One good way is ask friends and family if they have used a locksmith before. You could post on social media and ask for recommendations or search online. A good search term would be “a locksmith near me” and I would recommend avoiding the first few ads which will appear at the top of search results, as these are often national companies who charge much more than your local locksmith.
A locksmith can offer a wide range of services from a basic lock change, free help and advice / home visits, to commercial and auto locksmith services and CCTV. Which services they offer is their choice and will vary from one locksmith to another.
Do your research – A good, genuine, professional locksmith will be more than happy to provide you with references or guide you to their online customer reviews such as Facebook or google reviews.
Some Locksmiths will voluntarily pay to be a member of a trade website such as Trust a Trader, however this is not compulsory and comes at a substantial cost to a locksmith. So if a locksmith chooses not to be a member of such a trade website, then this is most likely because of the financial implications rather than a reflection of his or her professionalism and competence.
Also, call the locksmith and speak to them, they will be more than happy to offer free help and advice and it’s a good opportunity for you to judge for yourself after having a chat with them.
No – The police have no “register” of Locksmiths nor are there any obligations for a locksmith to be registered. The police will inform you that they cannot reccomend any particular locksmith as it’s their policy to not be seen to show favouritism.
There are no compulsory government or national qualifications for locksmiths, however there are OFQUAL diplomas for locksmiths should they wish to take the course.
There are also some private locksmith training companies who offer their own “qualifications”, but these should really be seen as a certificate of competing a training course rather than a qualification.
Depending upon the job, a locksmiths price will vary. Also, where you are in the country will affect prices. Some areas of the country are more expensive to live in than others, London being a prime example, and this will be reflected in the price. Some locksmiths may quote you for labour plus parts, others may charge an hourly rate and others will have a fixed “all in” price.
The threshold for VAT registration is quite high and some locksmiths may not charge VAT. It’s best to get in touch with your local locksmith and agree prices before work begins.