- The cost of having a locksmith make a “house call” when you’ve locked yourself out of your home or vehicle varies considerably depending on location, type of lock and time of day, but starts with a minimum charge (also called a mobile fee) of $35-$150 for coming to you. Service on evenings, weekends or holidays can go as high as $150-$250, particularly in high-priced or remote areas and depending how much time and work is involved. Some locksmiths include most standard lock-out services in their house-call price; others charge a lower minimum but additional fees for specific services, such as drilling out the lock. Having the locksmith rekey or replace the locks adds to the total cost.
- Locksmiths typically charge $1.50-$4 to copy a standard key, but they may charge $3-$20 or more for specialized keys, and it can be $50-$175 for vehicle keys with an electronic or transponder chip.
- To come to your home and re-key your door locks. a locksmith will usually charge a minimum fee of $40-$100 plus anywhere from $5-$25 per lock cylinder.
- To come to your home and install new door locks that you supply, a locksmith will usually charge a $40-$100 minimum fee plus labor charges of $20-$30 per lock.
Related articles: Door Lock. Key Copy. Exterior Door
What should be included:
- Locksmith licensing requirements vary widely between states; in some states locksmiths have to pass an exam and in others, states they simply have to pay a licensing fee. Professional locksmiths should have insurance, plus a substantial investment in equipment and inventory. A locksmith hosts videos discussing how locks work [1 ] and the standard types [2 ] of locks.
- When getting estimates over the telephone, ask detailed questions about what is included or you may end up with a much higher bill than expected. A locked-out homeowner [3 ] was quoted $55 on the phone for coming to her home, but ended up with a total bill of $200. In addition to the service charge of $55, she was billed $85.85 to break in (drilling the lock), $15.15 to uninstall the old lock, $5.55 for a new lock, and $15.15 to install the new lock, less a $25 discount both for paying cash and because the locksmith arrived later than promised.
Shopping for a locksmith:
- If you’re locked out of your car and have a roadside assistance service, call that service first. Roadside assistance plans often have a list of companies pre-approved to unlock cars.
- If possible, call several locksmiths for their rates. Try to give as many details as possible about what you need done (such as the brand of lock and whether it’s a metal or wood door, or the make, model and year of the vehicle).
- Ask about the locksmith’s training and experience, whether the company is insured (in case your property is damaged during the process), and if there will be additional charges for after-hours work or other fees. Search for certified locksmiths with the Associated Locksmiths of America [4 ]
- When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a business card and, if applicable, a locksmith license (locksmith licenses are required in nine states — Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas). The locksmith may ask to see your ID, in order to verify your identity and that you are the property owner.
- The Federal Trade Commission warns against locksmiths that appear local but operate deceptively in wide-ranging areas with an 800 phone number, and without proper professional training. The FTC offers tips [5 ] for hiring a reputable locksmith.