When you’re locked out of your house, the last thing you’re thinking about is how much a locksmith will cost. But if you’re charged more than you expect after the fact, you won’t be too pleased. So how do you know which locksmith to hire to make sure you get good service without breaking the bank?

First, get a quote or two. Be sure to ask the locksmith what the price will cover - many customers are surprised to find that the charge only covers the service, not the parts used, and are charged more than anticipated. If you’re short on time, ask for the names of the company representatives as well as all terms and conditions before signing anything.

While discussing the price of the job you want to be completed, get an idea of any additional charges that could be added should something go wrong. If you’re still satisfied with the price after learning about potential extra fees, see if the company has insurance in case of property damage. It’s also a good idea to evaluate the quality of service by looking for official company vehicles, positive customer input, and good overall business maintenance.

Request the locksmith’s ID and business card when they arrive, and in turn, offer them your own; mutual trust is important, even in short-term business transactions. Ask questions whenever necessary once the locksmith has evaluated the situation and proposed a solution, only agreeing to what you’re comfortable with.

If you have a bad experience with a typically well-praised locksmith, be more thorough in your future searches. Look for one with certifications including formal training, standardized test completion, and an ethics code they must abide by.

Follow all of the above suggestions and you’ll drastically increase your chances of finding a great locksmith for a reasonable price, even if you’re in a rush.