Why Do Locksmiths Cost So Much?

Why Do Locksmiths Cost So Much?

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes we hear from customers,

“Why Did It Cost So Much When It Went So Fast?”

Usually this comment include something like “It only took you 10 minutes to do this job.” or “You’re right down the street.” We discuss real locksmith prices based on the national locksmith averages and how and why locksmiths price like they do, even though some jobs go very quickly.

IMPORTANT: Locksmith fraud is a totally different beast. Scam locksmith companies rip people off by charging many hundreds of dollars for services that should be under or around $100. Those scammers should be thrown out of all states. Information on locksmith fraud is covered in great detail here. Read more

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App Let’s Anyone Steal a Key to Your Home or Business!

App Let’s Anyone Steal a Key to Your Home or Business!

Want Someone Elses Key? Just Take a Picture of It.

New apps will send you an exact copy of a key from a photo you send them. You may say, “So what?” Check out our chat below.

Anyone can simply snap a picture of your home or business key and have it mailed directly to them. Voila! They are in your home or business. This company confirmed that they would send me a key of my girlfriends home from a picture so I could “break in” when she wasn’t home.

Here’s how it works.

Say you have your keys lying on the counter, or on your desk at work, or on a table while out at dinner.

Who ever is with you, that new date from Tinder (who you know virtually nothing about), the slightly more than jealous ex-girl/boy friend that you’re trying to be just friends with, a frenemy from work/school, or a disgruntled employee just snaps a quick photo of that key. They send it to the app and an exact copy of your key is mailed to them. BOOM! They have a key to your home or your business.

This is a gross violation of your safety! Why would they do this? Why would they risk it? They will also provide you the cuts to the key and say “take it to a locksmith to have the key made” for emergency situations.

I can tell you. WE WILL NOT BE CUTTING KEYS FROM THIS APP. I don’t know who that key is for. I can’t verify you have access rights to the property from a photo. If I cut that key, I’m putting you at risk. ACME Locksmith will not do it.

Shame on this company and other like them.

How Can You Protect Your Property?

This is not the only company offering keys made from photos. These services are popping up everywhere. Here’s what you can do:

  • The only way to stop this from happening for certain is to have you home placed on a keyway that is not available to these businesses. They can only perform this service for the most common keyways, not restricted keyways. Restricted keyways can only be copied by credible locksmith copies because they are not readily available.
  • Short of that, keep your keys hidden. Relationships fall apart, employees leave, etc….Don’t leave your keys out so someone can snap a picture.
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What Some Locksmiths Won’t Do for You

What Some Locksmiths Won’t Do for You

I’m the first to admit it, our company can be a pain. It’s true. But this, my friends, is a good thing.

When you call us for a car unlock or a house unlock, we WILL ask you to prove that you have rights to be in the property. Is the title available and in your name? Does the registration match your drivers license? Does your drivers license show the home’s address? Etc…

If you don’t have something that confirms you have rights to the property you’re asking us to open, we’ll ask that someone that does have that right be present when we arrive on site. If that can’t be done, there’s more work to do before we will let you in….faxes, photo IDs, verification with property records…. as I said, we can be a pain when you’re asking us to unlock your home or car.

Why? Because ACME Locksmith protects your property, whether you’re a customer of ours or not. We won’t unlock a car or a home for just anyone that calls us because they could be….well….anyone.

Even with all of our caution, we can’t go far enough. We were once called out to gain access to a safe. We were told it was his father’s safe and that his dad had passed away. The son’s ID showed the address of the property where the safe was located. At that point we knew that the son lived or could access the home. But there is no way for someone to prove that something in the home was bought by them, but legally, if he has access to the home, he could gain access to the safe.

So we drilled the safe open for him. We were contacted by the police several days later. Dad had not died, he had simply cut his son off from his money. So, the son robbed him. We presented the documentation the son provided us and we were off the hook, but I’ll never forget that, and we will never gain access to a house or a car (where we can verify ownership) without authorization or legal documentation.

We also don’t accept “phone authorizations” because it can be anyone on the phone. We don’t accept email authorizations, because anyone could have sent the email. We do this for you, the property owner, to protect your property from someone trying to get into it.

Sometimes, potential customers complain about their having to provide this information before we will let them in. Sometimes they simply hangup and call someone else, we know of many companies that will let just anyone in. Yes, we lose the business, but that’s OK. Because that’s a red flag. We won’t risk your property.

We're professional locksmiths. Not this guy.
But most of the time customers understand the need. They get it. We’re protecting them. We’re professionals. We’re not just a guy showing up in a t-shirt, shorts, in an unmarked vehicle to make a buck.

And that’s what the other locksmith companies, the ones that will let anyone in without requiring proof of ownership or access rights, aren’t doing for you.

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Securing File Cabinets

Securing File Cabinets

Many file cabinets come with pre-installed locks. If you lose those keys, no problem. We can make a key for the cabinet at your location or ours. Even if the lock is missing, we can simply replace it and get you one your way with new keys.

We Make File Cabinet Keys

But what about when the mechanical linkage is broken within the file cabinet? The lock is present, and the key turns it, but the cabinet can’t be locked. In this case, finding and repairing file cabinet linkage is very difficult if at all possible. If it is an inexpensive file cabinet, it’s not worth it. But if they are expensive file cabinets, their is a more affordable way to secure them.

The simpliest and most secure solution is to install an external file cabinet lock. These locks have three major advantages over the lock that was pre-installed.

  • File cabinet locking bars are more secure than the factory installed lock
  • They are locked in place by a padlock, which can be keyed up to your business key (no need for an extra key). Alternatively, a coded padlock can be used.
  • It is easily retrofitted to the file cabinet.
  • File Cabinet Locking Bar

    The bars are easily opened and spring loaded to be held open until relocked. So when you want a filing cabinet without a lock secured or one where the linkage has broken, we have an affordable solution for that as well.

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Schlage E-Series Replacement

Schlage E-Series Replacement

Ever taken a lock of your door and said, “What the heck?”

One very popular brand of lock that is no longer made was the old Schlage E-Series. It was a good lock, but many customer are now seeing them fail. The trouble is, when that particular lock was installed it put a huge hole in the door to account for the mechanics of the hardware (see photo).

Most new locks are prepped for standard 2 3/8″ holes. They will neither fill the hole left by the old Schlage or be made to function within in. What are you to do? Replacing the door is one option, but a very expensive one.

A better way is to install a cover plate over the holes. Here’s an example we just did for a Phoenix customer. Not the most ideal solution, but very affordable when faced with the alternative of replacing the door.

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Stopping the Smart Burglar

Stopping the Smart Burglar

I my opinion, there are two types of home robberies: what I call smash and grabbers and then the smart ones.

Though devastating, smash and grab robberies are usually done by kids. They quickly take what they can, and they’re out. Your insurance fixes the damage and replaces the property. It impacts your life but the impact is temporary. As the name implies, there’s clear evidence that you’ve been robbed. ¬†Broken glass, smashed locks, kicked-in doors; these things can’t be missed.

But the the smart burglar is much harder to detect. They get into your home unnoticed using techniques like lock bumping or picking. These techniques are easily learned online and the tools bought to do them cost less than a couple of dollars. When someone gains access to your house using these techniques, you’ll probably never even know they were there. ¬†Your key will still work, and the locks show no damage. But one day you discover you can’t find that expensive piece of family jewelry you had hidden in the closet (did you just misplace it?), or there’s unauthorized charges on your credit card, or worse, there are new credit cards under your name because you’re identity has been taken. Smart robbers leave no trace they’ve been in the home, target items such as mail or a few pieces of jewelry, and the results aren’t found until long after they’ve left.

How do you stop this type of robbery when even the new locks that were specifically designed to stop lock bumping and picking are vulnerable to simple, undetectable attacks? That’s were a lock and security professional comes in.

At ACME Locksmith, we evaluate your home’s entire security and identify weak areas and possible points of entry – even the ways someone can get in undetected. We recommend solutions that you can implement yourself or, if you prefer, we’d be happy to help. Our security evaluations will tell you how to:

  • Stop someone from getting in through weak security points such as garage doors, french doors, and sliding glass doors
  • Prevent your locks from being bumped or picked
  • Stop someone from getting your mail
  • Properly beef up and secure your entry doors
All home evaluations are Free if we’re onsite performing any other service.
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Push, Pull, or Rotate Knobs and Levers

Push, Pull, or Rotate Knobs and  Levers

Here’s an interesting twist on home locks

The new push, pull, rotate locks by Brinks give you three ways to release the latch and open the door. Push it, pull it, or turn it the old fashion way.

What do you think of this lock? Seems a clever idea for interior door knobs and levers, like the laundry room or bedrooms where your hands are often full. But exterior, we don’t see the value. You still need the key to unlock the door, so you’d have to put everything down to take care of that part. But for interior doors, while hauling laundry or bags of shopping to your rooms, this could be useful.


  • Installs just like a regular deadbolt/lever/knob.
  • 4 common finishes: Oil rubbed bronze, satin nickel, brass, polished chrome (availability based on style)
  • Attractive,modern styles
  • Comes equipped with anti-bump, anti-pick pins
  • Lifetime warranty for defects in material and workmanship
  • Pricing similar to competitors residential door hardware
Push, pull, or rotate to gain entry.
Use your hip to open the lock by pushing.
Don’t have a hand free. Give the lock a nudge with that elbow.
Love the handleset styles.
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$35-150 for a Standard Car key? That’s crazy!

$35-150 for a Standard Car key? That’s crazy!

We just received a call from a client. She had a 2010 Hyundai Elantra. Nothing fancy, nothing special. She just needed a backup key. It’s a good old fashion steal key (a mechanical key). Not a chip key, transponder, or FOB.

The first company she called, a legitimate company, wanted $150 to duplicate that key. That sounds insane to us for a mechanical key. Read more

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Schlage NDE Wireless Access

Schlage NDE Wireless Access

We are loving this new card access lock from Schlage. At its price point, it’s one of the best card access locks available and feature rich. Full installation (parts and labor) for less than half of previous stand alone, card access systems with audit trail capability.

  • Replaces existing commercial-grade levers
  • Half the cost of traditional wireless access control for very affordable implementation
  • No wiring, no power supplies, always ready in case of power or network failure
  • Up to 5000 users
  • 2000 event access report (audit trail)
  • Add and control up to 100 locks
  • Wifi and Bluetooth enabled for access and programming from computer computer or smartphone
  • Send daily automatic updates from the cloud or manually from the app
  • 20,000 cycle battery life for up to two years of access
  • Supports schedules (enable and disable access based on time of day or date) with auto-lock or auto-unlock scheduling
  • Works with smart cards, FOBs, or proximity cards
  • Field reversible for left handled and right handed door
  • Weather resistant for exterior doors
  • Standard cylinder and IC Core format key override available
  • See Schlage NDE Lock FAQ

Bluetooth Wifi Lock

Schlage NDE Card Access Lock

ACME Locksmith’s Service Decal – Why?

ACME Locksmith’s Service Decal – Why?

When ACME Locksmith does a job for your business or home, ACME Locksmith will install a little, discrete decal next to one of the locks we serviced.

Sometimes customers ask us, “Why do you do that?”

ACME Locksmith offers the best warranty of any Phoenix lock company in Arizona. Our labor / workmanship warranty is 12 months while most of our competition’s is just 90 days. Six months down the road, should there be an issue, will you remember which locksmith you called? We take calls frequently that sound like this, “I need to know if you performed my lock service at….”.

We do keep great records and track all the key services we perform, but by placing that little decal next to the lock, a customer will know exactly who to call should there be any issues. If you received great service, you’ll know who to call next time in order to get the same great lock or key service.

Don’t worry. These little decals are discrete and not even noticed after a day or two. Unless that is, there’s a problem with the lock. Then you’ll know exactly which locksmith service to call.

Decal shown on lock installed by ACME.
Decal shown on lock installed by ACME.
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