Category Archives: Locks

  • 0

Rekeying vs. Changing Your Locks

Category : Keys , Locks

Several circumstances might lead you to be in need of a key change. If you’ve misplaced your key, suffered a break-in, moved to a new house, started a new business in a previously owned building or experienced a change in staffing, it’s likely you desire a new key for safety and convenience purposes, but you might not know where to start.

Most don’t know it, but when you want to change your key entry method, you have the option of either changing your locks or rekeying them. Here’s the breakdown and benefits of both:

What Is Changing a Lock? 

Replacing a lock in order to change your key involves removing your current lock system and installing one that is entirely new. You’ll need to consider various factors when selecting a brand-new lock, such as your budget and the type of security features you desire. If you want a completely different kind of lock than the one you currently have, this method is necessary. You can buy a new lock at the hardware store and replace it yourself or consult your local locksmith for choices and installation.

Lock changing has several advantages. Selecting an entirely new lock, rather than working with your old one, gives you the added benefit of security customization. You can choose the appearance, features and functionality of your lock, add additional security pins or screws and create a system sturdier than any you’ve had before. You also have the option of upgrading your lock to reinforce and improve security whenever you desire.

What Is Rekeying?

Rather than removing and replacing your entire lock system, rekeying lets you keep your deadbolt system and readjust it to work with a different key. Your old key will no longer work, but otherwise your security will remain stable and operate in the same way — you’ll just have a fresh key to keep it safe. Rekeying is cost-effective but it can also be complicated, so make sure you contact a locksmith to help you perform the duty.

Rekeying is another great option for changing your entry key because it’s simple, efficient and cost-effective. You’ll keep your lock intact, so you don’t need to worry about budgeting for a new deadbolt system. The only costs you’ll incur are for the locksmith’s labor. In addition, when handled by a professional, rekeying is a quick and easy route to enhanced security and a fresh start.

Which Method Is Best?

Whether you choose to rekey or change your lock is based on personal preference and your situation. Think about what you’re willing to spend and the reason for the replacement. If you’re moving into a new house or business and want to make sure no one else has access, rekeying might be enough of a safety measure to ensure you’re the only one with the key.

If you’re looking for increased security or an upgrade because of the threat of burglaries, you might want to invest in a completely new lock instead.

New Lock and Rekeying Services in Maryland

Whether you’re looking for a new lock or need your current one rekeyed, Ernie’s Lock and Key can help. Servicing the keying needs of the Maryland and Metro D.C. areas since 1960, we specialize in ensuring your building is secure. Contact us today for more information.


  • 0

How to Pick a Lock

Category : Locks

We see it in spy movies, heists and other sensationalized settings: lock-picking is a skill that we associate with criminality and craftiness — but it’s a real skill that can come in handy in situations other than sleuthing and stealing. You can learn how to pick a door lock yourself and utilize the knowledge on multiple occasions to help you gain access to accidentally locked houses or cars in a non-destructive way.

Here’s what you need to know about picking locks:

  • Why You Should Know How to Pick a Lock:

    Learning to pick locks gives you insight into the nature of locks, how they work and the degree of security they provide. It can also open your eyes to the need to enhance your own security. It can also save you time and money in sticky situations, such as when you’ve misplaced your house key, locked your keys in your car or even to help someone in need.

  • Legality of Picking a Lock:

    You might be worried about whether carrying lock picking tools makes you look suspicious or could be against the law. But don’t fret — as long as you don’t intend to use them to break into another home or commit a crime, possessing tools for picking locks is legal and ethical. There’s nothing criminal about finding another way through your front door when you’ve forgotten your key!

  • How Lock-Picking Works:

    The most common type of lock is a pin tumbler lock, which is made up of a cylinder casing with a plug hole for the key and several key pins that, when lifted to the correct height, allow the plug to rotate and the lock to turn. Picking a lock means using tools other than the correct key to move the key pins into the right position to unlock the door.

  • Tools and Steps to Pick a Lock:

    For basic lock-picking purposes, you’ll need a tension wrench and pick rakes. You can find your own set online.

First, put the tension wrench into the plug and apply light pressure so you can feel plug rotate slightly as the key pins rise and drop and the driver pin catches. The wrench should barely bend.

Next, insert your pick at the top of the lock and slide it all the way in. Still putting pressure on the wrench, make a raking motion with your pick as you lift it slightly up and pull it back.

Repeat until all the pins click into place.

Turn to a Professional for Tricky Locks

If you find yourself up against an especially testy lock you can’t pick despite your best efforts, reach out to your local locksmith. With more than 50 years of experience servicing the personal and commercial lock and key needs in the Maryland and Metro D.C. areas, Ernie’s Lock and Key can help you out of any sticky lock situation. Contact us today for more information.


  • 0

What to Do When You’re Locked Out of Your Safe

Category : Access , Locks

You keep a safe to secure your most valuable items: your jewelry, your documents and your secret stash of cash. You don’t want anyone to get their hands on your prized possessions. Unfortunately, sometimes, that means you can’t, either. A secure safe you have access to can provide you with peace of mind, but a locked safe you can’t open can quickly cause a panic.

If you’re locked out of your safe, stay calm. Don’t try to break in with force. Instead, assess the situation and contact your local locksmith. Here are the steps to take when you can’t get into your safe:

  1. Determine the type of safe you have. The type of security, lock and operating system of your safe depends on the type you purchased. Look for a brand or manufacturer name on the safe, look up your purchasing information and take note of the size and construction of the device to determine whether it’s a safe or a lockbox.
  2. Determine why you’re locked out. You can always troubleshoot the lock issue before a professional arrives and try to open the safe yourself. You might have lost or broken your key or forgotten your combination, or it’s possible your bolts are jammed or detached. For cheap safes, safe bouncing — or hitting the top of the safe while turning the handle — can solve your problem. Other safes may have a safe override option, in which case you can flip a switch or enter a combination to reset your entry code.
  3. Reach out to a locksmith. If you can’t figure out why your safe won’t open or simply can’t solve the problem yourself, your best option is to contact a lock professional.

Maryland’s Locked Out Locksmith

If you’re looking for safe unlocking services or safe repair in Maryland, trust Ernie’s Lock and Key. Servicing the Maryland and Metro D.C. areas since 1960, we’ll make sure you have easy access to your safe again. Contact us today.


  • 0

Top Ways to Secure a Door

Category : Locks

 door locks in md

Your home is your haven. It’s where you relax after a long day, where you cook your meals, keep your pets and settle into sleep. In a personal place, you want to feel as safe as possible — especially if you live alone or have little ones you want to protect. Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, a house or an apartment, with a big group of people or on your own, securing your space against burglary threats increases your peace of mind and the safety of your environment.

How to Security Your Door and Keep Your Home Safe

  • Install High-Security Locks: To protect against covert break-in methods such as lock-picking, high-security home lock installation can be the best route to making sure your front door is secure. Deadbolt strength and material are key, so make sure you choose a lock with strong metal and resistance to picking. Whether you choose a traditional lock or an electronic smart lock, the right high-security deadbolt will guard against outside threats.

 

  • Invest in Security Cameras: If you’re concerned about burglaries or break-ins and want to keep an eye on your residence at all times, consider installing a security camera in your entryway. There are many options for video surveillance and security, including setups like smart doorbells with cameras or security cameras with alert systems. Video security can help you deter and prevent threats before they occur or identify burglars in your neighborhood.

 

  • Increase Door Visibility: It may seem irrelevant, but paying attention to the appearance of your door can increase security on its own. A door that is exposed, well-lit or in plain sight of the community is much less likely to be a burglary target because it makes it more likely that someone would notice a break-in attempt. Make sure not to conceal your door with close obstacles or shady areas that might make good hiding places.

 

  • Think About Door Construction: The best home security is door security. The material of your door has a lot to do with how secure it is. To prevent entry by jamming or breaking down the door, make sure your door is made of strong, solid wood or steel. Hollow core doors are never safe for exterior use. You should also think about a hardware cover to protect your lock and the weaknesses around it.

High-Security Door Locks and Services in Maryland

If you need assistance and assurance in door lock installation, security or residential lock repair, let Ernie’s Lock and Key lend you our expertise. Serving the Maryland and Metro D.C. areas since 1960, we’ve got you covered with the best products and services to protect your home. Contact us today!


  • 0
halloween-proof your house

How to Keep Your Home Safe During Halloween

Category : Keys , Locks

Tips to Keep Your Home Safe During Halloween

During all the Halloween festivities and fun of dressing up and eating candy, you may forget about the security of your home. Locking your doors may seem like a no-brainer from some — but Halloween is a popular holiday for mischievous hooligans and quite possibly, more serious criminal acts.

While people in costumes may be difficult to identify and pranks may begin to scour your neighborhood as the clock nears midnight, Ernie’s Locksmith in Maryland devised a few tips to keep your home safe during Halloween

 

  1. Locks

There are two types of people in this world — those who lock their doors each time they leave their home and those who never give it a second thought. If you’re the latter of the two, a home automation system allows you to lock and unlock your doors remotely with an electronic door lock. With smart lock security technology, you can make sure your home is secure by viewing an app.

 

  1. Alarm System

Setting up an alarm system enhances the security of your home compared to only locking your doors. It’s a good idea to make sure your system is working correctly and that your doors, handles and locks are not loose or broken.

 

  1. Lights

Although it’s customary to leave your porch lights on to indicate your participation in trick-or-treating, leaving your interior lights on is a safe way to indicate people are home — even if they aren’t. Using a smart lock security system in Maryland allows you to turn your lights on and off from anywhere.

 

  1. Peephole

Peepholes serve a purpose, and you shouldn’t be afraid to keep your door shut if you’re unsure of who is on the other side. Instead of leaving your door unlocked during trick-or-treating or a party, use the peephole. Burglars have a better chance of entering your home if you’re constantly opening it without caution.

 

  1. Social Media

It’s a smart idea to keep your plans off social media because it leaves your house vulnerable and open to crimes. Don’t share the location of your haunted party, as it could encourage unfortunate or dangerous events to occur at your home without your permission.

 

Make Your Home Halloween-Proof

To keep your home or business safe during Halloween, contact Ernie’s Lock Company.


  • 0

Why a Local Locksmith Is the Best Choice

Category : Keys , Locks

 

Choose A Local Locksmith In Maryland

local locksmith in maryland

Although it might not happen frequently, there will be times when you need the services of a capable locksmith. The first question that pops into your head will probably be, “Where can I find a locksmith near me?”

While a quick Internet search will likely yield a host of results, some of them will be mobile locksmiths who may not have a strong presence in your area. A better option is to contact a local locksmith who has a solid reputation within your community.

 

Reasons to contact a local locksmith:

  • They know your area and its unique security needs. A local locksmith with roots in the area has unique insight into your security issue and can recommend the most reliable, affordable solution. You’ll also know who to call if you need follow-up service.

 

  • They have all the necessary tools and equipment to do the job. Local locksmiths are brick-and-mortar business establishments and have all the requisite resources and technology on-site. In contrast, a mobile locksmith you find online usually has a limited number of tools and equipment.

 

  • You’ll avoid scams. Mobile locksmith scams are all too common these days. When you contact a local locksmith, you’ll know you’re dealing with a reputable business you can trust.

 

  • You’ll be supporting a small business. It’s good to know that when you call your friendly neighborhood locksmith, you’re helping to support a smaller company that makes a positive contribution to your local economy.

 

Ernie’s Lock Co. Is the Best Locksmith in Riverdale, MD, and Beyond

If you’re looking for a local locksmith in Maryland, Riverdale-based Ernie’s Lock Co. is ready to assist you. We’re a full-service, community-focused small business that’s been meeting the lock and security needs of Maryland home and business owners since 1960. Next time you’re locked out, remember to make us your neighborhood locksmith!


  • 0

Mobile Locksmiths Aren’t Always the Best Choice

Category : Locks

Four Reasons Mobile Locksmiths Are A Scam

mobile locksmith in md

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it’s only a matter of time until you’ll find yourself locked out of your home or car. Your first instinct will probably be to pull out your smartphone and do a quick Google search for a locksmith in the area — and you’ll likely be inundated with a long list of “mobile” locksmiths who promise fast service and unbelievably low prices. While this might sound like the perfect solution for your predicament, a mobile locksmith isn’t always the best option. Here are four big reasons why.

Quality Can Be an Issue

 Despite what their Google ads or websites might proclaim, not every mobile locksmith is a qualified professional with “years” of experience. In fact, many mobile locksmiths are poorly trained or have had no training at all. While you may get a quick response to your call, you might discover the person’s remedy for unlocking your home or vehicle is to drill a hole in the door.

Inadequate Tools/Technology

 Mobile locksmiths sometimes will attempt to portray their business as a storefront operation. However, most don’t operate out of a physical structure — their car or van often serves as their workshop, warehouse and office. This makes it difficult for them to carry the advanced technological tools and resources you’d find in any reputable brick-and-mortar lock shop.

You Might Pay Dearly for Convenience

 While most of us expect to pay a little more for convenience, you might be in for a heavy dose of “sticker shock” when you enlist the services of a mobile locksmith. Many will quote a low upfront price, then add a host of service fees after the fact that can bring the final cost to several hundred dollars.

Many Mobile Lock Services Are a Scam

 Sadly, the mobile locksmith business is a haven for scam artists who aren’t legitimate professionals. Red flags that can help you spot a locksmith scam include:

  • When you dial their phone number, you reach a call center that won’t put you in direct contact with a locksmith
  • The locksmith arrives in a plain vehicle and isn’t wearing a company uniform and name tag
  • The locksmith attributes any add-on charges to the age of your vehicle or poor condition of your home’s door
  • The locksmith demands cash and refuses to accept credit cards or another form of payment

Call A Local Locksmith In MD For All Locksmith Needs

A better alternative to calling a mobile locksmith is to contact a reputable one in your area whenever you’re locked out of your home, business or vehicle. If you need a dependable locksmith in MD or the Washington, D.C., area you can trust, make your first call to Ernie’s Lock Co.


  • 0
when do replace door locks

Top 10 Reasons to Replace Your Door Locks

Category : Locks

With so many issues to be concerned with in daily life, the last thing you need to worry about is your home security being threatened by inferior or compromised locks. Strong, quality locks on your front and back doors give you confidence. That’s not just when you’re away. It’s also when you’re relaxing inside, taking a shower or sleeping.

Locks are your last line of defense in protection from burglars or unauthorized intruders. Home burglaries are common throughout the United States, and it’s not always a total stranger that sneaks into your house. Unlawful entry can well be from someone you know. That could be a previous tenant, an ex-roommate or even a separated significant other.

Preventing illegal entries is your first step in a proactive approach to home security. The best security systems rely on a layered approach that integrates several devices. Good exterior lighting and clear visibility are a few of these. Motion-activated sensors are another excellent security tool. But nothing beats the value of good quality locks where you have proper key and access control.

 

When to Replace Door Locks

There are a number of situations where you may not have complete control of your locks. These might have occurred before your original home possession or from an event while you were away. No matter what the cause of compromised locks, there are solutions available for you to regain access control. Knowing when to change your locks will also give you peace of mind.

How often should you change your locks? That depends on different situations, so let’s take a look at the top ten reasons for replacing door locks. Then we’ll examine the best solutions, including some of the popular lock products and services available.

replace locks in new home

You’ve moved into a new home and taken possession of existing locks.

Even if your home is brand new and the builder presents you with keys for your front and back door locks, you have no way of knowing if others have duplicate keys. That could also include master keys.

Many builders use construction locks that are universal to their business. They keep these utility locks on doors during the building process and recycle them from house to house. Their team of subtrades and suppliers are given service keys for the construction locks, which makes day-to-day building access convenient. A competent builder will swap out construction locks for exclusive homeowner locks at the completion of the job, but you have no way of knowing who else may have keys.

Realtor lockboxes are commonly attached to homes offered for sale. This includes new homes in development communities as well as existing homes in established neighborhoods. A key for the home’s door is stashed inside the lock box, but there’s a mass of access to it. You also have no way of knowing if this key was exclusive or copied about.

Purchasing a home from an existing owner has its security risks, too. You might receive “the keys” upon completion of the sale and use them to move in. But you have no assurance that these keys were copied many times not just by the previous owner but by others before in the chain of possession. That includes family members, guests and tenants if the home had been rented out.

Don’t assume you’re getting solid lock security when you buy a new house. It’s cheap and valuable insurance to replace your door locks, and you’ll relax in peace, especially when you’re asleep or in the shower.

 

Your house has been broken into.

Burglaries are a terrible invasion of your personal space. They can be emotionally upsetting, never mind financially expensive. When you’ve experienced a break-in, you have to assume the worst. The worst-case scenario is that the burglars who did it now have possession of your keys and have control of your locks.

Even if you have a tight inventory and you feel all keys are accounted for, don’t take the chance. You can’t be assured your keys aren’t in wrong hands. Replacing your locks is a small price to pay to offset the possibility they may return for the rest of your belongings.

Many burglaries are committed by manipulating, picking or cheating the locks. If this was the method of entry in your burglary incident, it means you have inferior locks, and the break-in could easily be repeated. Locks are also damaged during break-ins and make them more vulnerable to future forced entries.

Take insurance issues into account after experiencing a burglary. If your keys were taken and a burglar returns, your insurance company may find fault that you failed in taking due diligence for prevention. This could negate a future insurance claim that could be prevented by replacing your door locks.

change lock when keys are stolen

You’ve lost your keys or had them stolen.

Unfortunately, this happens far too frequently. Losing your keys is one thing. It’s terribly inconvenient to be locked out and ask someone with duplicate keys to come over and let you in. It’s also expensive to call a locksmith to attend and open up.

Having your keys stolen is entirely another matter. With lost keys, you assume someone else has access. With stolen keys, you know they’re in criminal hands, and a possible clandestine visit is only a matter of time. The sense of pending violation with stolen keys is too high a price to pay, and there’s only one solution.

Regardless of whether you’ve simply lost your keys or had a sinister theft of your best security control device, the best thing is to immediately replace your locks. Don’t let time pass in the hope your keys will be found and returned. Change your locks before the price becomes higher.

 

You’ve completed a renovation.

It’s common in renovations for many tradespeople and material suppliers to need access to your home while you’re away. This could be carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians and tile setters. It might even be your general contractor.

Even if you thoroughly trust your main contractor, you have no idea who the subtrades are and who they’re associated with. There’s no guarantee your house keys won’t be duplicated and handed off to shady characters.

Replacing your door locks at the completion of renovations will be a tiny fraction of your overall remodeling budget. It’s economical protection to invest in new locks.

change locks when you change style

You want a change of style.

This goes hand in hand with renovating your home. Changing style is probably one of your main reasons for upgrading your look and feel. Locks may be a small contributor to the overall plan, but it’s these small details that make your big and beautiful picture.

Your old locks may be a different brand than you prefer or manufactured in an era that shows dated style. Your existing locks may be bright brass when you’d prefer brushed nickel. Or they may be shiny chrome when your palette calls for dark steel.

Making the choice to change your locks is not difficult. It’s choosing the right style from multiple products that could be the challenge. But then, that’s part of the fun in redecorating.

 

Your locks are inferior or poor quality.

So often in older homes or places that are mass-built in tract developments, builders use the cheapest products possible to get the maximum return on their dollar. Unfortunately, when it comes to locks, it could mean security was sacrificed for savings.

Inferior or poor-quality locks are easy for burglars to break or pick. In fact, the quality of locks is often one of the main things thieves assess when casing a place. They know the marks of bad locks. They also know good locks when they see them.

Replacing your old, low-cost locks with newer and superior products is a deterrent to burglars. They know it’ll be tough to break in and not worth the effort. That, in itself, is worth the investment.

 

Your locks are old and worn out.

Locks wear out. Like any product with moving components, locks succumb to fair wear and tear. Years of repeated turning and twisting take their toll on door locks, and eventually, they’ll fail.

Take a look at your locks for signs of stress. This might be tarnish or rust. They might be stiff or extremely loose. Your locks could be in the throes of failure and ready to pack it in without warning.

Old, worn-out locks are easy to jimmy. Burglars know this and work it to their advantage. New locks are tight and tough to pick, making it impossible to open them without the right key. There’s a saying that locks are for honest people, but the real key in home security is to let honest people in and keep dishonest ones out.

 

You’ve ended a rental or roommate agreement.

This is a common reason to change door locks. Many people supplement their income with subletting a room or apartment with a rental tenant. Giving them keys to the house naturally goes with the agreement.

Once the arrangement comes to an end, it’s natural to get the keys back. Most tenant or roommate agreements come to a positive end, and all keys are returned safely and securely. Occasionally, this doesn’t happen, and keys to your home may be “floating out there,” as the figure of speech goes.

Tenants or roommates also have reason to give keys out to others. This could be without your permission or knowledge. To be sure of access control once an occupant leaves, it’s a good idea to replace the locks, even if you’ve taken in someone new.

 

You’ve gone through a break-up or divorce.

This is one of the nastiest circumstances where you might be forced to replace your locks. It might be for your actual safety, not just your sense of security.

If your relationship with a significant other has ended and they’ve been forced to vacate, make sure you change your locks and be very cautious who gets keys. Many people have experienced unwanted return visits from estranged spouses. Keeping them locked out is your main line of defense.

 

Your lifestyle changes through a disability.

Acquiring a disability is a sad fact of life for many people. It may happen to you as you age, or it may be a deteriorating condition with someone who lives in or frequents your house.

Many locks aren’t designed for people with disabilities or mobility issues. Being able to insert a key, turn it and twist a door handle is challenging for some. For others, it may be a near impossibility. Fortunately, there are simple solutions for handicapped access, and that includes door locks designed for people with disabilities.

Think outside the old lock-and-key arrangement. Today, there are sophisticated entry-pass systems that work on smartphone application and coded security. Investing in a smart lock system gives you a versatile security solution that allows for remote keyless entry with the ability to issue limited access permission.

rekeying locks

Solutions for Replacing Your Door Locks

The simplest solutions for solving your security challenges are rekeying or replacing your door locks. Both involve some expense, and there are pros and cons to each approach.

Rekeying your locks is straightforward, but it takes someone with professional locksmithing ability. This is more than taking your lock and key to a local hardware or big box store for copying or cutting.

In rekeying, a locksmith removes the lock cylinder and alters the springs and pins to accept a new key profile. Often these parts are worn and have to be replaced. That can raise the cost over and above what an entire lock replacement will run.

Replacing your door locks is usually the best solution. It gives you the longevity of a new product and the assurance that its quality will endure anything a burglar can throw at it. Buying new locks also fits in with redecorating schemes and presents a bright, fresh glow to visitors as they approach your front door. Dollar for dollar, your best value will be in replacing your locks rather than rekeying.

If you’re planning to replace your door locks for any of these ten reasons, make sure you consider installing a new, high-technology keyless entry system like a Smart Lock. Smart Locks offer sophisticated solutions for replacing old, outdated locks. They utilize virtual keys. Numerous benefits include keyless access, increased security, remote locking capability, timed automatic locking and the unique ability to create one-time access codes for temporary visitors.

Ernie’s Lock Co. is Maryland’s Smart Lock installation expert. We carry a number of high-tech products and can match the best system for your home. Exceptional quality and reliable brands include Schlage and Medeco that are backed by comprehensive warranties to ensure years of trouble-free security.

Ernie’s is proud to provide residential service to some of Maryland’s most prestigious addresses as well as service to commercial businesses. We provide house calls to rekey or replace your existing locks and emergency service for accidental lockouts.

Since 1960, we’ve been building a reputation for reliable service, transparent pricing and exceptionally high-quality work. Consulting with a professional locksmith like Ernie’s is the best way to determine your lock replacement needs. Contact Ernie’s today to request a quote for lock rekeying services in Maryland.


  • 0

Top Five Tips: How to Avoid Locksmith Scams

Category : Locks

Ernie's Lock Company, Inc.

When you need assistance with your lock and/or key entry, you would assume Google’s local locksmith listings is a reliable and safe place to start. But that’s not always the case. Today, a growing trend amongst Google locksmith listings are sophisticated con artists defrauding thousands of customers.

“Lead generators,” as they are known, create websites for companies that do not exist. Local business listings are falsely portrayed as an actual location of the phony business, along with fake reviews. Customers in a panic — locked out of their business, house or car — will use Google to search for a nearby locksmith company and the results of the imitation locksmiths will appear.

When you call, the scammer will quote you a low price and usually send the call to a contractor who may not be a real locksmith. When they arrive, they could drill the lock — this is not the proper method — and up the price.

The following tips provide information on how to avoid locksmith scams, how to choose the right locksmith and specific questions to ask your locksmith.

Work With a Local Locksmith

To ensure the locksmith you are looking to hire is legitimate and honest, call several in your area ahead of time, before you have an emergency, and ask questions. You can also check reviews of their company, but be aware of fake reviews posted by scammers.

When calling a local locksmith, make sure they clearly state their business name when answering the phone — be wary of 800 numbers versus a local number. Double-check the validity of the local address listing on Google by confirming another business is not operating at that same address. It may be wise to drive to the location to confirm the true business identity and location.

Always Ask for ID

In the state of Maryland, locksmith licensing is required and can be a good legitimacy check when choosing the right locksmith. Check the proper ID verification of the locksmith who arrives, as well as proper licensure. Another good tip to follow is to take notice whether the locksmith who arrives is wearing a uniform — if they are not, be cautious. An authentic locksmith should arrive in a licensed and clearly marked vehicle, and will arrive promptly to assist with your emergency.

Don’t Fall for Bait-and-Switch Pricing

Locksmith scammers offer low-bait prices to draw customers in and then charge extremely higher rates once the service is completed. When speaking to a locksmith, make sure the cost estimates and bids have been communicated clearly and estimates are explained thoroughly. If the estimated cost quoted over the phone does not match the estimate at the time of service, do not permit the service to be performed.

A legitimate locksmith will be willing to answer any questions you may have, whereas a scammer may become frustrated with numerous questions and push you to move forward with service. Be sure to ask about any additional charges for mileage, service call minimums or emergency hours. Another common practice among scammers is only accepting cash payments to avoid credit card traceability.

drilling locks

Make Sure “Drilling the Lock” Is the Last Resort

A highly-skilled and reliable locksmith will have the knowledge and tools to unlock doors, particularly residential, without needing to drill or replace the entire lock. Drilling a lock is only needed when opening high-security or commercial locks. A scammer may replace the drilled lock with a cheap lock and then raise the cost much higher than required.

Ask Questions

It’s a good idea to have a list of questions to ask a locksmith over the phone, as well as in person to prove credibility. These questions also ensure they are knowledgeable in the area of your specific residential or commercial needs. Some important questions to ask your locksmith to ensure authenticity:

  • Where is your business located?
  • How will you get into the house/business? Will you need to drill my lock? Could you explain the process of how you will fulfill the desired service request?
  • What is the estimated time the service will take?
  • Can you provide an estimated cost? What factors would cause the price estimate to fluctuate?
  • Do you need a picture of the lock ahead of time?
  • Do you take credit cards as a form of payment?
  • What is the name of the locksmith technician who will be providing the service?

 

The piece-of-mind to have a reliable, honest and dependable locksmith is important when putting your home or business’ security in their hands. Ernie’s Lock Company, Inc. is a local, well-known and reliable full-service locksmith company, which provides quality work from our highly skilled and licensed team.

The team at Ernie’s provides transparent pricing and we’re more than willing to answer any questions at the time of service or ahead of time over the phone. Call our office directly today at 301-277-1126 to gain a piece-of-mind ahead of time.






Contact Us!

For All Your Locksmith Needs!








Our Services

    Commercial & Residential

  • High Security & Restricted Keyways
  • Key Duplication (in shop & on road)
  • Key Cutting
  • Custom Master Key Systems
  • Lock Rekeying
  • Lock Installation
  • Lock Repairs
  • Door Hardware Installation
  • Electrical Access
  • Keyless Entry
  • Safes & Vault Sales
  • Safes & Vault Unlocking Services
  •  
    Lockouts - *Within 10 Miles

  • Automotive Lockouts
  • Residential Lockouts
  • Commercial Lockouts

Store Hours

  • Monday – Friday 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Saturday – Scheduling Only
  • Sunday – CLOSED

Pricing

Ernie's Lock Company, Inc. believes in full transparency when it comes to pricing! We always provide honest, competitive and up-front pricing to our customers - we don't like sticker shock. Call our licensed locksmiths today for pricing & custom quotes!

Location

4500 Queensbury Road Riverdale, Maryland 20737