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Play It Safe

We’ve all been there. Hurrying out the door with two kids at 6 p.m. on Saturday night, you realize you forgot your key right as the door slams behind you. BAM, you’re locked out of the house with two toddlers, and did I mention that it’s pouring rain outside?

Cut to: The best 24 hour locksmith money can buy. A professional technician comes out to your house despite the crummy weather and the fact that it’s a Saturday night.

He arrives right on time, thirty minutes after you place the call. Best of all he has a pleasant personality and clearly knows what he’s doing. Half an hour later, you’re back inside the house with two dry kids and the rest of the evening still ahead of you.

But this happy scenario could very well have had a drastically different outcome if the locksmith you picked had not been up to par. Imagine if he had arrived at your house four hours late with the wrong tools and a bad attitude. Or worse, if he never arrived at all.

Not all locksmiths are created equal, so choosing the right locksmith for your family is no small task. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:

Get a referral

Try to ask a friend or colleague to refer you to a reliable locksmith service they themselves have used in the past. It is always better to use a service that someone you know has used and recommends. Be sure to ask the person doing the recommending specific questions about how satisfied they were with the work and how reasonable they found the fee.

Of course in an emergency, it is not always possible to call a friend as you frantically search the Internet for a service provider from your mobile phone. In that case, do your best to read the Internet reviews of 24 hour locksmiths available in your area. Another possibility is to register with a website like Angie’s List which features customer reviews and grades of local businesses.

Make sure the locksmith is licensed and bonded

A locksmith who is licensed may have to undergo a background check on a state or national level. When a locksmith is bonded, it’s like they have an insurance policy for the customer. If a locksmith will not show you a copy of his insurance policy, refuse to allow him to perform the services. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Most locksmiths will be looking out for your best interests and will do a professional job, but it is always wise to ensure that the person you hire will provide the best possible service for your family.

Patrick Whalen is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @2patwhalen.