As most estabished locksmiths know there are always maintenance firms and agents looking to play middleman and make a profit by subbing the work out to you. The problem is a lot of these middlemen maintenance companies are really poor payers or complete non payers, so we need to weigh up the risk vs reward before accepting locksmith work from these sources.
Scams that I have fallen foul of in the past include a property management company that got me to send the invoices to it's liquidated former self, another firm in serious debt looking to get a load of work done across it's properties before announcing bankruptcy, and the firms that just try and deny all knowledge of the work.
When these type of firms call looking to book your locksmith service you need to be asking yourself a few questions:
-Have you or any of your other locksmith associates ever heard of them?
It's easy to nip onto an online forum now and to ask other locksmiths if they have heard of or had dealings with the firm.
-Are they based locally at a physical address?
If a firm is based locally it's easy to drop by and chase the debt in person should the invoice go unpaid. They are more likely to pay up than risk repeated confrontations.
-Are you dealing with a domestic or commercial client of theirs?
You are less liekly to be messed around on commercial locksmith work as this is normally repeat business. It will not look good for them if you start chasing the customer directly for payment/threatening removal of goods.
Always enquire about payment terms before accepting sub contracted work and if it doesn't suit you then it is better to pass than to be left out of pocket and chasing a debt. I usually state to new and unknown firms that I require immediate payment before proceeding. Once you have built up trust you can extend your terms some.
Don't be roped in just because you're having a quiet period. I'd rather be without the work than risk being left out of pocket and chasing my money. Do not make the mistake of undertaking weeks of work before seeing a payment on promise of 'more work' or 'we'll only use you'.
Trust your gut feeling! It's rarely wrong.