The first step in choosing a locksmith should be checking with the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no unresolved complaints. This is true whether you need a locksmith for a one-time job, or you hope to hire someone to continue working for you, since you must be able to trust your locksmith. You don't want to give just anyone access to the locks for your home, your vehicle, or your place of business.
You should also avoid picking a locksmith from the Internet or out of the phone book without learning more about his or her credentials. Having a certificate does not necessarily mean a locksmith is qualified. He or she may have taken a correspondence course rather than being certified through the Associated Locksmiths of America, or another organization that actually tests a person's skills before granting certification.
Find out if the locksmith has a shop rather than just a website or an ad in the phone book. Ask how long he or she has been in business, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find out. Someone who is well established and has been in the same location for several years is more likely to be reputable.
Find out if the locksmith is insured. If your property is damaged during a repair, or if faulty work leads to loss or damage, does he or she have sufficient insurance to cover your losses?
How many employees does the locksmith have? Will one of them be providing you with service rather than the business owner? Make sure employees are properly certified, bonded and covered by insurance.
Ask the locksmith for references, and ask people you trust which locksmith they use. If you are looking for a locksmith for your business, don't hesitate to talk to other business owners. You may find that the majority of businesses in your area prefer a particular locksmith.
Hiring a locksmith can be expensive, so price is obviously going to be a concern. While shopping around for reasonable estimates is practical, it is worth paying a bit more to hire someone that you are confident you can trust.