What to do when you’re locked out, and how to get a fair price

We’ve all been there, you locked your keys in your car or house, you’re running late and need in quick! But what do you do? You don’t have a regular locksmith and don’t know what price is too high/low or what to expect. These days, there are a lot of scams and it’s especially important to make sure you hire a good, qualified locksmith. Here are 5 easy things that will help you get a good job at a fair price.

1.) As with any labor, you want to look for an insured locksmith. Most locksmiths will have this posted on their site or ad. With something like a lockout most damage could be covered out of pocket, but having insurance proves stability with any contractor.

2.) Get a price up front! Most locks can easily be opened in under 5 minutes. While several factors such as the type of lock/car, or being dirty or gummed up can make it take longer, a lock out is generally something you should always be able to get a flat rate for. If they can’t give you a price upfront something is wrong. Confirm the price as soon as they get there. For most lockouts, the rate should almost never need to change.

3.) If they tell you that the lock cannot be opened, ask for more information. Cars can pretty much always be opened without damage (I’ve never seen one that couldn’t). For homes businesses etc. if you have a high security lock, you generally would know. Pick proof locks, with the exception of the Kwikset smart key, or similar products are generally really expensive and are put on for a reason. A good lock will have the brand on the front. A quick online search will let you know if it’s high security. Typically when I drill a lock, I have a used like new replacement I throw in at no cost. Even if you buy new, most residential locks don’t cost more than $30 at a hardware store. So if you get a price of $200 plus to drill and replace your lock during daylight hours, you can probably get a better rate and it may be better to call another locksmith.

4.) Most locksmiths want you to be comfortable with the work they perform, so feel free to ask questions. What I see a lot of from scammers is that they get extremely rude and hostile over trivial things, like asking for a business card or asking for an explanation on the charges. If you feel pushed into a deal or bullied, send them away!

5.) Always get a receipt, whether handwritten, printed or emailed, a receipt is crucial. This is your proof of the agreed to amount. If they can’t get you a receipt, pay in cash or have them show the amount charged to you when they process the card.