As a property manager, ensuring your buildings stay secure is a major responsibility. This often requires relying on professional locksmiths for services like installing and repairing locks, re-keying during tenant turnover, upgrading to electronic access control systems, and providing emergency access when needed.

With the sheer number of locksmith businesses operating in the Whitby area, how can property managers vet these vendors to know which ones they can truly trust? This is critical, as using disreputable or unethical locksmith services poses major risks. These include drastic overcharging, having your locks damaged, keys ending up in the wrong hands, or response failures during urgent situations.

When your building security is on the line, you need complete confidence that the locksmith you hire is experienced, ethical, fairly priced, and able to respond rapidly when emergencies occur. This article will cover the key factors property managers should thoroughly evaluate when choosing reliable Whitby locksmith services. Taking the time to do proper due diligence allows you to engage with legitimate professionals that will meet your needs without taking advantage of you.

1. Verify Licensing and Insurance  

The first and most basic step when evaluating a Whitby locksmith is to verify they are properly licensed and insured. Any locksmith legally conducting business and operations in Ontario must hold an active provincial license for the specific services they provide.

Start your due diligence by calling Service Ontario or checking their public online registry to confirm the locksmith has a valid license on record. Each year, all legitimate locksmiths must register and maintain this license that permits them to operate. Having this on file ensures the business is subject to oversight and accountability from a regulating authority.

Unlicensed locksmiths lack qualifications, avoid mandatory screening, and have no accountability. As a property management company, you open yourself up to liability risks if you knowingly hire unlicensed vendors. Always confirm this documentation upfront before engaging a new locksmith’s services.

Equally crucial is verifying adequate insurance coverage. The locksmith should carry valid general liability insurance as well as any specialized coverage like worker’s compensation or bonding. Request to see proof of current policies in writing, and follow up directly with their provider to double-check it is active and covers the work to be performed.

With substantial property value in your care, insurance protects you from assuming liability in the event damages ever occur during service or injuries happen onsite. Using uninsured vendors leaves you financially exposed. Simply asking if they are insured is not enough—always independently validate documentation before hiring.

2. Check Background and Reputation

A locksmith’s reputation gives critical insight into their ethics, quality of service, timeliness, and overall reliability. Online reviews are extremely informative for spotting red flags and gathering impartial insights into actual customer experiences.

Spend time thoroughly reading through reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other sites. Look for consistent satisfaction and a lack of recurring complaints in the feedback. No company is perfect, but patterns of unresolved issues are a warning sign.

Pay attention to how the locksmith responds to negative reviews as well. Responsible businesses that promptly address problems demonstrate far more accountability than those who ignore or delete critical feedback.

You can also check accredited sites like the Better Business Bureau for any public complaints formally filed against the company. While no complaints is ideal, responsible resolution of issues also indicates integrity.

Be wary of reviews that seem suspiciously too positive or generic. It is unfortunately common practice for disreputable businesses to astroturf fake 5-star testimonials to drown out real negative experiences. Use your judgment here.

For the most impartial insights, another avenue is asking property management peers about locksmiths they have successfully used in Whitby and can recommend based on first-hand experience. Word of mouth referrals can surface quality vendors.

3. Compare Services Offered

Consider the full breadth of locksmith services you require as a property management company. Installing access control systems at apartment buildings or condos can call for very different expertise versus more standard residential re-keying during tenant turnover.

Look for established locksmiths that offer a wide range of residential, commercial, industrial, automotive, and specialty services. Full-service vendors demonstrate extensive experience across different properties and needs.

Compare specific service lists on company websites to get a sense of their offerings. Reputable locksmiths often provide a comprehensive gamut that includes:

  • Access control systems
  • Intercom installation
  • Master key systems
  • High-security lock installation
  • Custom key management programs
  • Securing construction sites
  • Emergency lockout services
  • Rekeying and lock repairs
  • Safe installation and opening
  • Automotive key replacement

4. Request Estimates and Pricing

One crucial step is requesting quotes from at least three locksmiths to compare pricing. This gives you transparency into reasonable rate ranges, so you can guard against drastic overcharging.

Some unscrupulous or predatory locksmiths severely exploit customers who urgently require service and fail to compare prices. Be wary of hidden fees, bait-and-switch tactics, or refusal to provide firm cost estimates in writing.

Make sure to clarify what factors may influence the final price, including parts, labour, level of urgency, time of day, mileage fees, minimum service charges, and more. Get full price transparency upfront before approving any work.

As a ballpark figure, re-keying the locks on a standard residential door starts around $50. For small commercial buildings, installing a basic access control system with 5 doors runs $2,000+ in most cases. Of course, prices can vary depending on specific needs.

 Understand all rates, after-hours policies, guarantees, and other fine print in writing. Avoid locksmiths that seem evasive or hesitant about providing concrete pricing.

5. Focus on Responsiveness

For property managers, the ability to get rapid emergency response is often crucial. You deal with situations like tenants getting locked out late at night, break-ins requiring immediate re-keying, or access control failures during peak business hours.

Ask potential locksmiths specifically about guarantees for emergency dispatch times. How quickly can they mobilize technicians for urgent calls versus more routine service requests?

Reasonable emergency response windows are typically 30 minutes to an hour for most companies. Confirm availability 24/7 or if certain hours/days are not covered that could impact tenants. Ensure the locksmith truly grasps and is equipped to meet the quick reactions often essential to your property management role.

 For non-emergency service calls, acceptable response times are often the next day or within a few days. However, good communication is vital if any delays come up. Ask about call-ahead or confirmation policies for regular appointments.

6. Request a License and Background Check

Thorough property managers should take the final step of requesting a voluntary license and background check from potential locksmiths they look to hire. This provides an additional layer of verification, as you can directly confirm the legitimacy of their license and screen for issues like criminal records.

Most legitimate locksmiths will readily provide a copy of their documentation and consent to background checks in order to win your business. Provincial license numbers can be validated through public records as well.

While this does represent an added step, it can surface important details and prevent potential issues down the road. For locksmiths servicing valuables onsite and accessing secure tenant areas, the extra diligence is warranted.

7. Ask About Process and Protocols

Before hiring a locksmith, it is also prudent to ask about their standard processes, procedures, and protocols when visiting properties.

Key areas to cover include:

  • Verification protocols for accessing units or secured areas.
  • Badging or identification procedures for their technicians.
  • Securing work areas during service visits.
  • Protecting floors/walls and cleaning up properly afterwards
  • Noise rules if work occurs during quiet hours.
  • Having tenants present or consent during work.

Reputable locksmiths will have well-defined procedures and be transparent about typical processes. Clarify any policies or expectations around their onsite conduct. Know what to anticipate when they are working within your properties.

Whitby Locksmith

Vetting locksmiths thoroughly by verifying licenses, reputation, service breadth, pricing transparency, responsiveness, background checks, and processes allows property managers to avoid nasty surprises or disappointment. Never take chances on unlicensed, unethical, evasive, or irresponsible locksmiths.

With over 30 years of experience across the GTA spanning residential, commercial, industrial, and automotive work, Ajax Locksmiths stands out as a trustworthy option for any property management needs in the Whitby area.

Contact us at 905-686-0827 to learn more about our services! Our expertise can give you the peace of mind that your buildings are in good hands.