Think back to one of the worst mornings you’ve ever experienced. It’s painful, I know, but we’ve all had those days when your alarm fails to go off on time (even though you swear you set it just like always), when you spill coffee on your dress and have to change your entire outfit, when you end up locking yourself out of your home, etc. None of these are all particularly expensive mistakes to make, even locking yourself out of your home. No, seriously — even emergency locksmiths won’t leave you with a bill as high as what might result from you trying to break back into your house.

The first thing you should always do when you get locked out, whether it’s out of your home or your car, is find a phone. A good idea is to keep the number of the local locksmith services saved in your cell phone, just in case situations like these arise. Once you’ve got a number, call one and only one service, then wait around for them to show up. You’ll probably want to call work, too, and tell them you’ll be a bit late coming into the office today.

Professional services have the proper locksmith tools in order to open your door safely and without damaging it. That’s more than can be said for your improvised, alternative methods of a borrowed screwdriver and an unfolded paperclip. It’s important to always rely on the pros, especially a licensed, bonded and insured locksmithing company. Now, you’re probably wondering what the difference between those terms is, especially if you’ve never dealt with that kind of situation before. Well, wonder no longer:

Licensed locksmiths

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but basically, you want to find a local service that’s obtained the necessary certification to operate in your area. Different states can have different criteria for landing a license, but no matter what, a locksmith service can’t advertise as licensed unless its owners have filed to obtain that legal license. In other words, the license is a legal document that separates the pros from the pretenders.

Bonded and insured locksmiths

Hired hands use plenty of different locksmith tools to help you gain access into your locked home or car, and there’s always the possibility that something could go wrong during the process. That’s why a locksmith service would opt to become both bonded and insured, two distinctions that protect both the workers and the clients (like you) in case of injury or some kind of property damage that results from the work. Essentially, being insured is a given, and being bonded is a second safety net.

Now that you’ve learned a little about what kind of professional locksmith tools these pros will be using to jimmy open your doors, don’t you feel better? You should, because now you can rest easy knowing that your local locksmiths are protecting you from your own absentmindedness and rushed decision-making. After all, that’s what they’re in business for.