After attending a call from someone who had recently used a national locksmith company, I felt compelled to inform any potential customers why they should only ever use an independent locksmith...
The customer in question had suffered a failed mechanism on a UPVC door similar to that fitted on most homes in the UK. The door was unlocked, and only held in place by the latch in the middle. The part of the mechanism that had failed meant the door handle was unable to be operated, so they were effectively locked out.
The locksmith from the national company who arrived advised that he needed to enter through the front door, he did this using a destructive method, which he then charged the customer for. He informed the customer of the cost to open and temporarily secure the back door using four sash jammers (only two are necessary), which would cost £150 on top of the costs already incurred for damaging the front door! At this point the customer sent him on his way.
After getting over the shock, the customer called me to try a second opinion. Over the phone I tried to understand the situation and advised of possible problems and their respective solutions and costs. On arrival I assessed the lock and quickly opened the door without any damage, then replaced the faulty part and made adjustments to the door to avoid a recurrence.
Why did I take such a different approach? Firstly I own my own business so reputation is vital, as word of mouth is the most effective and cheapest method of advertising. Secondly I don't have to pay for any 'middle' men!
My advice on this is to look at the registered business address to ensure you are getting a truly local locksmith, and if you get put through to a call centre that normally means they are not local.
If you want to ensure you get the best service, choose a local independent locksmith!