It's a worst-case scenario: you're locked out of your home, and you need to call an emergency locksmith to come and let you back in again. It's one thing if you have an existing relationship with a local locksmith, but if you've nobody specific in mind to call, then picking one can seem like a mammoth task! The good news is that it's not as difficult as you might think to find a locksmith who is skilled, professional and trustworthy. So what should you look out for?

On the website 

Nobody expects a locksmith to be a web designer, and smaller businesses might not have the funds to hire one—and that's just fine. Don't expect top-of-the-line CSS or cutting-edge design principles. On the other hand the website should be written in a professional manner and grammatically correct; be wary of garbled nonsense or careless spelling, as either could mean a scam. If you check a reviews site, keep an eye out for people who are rated highly but avoid anyone with nothing but glowing five-star reviews, especially if there's something oddly similar in the way all those reviews are written.

When you call 

If it's a small local business or somewhere that does primarily emergency work, expect to speak with the locksmith themselves when you call. If it's a larger chain company or similar, you're more likely to get a receptionist or assistant. Neither is a problem. Just look out for friendly professionalism, a sense of competence and someone who seems sympathetic to the urgency of a customer who has been locked out of their home and needs to get back inside.

As they arrive 

Does the van your locksmith arrives in have the same company branding as their website? An unbranded vehicle is no cause for concern, but one with the name and logo of a different company on it might raise a red flag. It could simply mean they used to work for a different company and haven't repainted their van yet, or that they've recently completed their apprenticeship and are borrowing a van from their former mentor, and both of these things are absolutely fine. On the other hand, it could mean they have some failed companies and desperate rebrandings under their belt, which is less of a good sign! If this happens, ask them about it in a friendly manner and reserve judgement until you've seen how they answer.