a big part of that is experience and versatility. 

There are plenty of locksmiths out there who can get you back into a locked business, but chances are, at some point you’ll require other services as well. For example, you will occasionally want to change the locks on your doors, especially if there has recently been a security breach in your area. 

Also, find out if your potential locksmith offers rekeying services. If you lose a key, you will have to have it replaced and a reputable locksmith will be able to do this. They will also be able to repair damaged locks, improve security, and install safes and commercial locks.

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2. Do You Belong to Any Professional Organizations? 

A trustworthy locksmith isn’t just someone who can come and unlock a door for you. The job is actually a very demanding one, requiring knowledge of mathematics, spatial perception, and excellent mechanical aptitude and hand-eye coordination. In addition to a great deal of technical proficiency, locksmiths must have a wide breadth of knowledge about the various types of locks and the latest technology and, perhaps most importantly, a commitment to the safety and security of clients. 

To ensure that any potential locksmith you might hire is committed to these things, check if they’re a member of any professional locksmith organizations. While it’s not an absolute necessity for trusted locksmiths to be members of organizations such as the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), being held to the standards of such a group will go a long way toward demonstrating that your potential locksmith is highly trained and always committed to increasing their knowledge.

Harry’s Key Service. Inc is an active member of the Building Industry Association of Clark County. 

3. Do You Have Licenses and Insurance?

This one may seem obvious, but it is absolutely worth mentioning: always ask if your potential locksmith is insured. As locksmiths work with heavy equipment and specialized tools, it’s crucial that they take steps to protect your financial security if there is any sort of accident. Don’t be afraid to ask your potential locksmith any questions you can think of regarding their insurance. Make sure they’re covered in the case of injury or property damage. 

You’ll also want to verify that they have all the applicable licenses for your area; often, less-than-reputable locksmiths will attempt to operate without proper licensing and this should be an instant red flag. Proper licensing means that not only is your locksmith correctly trained, it also means this person will adhere to a stringent code of professional ethics. Check out our staff’s credentials and designations here.

4. How Will You Ensure My Security?

Your financial security is one thing, but you’ll also want to ask about your personal security. After all, locksmiths are in the business of safety, and you’ll want to make sure that they are absolutely committed. 

First, ask if they do background checks on their employees. It’s important that every member of their organization is trustworthy; needless to say, they should be properly screened before being hired and given access to your home and valuables. 

Check any references that the locksmith provides, as well. Don’t be afraid to call and ask past clients about the locksmith company. You’ll want to double check that previous clients have been satisfied, without any major issues pertaining to security. 

Lastly, you should ask what professional guarantees they offer. Trusted locksmiths will have no concerns about backing up their work with a guarantee, as they will be fully confident in the services they provide.

5. Where Are You Located?

After you’ve ensured that your potential locksmith is skilled, licensed, experienced, and committed to your security, you should start considering location. While it is, of course, better to choose a more trustworthy locksmith even if they’re farther away than a less reputable one, location is also important when it comes to key and lock services. After all, if you find yourself trapped outside late at night, the last thing you want is to wait an hour for your locksmith to arrive. 

Ideally, you’ll be able to select someone who is close enough that they can get to you quickly. For example, if you’re in the Greater Vancouver, Washington area or Portland Metro area, you’ll want to seek out the most highly trained professional locksmiths that serve that area. Harry’s Locksmith serves the Greater Vancouver area, Portland metro, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Washougal, Camas, Ridgefield, and more. Our service area extends throughout the Pacific Northwest’s I-5 Corridor. 

We offer residential, commercial, and automotive services, so all of your needs will be met without having to keep three different locksmiths on retainer for your home, business, and vehicle. We can assist you in a lockout, upgrade your building hardware to meet ADA standards, and provide any other security services you may need. Harry’s Locksmith is the pillar in the Vancouver community that you’ll want to find when looking for a trustworthy locksmith in your neighborhood.

 

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What Services Are Included in Key Repair Near Me

You’ve probably envisioned this nightmare many times: It’s a cold winter day and you’re freezing your hands off. You are bundled up in three layers of clothes and struggle to make it to your front door, your car, or your office. You’re simply desperate to get out of the cold and into the heat, so you reach for your keys and lunge toward the door. But just as you get your keys out of your pocket, you realize something: the key you need is broken or terribly damaged!

It could be a traditional key or a key fob, but either way, you are so cold that you’re losing the feeling in your hands and feet, and you now have no way to get out of the elements that are making your teeth chatter.

Simply put, this is not a situation you ever want to find yourself in, and if you do, you need to be ready to find a locksmith you know you can call to come help you immediately. You may be asking, “How do I find a locksmith this dependable?” or, “Who does the best key repair near me?”

If you are in the Vancouver, WA, area or the Portland metro area, the answer is Harry’s Locksmith, since we’ve been top experts in the area since 1949, and our range of experience and specialties is substantial. But what if you don’t live near Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR?

There are a variety of problems that could cause your key issues, and you need to know what to look for in determining which locksmith near you has the skills and experience to fix your issue before you decide who to call for help.

Here are some of the common problems you might encounter.

Potential Issues

These are some of the potential broken key problems that will likely require repair. Know that while these problems may frustrate you or leave you temporarily out in the cold, a good locksmith company should be able to fix the issue.

  • Your key fob is destroyed or otherwise mangled.
  • The transponder chip in your key is destroyed or otherwise mangled.
  • Your key has snapped off or is broken.
  • Your key fob has been damaged or destroyed.
  • Your key is completely worn out.
  • Your key is stuck inside a lock or automobile ignition and cannot be turned or retrieved.
  • Your key has stopped opening a lock.
  • Your electronic key has dead batteries or damaged buttons.

Key Repair

Traditional Keys

If your key is merely worn out, a good locksmith should be able to take care of the issue by re-cutting the key back to its original dimensions. This should be a quick repair.

If your key has snapped or is horrifically damaged, this will also be a quick fix if the locksmith has the necessary part in stock. Otherwise, unfortunately, you may have to wait a while to get the key fixed. In this particular instance, it will likely result in the key being re-cut or re-made.

If the key is stuck in a lock, then it must be extracted before anything else. If it’s a building door lock, it should be just a matter of extracting the key. But if the key is stuck in a car ignition and will not turn, you’ll need to find out if the issue is with the key or the car’s ignition. The good news is that a locksmith company that knows what it’s doing should be able to determine whether the problem is due to the key or the ignition fairly easily.

Remote Key Fobs

These electronic keys will need to be repaired or replaced, and probably right away because it may be virtually impossible for you to operate your car or enter your home or office without your keyless entry fob. And while it’s not generally a complicated process, it can take some time, since, often, broken or damaged key fobs will also need to be reprogrammed. Which means it will also require the services of a locksmith specializing in key programming.

Remote key fobs may be used for any of the following: home and business doors, vans, motorcycles, motorbikes, motor scooters, caravans, trucks, boats, and mopeds.

Keys with Transponder Chips

If something has damaged the key or fob but the transponder chip is still intact, the chip should be able to be reused in a new key. As with remote key fobs, you’ll want to contact a locksmith right away because it may be nearly impossible to enter a building or start your motor vehicle without a working transponder key. And if you’re dealing with a situation that will require reprogramming, it is, unfortunately, going to take a fair amount of time to get fixed.

Keep in mind that, once again, you’ll want to search out the services of a locksmith that understands the complicated ins and outs of transponder keys and programming and that can do the work right. This isn’t the time to go with a less experienced service provider that “thinks” it can complete the repair. The best locksmith will offer these services.

You need a specialized locksmith for key cutting, but you need an even more specialized locksmith for remote key fobs and transponder keys. You likely use both in your daily life, so you should give strong consideration to a locksmith company that has staff who specialize in both.

Whether you’re locked out on a cold day or stranded with a car you can’t start, we know you’ll want to get the repair made as soon as possible. Instead of waiting for a problem to arise, search “key repair near me” now. Having a locksmith company you already trust and can rely on for any type of key repair should speed the repair process up because you can avoid taking extra time looking for somebody who specializes in your particular immediate need or emergency.

Safes that Harry’s Locksmith Carries

At Harry’s Locksmith in downtown Vancouver, WA we carry a variety of safes to meet your security needs. The most common types of safes are gun safes, deposit safes, and jewelry safes. If you’re not sure which safe to choose, we can help recommend one based on your needs. Just let us know. Below are some of the safes that we carry.

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How to Select Between Vancouver Locksmiths

You never think about how important it is to have a good locksmith in your Rolodex until an emergency comes up. You lock yourself out of your house or office, you cannot get into your car when you are in a rush to get somewhere … you know the drill. In situations like these, having a locksmith you trust that you can pick up the phone and call to bail you out is invaluable.

But finding a locksmith that is reliable and affordable is not as easy as it sounds. You need to do your due diligence and follow a smart procedure when choosing the best possible locksmith to fit your needs. So when considering Vancouver locksmiths, there are several factors you should keep in mind.

Ask Your Friends and Family

You can do all the necessary research, but sometimes word of mouth can be the most effective method at finding a quality locksmith. If somebody you know and trust has a locksmith who has gotten the job done for them while proving to be trustworthy can make your decision of who to hire much easier. If a locksmith has done a good job for a friend or family member, for your purposes, you have tangible proof that locksmith is good at what they do.

Research Professional Reputation

The Better Business Bureau exists for a reason, so make use of it. If you are researching Vancouver locksmiths, looking into a company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau and checking reviews and complaints can, at the very least, may help you narrow the field.

Consult Web Reviews

Online reviews are not an exact science because they can be tainted by those with agendas or even by competitors who pretend to be reviewers, but they can still be very useful if you’re seeking a consensus opinion.

If nothing else, a website like Yelp allows you to see a collection of reviews that can show you either a negative or positive trend in what people are saying about a particular company, which can help steer your search if you are looking for a way to choose between Vancouver locksmiths.

Make Sure the Locksmith is Properly Licensed

The temptation may arise to use an unlicensed locksmith because that company may be cheaper or more responsive due to a desperate need for business. You should avoid this temptation at all costs because unlicensed locksmiths are far more likely to cause you headaches.

Whereas you have little to no protection with an unlicensed locksmith, a licensed locksmith is insured against occupational hazards, can be tracked down by law enforcement, and can be punished if they do something wrong, so they must behave accordingly.

With unlicensed locksmiths, there can be issues with lack of financial protection in case damage is done, and you could find yourself in a situation where you’ve unwittingly hired a fly-by-night company and have no recourse.

It is always better to select a locksmith with whom these are not potential problems, so you should insist that any company you hire is properly licensed and insured.

Shop Around

When deciding which Vancouver locksmith to hire, you want the best possible company to handle your needs, but odds are the price is going to be a major consideration too. This is why contacting companies and getting estimates is such a crucial part of the process. That said, it is important to understand that some locksmith work requires a higher level of expertise and may not be able to be done cheaply.

For example, the need to deal with laser beams or electric fences could be part of the equation. It is also possible that a computerized lock system could be involved, which would entail knowing cryptography and codes to fix or install. All of this must be kept in mind when comparing prices quoted so that, in the end, you can make your decision based on who is offering you the best combination of expertise, service, and price.

Look for Price Transparency

One issue you may encounter when deciding which Vancouver locksmiths you want to work with is that an estimate you are given could be misleading. Companies sometimes put a price on the website or give you an estimate that is significantly lower than what they are actually planning to charge you for the totality of the work you need done. While this is not an entirely uncommon practice, it is definitely sneaky and in no way above board. That is why when you are getting ready to finalize your decision you should verify exactly how much the work is going to cost and get an agreement in writing.

Getting an agreement in writing will legally lock in the price and remove the possibility of a company pulling a bait-and-switch by quoting a price and then using hidden fees and other tricks to pad your bill and drive the final price up.

Be Aware of the Potential Need for Specialization

While it is quite obviously more convenient to have one locksmith company handle all of your needs, this may not be possible. This is especially true if you are dealing with a complex system that involves multiple layers, which could be the case with an office building’s lock system. If this ends up being the situation, it makes your job harder because now you have to shop for multiple locksmiths or find one that is capable of handling numerous tasks.

Keep in mind that even if the locksmith company you select cannot handle all of your needs, that locksmith can be a big help to you since it is likely to have connections to other companies who can take care of what your chosen locksmith cannot do themselves.

With that said, some companies are a jack of all trades in this industry, so it may be in your best interest to spend time finding the right locksmith.

The Exit Locks You Need in Your Commercial Building: Panic vs. Fire

The Exit Locks You Need in Your Commercial Building: Panic vs. Fire

Emergency Exit Locks

The first rule of any emergency situation is to be prepared. Be prepared with a game plan, an organized response, and an exit strategy. Harry’s Locksmith, your Vancouver locksmith, is here to help you with the latter. We want you to have the correct exit locks in place in case of an emergency.

While we certainly want your commercial building to be secure from unauthorized personnel, we also want you to be able to get out of the building quickly and efficiently when necessary. That’s why we’re going to tell you exactly what exit locks you’ll need in case of a panic or fire emergency.

One of the top concerns we hear from our clients involves the degree of security in their building. We know you work hard and want to protect your business and investments. It makes sense that you would want to ensure your building is impenetrable.

But while your building’s security is of the utmost importance, so too is your safety. That’s why Harry’s Locksmith stocks a variety of exit locks that will allow you to move through and out of the building as needed.

Panic Lock

The first type of safety lock you’ll want to secure on your commercial building is a panic lock. This type of lock can be disabled quickly in the event of an emergency. History has shown us that panic bars are essential in a variety of life and death situations. In fact, panic locks, or bars, came about as a result of the 1903 Iroquois Theatre Fire in Chicago, which claimed the lives of 600 people who were unable to exit through the theater’s locked doors.

Panic hardware typically consists of a metal bar placed horizontally across the door. While the door is securely locked from the outside, the metal bar (also known as a push bar or crash bar) can be pushed, thus disabling the latch and allowing for a quick exit from a commercial building. This can help in a variety of emergencies from an active shooter situation to a bomb threat and everything in between.

Panic locks are essential because in heightened situations in which you may panic, you don’t want to be fumbling with locks or otherwise losing precious time. Panic locks ensure that you’re able to exit the building both quickly and efficiently. Not only are they required by certain commercial building codes, they are essential in keeping your tenants, employees, and other building occupants safe.

Fire Exit Locks

Likewise, fire exit locks also allow you to vacate the building quickly in emergency situations. As with panic hardware, fire hardware became standard for commercial buildings following tragic historical events, such as a 1908 fire at the Lake View School in Collinwood, Ohio. As the blog entry notes, “Large numbers of panicking children could not open the latches and ended up crushing each other in an effort to escape.” Following those events, fire safety regulations were altered across the country and the first model of a panic bar was introduced.

Now, many commercial building codes require the use of such locks. So what’s the difference between a fire exit lock and a panic lock? Firstly, fire exit locks are used on fire rated doors. A fire rated door prevents the spread of fire and is typically composed of heavier parts than a panic door.

Another key difference between fire hardware and panic hardware is that a fire exit lock must re-latch upon closing. This requirement helps the door withstand the pressures of the fire and limit its spread to other areas of the building.

How do you know which lock you’ll need for your commercial building? As mentioned, some of that will be determined by international building code. But part of it will also be determined by the purpose of your particular building and its use.

For instance, there are many variations on panic hardware and fire exit hardware that can be installed based on your individual building needs. An infant-care unit at a hospital, for instance, may opt to have a delayed egress locking system installed on its doors. Delayed egress locking systems allow security personnel more time to thoroughly vet those attempting to enter and leave the area.

Such systems also disable the delayed egress locking mechanism once the automatic sprinkler system or automatic fire detection system is activated, thereby allowing occupants to quickly vacate the building in fire emergencies.

On the other hand, you may want to have sensor releases on your doors that will detect when someone is approaching. For example, a building serving the physically disabled may want to ensure occupants are able to quickly exit the building when necessary. Sensors remove the need to physically push the panic bar by detecting when individuals are approaching the door from within the building, allowing for an easy means of egress.

There are many factors to consider when selecting panic and fire exit hardware for your building. One item of importance is that while panic locks and fire exit locks can be life-saving measures, they will only work if properly installed. You don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your safety and security. That’s why it’s important to contact your trusted Vancouver locksmith to ensure proper installation of such locks.

Harry’s Locksmith serves the Greater Vancouver, Portland Metro area and businesses along the Pacific Northwest I-5 corridor. We’re an established regional and community partner since 1949. Our locksmiths are experts in their field and can also answer any questions you have about which lock to place where. After all, locks aren’t one size fits all.

We want to make sure that you are choosing the ones most appropriate for the safety and security of your occupants. That’s why we’ll customize your exit locks to best suit you and your commercial building. And remember, enhanced safety doesn’t have to mean compromised security. We’ll make sure you have the best of both worlds, so that you and your occupants feel safe, as well as secure.

 

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Properly Securing a Building Starts with a Good Locksmith

Properly Securing a Building Starts with a Good Locksmith

Feeling safe at home and work is important. Unfortunately, many people assume they are secure without taking the proper steps to ensure that their house or place of business is truly as safe as possible.

Properly Securing a Building Starts with a Good LocksmithIt is easy to overlook certain aspects of securing a building and those oversights can lead to costly breaches. The good news is that, with the help of a good locksmith, areas that the lay-person would not give the proper attention to can be brought into focus and handled with the attention required.

By following certain steps with a good Vancouver locksmith the security desired when at home or work can be fairly easily acquired.

Change Your Locks

This may seem obvious to some, but it is often not considered by new homeowners or building managers. When moving into a new home or place of business, it is always a good idea to double check the state of the new building’s current locks. All the main entrances, such as the front and back doors, should have a secure deadbolt, ideally a double cylinder deadbolt. Check all windows, and skylights and make sure that they also have locks on them.

If moving into a new space that was previously owned by someone else, it is a good idea to get the locks changed. While the previous owners may have been honest in turning over all of the keys, they could have easily forgotten about a spare they once gave out.

If moving into a newly built home, many builders use construction locks during the building process. They often key the permanent locks shortly before the new homeowners move in. It’s best to not assume this was the case and to double check with the realtor. If this is the case, it is not necessary to change the locks. However, if the locks on the newly built home were often used by tradespeople, then it is a good idea to get these locks changed.

Changing locks doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of replacing every single lock in the newly acquired building, get those locks rekeyed. A Vancouver locksmith can come to the home or place of business and change the locks so they can only be opened by a different set of keys. This is far cheaper and easier than replacing every single lock.

It also allows for the option to have all locks to be opened by one key, avoiding having to carry around a keychain with half a dozen keys.

Make a Plan

It is important to have a “security solution” in place that prevents anyone from walking into the property and damaging it, or making off with something that does not belong to them. In order for this to be effective, however, it is crucial to use the right locks so that the building’s security is not vulnerable.

There are some brands that security experts prefer over others, so taking the time to do the adequate research is imperative. If time for research is simply not available, a professional can provide the insight needed to make an informed decision.

It is also important to consider other factors where a professional locksmith can help ensure that a security investment is truly secure. If installed in the wrong way, if an incorrect lock is used, or if a lock is improperly maintained, there is an increased chance that the lock will be ineffective to intruders.

Light, Light, Light

Exterior lighting is important for anyone that wants to improve their security. Many burglars and criminals prefer to operate under the shroud of darkness. Therefore, if a property has poor exterior lighting it is more vulnerable to security breaches than a well-lit building. Lighting may sound like a decorative add-on, but it is an essential part of effective security solutions.

Consider Commercial Locks

The importance of commercial door locks cannot go unsaid. While the perimeter is the first point of access, the door’s locks are the cornerstone to any building’s security. If there are no door locks in place to bar access or grant access, then all the other aforementioned security measures will hardly be important.

There should be no mistake that commercial grade door locks are different than residential door locks, and any locksmith will tell you as much. Commercial grade door locks are built to last longer, due to the fact that they normally come into contact with more people. This means that they deal with much more foot traffic, which equates to more rotations and cycles by the door lock, so it has to be built to last much longer than regular house locks would.

Also, many commercial door locks have built-in measures that make it much more difficult for burglars and criminals to bypass. Many of these locks are anti-bump locks, as well as anti-pick and snap proof. In choosing your commercial door locks pay attention to the various access points. Remember that almost every access point will need a lock and this goes for offices, emergency exits and gates alike.

It is also important to take into account the medium that the lock is being used with, as well as the manner in which that particular access point is used. It is important to not use the wrong lock. While most doors, especially within an office-like environment, would be best suited to install grade one commercial locks, with some variation between the interior and exterior doors, this may not be the case for all doors and is another area where a professional locksmith’s expertise will prove invaluable.

Feel, and Be, Secure

Protecting a property can seem like an overwhelming task. However, with the help of a professional Vancouver locksmith, the key aspects to improving a building’s security can be addressed fairly quickly.

There is a difference between feeling safe and secure and actually being safe and secure and that difference can often be found in the time, care, and expert attention that has been paid to a building’s security, especially the locks.