Understanding Costs & What to Expect When Hiring a Locksmith
If you own a vehicle, a home, or a business, there’s a strong chance that at some point you’ll need a locksmith’s help. But what factors determine your locksmith’s costs, and how can you be sure you’re hiring someone who will do a good job?
We’ve performed locksmithing in Edmonton for more than 13 years, so we have the knowledge and experience to tell you what different locksmith services normally cost. Find out what you can expect to pay for residential, commercial, or automotive locksmithing below, and learn how to hire a contractor you can trust.
How Do Locksmith Costs Work?
Locksmith costs are normally determined by three main factors:
- Callout fees: how much it will cost your locksmith to prepare their equipment for your job and travel to your location. These fees are usually the same for every job ($70-$90), but they can increase by $20-$50 if you call for a locksmith’s help after regular business hours.
If you see a locksmith advertising extremely low callout fees, don’t take the bait! These locksmiths may charge higher hourly rates to compensate for the “deal” they’re offering, or they might be unlicensed contractors trying to lure you in with a price that seems too good to be true—and probably is. Locksmith scams are quite common in Edmonton (and we’ll tell you how to avoid them in just a few paragraphs).
- Hourly rates: the price you pay per hour for your locksmith’s labour. As with callout fees, this price is normally the same for different kinds of work (but obviously, jobs that take longer than others will be more expensive).
Most locksmiths charge $80-$130 per hour for their work. However, if the job is small and quick, they may only charge you the callout fee in some cases.
- Hardware: here’s where things get a bit tricky, since different locksmithing jobs require different parts, materials, and equipment. This is the factor that usually has the greatest amount of influence on the quoted price for a job.
What Should My Locksmith Charge?
Now that you know how locksmiths determine their prices, let’s take a detailed look at the likely costs for some typical locksmithing jobs. We’ll tell you what’s required to perform each of these tasks, and show you how that contributes to the final fee.
How Much to Rekey a Home Lock?
Altering the inside of your lock to make it work with new keys is called rekeying, and it’s a lot less expensive than replacing your lock completely. Most rekeying services in Edmonton cost about $100, whereas buying a new lock and having it installed can be over $300.
Having a lock rekeyed prevents old keys from opening it, so it’s a relatively affordable way to stop anyone from accessing your home with keys they found or stole. Bear in mind that if you have multiple locks that need rekeying, you’ll end up paying more for labour (but still less than it would cost to replace every single one).
How Much to Reprogram a Car Fob?
The costs of reprogramming car fobs can vary significantly depending on when the car fob in question was made. Older models from around 2000-2012 tend to have similar designs, making it faster and easier to reprogram them. These jobs usually cost around $150.
However, many newer vehicles use keyless entry remotes instead of traditional fobs. A keyless entry remote relies on rolling security codes, which are randomized by each remote and transmitted to the vehicle’s computer. While these “smart keys” are much more secure than older fobs, they are also much more difficult to replace or reprogram. You might pay up to $700 for the smart keys that come with some luxury vehicles.
How Much to Replace a Stuck Lock?
If dirt or other debris enters a keyhole, it can jam the tumblers inside the lock and prevent it from opening properly. Locks can also become stuck when part of your key breaks off inside them. Fortunately, most licensed locksmiths are prepared and well-equipped to handle both of these problems quite simply.
Your locksmith will probably use graphite powder to clean and lubricate the lock, then remove any large objects from inside it with a special tool called an extractor. Since these items are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by, the price of fixing a stuck lock usually isn’t much more than your locksmith’s standard callout fee: $70-$90 during regular business hours, with an extra $20-$50 charge for after-hours services.
How Much to Open a Car Door?
Opening a car door usually costs about the same amount as opening the lock on a commercial or residential building—but this service might not have to cost you anything if your insurance or roadside assistance policy covers it.
Members of AMA can have a portion of their automotive locksmithing costs reimbursed, depending on their membership level. Whether you pay out of pocket to have your car door opened or are covered by an organization, make sure you choose a licensed locksmith who routinely performs auto locksmith services.
Choosing a Trustworthy Locksmith
Understanding what locksmiths usually cost in Edmonton can alert you to potential red flags next time you need one. Remember: if you meet a locksmith whose initial quote or callout fee seems suspiciously low, you’re probably taking a risk by hiring them.
Unlicensed locksmiths often lack the experience to rekey or pick a lock without damaging it. When those strategies fail, they may resort to drilling your lock out and charging you to replace it—which will almost certainly be more expensive than just hiring a licensed contractor in the first place. Some scam locksmiths might even try to drill your lock right away, because it’s all they know how to do.
For best results, make sure your locksmith is properly licensed, and ask to see their credentials before hiring them. Hiring experienced pros who have earned their reputations is always the best way to find a good price for high-quality work.