Emergency Locksmith Services

Locksmiths provide many services beyond opening locks. Read more about locksmith services, their costs and how to find the best locksmiths near you.

Locksmiths are called to open doors and locks when people lose their keys or other entry devices. Locksmiths provide multiple other services as well, however, which vary based on circumstances and the type of services provided. Did you know locksmiths also open windows and safes? Locksmiths are also hired as consultants for designing security systems or specialized vaults, rooms, or spaces.

Many professional locksmiths obtain certifications from the Associated Locksmiths of America Association (ALOA) in addition to other specialized training. Hiring a certified locksmith guarantees you are hiring a trained professional with the proper skill sets and experience to accommodate your needs with the care and efficacy you require. Continue reading to learn more about the types of services locksmiths provide, their costs and how to locate the best locksmiths near you.


What Is a Locksmith?

Locksmiths are perhaps best known for opening locks to cars and homes when owners have lost their keys. Locksmiths also provide multiple types of services in addition to opening locks, several of which might be unexpected to some consumers. Essentially, however, a locksmith is a skilled professional who installs, repairs, altars and opens locks and other security devices in automobiles, residential homes, and commercial businesses.

What Does a Locksmith do?

Duties and tasks performed by professional locksmiths vary based on the needs of each customer and situation in addition to each locksmith’s training. Unlocking doors and windows comprise only a fraction of the services professional locksmiths provide. While many locksmiths service automobiles, homes and businesses, others specialize and/or provide one type of service.

Rekeying locks is another task performed by all locksmiths. Rekeying is the process of altering the functional key to a lock without replacing the entirety of a lock itself. This is done as a cost-effective alternative to replacing more expensive locks when someone loses their keys or moves into a new home without knowing the previous residents. Additional tasks and services performed by locksmiths include:

  • Repairing and replacing broken door/window hinges.

  • Repairing and replacing electric lock release mechanisms.

  • Changing combinations on locks, safes, and doors via installing new pins in locksets.

  • Design and manufacture master key systems for apartment buildings, warehouses, commercial businesses, manufacturing plants, banks and more.

  • Create brand new keys using code.

  • Key duplication and cutting.

  • Lockout services (prevents prior key or combination holders from accessing rekeyed locks or items with new combinations).

  • Access control services (work with high-security lock systems in commercial buildings and private residences/communities).

  • Installation of new locks.

  • Extraction of broken keys from lock systems.

Training Requirements and Professional Qualities

Certified locksmiths are required to pass multiple courses related to the field. Such courses might include the study of codes and codes-device cylinder repair. Key duplication and blank key identification courses are also commonly required. Regulations and certificate course requirements vary per state and program. Currently, fifteen U.S. states require locksmiths to become licensed in their state and pass background checks. Employers typically also require criminal background checks in addition to drug screenings and possession of a high school diploma or equivalency degree.

All locksmiths must also possess a high capacity for concentration and attention to multiple simultaneous details. Patience, customer service skills and good hand-eye coordination and control are also qualities needed to perform the duties of a locksmith. Finally, locksmiths must also possess analytical reasoning skills in addition to skills with computers and other applicable gadgets operated by hand.

Comparing Automobile vs. Home vs. Commercial Locksmith Services

Hiring the right type of locksmith for your needs requires some research and asking important questions before making a commitment. Still, some locksmith services are fundamental and apply to all types of locksmith businesses. For example, the two primary services provided by a locksmith include opening and rekeying locks. This applies to car doors and trunks as well as doors to homes and businesses. 

An automobile locksmith works with keys and locks to car doors, trunks, and the ignition system. Automobile locksmiths also remove broken keys, make new keys and program (or repair the programming on) key fobs, transponder keys and remote keys and key systems. 

Residential locksmiths help you enter your home when you lock yourself out. Residential locksmiths also help examine and assess your home security and/or home security system. Tips and suggestions are then offered as consultation pursuant to all home security system needs. Unlocking and providing improved locking systems for your windows are also services provided by residential locksmiths.

Commercial locksmiths perform many of the same functions as do residential locksmiths. Many differences between the two types of locksmiths still exist, however. Commercial locksmiths specialize in the locking and security systems for businesses instead of homes. This includes working on commercial vaults and safes as well as panic bars. Automatic doors, filing cabinet locks and master key systems are all items serviced by commercial locksmiths.

Locksmith Salary Expectations

The median hourly wage and annual salary for locksmiths in the U.S. today are $22.55 and $46,910 respectively. Wages and salaries vary based on location and experience. Income also varies based on specific job positions. For example, a locksmith working for a large commercial operation might earn less salary than a sole proprietor also but receive health and dental benefits as part of his or her employment package. Sole proprietors might charge more per hour but must pay out-of-pocket for their own health insurance. Ultimately, salaries and wages vary greatly across the country. The more experience and education a locksmith obtains, the higher his or her salary is likely to be. For example, an entry-level locksmith apprenticeship position might pay in the high twenty-thousands through the low thirty-thousands. A master locksmith might earn higher than $60,000 per year, however.

Costs to Hire a Locksmith

Costs for hiring a locksmith vary based on several important factors. The type of locksmith service required influences pricing the most. Variations in each service provided also impact pricing. For example, an automobile locksmith might charge between $75 and $150 to unlock your car door during normal business hours. Services provided outside normal business hours might cost between $150 and $300, however. Additionally, the price to rekey your car door might range between $50 and $300 during normal business hours depending on the make and model of the vehicle and additional factors.

The national average price range for a locksmith to unlock a door in a home ranges between $65 and $120 per service. Prices might also range as low as $30 or as high as $175 or more per service depending on the situation. Most customers in the U.S. pay an average of $129 for locksmith services overall, however.