There may come a few times in your life when you find yourself in need of a locksmith.
A locksmith performs a variety of services, such as helping you into your locked home or car, replacing a key, or even duplicating a key.
When you receive your bill for the service, you may experience a small shock when you see how expensive it is.
Although the locksmith made the service seem easy, you might be wondering what warrants such a high bill.
Here are 10 reasons a locksmith is so expensive.
Why Are Locksmiths So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
Locksmiths are similar to many other types of repair service professionals.
They have an insurance policy that covers them in the event that something goes wrong.
That means that they have to pay insurance premiums every month or every year.
It adds to the cost of doing business.
To make up for that cost, locksmiths add the price of their insurance premiums to their service price.
This ensures that they can still have enough money to operate, maintain their insurance, and give their client the best possible service.
You always have the option of finding and hiring a locksmith who isn’t insured.
However, if something goes wrong and the lock ends up broken, then you’re going to have to pay more to fix it.
The locksmith won’t have any backup funds to cover the cost of fixing the new problem.
If something drastic happens, like electrocution while installing a new smart lock, then the price can quickly increase.
In most cases, it’s a better option to hire an insured locksmith as their insurance will cover any problem that occurs during the service.
If you want that extra coverage, then you can expect a higher price on your service.
Locksmiths are expensive because they need to pay their insurance premiums.
2. Service Complexity
Another reason locksmiths are expensive is the complexity of the job.
Sometimes, the job can be as simple as getting you back inside a car that you’ve locked yourself out of.
It only requires the locksmith to show up and either use a skeleton key to access the car or open the door for you.
In other cases, the service is far more difficult.
One example of a complex service is the installation of a new smart lock.
Before smart locks, locksmiths only had to drill a hole in the door and screw in a lock.
With the introduction of home security and smart locks, however, the installation process has become more advanced.
The locksmith still has to drill a hole in the door, but then they also need to run wires through the door to power the lock.
They also need to know how to set up the smart lock initially, so the homeowner can put in a password or code to unlock the door.
Instead of only providing a single service, the locksmith suddenly has to be an electrician and a home security professional, too.
This added level of complexity means the service is going to be more expensive.
That’s simply because it requires a locksmith who has more experience and understanding of the current technology.
Most homeowners don’t know how to install new locks, let alone smart locks, so they rely on professionals who do.
As locks become more advanced, it also requires locksmiths to take the time to learn how to install them and how to make them work.
That’s time that they’ll either have to take outside of work to learn or lose money during work hours to learn.
To make up for the added time, they increase the price of the complex service.
Locksmiths are expensive because complex jobs require more training and expertise to perform.
The other side of a complex job that makes the service more expensive is the time it takes to complete the job.
Some locksmiths base their pay by the hour rather than by the service or a flat fee.
If your locksmith bills you by the hour, then you can expect complex jobs that take a lot of time to be expensive.
Some services, like lock installation, take a lot of time because they involve several steps.
A locksmith has to prepare the site for the new lock, then they need to run any electrical wires through the site, then the actual installation of the lock occurs.
After that, they need to troubleshoot it.
A lock repair can also take a long time if it’s a complex lock or if it’s severely damaged.
Locksmiths have to figure out what’s causing the problem.
That sometimes means they have to remove the lock entirely from the door or site.
Then they need to open it up to look at the tumblers inside.
The problem may be a jam or one of the tumblers might have broken off.
The locksmith then needs to repair or replace certain parts.
Since they’re working with small parts, the task is tedious and requires a lot of concentration.
Once it’s fixed, they have to put the lock back in its original position.
The longer it takes for them to perform this task, the more expensive it’s going to become.
This is also true of more advanced locks like key fobs for cars.
If you insist that you want the fob repaired rather than replaced, then the locksmith has to open the fob up and look at its various electronic parts to determine the problem.
It could take a long time to troubleshoot every part.
That increases the price of the service.
Locksmiths are expensive if the service takes a long time, and they’re paid by the hour.
4. Security Products
Besides the service itself, locksmiths are also expensive because they often try to sell products, too.
In the grand scheme of things, a locksmith isn’t as expensive as furnace repair.
However, to make more money, a locksmith will sometimes attempt to sell you a security product.
For example, they may try to upgrade your door lock to a smart lock.
Maybe they’ll suggest replacing your car locks with one operated by a key fob.
Some locksmiths may have a genuine concern about the security of your home or car.
The lock may be really old and in need of replacement.
You may be new to the home or apartment, and they might suggest replacing the locks for your safety.
Whatever the reason, the locksmith is a salesman as much as they are a service provider.
Some of the products they sell are expensive.
A smart lock, for example, is considerably more expensive than a standard deadbolt.
You may find yourself paying for both a service and a product.
Locksmiths are expensive because they sell upgrades along with their services.
The distance between you and the locksmith can also increase the price of your service and make it expensive.
If you live out in the rural countryside, then the chances of a locksmith being close by are slim.
They usually keep their offices in urban areas.
A few may even have an office in a suburban area.
Few have locations out in the countryside.
When you call a locksmith to help you, then they have to travel a great distance to your aid.
They may end up adding a fuel cost to their service because it costs them some money to reach you.
This cost may increase if they discover that the job requires more advanced tools than they brought.
They’ll have to drive back and forth from their office to give you the service that you need.
This is also true in situations where you find yourself stranded on a road trip.
If you park somewhere, lock your car, and then realize you’ve locked your keys inside of your car, then you may need to call a locksmith to help you.
The problem is you’re several miles outside of a city on the highway.
That requires the locksmith to travel a great distance to help you.
Not only does this cost time in which they could be responding to other calls and making money, but it also adds to the cost of running their business.
To make up for the cost, they’ll charge you a high amount for the service.
Locksmiths are expensive because the further you are from them, the more it eats into their profits.
They have to offset this expense to stay profitable and keep their business open.
Most locksmiths tend to keep their offices open 24/7.
That makes them expensive because they always need a team member ready to answer a call.
Most clients rarely plan on needing the service of a locksmith.
It happens because something goes wrong.
They may leave their keys inside of their home or car.
While turning a key, they may accidentally break the lock.
Their smart lock may have short-circuited and no longer functions.
Whatever the reason, most of the calls that come into a locksmith’s office are emergencies.
Because of that, they always need to have someone available to take the call and respond.
That includes working nights, holidays, and even in bad weather.
To accommodate for these unpleasantries, the locksmith usually receives higher pay if they’re working those shifts.
Someone who hires a locksmith is usually paying for the convenience of receiving a fast service.
It costs the locksmith money to be able to offer that type of convenience.
To continue to be able to offer fast and reliable services, the locksmith has to charge a high amount.
Locksmiths are expensive because they’re always available, and that type of convenience comes with an added cost.
7. Security Professionals
Some locksmiths operate with two different businesses, and that can make them expensive.
They have their locksmithing profession, but they may run a home security business as well.
Because both tend to go hand-in-hand, a locksmith will also try to provide home security services for you.
An example might be a repair on a lock at your home.
The locksmith shows up and repairs the lock.
Then they notice that you don’t have a home security system.
Since they either own a home security business or partner with one, they may suggest a program that they think will work for you.
You may even get a few free locks out of it.
The problem is that the home security installation ends up being more expensive than a simple lock repair.
The benefit is that your home is a safer place with the home security package than it is with a single lock.
Because some locksmiths either own a home security business alongside their locksmith business or partner with one, they sometimes have to push clients to buy a home security package.
This can make your original locksmith service suddenly far more expensive because you find yourself signing up for the package.
Locksmiths are expensive because they can sometimes convince you to have them install a home security program in your home, too.
8. Technical School
Not everyone knows how to repair or replace a lock.
Fewer still know how to install a new lock, make a key, or even duplicate a key.
It requires a few years of training at a technical school and lots of experience in the field.
Because of that, locksmiths are expensive.
They went to school and underwent training to be able to provide you with a reliable service.
They’re trained to deal with several problems and can think of solutions on the spot.
They have a variety of tools and know-how to use them all.
Like any type of service, a locksmith is expensive because they’re doing something for you that you can’t do or don’t have the time to do.
Also like most other professionals who went to school, they have loans to pay.
They need to make a livable wage for themselves while paying off their debt.
That means setting their prices at reasonable rates that allow them to get out of debt and still have a healthy financial life.
Locksmiths take on the costs of technical school to learn how to repair, replace, and/or install locks so that you don’t have to.
That’s also why they’re expensive.
One factor that can increase the price of a locksmith’s service is their experience.
A new locksmith tends to keep their rates relatively low because they’re gaining experience and building a loyal group of customers.
Experienced locksmiths have already done that.
They’ve established themselves as a reputable professional.
Because of that, they can charge higher prices.
They know that people will hire them despite the higher rate because they know that they’ll receive quality work.
An experienced locksmith is worth the extra money because they’ve seen practically everything.
They’ve been in almost every situation and know how to handle those situations in the future.
There are very few surprises left for an experienced locksmith.
It also means there’s less likely to be a chance of something happening to your locks when they’re repairing or replacing them.
New locksmiths are still prone to mistakes.
They may damage your door or car by accident.
Experienced locksmiths are less likely to do that and know how to keep the site safe while they’re working.
They also can offer sage advice on certain aspects of the lock.
This can help you make better decisions about the safety of your home or car going forward.
An experienced locksmith is more expensive than a new locksmith because you’re paying for expertise rather than adding to a person’s path to expertise.
Locksmith tools are expensive and they add to the price of their services.
Whether the lock is practical or electronic, it requires special tools to repair, replace, or install it.
The same goes for making keys and key fobs.
No matter if the locksmith is just starting up or has been in business for a while, they’re always going to need more tools.
That’s because tools wear down over time.
Since the tools are used professionally rather than for a hobby or a project, then they’re in constant use.
They wear down faster.
That means they also need to be replaced more often.
Locksmiths work with both common tools and specialized tools.
While they may be able to get common tools for a decent price, their specialized tools are going to be more expensive.
That’s because specialized tools aren’t made in bulk like common tools.
Only a few specific industries need them, so the manufacturers only make a few products at a time.
That keeps the prices high.
A locksmith has to pay that cost to do business.
To cover the maintenance and wear and tear costs of using their tools, they add it to the price of their services.
This ensures that when they need a new tool, they have the money to pay for it.
Locksmiths are expensive because they use pricey, specialized tools in their operations.
How To Save Money On Locksmith Services
While locksmiths deserve the right to be able to feed themselves and their families, too, there are a few things you can do to help keep the cost down.
Here are a few tips you can use to save money on a locksmith.
1. Replace Instead Of Repair
When you need a lock repaired, you may want to consider having it replaced instead.
If the lock is old, then it’s time to replace it.
That’s because it will save you more money over time.
An old lock will fall into disrepair more often than a new lock.
You can save that money by skipping over the repairs and just replacing the lock instead.
2. Call During Standard Work Hours
If possible, you should schedule your locksmith service for normal working hours.
Locksmiths charge more when they have to come to your location at night, during foul weather, or on a holiday.
If you can hire them during standard business operating hours, then you’ll receive a lower bill.
3. Avoid Electronics
Although electronic locks offer more conveniences than practical locks, they’re also more expensive.
If you don’t mind using an old, reliable, dead bolt, then continue to use those.
Don’t upgrade to electronic locks and you’ll save a lot of money.
Locksmiths are expensive because they have the technical training and expertise to do jobs that most other people can’t do.
They’re also available 24/7 which means they can charge extra if it’s outside of normal business hours.
If you need a locksmith but can’t afford expensive rates, then use the tips above to save money on locksmith services.