San Francisco area locksmiths open up

San Francisco area locksmiths open up

As a locksmith, what are some of the services you provide?

Badertscher: "All of the lock services."

Baker: "We rekey locks and let people in when they're locked out. We sell and service safes, and we sell hardware and accessories. People bring in locks to have them repaired."

Lawson: "We do installation and repair, and we replace keys."

Are there any types of jobs you won't do?

Badertscher: "We don't do cars."

Baker: "There are some things we don't get involved in, like some of the newer automotive work with the new transponder keys."

Lawson: "We don't do safes or car lockouts."

How do you charge for the job?

Badertscher: "By the hour."

Baker: "Mainly by distance, the number of cylinders and the complexity of the hardware. On the road, you have a service call, which depends on the location and the time of day or night."

Lawson: "We charge a trip charge and then we charge by time."

What's the average fee for customers locked out of their house, their car or their safe?

Badertscher: "Somewhere around $85 [for a house]. A safe starts at about $100 and works its way up."

Baker: "The average is between $75 and $85 for a typical car or residential lockout during business hours. If they're a long distance away, it's going to be a different situation."

Lawson: "It's $85 for a house lockout."

Do you have any advice for people who lock themselves out of their cars or homes all the time?

Badertscher: "For cars, I have no advice. For homes, get a high-security lock with a registered key so you can go to a local locksmith and have them cut you a copy."

Baker: "Have a spare key hidden somewhere."

Lawson: "I'd suggest they leave a spare set of keys with someone they trust. I tell people that if they're locked out, it's probably cheaper to take a cab to someone who has a spare set of keys than to call a locksmith."

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What about safes?

I suggest the following questions to determine the best safecracker to call:

1. Will the work be performed by your own staff or do you sub-contract these jobs to other companies and add a fee?

2. Do you have the skills, specialized training and equipment to do this job in a professional manner and can you supply me with current client references?

3. Will my safe need to be drilled or are your technicians skilled and competent in advanced diagnostic procedures, combination lock manipulation and other non-invasive/destructive techniques.

4. Are you licensed, bonded and insured (numbers and coverage limits)?

5. How many years of experience do you have opening and repairing the type of safe, vault or ATM that I am locked out of?

6. Do you charge a "flat-rate, not to exceed price" or an open-ended "hourly rate" for openings?

7. If needed, do your service personnel carry locks, parts and supplies on-board that will allow them to return my equipment to it's full function and integrity?

8. Can you open my safe, vault or ATM with NO damage or minimal repairable damage, even if it has been butchered by a burglar or amateur opening attempt?

9. Can you complete the job and return my safe, vault or ATM to useful service in one visit?

10. Do you guarantee results, as well as your workmanship?

You really want to be careful about who you invite into your home or business to do security-related work. There are lots of scammers out there, as well as the merely incompetent posing as professionals.

Ken Doyle
Advanced Safe & Vault Engineering
California Licensed Safecracker
Novato, California

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