What Does a Commercial Locksmith Do?

commercial locksmithIf you have ever been locked out of your home or locked your keys in your car, you are familiar with your typical locksmith. However, if you own a business, you wouldn’t call a residential locksmith to help with your lock and key needs. You would call a commercial locksmith. But what does a commercial locksmith do?

Research new lock technology

Commercial locksmiths have to be up-to-date on the latest in lock and key technology. For example, some businesses need keyless entry and require fingerprint technology or barcode scanning to gain entry. Commercial locksmiths often have clients who need secure buildings and rooms, so they must have the knowledge to keep their clients secure with the newest and best lock and key technology.

Install new locks

Commercial locksmiths install new locks for clients. There are many reasons someone might want to install new locks. If a business owner purchased a previously used building, he or she will want to replace the locks. There is no way to know how many keys were given out with the previous owner, or whether or not all the keys were returned. A business owner doesn’t want non-employees running around with a key to the business. Another reason a business owner might want new locks is if an employee was let go on poor terms. If that employee has had a key, it might be a wise idea to replace locks. You never know what a disgruntled employee might try to do.

Repair locks

You would also call a commercial locksmith if your business needed to have a lock repaired. Sometimes, keys break off in locks. A commercial locksmith can repair the lock and replace your key. There are also times when a lock becomes damaged. If there was an attempted break in, the locks may have been damaged. If you are working with electronic locks, sometimes the wiring malfunctions and repairs may need to be made. If the lock at your workplace isn’t working properly for whatever reason, it’s best to call your commercial locksmith.

It might seem like any locksmith can do the job, however, a commercial locksmith only works with commercial properties. They are trained to provide the best information and lock and key technology for the safety and security of a business. You wouldn’t want a car lock expert trying to manage your keyless door lock. If you are in the Chicago area and find yourself in need of a commercial locksmith, call Omega Locksmith, and we’ll meet you anywhere in Chicago in 30 minutes.

Top Five Things to Consider Before Calling a Residential Locksmith

residential locksmithThere are many reasons you may call a residential locksmith. Perhaps you have just purchased a new home and want to change your locks, or maybe you locked yourself out. Whatever the reason, here are five things to consider before you call.

Should you consider making a restricted key?

There are two types of keys: Unrestricted, which can be copied, and restricted, which cannot be duplicated without a locksmith and specific authorization. If you know you will be giving out keys to neighbors or maintenance workers and you don’t want to wonder if they are being duplicated, you might want to consider getting a restricted key made by a residential locksmith.

Do you need to make spare keys?

When you first move into a home, it’s important to have all of your locks replaced and new keys made. Before you call your residential locksmith, you want to know how many locks you will be replacing, and how many keys you will need to go with them. If you want to keep a spare key on hand, or pass any out to family or friends, you need to let your locksmith know so you don’t waste any time getting your keys.

Is your residential locksmith available when you need him?

You’ll never lock yourself out of the house. That’s what we all think…and for the most part, we’re all wrong. Whether you go on vacation and grab the wrong set of keys, or your toddler accidentally locks the door when you step outside to get the mail, you will probably lock yourself out of your home at some point. When it happens, you want to make sure your locksmith can help you. Make sure your residential locksmith offers emergency hours outside of the regular business hours.

Is your residential locksmith reliable?

One of the most important questions you should ask before you call a residential locksmith is whether or not you can count on them. Will they show up when they say they will? If you are expecting to wait 30 minutes, you don’t want to still be locked out an hour later. The best way to check reliability is by asking around and reading reviews. If you notice that the reviews use language from the locksmith’s website, or that the reviews are all from out of town or out of state, it might be a red flag that they aren’t real.

How long has the locksmith been in business?

If a residential locksmith has been in business for several years, it’s a good bet to say that they are great at what they do. They have to have lots of customers to stay in business that long, and the only way to gain a lot of customers is to be good at your trade. No one would recommend a locksmith that wasn’t prompt or that did a poor job.

If you are in need of a locksmith, or know you will be soon, these are some great questions to ask before you call. It’s also important to choose a locksmith that is a member of a locksmith association. You can trust that they are up to date on licenses and in good standing in the business world. With these questions in hand, you can be sure that you will have a locksmith you can trust for all your lock and key needs.

Eight Things a Locksmith Won’t Tell You

locksmithYou don’t always need a locksmith, but when you do, you need one you can trust, one who will get the job done right. Here are eight things a locksmith won’t tell you.

Contractors don’t always get it right

No one wants to rain on the parade of another business, but one important thing you should know is that contractors do not always correctly install a dead bolt. And let’s face it, the best lock is the one that works.

Dead bolts aren’t always your best option

Most people thing that a dead bolt is the way to go. They’ll keep anyone out of anywhere. While dead bolts are great, they aren’t great for every scenario. For example, dead bolts don’t work near windows or on doors that have windows. If a criminal wants in, they will just bust your window and unlock your deadbolt. You will want to seek other alternatives like a lock that requires a key on the inside, but don’t keep the key in the lock!

Locksmiths can duplicate car keys

Often times, when you’re purchasing a new car, the dealership will claim that they are the only place you can get your keys duplicated. This isn’t true anymore. Most locksmiths will be able to make a copy of your car key. At Omega Locksmith, we can even make smart keys. Not only are the car dealerships lying to you, they will charge you more for the duplication. If you need a duplicate key for your vehicle, call your locksmith.

New house = new locks

There is nothing more satisfying than being handed the keys to your newly purchased home. There is also little that is as risky. You have no way of knowing how many keys the previous owners copied and gave out to others. While they may think they have collected them all and handed them all over to you, there might one forgotten key out there, given to an angry relative who has been waiting to seek revenge. Change the locks on your new home.

Words mean little

If you own a business and have to give out keys to employees, you might stamp them with “DO NOT DUPLICATE.” Unfortunately, keys with this stamp are duplicated all the time. These simple words don’t really do much. If you are interested in a key that truly cannot be copied, talk to your locksmith.

Accidents happen

You may go thirty years without locking yourself out of your home or car, and then it might happen twice within a few days. If this happens to you, don’t hesitate to call a locksmith. Sometimes the embarrassment of making the same mistake twice causes a person to try to handle it on his or her own. Don’t! Tampering with your lock in the effort to get your door open could damage your lock – resulting in a much more complicated repair or the replacement of your entire lock (or any windows you break).

Valet key” for your home or business

You know the key on your car that looks more basic than your usual car key. It’s your “valet key.” A valet key typically unlocks your driver-side door and starts your car, but will not unlock your trunk or glovebox, so you can put your valuables in a safe place before turning your key over to the valet. Did you know you can do this for your home? If you have someone who routinely needs access to your home, you can set up a key that will unlock your doorknob, but not your deadbolt. On the days you are expecting the visitor, just lock the doorknob, not the deadbolt.  It’s like a valet key for your home or office.

Electronic locks can fail

While electronic locks are typically secure and can alert the authorities if a wrong code is typed in too many times, they aren’t all rainbows and puppies. Experts suggest that you have a different password for every account that requires a password. Stop and count how many passwords your are already trying to remember. If you think you have the right password, but end up trying three different wrong ones, the police may show up on your doorstep. Electronic locks will also fail in a power outage. There are usually battery backups, but batteries die, too.

If you live in the Chicago area and find yourself in need of a locksmith for any of these needs, give Omega Locksmith a call. We’ll meet you anywhere in Chicago in about 30 minutes and have you on your way in no time.

Three Reasons to Call a Locksmith

call a locksmithA locksmith may not be someone you think about in your everyday life, but sooner or later, you are going to need a locksmith you can trust to get you out of a bind. There are several reasons a locksmith might be called, but let’s take a look at three common reasons to call a locksmith.

Locked out of car or home

Nothing is worse than going on a trip over the holidays, only to come home and realize that you didn’t bring the right set of keys, and you are locked out of your own home. Or, what about that time you stepped into the garage for just a moment and your toddler thought it was funny to lock the door? Sometimes, you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and you accidentally lock your keys in the car at the gas station.

However you lock yourself out of your home or vehicle, it’s the right time to call a locksmith. Don’t panic. And don’t try to fix it yourself by breaking your window, trying to pick a lock, or using a wire hanger. You could cause costly damage. Most locksmiths can be there quickly. As a matter of fact, at Omega Locksmith Chicago, we can get to any point in Chicago in about thirty minutes.

Moving into a new home

Call a locksmith when you have purchased a new home. Even though the previous homeowners have supposedly turned over their keys, you should get all your locks changed. No one knows how many copies of their previous keys they made or handed out to friends and neighbors. What happens if they forgot to get them back? Hopefully nothing…but do you want to take that chance? Call a locksmith to swing by and give you all new locks and keys. Protect your new home and your family.

Replacement key needed

Call a locksmith when you need a replacement key. There are many reasons why you may need a replacement key. Keys can bend or break off in a lock. If your key breaks in a lock, you’ll not only have to call a locksmith to get it out, but you’ll need a new key for that lock. Perhaps someone lost the spare key to one of your vehicles. It would be a wise idea to replace the spare. Sometimes you may want an extra key made to give to an older child, or neighbor.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, don’t panic, and don’t try to fix it yourself. Call a certified locksmith to help you with all your lock and key needs.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Smart Door Lock?

Last week we talked about some of the advantages of installing a smart door lock. Today, we’d like to address the question of how much a smart door lock might cost.

As with most thing in life, the answer mostly depends on a number of different factors.

The quality of the smart lock you are installing.

Smart locks range in price from $19.99 to $999. You can choose between several different features. For example, some smart locks include deadbolts so you can use a key if the battery goes out. Some are meant to be paired with home automation services, which can get even pricier.

We recommend choosing the highest quality lock that fits your goals and your lifestyle.

How you get the lock installed.

There are basically three ways to go about this.

The first way is to have a security company install the smart locks for you. Many security companies do offer the service. This is generally the way to go if you want all the extra features, like the ability to lock and unlock your door from your smart phone. It’s not cheap, however. The lock prices are often inflated, and you’ll be locking yourself (no pun intended) into a 2 year service contract, at a minimum.

The second option is to do it yourself. Anyone can purchase smart locks from their local hardware store. If you have the skills this is certainly the cheapest way to get the job done. If you don’t have the skills, then you could end up damaging your door or your lock, creating a lock which does not function well or leaving a loophole in your home security that a criminal could access.

The third option is to have a professional locksmith take care of the job for you. Labor costs are generally quite low (between $40 and $100 per lock) so the big variable will be the quality of the lock you select. You can either bring your own or ask the locksmith to bring one of the trusted brands he carries. This is a mid-range cost option that can be a lot better and cheaper in the long run simply because it allows you to trust that the job has been done correctly without forcing you to break the bank.

So what’s the best option for you?

Ultimately, every homeowner has to decide which lock options will ultimately work the best for their needs. If you decide Omega Locksmith is the right installer for your smart lock, just give us a call. We’ll get you set up with a free quote so you know exactly what to expect.

Make Your Home More Secure With Keyless Locks

With all of the key copying apps out there, it may be time for homeowners to start thinking about installing keyless locks.

These locks provide several significant advantages. They are not very expensive, and most of them are “bump-proof,” meaning it’s much harder for burglars to attack them.

Keyless locks also prevent you from having to give out your keys ever again. If you need a baby sitter or a handyman to have access you can create a code. Later, you can wipe that code, preventing them from getting back in if they’re no longer needed.

These entry systems aren’t just great for homeowners, either. They solve a lot of problems for business owners, too! It is far less expensive to remove a former employee’s code than it is to rekey locks every time a key isn’t returned.

If you want to get really fancy then you can hook your keyless entry system up to a home automation service. This will allow you to open and close doors from a distance.

If you have a latch key kid then keyless entry gets even smarter. You won’t have to worry about hiding keys on the property (which is a terrible idea), and you don’t have to hope that your kids won’t lose keys. They memorize the code–there’s no losing that. Even if they forget the code they can phone you or text you for a reminder. If you’ve got home automation you can just open the door for them.

Most keyless entry systems also come with auto-locking features, which means they’ll take care of locking the door for you if you forget. You’ll never again have to worry that a moment of distraction will cause a hole in your home security.

Finally, keyless entry systems are just super-convenient. You don’t have to fumble with keys or make copies before you go on vacation.

However, we do recommend entry systems with deadbolt locks. Most are battery powered, and you will need the back-up if a battery goes out.

Do we install electronic locks? Absolutely! So don’t worry–you won’t have to go it alone if you’re not exactly the DIY type. Call Omega Locksmith today for a quote. We’re ready to help you upgrade the locks on your home!

Do You Have to Reprogram a Key Fob after Changing the Battery?

Key fobs are like any other electronic device. Eventually, they need a battery change if they’re going to continue to function.

Most key fobs do at least have batteries that last a long time and aren’t in continuous use, so some car owners can go for years without having to worry about changing them. Some car owners buy and sell their cars again without ever having to touch the inside of a fob.

However, if you find yourself swapping those batteries out you may indeed run into a common problem. Sometimes a key fob requires reprogramming after a battery change. Many people have found this out the hard way, performing what seemed to be a routine activity only to find that the fob stops working.

Whether or not this will be a problem for you depend largely upon the car you are driving. Sometimes you can even get the heads up by reading your owner’s manual. If that is the case, there will be instructions for changing the fob battery and/or reprogramming the fob.

Sometimes, however, the car just randomly decides it’s not going to recognize the fob after the battery change, even if there’s no discernible reason for this behavior. When that happens you can try to reprogram the fob yourself. If that doesn’t work you’ll have little choice but to call a locksmith.

You also have the option of going directly to the locksmith to handle the battery change from the get-go. This may save you time, anxiety, and headaches. The service isn’t very expensive, and if you plan ahead you won’t wind up stranded when you’ve got somewhere to be.

Either way, Omega locksmith is here for you.

What If Your Key Ring Acted Like a Swiss Army Knife?

Let’s face it–most people pick up a lot of keys during their adult life. The result? A big, bulky, noisy, and frustrating key ring.

Fortunately, someone has come up with a great solution. This little Key Smart 2.0 organizes your keys and turns them into a neat, clean, “Swiss Army Knife” style package that’s a lot easier to deal with.

This is a great idea for two major reasons.

It will allow you to save your ignition switch.

Unless you’re in a newer car with an “on” switch, your keys are probably still dangling from the ignition every time you drive.

The bigger your key ring, the more problematic this can become. Over time, the weight puts a strain on your ignition. It will eventually fail, which means your car won’t start.

With the Key Smart the weight isn’t going to hang straight down, which means your ignition will last a lot longer.

Keys won’t get lost as often.

Traditional key rings often include those cheap aluminum rings that tend to get warped over time. Sooner or later they’re going to twist open and send keys off to Never-Never land. This means you’ve got to call a locksmith so you can get back into your house or car.

With something like the Key Smart you’re much less likely to lose any of your most important keys. They’ll be tucked neatly away until you’re ready to use them.

They’re cheap, and they make good gifts.

You can get a Key Smart for less than $20. We’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season right now, and while the team at Omega locksmith doesn’t recommend products too often, we do see the merit in this one. As far as gift giving goes, the device solves a problem that almost everyone has, making it a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list.


Would You Put Your Keys in the Cloud?

Today, we ran across a news article talking about a key copying kiosk which will allow users not only to make new key copies, but to store copies of those keys “in the cloud” as well. The idea is customers can come back at any time to access their accounts, pull up their saved keys and get new copies on the spot.

These little boxes are on their way to Chicago right now, so of course we had a few thoughts about them.

These boxes will make residential rekeying more important than ever.

Those key copy boxes have definitely made an effort to provide good security–no argument there. You have to provide a fingerprint to get access to your stored copies, for example. Well and good–it will help prevent hackers from getting keys to every door in Chicago.

It does not, however, mean that you’ll never need the services of a locksmith ever again. Consider the following scenario.

You purchase a house or a condo. The former owner turns over all of the existing key copies…except for the ones that are stored in the cloud. He or she then goes back to the kiosk, which has no way of knowing this person no longer has a right to access the key stored in the cloud. They copy the key and come back whenever they want to steal, snoop, or worse.

Or how about a babysitter or a house sitter? This is almost as dangerous as the key copying app, only now the criminal gets instant access.

Bottom line? You move into it? You’d better rekey it. Fire an employee? Better rekey it. Hand your key out to someone you do not absolutely trust? Better call a locksmith and rekey it.

Buying a used car? Rekey that, too.

These boxes are supposedly capable of copying smart keys and transponder keys too. This means someone could sell you a car on Monday and take it back on Tuesday, unless, of course, you call and get your car completely rekeyed.

Having your keys in the cloud does not mean never needing a locksmith ever again.

Being able to get a replacement key in an instant is very helpful–but only if you’re near one of the boxes. If you’re out in the suburbs or too far away to be brought to one then your safest and most convenient bet is probably going to be a mobile locksmith.

Bottom line: use these kiosks if you like, but watch your security and keep our number handy anyway.

Avoiding Holiday Break-Ins

People use locks to guard their safety and security. And there’s no time they need it more than during the holidays, which are notorious for break-ins and burglaries.

That’s why the team here at Omega Locksmith wanted to take a few moments to talk about some things you can do to keep your home safer.

Get screw-type window locks.

They’re super hard to open from the outside, and your homeowner’s insurance plan will typically give you a discount if you have them.

Get a monitored home alarm system.

There’s nothing like having a system which calls the police for you when you have an intruder. Deadbolts are your first line of defense, but burglar alarms are your second.

Control access to information.

“Loose lips sink ships” applies to home security just as easily as it applies to wars. Make sure you’re careful not to broadcast times when you’re not at home or don’t plan to be at home. Watch those social media posts, too. That innocent “check in” from the mall cafe tells everyone you’re not home as surely as announcing your vacation plans does.

Don’t leave branded boxes at the curb.

Take that big screen TV box out at the last minute on garbage day, or take them yourself. Otherwise, you’re running advertisements for burglars who might be interested in stealing your holiday presents. Why leave enticements for The Grinch?

Control access to keys.

Believe it or not, most burglaries are “inside jobs.” This means it’s often someone who you know–someone who may even have access to one of your keys. And with key copying apps making it easier than ever to get a copy of your keys fast, you absolutely must be careful who you allow to gain access to your keys.

Don’t let anyone have a key unless they absolutely need one. And if you think people already have keys who really should not, consider calling us to order a residential re-key. Better to be safe than sorry. Call Omega Locksmith to schedule your re-key today.