If you've ever locked yourself out of your home or car, or if you need to change out the locks on your home, you know what a hassle, and an unexpected expense, it can be. To avoid damaging your home or car, think about getting a locksmith in. They have the tools, knowledge and expertise to get into the lock without much issues.
The cost to hire a locksmith is about $75 to $150 on average, though you might pay anywhere from $100 and $250 depending on what of locksmith you call. I have seen prices as low as $40 to unlock a car. So Call, Call, Call many locksmiths for the BEST price, or you will pay more then if you didn't call these locksmiths.
Some tips to keep in mind when hiring a locksmith are:
- Some locksmiths advertising locally may not be local at all or they may not have professional training. What's more, some of them may use intimidating tactics and overcharge you. If a company answers the phone with a generic phrase like "locksmith services," rather than a company-specific name, be wary. Ask for the legal name of the business. If the person refuses, call another locksmith.
- Call three to four locksmiths to get accurate rates. Detail the problem and what you think needs to be done.
- Interview the locksmith. Ask about their training, previous jobs, if they’re insured and any additional charges.
- Locksmiths should be up to date with modern tech. They shouldn’t just install locks and pick ones. They should also know about biometric security and other advanced systems.
- If you’re locked out, be wary if the locksmith wants to drill and replace. A good locksmith knows how to unlock almost any door.
- If you're locked out of your car, call roadside assistance first if you have it. There are plans with a list of pre-approved locksmiths to unlock cars.
Here are some common situations where you might need to hire a locksmith, and what you need to consider before giving them your business.
The cost of changing locks is about $30 to $300 on average, which varies in total cost by lock type, fees and your security level. It’s necessary when you move into a new home, for sure. If you have a burglary, you should also consider changing your locks after the fact. There are various situations where changing your locks is necessary. Some additional considerations are:
- If locked out of your home, they will charge about $35 to $150 for coming to you. Evening, weekend or holiday services can go up to $150 to $250.
- Locksmiths might charge $1 to $4 to copy a key, but it might up to $3 to $20 for special keys.
- To rekey your door, there will be a minimum fee of $40 to $100 plus $5 to $25 per lock cylinder.
- Rekeying doesn’t mean replacing your locks. They rearrange the pins in the cylinder to make an old key not work. You can also buy a rekeying kit if you want to DIY. This service is cheaper than a lock replacement.
- For new door locks -- after a move, burglary, etc. -- they will charge $40 to $100 plus labor charges of $20 to $30 per lock.
High Tech Keys & Biometrics
If you lose your key on a regular basis, you might consider a more high-tech lock system. You can use bluetooth, a passcode or a biometrics. This means you don’t have to own a physical key, but sometimes this means more costly maintenance and potential compromise of your safety. This is especially true if you have someone who knows how to hack a security system. Adding this system can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the type you want and the work involved.
Locked Out of Your Car
This happens to everyone at least once. You lock your car, and the keys are still on the dash or in the seat. In some odd situations, you might accidentally lock your keys in the trunk. If your car is an older model, there probably isn’t a quick release to open the door underneath the car. This is when you’ll need a locksmith to come out and open the door for you.
An auto locksmith is trained to open cars quickly and without damaging them. They have the proper equipment to open the car, and they can do it in minutes. They can also replace the lock if needed.
To have your door unlocked, you might pay anywhere from $30 to $150, depending on the locksmith. Should you need to have the door lock professionally replaced, you could pay anywhere from $25 to $130, again dependent on the age of your car and its existing key type.
If In a Remote Area
Should you find yourself on the side of a highway with no town in site, it’s imperative to stay safe while waiting for the locksmith. Some tips to follow are:
- Stay in the light. Don’t get into a darkened area.
- Look like you know what you’re doing.
- Talk on your cell phone with someone.
- Hide anything valuable.
- Don’t talk to anyone who comes up to you. Wait for the locksmith and make him show credentials.
While you can plan and do fine in some situations, there are others where you might need emergency locksmith services. If you’re in a bad spot and locked out of your car or locked out of your home in the middle of the night, that’s when you call in an emergency service. They are on-hand 24/7 to come out and handle your needs without waiting to make an appointment. Situations where you might need an emergency locksmith include:
- Professional lock picking
- Car unlock or open trunk
- Ignition replacement
- Lost car keys
- Ignition key & car key programming
- Remote key repair or replacement
- Chip key replacement or reprogramming
- Master lock installation
- Spare keys
- Broken car key
- Gates lock and key repair
- Door locks
- Window locks repair
- Key cutting on the spot
- Security systems repair
If you decide you need an emergency locksmith, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $300. While that sounds extremely high, there are some factors that play into the cost. For one, if you live in a metro area where there is a high demand, you’ll pay more for their time. You really shouldn’t pay more than $200 for their service, but they might charge you more depending on time, location and the extent of the problem. It’s harder to call a few services in these situations, but make sure you aren’t being scammed for their services.
Make sure you have a plan in place. Get a quote from a locksmith, even if you're hiring them later.
Make sure and ask about any additional fees you’ll be charged for their service. They might charge you extra for coming at certain times of day or night, mileage or a minimum fee. You don’t want to have a locksmith who charges you for every step of the process, like coming to your home, drilling the lock, uninstalling it and replacing it. All of this should be covered under one price.
In situations where you don’t need a locksmith immediately, you should definitely check them out online. This is invaluable, as it can save you time, money and potential legal fees later to rectify a bad situation. As aforementioned, it’s harder to do this on the fly in an emergency situation, but you can at least have an idea of what to expect in terms of price and quality when calling the pros.
License & Identification
Be wary of fraud or scams. In order to ensure you get the best locksmith for your needs and avoid potential problems, you should:
- Check out the name of the business as well as the person that is coming to unlock your car or change out your locks.
- Verify the person who holds the license by checking it against the business.
- Ask to see the license of the locksmith you hire when they arrive. Locksmiths are required in laws across the United States to carry a pocket version of their license. If you’re unsure about their licensing, check your state’s requirements.
- If the locksmith insists on a charge for showing up, you should call the police immediately. You don't want someone that can come back later and break into your home or steal your car.
DIY Before You Call?
While you shouldn’t try to DIY all of your locksmithing, there are some easy hacks you can follow to avoid spending hundreds on a professional service.
- Buy a rekeying kit online or in the local hardware store.
- Remove the knob, retainer ring and cylinder plug.
- Insert the pins (in the kit) and then reassemble the lock.
Locked out of your car:
- Make sure you’re locked out.
- Use tools around you like a coat hanger or other thin piece of metal that can be manipulated.
- If you’re near a store, buy these materials.
- **Create a slim jim with the coat hanger and insert in between window and weather-stripping until you find the post.
- **Once the post moves, pull up on the hanger. Pull until the post lifts high enough to unlock the door.
**Note -- this can damage your car
- Look for any unlocked windows or alternative entries.
- Grab a credit card
- Insert between the door and frame
- Start pushing and wiggling the card
- Bend the card away from the doorknob. This should undo the latch from the door frame.
- Push your weight against the door -- the lock should give.
- Call a locksmith -- it’s now far too easy to get into your home.
- Take off the doorknob, using a thin piece of metal. This won’t work if the deadbolt is in use.
With any of these easy hack solutions, there’s a chance you could damage your car or door. You can attempt these hacks and see if they work, but if not, you need to get a locksmith on the phone ASAP.