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We encourage all our customers and visitors to our Web Site to take just a few moments to read through these blogs to find the helpful, useful information provided here. In the long run, this information can save you valuable time and your hard earned money. In today's economical hard times, the bottom line is to insure you are getting your work completed quickly, efficiently and at the most reasonable, affordable price.
Questions Answered About Locksmith Licenses In Florida
First and foremost, the State of Florida does NOT require a state issued license for any Locksmith conducting business anywhere in the state; be it a store front or mobile Locksmith service. Unlike Plumbers, Electricians or Heating & Air Conditioning Companies who must have a state issued license to conduct business; just to name a few as an example.
For the past few years, a few of us have tried, without success, to get Tallahassee to pass legislation that would require all Locksmiths conducting business in the State of Florida to have a state issued license. Tallahassee did write legislation for this but, after many months of sitting in various sub committees and much debate, they later tabled the legislation. The excuse given was for the lack of interest.
In 2010, we again attempted to get this going. This time with the help of one of our local Representatives in Congress, in Tallahassee. After several more months of debate, it was again tabled; this time indefinitely. For the life of me, I can't imagine how Tallahassee can ignore this due to a lack of interest.
This is an area of great concern; not just for those of us in the Industry but for many customers who are, at one time or another, in need of Locksmith Services. Be it an emergency lockout situation involving a car, home or business, having keys duplicated or having locks re-keyed to a different, new set of keys.
Understandably, these concerns are very real as the Locksmith is entering a persons home, car or place of business to perform the service requested or required. At all times, the Locksmith must first and foremost be concerned with the safety and security of the customer; which for most reputable Locksmiths, this is the normal way of conducting business.
However, there are some Locksmiths in our Industry who do not adhere to the basic ethics of conducting business. Unfortunately, it is those "Locksmiths" who somehow manage to tarnish the reputations of all the other legitimate, reputable Locksmiths in the area. Which is one of the reasons I decided to address this issue and offer some helpful tips. They are as follows:
1) Right now, the only "license" required for any legitimate Locksmith conducting business in Florida is the license issued by the County in which the business is based. My current license is issued by Citrus County and I have it at all times in my service vehicle for my customers to see if they so desire. It is also on every page of this web site for your immediate review.
Make sure their license is not expired. Licenses expire on September 30, every year. In Citrus County, the license is referred to as a "Business Tax Receipt". Other County's in the state may have their licenses worded differently so, be sure to check with the local offices who issues their County Business Licenses.
When you see an ad for a Locksmith in Florida and they say "Licensed, Bonded and Insured" the license they are referring to is the County issued license. Be very leary of ANY Locksmith who tells you they are licensed by the State of Florida as that is a false statement. At that point, I would demand to see their County issued license.
There are too many fly by night Locksmiths out there conducting business illegally and I would not want them walking into my home or place of business or unlocking my vehicle. So, don't be afraid to ask to see their license. If they are legitimate, it will not be a problem. Remember, it's for your safety & well being.
2) Every legitimate business in the state is required to be registered with the Division of Corporations in Tallahassee. Be it a Corporation, Sole Prop, LP, LLC, or other entity. It is important to make sure the company you do business with is registered and the business Fictitious Name registration is ACTIVE. You will also see the company's registration number issued by the state. It can be found at: http://www.sunbiz.org
3) Look for their years of experience and they have the knowledge to successfully complete your service request in a reasonable amount of time at fair, reasonable price. Coupons do not always mean they will be the most reasonably or lowest priced. Remember, the larger ads in the yellow pages cost a lot more then the smaller ads every month; which usually means the larger the ad, the more money out of your pocket.
4) Always try to stay with a Locksmith who is local and is located in your County or near by surrounding area. When calling, make sure they provide a LOCALphone number to call. At all costs, try to avoid calling a Locksmith who only provides a 1-800 number. Chances are, the company isNOTlocal and most likely, are out of state and they provide a local vendor to do their work for them.
They will advertise some rates as low as $15.00 or $20.00 and when they get to your location and complete the work, it's a whole different ball game. We have seen this happen locally already and it has also been shown on our local TV news stations. So, please beware.
5) Be very leary of ANY Locksmith who tells you your lock must be taken back to the shop to be repaired or serviced. Chances are, you will not see him / her or your lock again. I have already come across this several times. Any reputable, legitimate Locksmith will have the knowledge and tools to make repairs on site.
If the lock is in such poor condition that it can't be repaired on site, then it will need to be replaced. Most Locksmiths have replacement locks in their service vehicles; unless it is something out of the ordinary. Then in most cases, a replacement lock can be special ordered.
6) You want to make sure you talk directly with the Locksmith when you need service; not some "after hours" answering service or answering machine praying someone will get back to you ASAP. When you have a situation, usually time is a big factor and you don't want to waste precious time relaying messages to someone other then the Locksmith. This is especially true if you have a child or pet locked in a car on a very hot day or you are locked out of your home or business.
7) Lastly, you want to be sure the Locksmith has at least their company name and phone number clearly displayed on their service vehicle. You would be surprised to see how many do not; except for just the word "Locksmith" which should raise some red flags as to their legitimacy.
I hope I have cleared up any questions or concerns customers may have about the license issues here in the State of Florida. If you should have any questions I have not already addressed here, please feel free to give us a call. Citrus Lock & Security352-445-3131 and ask for Bob. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your comments.
A Horror Story To Consider When You Need A Locksmith
Over the last few weeks, I've had some phone calls from customers asking me why some "Locksmiths" only provide a 1-800 phone number in their listing and if they are actually local.
My response to that question is: If a "Locksmith" only provides a 1-800 phone number and not aLOCAL number as part of their listing, weather it is the local Yellow Pages Directory or Internet, then chances are very good, they are NOT a local company. They, most likely, are located out of state in areas like New York (common), or Texas, etc. They advertise with local phone companies and local Yellow Pages Directories to make you think they are local; clearly, they are NOT local. And, it's becoming an epidemic! So, BEWARE!
While some Locksmiths do have a 1-800 number, they also provide a local phone number for obvious reasons; why would a local customer want to call a 1-800 number if they are looking for a Locksmith who claims to be local? As I stated earlier, most of the companies that will only provide a 1-800 number areNOT located in your state. They usually have some sort of an "agreement" with a local company to go out and do the work for them. This usually results in the customer paying a MUCH higher price then what was originally quoted over the phone. The unfortunate scenario is, now you are at their mercy.
I personally heard of someone being quoted a price of $20.00, over the phone, to unlock their house. When the "local" Locksmith arrived, almost 2 hours AFTERthe initial call was placed, heDID NOT have the skills or tools to do the job correctly or professionally. He ended up drilling out the lock to get the customer back inside the house then charged the customer over $175.00 for the "service" and to replace the lock thatHE DID NOT have to destroy; and, this was 2:30 in the afternoon on a week day! From what I'm hearing and reading on the Internet, this unfortunately is quickly becoming the "normal" way of getting the job done when a customer uses this type of company.
I have posted a link so you can see for yourself how some of these so called "Locksmith's" operate. The News Video is courtesy of our local Channel 10 News in Tampa Bay, Florida. Unfortunately, this is typical of what is going on all over the Country. The video is approximately 5 minutes long and worth every minute of your time. At Citrus Lock & Security we want you to be well informed BEFORE you require any Locksmith Services so you don't become one of their victims. http://www.youtube.com/embed/O1LqYJiX6zA
Now there are some instances when a lock can not be opened using all the usual technics; such as high security locks like Medeco, Assa / Abloy, Multi Lock, etc. However, there is almost always another entry point in the home where a skilled Locksmith can gain access without causing any damage. For the experienced, professional Locksmith, drilling is always the absolute last resort. Even then, most legitimate Locksmiths would not charge such outrageous prices weather is 3 o'clock in the afternoon or 3 o'clock in the morning. So again, before you make the call, be sure the Locksmith is local to your area.
Here are some helpful tips to consider BEFORE you make the call:
1) First and foremost, have extra keys duplicated and make sure they all work properly before you get locked out of your home, auto or business.
2) Consider giving a key to a trusted friend, relative or neighbor. If that is not an option, place a copy of the key in your purse or if your a man, in your wallet. You can also place a copy of the key in an old prescription bottle and bury it in the yard in or near a flower bed if you have one. The bottle will take decades to desolve away and the bugs can"t get to it. Just a couple if inches below the surface of the ground will work well. Just don't forget where you buried it so you will have it when needed.
3) NEVER hide a key under a "Welcome" mat, over the door frame, under a flower pot or under some decorative lawn ornament. These are theFIRST places burglars look to find a key to your home or place of business. I know it sounds silly, but in my 48 years experience, you would be surprised to see how many folks still, to this day, do this; which is why I mention it.
4) If you have Internet Service, see if the company has a web site. If so, look for their years of experience and if they are licensed. Do they have a picture of themselves or their service vehicle? If not,this isclearly a warning signal. I want my customers to see me and my vehicle before I get there so they know, before hand, who is coming; I do this for the safety and security of my customers. I also have my Business License on display in my vehicle for my customers to see, if they want to read it.
5) When you call someone, ASKthe person you are speaking with EXACTLYwhere they are located; get the city or town, state and County.If they hesitate in any way or start asking you questions like why you want that information, chances are they areNOTin the same state you are in. I personally would not waste my time, and politely tell them, "I will call you back" and then don't. Otherwise, you might not get what you were led to believe and hoped for and you might end up paying a MUCH higher price then what you were originally told.
I sincerely hope this information helps when the time comes when you need to call a Locksmith for any reason. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call Citrus Lock & Security 352-445-3131 and ask for Bob.Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your comments.
Citrus Lock & Security 6715 W. Mable Lane Dunnellon, FL. 34433 Please Keep In Mind, We Do Accept Credit Or Debit Cards For OUR Out Of Area Or Out Of State Customers. For Our Local Customers, We Will Gladly Accept Either Cash, Check or Credit / Debit Cards. Thank You.