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How to Call a Locksmith: A Guide to Hiring a Locksmith Service When You’re Locked Out

Being locked out of your home or car can be an incredibly stressful and frustrating situation. If you find yourself unable to get inside your house or vehicle, your first instinct may be to try breaking in yourself or asking a friend for help. However, this is often not the safest or most effective solution. Instead, it’s a good idea to call a professional locksmith service.

Hiring a trained locksmith is the best way to quickly and securely gain entry to your locked house or car when you’re in need. This article provides a comprehensive guide on when and how to call a locksmith, what services they can provide, what to expect when they arrive, how to find a reputable company, and locksmith costs. Read on for expert advice that can help you get back inside quickly during a lockout emergency.

When Should You Call a Locksmith?

There are a few common situations when it’s a smart idea to call a professional locksmith:

  • You’re locked out of your home or car – This is the most obvious scenario. If you find yourself unable to get inside your house, apartment, or vehicle because you’ve lost your keys, got locked out accidentally, or your locks are malfunctioning, a locksmith’s services will be required.
  • You need to rekey locks – When you’ve moved into a new home or had workers in your house, rekeying your locks is an important security measure. A locksmith can efficiently handle this for you.
  • You need new keys made – If your keys have broken, worn down over time, or you need extras made for family members, locksmiths can quickly cut new keys.
  • You want to upgrade home security – If you’re looking to install high-security locks, electronic access systems, or other upgrades to protect your home or business, locksmiths offer these services.

No matter if you’re locked out of your house or car or just need lock work done around your home or business, a professional locksmith can help. Continue reading for what to expect when calling.

What to Expect When You Call a Locksmith

Follow this general process when calling a locksmith during a lockout situation:

Step 1: Call a Reputable Local Locksmith Company

Your first move should be finding and calling a trustworthy local locksmith company. Search online and verify they have a good reputation (more tips for choosing a proper locksmith later).

Step 2: Explain Your Situation to the Locksmith Dispatcher

When you call, a dispatcher will answer and request information about your emergency. Be ready to provide:

  • Your location
  • If you’re locked out of a home, business, or car
  • Type of door or vehicle
  • Any other pertinent details about the lock situation

This helps them understand the problem and dispatch the right locksmith technician with proper tools.

Step 3: Wait for the Locksmith to Arrive

The dispatcher will let you know an estimated time of arrival. licensed locksmith technicians are typically able to arrive within 30 minutes or less for emergency lockouts. Waiting safe nearby is recommended.

Step 4: Allow the Locksmith Access to the Lock

When the locksmith arrives, they’ll examine the lock to diagnose the specific issue. You need to grant them access by moving any blocked items.

Step 5: Provide Payment

Once the work is done and you’re back inside, provide payment so the locksmith can move on to their next job. Most accept cash, check, and all major credit cards.

Calling a professional is the fastest and safest way to get back inside your home or car. But it’s critical that you choose the right locksmith company. Here’s how to find a reputable provider for prompt and high-quality service:

How to Choose a Reliable Locksmith Company

With so many locksmith companies to choose from, how can you identify a properly licensed, trained, and reliable provider? Follow these tips:

  • Search locally – Only consider locksmiths located in your immediate metro area for timely service.
  • Look for longevity – Established locksmith companies that have been serving your area for several years are typically the most reputable options. Avoid fly-by-night operators.
  • Check for proper licensing – Confirm the locksmith has valid local and state business licenses. Request to see a technician’s license and credentials when they arrive.
  • Read online reviews – Search the company name plus “reviews” to see impartial customer feedback. Look for consistently positive reviews.
  • Ask about insurance – Legitimate locksmiths should have general liability insurance and worker’s compensation for technicians. Request proof.
  • Get an estimate – Ask for a price estimate over the phone before agreeing to service. Quality locksmiths will provide fair quotes.
  • Consider security options – Ask if they offer high-security lock options, electronic access systems, keyless entry, etc.

Following these tips helps you hire a professional locksmith quickly so you can get back into your home or car. But what will it cost? Let’s look at typical locksmith rates and fees.

How Much Does a Locksmith Cost?

The cost to hire a locksmith depends on the type of service you need. Here are average locksmith prices:

  • Basic lockout service – $80 to $150. Opening your locked house or car is the most common scenario. Higher charges apply nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • Home lock change – $60 to $100 per lock. Rekeying existing locks is generally affordable.
  • New lock installation – $150 to $300 per lock. Installing new locks, especially high-security types, costs more.
  • Car unlock – $50 to $100. Older or luxury model cars often cost more.
  • Copy new key – $3 to $15 per key. Rates vary based on blank type.
  • Extract broken key – $50 to $150. Removing a snapped key requires special tools.

Keep in mind that additional fees like trip fees, emergency fees for late nights/weekends, or mileage fees can add to costs, especially during a lockout. Get a firm quote ahead of time.

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Locksmith

Why should you hire a pro rather than breaking in yourself or using a dubious, cheap service? Consider the benefits:

  • Speed – Licensed locksmiths have specialized tools to quickly unlock doors and cars. You’ll get back inside faster.
  • Expertise – With extensive training and experience, locksmiths can solve any lockout situation. No hassle involved on your part.
  • No damage – Locks and doors often get damaged during attempted DIY break-ins. Professionals open them with care.
  • Security – Certified locksmiths keep your locks, keys, and property secure as they work. Less risk than random helpers.
  • Warranty – Many locksmiths guarantee workmanship defects for a certain period of time. Peace of mind.
  • Emergency availability – Professional locksmith companies offer 24-hour emergency service for instant help any time.
  • Convenience – Technicians have the mobility to reach any location quickly. Saves you a major headache.
  • Support – Established locksmith companies have knowledgeable customer service staff to answer all questions.

Common Locksmith Questions

Still have some questions about calling a locksmith for help during a lockout situation? Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions:

Do locksmiths need to see ID?

Yes, legitimate locksmiths will ask to see your identification when they arrive to verify you are the owner/driver of the property. Ensure technicians match the name of the company you called.

Will a locksmith drill my lock?

In most cases, locksmiths can pick or bypass locks without damage. Drilling is only used as a last resort if other entry methods don’t work. A good locksmith will typically advise if drilling seems necessary.

Are locksmiths expensive for emergencies?

Locksmith rates go up nights, weekends, and holidays to account for urgency and overtime pay for technicians. But rates remain reasonable at reputable companies even during emergencies. Avoid companies that excessively price gouge.

When do I need to replace a lock?

If a lock cannot be repaired or keys still cannot access the lock after a locksmith helps you get inside, it likely needs replacement. You may also want new locks installed after moving into a home, when workers had access, or as a security upgrade.

How quickly can a locksmith arrive?

After calling a locksmith, expect a technician to reach your location within 30 minutes or less in normal conditions. Times vary based on location and urgency. Locksmiths prioritize speed for emergency lockout calls.

Can a locksmith make copies of my keys?

Yes, professional locksmiths can duplicate your existing keys. They have key cutting machines on their vehicles to cut new keys any time you need extras. Just provide an original key to copy.


Finding yourself locked out with no way to get inside your home or car can certainly be stressful. But calling a professional locksmith service provides a fast and effective solution. They have the skills and tools to quickly unlock just about any residential or vehicle lock. Just be sure to call a properly licensed local company with a good reputation. Their technicians can reach any area fast, resolve your lockout emergency, and get you back inside with minimal hassle and damage. Keep their number saved so you’re prepared for the next lockout situation.

Summary of Main Points:

  • Call a local locksmith anytime you get locked out of your home, apartment, office or car
  • Let the dispatcher know key details like your location and type of lock
  • Choose an established, licensed company with positive reviews
  • Technicians can unlock most locks quickly without much damage
  • Prices range from $80-$150 for basic lockout service, more for complex jobs
  • Benefits include speed, expertise, security, and 24/7 availability