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Question DetailsAsked on 6/8/2013

How much should an after hours locksmith charge to unlock a door

My daughter locked herself out of her apartment on a Friday at midnight. She had 8 people waiting for her as they were leaving for vacation. She was forced to call a locksmith who literally took 30 seconds to gain entrance to her apartment. He charged her $200. I thought this seemed excessive but she didn't have time to "shop around", and I later found out this particular locksmith earned an "F" on Angie's list, price being a major complaint.

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2 Answers


Assuming the locksmith does not have to drive more than about 5 miles, an emergency unlock should cost about $50-100. However, in big cities charges of $200 and more are becoming more common, and MSNBC had an article with people being charged $600+ !

When dealing with a contractor, unless it is one you have long exerience with, ALWAYS get the cost first before agreeing to the service callout !

Ditto for anything - I have heard of plumbers charging $500 for a service call, auto mechanics charging $1000 for a simple tuneup, etc.

If you have a Discover Card or other card or insurance company with emergency concierge service, that might be an idea for this sort of situation - they are not going to keep using a vendor who is not honest and reasonable, and are likely to help you if their recommended service rips you off. And of course, avoid being locked out of your house at all - get a waterproof key holder and bury it somewhere away from the door but where you will remember it. If you mark it with something like a white rock or lawn gnome or such, do NOT bury it under the marker - bury it say 2 shoe lengths to the side, so if a thief checks for obvious markers he does not find it. Do NOT put it in a potted plant right by the door, on top of the door frame, under doormat, in mailbox, etc - these are the first places burglars look. Put it out of sight in a place of no particular note. Remember - if it is very easy for you to get it, the same is true for a burglar.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


It depends on the lock, the location and the time of day - If you're waking up a locksmith in the middle of the night to drive for 30 or 40 minutes out to you (a common occurence in my area in Texas) to a remote area, be prepared to pay a premium for this. If the lock is jammed up or damaged, or if there are multiple locks on the door then this would cost more than unlocking a single lock in good condition.

Most of the 24 hour services in my area use an on-call system paying a commission to the actual locksmith, so if you call them at 2 in the morning and happen to be in a remote city 30 minutes drive each way from where the locksmith is based, someone who still has to go to work their regular 8 hour shift the next morning has to wake up, drive out to you, find out how reality is different from your explanation, then the charge to you might be as high as $150 to $200, however in reality that locksmith may only be getting $40 to $50 for their time, gas, equipment, training, insurance, licensing, and skills.

Even if a locksmith is only 30 minutes drive away from you this means that they have will spend at least an hour working on the job just on the getting to/from the location, plus whatever time it takes to actually do the job.

Would you wake up in the middle of the night, trying not to wake your wife and/or children, to drive for half an hour each way, knowing that you still had to work a regular shift the next day, and not knowing what exactly you would face when you got to the location for $40 to $50?

Source: Am a locksmith

Answered 3 years ago by Daves752

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