One of the more frequent questions I get (and I mean daily) is from someone who’s lost a key to some lock and doesn’t want to pay the callout they’ve been quoted because they have seen it done on You Tube and it looks easy.
I feel their pain. Many a time I’ve had to get an emergency tradesman round only to see them twist a knob, tighten a screw, etc. then invoice me for a similar amount. It hurts!
And yet, with the locksmith they seek some kind of solution. They are always ‘looking for a tool’ that will open the lock for them. Often a bump key (they’ve heard the hype), but anything, any ‘lock pick’ that will save them the callout. And so the problems start.
I received an enquiry to open a cylinder. The type of lock I could probably open with some rakes in seconds, probably shim with some MICA in seconds, the type of lock my pick gun usually eats for dinner, or more often than not a nicely polished 3 peak rake will tease open almost as quickly as it touches the pins.
I could recommend all of these tools. The problem however is the ‘probably’ of the MICA shim; the ‘usually’ of the EPG; the ‘more often than not’ of the rakes; and the ‘usually’ of the bump key.
The reason a Locksmith is asking for his callout is because he is DEFINITELY going to open that lock. He has the rakes; the pick gun; the MICA; the bump keys, but more importantly he knows exactly how to pick a lock. He can Single Pin Pick, Impression, and Bump. The tools don’t do the work, they are an object that allow the lock picker to transfer his knowledge and skill into the lock.
In short, he knows how to use those tools. That’s his job. It’s not just about having the lock picking tools, but about knowing how to use them, and more importantly, how to use the others when one, two, three techniques don’t work.
He charges a callout because he spent time learning all about locks. He spent time learning so that he can identify your lock and work out how to open it. He spent money on a wide variety of tools and techniques because he knows certain types of locks might be resistant to MICA, or an EPG, it might require single pin lock picking, a technique on which he has probably spent hundreds of hours, hundreds of locks, and a few lock pick sets perfecting.
It’s easy to say, and believe me we hear it all the time, that a locksmith arrived, stuck a little tool in the lock and it was open in seconds, only then to complain when he asked for the full callout that you initially quoted them. Do you want him to take an hour, to sweat, to have cuts on his fingers?
Because if that’s the issue, don’t worry, he already has! The reason he can get the job done in seconds is because he’s already done the sweating, he’s already spent the hours learning, hours upon hours of practising, learning, studying, becoming excellent at his chosen skill. He did that so you don’t have to, so that he doesn’t have to when you want the lock open.
So rather than complain when a locksmith opens your lock in a matter of seconds, be glad you can carry on with your life faster than expected. Of course, there’s another answer to not paying the callout, and I promise you’ll never have to pay another locksmith. Get the skills yourself, get the tools, learn the techniques, and you’ll never need to call a locksmith again.