How Much Do Locksmiths Charge – A Locksmith Talks Price

How Much Does a Locksmith Cost?

The top ranking search results for “How much does a locksmith cost” get it wrong. Those sites that Google think are important are not written by locksmiths. They’re written by marketing teams for large companies, not by locksmiths.

I am the owner of a locksmith company. We have serviced over 140,000 customers. Here’s is the real information on how much locksmiths will charge and how they will charge for their services.

The cost for locksmith depends on the service being performed. Most of these services are charged “per service.” You agree to a price to perform a service and when the service is done you are charged that price. Locksmiths charge a flat rate for most work, not for how long that service might take.

You will pay these prices for locksmith work:

Locksmith Cost per Lock Service

Arizona Locksmith Prices vs National Locksmith Prices
Locksmith Service *National Average Locksmith Price Typical Arizona Locksmith Price
 Service Call Price $74 $65
 Cost to Unlock a Door or Car. $70 $30
 Cost to Rekey a Home Lock
(Detailed Article)
$19 per cylinder $17 per cylinder
 Cost to Rekey a Business Lock
(Detailed Article)
$23 per cylinder $21 per cylinder
 Cost to Duplicate a Car Key
(Detailed Article)
$60-240 Depending on Key $60-240
 Cost to Make a Cabinet Key $25-$37 $20-$30
 Cost to Drill a Safe $350 $250

*For national locksmith pricing, this article uses charges taken from a nationwide professional locksmith survey conducted in 2017. If you live in a city with a high cost of living, your cost may be slightly higher. For those living in a low-cost city, cost will be a little bit less. Arizona Locksmith Cost is shown as a comparison because we are an Arizona Locksmith Company.

How Much is it to Unlock Cars & Houses?

How Much is a Locksmith
Locksmith Prices, How Much Does a Locksmith Cost?

During standard hours, the cost to unlock a house will be under $150. The cost to unlock a car is also under $150

The unlock fees is composed of the service call charge and the cost to do the work (the unlock). Using the table above you can find those costs.

Most companies, including mine, will charge under a $100 to unlock a door in Arizona during standard hours. The national average price to unlock a car or door is a bit higher at $144.

Most locksmith services include charges for a service call and then additional charges for the work performed. Service calls in most major metropolitan areas hover around $75. In the Phoenix, AZ market a service call is less. Expect to pay more when you are in a major city, less when you are in more rural area.

Run, run, run from anyone quoted $19-$39 service calls. They will rip you off.

The average cost to rekey a home is $160.

The cost to rekey a home can vary based on several factors (number of locks being the biggest factor). Many homes cost less to rekey and some will cost more. Check out our article The cost to rekey home locks for a detailed cost analysis on home rekeying.

The average cost to duplicate a car key with a transponder chip (a key that needs to be programmed to the car) is $130.

There are a ton of variables involved in locksmith car key cost. Key blanks can be from $7 to several hundred dollars. The charges a locksmith incurs when adding a key to the vehicle range from $0 to $75, etc…. All of these impact the price of a car key. Check out our detailed article How Much Does a Duplicate Car Cost? for more information.

The graphic below (click to enlarge) shows the national average locksmith charges. These averages represent costs actually reported by hundreds of locksmith companies all around the US. Depending on your locations, rates can be expected to vary slightly. The table shows what locksmiths charge for a wide variety of services while the table above covers the most common lock & key services.

If you are in the Phoenix Arizona market, you can schedule your locksmith service with ACME Locksmith online and save up to $10.

National Average Locksmith Prices – Click to Enlarge – Source Locksmith Ledger

Get More Information on Pricing:

Who is the Cheapest Priced Locksmith?

Why do Locksmiths Charge Per Job?

Why Did the Locksmith Cost So Much? Did I get ripped off?

The Best Questions to Ask about Locksmith Prices After They Get You In

How much does it cost to rekey house locks?

How much does it cost to rekey a business?

How much does it cost to get car keys made?

Quick Answers to Common Questions

The national average is about $140. In Arizona, where we are, it’s less than $100. Total cost depends on where you are located. There are no $29-$49 unlock services. It’s a scam.
Rekeying on site is composed of a service call and the rekey. The national average for a service call is $74 and the rekey is between $19 and $23 per cylinder. In major metro areas expect to pay more, in rural areas less. If you are able, you can take your locks into a local lock shop an save a ton of money.
The most affordable locksmith will always be the one that gives you an exact price upfront. We perform our services thousands of times a year and we know exactly what it takes to get you into your home or auto, rekey your property, etc…
When hiring a locksmith, you pay for an exchange of service. If you paid what you were quoted for that service when you called, you did not get ripped off. Even if it only took a few minutes. Learn why here. However, if the locksmith showed up and then told you it was going to be more than you were quoted for straight forward services such as an unlock or rekey services, then you were likely scammed. Legitimate companies perform these services thousands of times and know exactly what it takes.

How to Get the Cheapest Priced Locksmith Service

The cheapest locksmith you find will not be the one that gave you the cheapest quote. When you ask a locksmith, “How much does your locksmith service cost” some locksmiths are going to give you the cheapest price you’ll hear just so you hire them, and it’s a scam. There are no $19 to $39 locksmith services.

ACME Locksmith has spent considerable resources education the public on locksmith fraud, and one thing is always certain. You will find the cheapest locksmith and get the best price, when you are quoted an exact price upfront. No exceptions.

Examining the table above, for the most common locksmith services you will find (Summary Table):

  • The average locksmith cost for a service call is $74 (the following prices are in addition to the service call)
  • The average car unlock charge is $70 (or the average cost of a locksmith to open a car is $144 in total)
  • The average cost of a home rekey is $19 per cylinder (per key hole)

The cheapest locksmiths will quote you charges in that price range and quote you exactly.

These are standard industry averages because all professional locksmith companies know exactly what it takes to perform these services. In general Arizona locksmiths will charge less than the national averages above. A New York City Locksmith will cost more. So how much a locksmith costs is related to where you are located.

But no matter where you are, when you call a credible locksmith you will find that:

1) They quote you an exact price for common services upfront and

2) The credible locksmiths all charge within a few dollars of each other.

When a locksmith does NOT tell you the exact price upfront for common services such as unlocking you car, unlocking your house, and rekeying your locks; the locksmith will charge you more money once they arrive than any credible company would have charged.

Don’t be tempted by the cheapest quoted price “plus labor.” These are quotes that illegitimate locksmith companies use to land your job. It will cost you money. There is no such thing as a $19-$39 locksmith service. It’s a scam.

In Phoenix and Need Locksmith Service? Hire ACME Locksmith

Phoenix Market Only: Schedule Service with ACME Locksmith

Why do Locksmiths Charge Based on the Job and Not Time on Site?

All legitimate locksmith companies use average-based job pricing for the most common jobs. That is: for common jobs how much a locksmith will charge is based on the service being performed. It doesn’t matter how long it takes us, how much is a locksmith depends on the job being performed. Locksmith cost depends on the job and is based on flat rates for a given job.

We understand the average length of any given job and the average time it takes us to service a call, so locksmith charges are based on those averages, regardless of how long it actually takes to do a specific job or get to a specific job.


Because we never know upfront how long it will take to get to a call and how long it will take to perform the services we have quoted. So we rely on averages so we charge one specific price for one specific service.

For example. Or locksmiths can unlock some cars in a few moments, but some turn out to be difficult and can take much longer. A locksmith will charge a flat rate for any car unlock service regardless of if we are in quickly or struggle to open the car. The cost to unlock a car will not change.

Sometimes the job we need to do is right down the street, sometimes it’s twenty miles away. We never know ahead of time where our drivers will be when a call comes in, so we charge the same flat rate for everyone.

For the customer’s car we struggle opening, the customer sees us working hard, in the AZ 110 degree heat, sweat pouring off our forehead. This customer is always extremely happy they got such a great deal on the price.

For the customer where we open the car in just a few seconds, this customer may think, “It only took you two minutes to get in. You charged me over $1000 per hour!”

However, it’s the exact same locksmith service performed. Only the perception of the service has changed.

The locksmith was hired to unlock the car at a set price, they unlocked the car. And it’s at the same, agreed-to cost, regardless of how long it takes to get onsite and perform the work.

The cost of a locksmith is based on an exchange of service, not the length of time to complete that service. We perform that service at that price, every time. Sometimes we come out ahead (i.e. we get it done fast) and some times we don’t, but it’s unethical for us to charge the person whose car takes us longer to get into more than we quoted them. We also don’t want to quote every call for the worst case scenario. So locksmiths average the cost out.

Additionally, there are so many locks, keys, and hardware brands out there that every job ends up being a bit different. This makes jobs hard to quote site unseen, over the phone because we simply don’t know what we will run into. But, we are asked “How much does it cost to….” nearly every time a customer calls.

The cost to open a door

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. If you ask a locksmith, “How much is the cost for….” they should be able to give you the exact price. Fraudulent companies say, “plus labor” and then don’t define what that is. Or, once they arrive, tell you that you had a high security lock in you car, when you don’t.

“Why Did the Locksmith Cost So Much?”

If the locksmith showed up onsite and tripled his price, you were a victim of fraud.

However, locksmiths can get this comment, “It only took you 10 minutes to do the job,” or “But your shop is right down the street,” or “It only took 5 minutes, that’s $1,200 / hour.”

Let’s consider each of these separately.

“It only took you 5 minutes to do the job!”

Yes, the locksmith may have completed the work quickly, but you are hiring a locksmith to perform a service. You are not hiring the locksmith for their time, as you would a therapist for example. Locksmith prices are based on the job and the locksmith’s knowledge.

When ACME gets you into your home quickly, most customers are very grateful, but a few fixate on the amount of time it took to open the door. After all, watching the locksmith get in is the only part of the job the customer sees.

What you are not seeing is the effort it has taken the locksmith to get ready for your call. You didn’t see the locksmith drive across town to get there. You didn’t see the fuel that was used, or the insurance that was spent, or the salary that was paid. You didn’t see the countless hours spent every year training and certifying on the latest tools and techniques — specifically so they can get you in as fast as possible.

That’s what the locksmith cost to unlock a home or car is for. It’s not for the few minutes it takes to open the door, it’s payment in exchange for a service that we’ve made considerable investment in so that our locksmiths can solve your problem as fast as possible.

ACME Locksmith sends you the very best, certified, locksmith we have available to take care of you as soon as we can, as fast as we can. That’s how we roll.

We recently heard this objection from a home owner. They had locked themselves out of their house on a Tuesday afternoon. It took us about 30 minutes for our technician to arrive onsite, but they were in the house very quickly. The customer ran the calculation in their head for just the time after we had arrived and felt our hourly price was insane! They called ACME Locksmith to speak to the owner, me, directly.

I asked the customer if he was quoted the price to unlock the door when he called, “Yes.”

So I knew we had provided him the cost to unlock the door upfront.

I asked if he appreciated that he got out of the Arizona heat and into his home so quickly, “Of course.”

I then asked if he would have been happier if we had sent an unskilled technician? One that struggled to get him in. One that kept them outside in the heat waiting while they worked, or if they would have been more satisfied if our locksmith would have been unskilled and had to drill their lock? Because all of these things would have made the job look a lot harder. “No.”

So I then said, “So your grievance is that we got there as fast as we good, got you in as quickly as we could, and for the cost we agreed to when you hired us?”

His response, “You’re right. Thanks for taking my call.”

It’s an interesting phenomenon in the locksmith trade. It takes incredible skill and training to get to the point where we can perform services quickly, but the better we get, the less our skills are appreciated. How much a locksmith costs is a function of that training but the better trained a locksmith is, the less people want to pay.

“But your shop is right down the street. Why is the trip charge so much?”

It is often true that customers are near a locksmith shop. However, the locksmith company does not send the person working in their shop out to you. Those locksmiths are busy servicing customers that come into the store.

Locksmith will send their field locksmiths to service field calls.

The drive time it takes a field service technician to get to you depends on where all the other calls we book for that day are located. Unless it is an emergency lock service and we are dispatching someone immediately, we don’t know ahead of time how long it will take the locksmith to get to any given job because we don’t know what job they will be on prior to your job.

So we don’t have a known expense to determine a cost of service because it’s variable. So locksmiths charge flat rates for service calls based on average mileage and time to get to the lock service.

One thing is always true, the cost of the locksmith should NEVER be more than any locksmith quoted for common services (such as lockouts, rekeying locks, and trip charges).

There are a variety of things that can make a job take longer, just as there are a variety of things that can make a job go quicker for all types of lock service. So how can we quote the charge up front when every job, and every drive to every lock job, is unique? The answer is average-based pricing.

So if it only took a few seconds to unlock your home or car was the cost $1200 / hour?

No, you paid for the exchange of service of unlocking your house. If you’re lucky you got a good locksmith that made your day a bit easier by taking care of your job very quickly for the charge quoted over the phone.

What Is the Best Pricing Question to Ask a Locksmith that Got You In So Quickly?

“What will it cost for you to fix my security so others can’t get in so quickly?”

Last notes on locksmith pricing.

We assume that all jobs will be equal, but they’re not. So locksmiths charge one flat rate to open all vehicles. And for home rekeying, one quote for every home with standard residential hardware. This last point is what prompted this article.

There is a small subset of residential hardware that can be rekeyed very quick under the right circumstances. REALLY quickly. Under the wrong set of circumstance this same set of residential hardware is a nightmare to rekey. The cost of a rekey is also an average and one price. We stay at that price no matter what we run into. It’s ethical of us to stick to our price when it’s difficult, it benefits you, and it’s also fair of us to stick to the price when it’s quick, because we are performing the service you hired to do for the price agreed to by the customer – to rekey their lock.

Our goal is to keep our locksmith prices as affordable as possible. We remain well under the national average for nearly every locksmith service we perform. And we also want to make enough money to stay in business and feed the families of our employees. Those are our goals. Average-based pricing allows us to quote customer quickly and simply, stick to the price no matter what the job, and provide a good value on the whole. We appreciate your understanding.

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