How much does a locksmith cost?
The answer: locksmith prices depend on WHO you call!
locksmith prices is a subject being taken very seriously lately. This could be due to TV programmes like the BBC’S rogue traders exposing con men, and their tricks to charge a huge price.
However, since that programme was aired in 2010 there are new factors causing customers to be charged high prices from locksmiths.
The main reasons for large variations in price, can be found by looking at the factors below:
- National locksmith company v Local locksmith company
- Home based locksmith v Shop based locksmith
- Pay per click adverts V Organic search results
- Time the service is required
- Rogue tradesman
- Alcatraz locksmith prices
Armed with this knowledge, the customer will know what to look for when calling a locksmith.
National locksmith company v Local locksmith company
When calling a locksmith you should be aware of the physical location of the company you call. Even if a company has a local number, it does not mean they are local. They could be renting a local area phone number from a phone divert company.
So whats the problem with using a national locksmith company?
The problem is, most of these companies do not actually employ locksmiths. They are only ‘middle men’ firms who set up websites and adverts in the local directories.
When a customer wants to use their service, the national company simply subcontracts the work out to a local locksmith. The locksmith will only be paid a fraction of the price the national company charges the customer.
What type of locksmiths work for national firms?
Only locksmiths who are struggling for work, would work for a National company!
Why else would they do a job, then give most of the money away?
If these locksmiths are struggling for work, there is usually a reason for this. Maybe they do not have sufficient training? Maybe their standards of work are poor?
Intense training courses
Nowadays, people are doing 3 day intense locksmith courses, then trading as a locksmith.
Is 3 days really enough time to learn a whole trade?
Most of these 3 day locksmith courses only teach you how to pick open locks. What about joinery skills? UPVC door lock repairs? new lock installations? door entry systems? this list could go on and on. You cant learn a trade in 3 days!
- Most reputable locksmiths will have contracts in place with letting agents and other local authorities. They will also have a base of repeat custom, and new jobs from word of mouth.
- A morally good locksmith would NEVER work for a nation locksmith company. They couldn’t bring themselves to charge the prices, knowing the price a job should really cost.
By Using a national company, the customer may pay triple the locksmith charges, they would pay a local company.
What are the Benefits of using a local company?
By using a local company, you are cutting out the national company ‘middle man’. This alone could save you a fortune on the cost of locksmith services.
The local Locksmith will also be more available, should you have problems with past work. In contrast, complaints made to national companies usually fall on deaf ears. This could be due to there is no money to be made out of repairing old jobs.
The locksmith who accepts subcontract for the national firms may not bother about customer satisfaction. After all, it is not their company name that is registered to the completed works. This allegation would obviously be denied by national locksmith firms. After all, they must keep up the facade of running a professional firm.
As a genuine local locksmith, who communicates with other local locksmiths. We hear complaints all the time, regarding national prices, standards of work, at the non existing after care.
How can i tell if i’m phoning a local or a national company?
As mentioned before, it can be hard because they ‘rent’ local area codes for their phone numbers.
However, these are some signs to look out for.
- Do they have a local accent on the phone? Most national firms are not local.
- Do they have realistic online reviews, from sources like google maps?
- Are they asking for bank details, before sending an engineer?
- Ask how much to change locks – if you require this service. Most National firms will give a vague answer, to avoid losing the job. However, a local locksmith will give the exact cost of changing locks.
- Once you have received a phone quote, type in to google ‘locksmith near me prices’ or ‘locksmith prices UK’ this give you an idea of locksmith costs, and will show you if their quote is competitive.
These are just some of the signs which identify a national company. They apply to most trades adverting online nowadays – not just the locksmith industry.
Where there is money to be made, the middleman will sniff it out!
Home based locksmith v Shop based locksmith
Regardless if a locksmith trades from home, or is based in a shop, they generally provide good after care on completed work. This is one of the main differences between them, and the nation firm.
The difference between using a ‘home based locksmith’, and a ‘shop based locksmith’ is the locksmith prices.
Why is there a difference in price, if both companies are local?
The simple answer to this question: OVERHEADS.
Shop based locksmith
If a locksmith is operating from a shop there will be many costs relating to the business premises. These costs include rent, utility bills, business rates, maintenance bills and stock etc..
These costs cannot simply be absorbed. They are paid for by charging higher prices to the customer.
Home based locksmith
A locksmith providing a mobile service from home, has next to no overheads. They only pay for things like stock, and the fuel used driving to jobs.
This means they can charge lower prices, in comparison with their shop based counterpart.
Pay per click adverts V Organic search results
When someone searches for a service online, the very top search results will be pay per click (PPC) adverts. The companies who occupy these top spots, pay the search engine money when someone clicks on their website.
In a way it is morally wrong for search engines to operate in this manner. It enables anyone to create a website, and trade immediately. As long as their bid is high enough, they will be right at the top of the search results.
The problem is, in a very competitive niche like the locksmith industry, to occupy top spot on the pay per click adverts, the company could be paying a search engine around £20/£50 per click in competitive areas.
Not every time someone clicks the website, will it convert into a job.
There is also the issue of ‘click fraud’. In some areas, the company using ‘pay per click’ will have rival PPC users clicking on their website. The rival companies do this to make the victim give up their spot on PPC. By repeatedly clicking a website, they force the victim to lower their bid, and surrendering their spot to the clicker. Before they know it, the company at the top of the PPC results could have spent hundreds of pounds in a single day.
The company spending all this money, will not just accept these costs and trade as normal. They would be out of business in no time! The only way they can continue to operate, is by charging the customer sky high prices.
Usually when they give a phone quote their locksmith prices seem reasonable. However, once the work has started they will find ways to rocket up the price.
For example, when attending an emergency lockout they will make no attempt to pick open a lock. If they do make an attempt it will only be a charade. They will simply drill open the customers locks and charge them a large fee for installing new ones. Some examples of these con man tricks can be seen in this video: locksmith rip off tricks!
Why you should use a company from the organic search results
Companies who are organically (not PPC) ranked high on google, occupy these positions for a reason. They will have been trading over a long period of time, and may have many good online reviews to confirm the quality of service.
In addition to this, the locksmith prices they charge will be a fraction of what they PPC company charge. This is because they don’t need to spend fortunes on advertising, like the PPC locksmiths do.
Time the service is required
When calling a locksmith company most people realise the time you call will affect the price.
This is fair enough. You cant expect a firm to charge the same price at 4 o’clock in the morning as what the would at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. However, customers must be aware! Locksmiths, and in particular national locksmiths firms using PPC, have tapped into this market.
If someone is locked out in the middle of the night it can be a very distressing time. Usually they will search for 24 hour locksmith services on their phone. Because of the time and the situation, the customer will just pick the company at the top of the search results.
AS MENTIONED EARLIER, THIS IS WHERE THE PAY PER CLICK ADVERTS ARE, and where NATIONAL COMPANIES make big money. They know in the middle of the night most people just want in their home, and will often pay over the odds for a locksmith service.
Even if the customer refuses the quote and phones the next company in the search results, that will more than likely be a national company too. Search engines like Google and Bing usually allocates the first 3 positions at the top of a page to Pay per click adverts!
By the Time the customer with no knowledge of PPC adverts has got to the 3rd company in the search results (usually 3 different national firms), they will be resigned to paying huge locksmith prices, to get in to their home.
How to avoid paying big locksmith prices during the night
The best way to avoid paying too much during the night is to keep phoning more companies. You should be able to find one charging reasonable emergency locksmith prices.
After you get past the top 3 PPC adverts you will move on to the normal search results. These are the companies that do not pay for people visiting their websites.
Most cities have 24 hour locksmiths who are willing to come out at night for a reasonable price. If a company doesn’t answer the phone, simply move on to the next company until you get an answer – and a price your comfortable paying. This method is not that time consuming, and is well worth the effort. Ten minutes calling around could save you a load of money!
If worst comes to worst, and you don’t find a company, you can always call back the PPC nationals firms.
It should be mentioned that in every industry there are rogue tradesmen. The locksmith trade is no different.
Back in 2010 a con man called Mark Makowski was jailed for 4 years for tricking people who needed an emergency locksmith. He would give the customer a phone quote ranging from £100 to £200, only for the final bill to be as much as £1000 pounds!
After numerous complaints the BBC programme ‘rogue traders‘ ran an an investigation on him, which ultimately stopped him in his tracks.
The best way to avoid being stung by people like Mark Makowski is to insist on a fixed price, or at least get a worst case scenario price – this takes away the scope for being ripped off.
Look at the company’s online reviews. What period of time have these reviews been accumulated? (20 reviews in one week can look a bit strange). If a company is ripped customers off, it is only a matter of time before they get bad reviews.
If something doesn’t feel right with a company, trust your gut instinct!
Alcatraz Locksmith Prices
At Alcatraz Locksmiths, we strive to provide the best locksmith prices in the industry.
To present value to the customer, we work on a FIXED PRICED BASIS, and do not charge VAT or CALL OUT FEES.
Regarding lockouts, we charge no more than £60/£80 (depending on the time of the call out).
After opening a locked door, if a lock needs replaced, we only charge for the price of the lock (except mortices, which have a small fitting fee, due installation times.
- British standard Mortice £85
- Standard Nightlatch £85
- Yale cylinder £65
- British standard Mortice and Yale cylinder £100
- UPVC euro lock £75 / £85
- UPVC multi-point gearbox £130
*discounts apply to multiple locks changed at the same property*
NEW INSTALLATIONS FROM SCRATCH
- British standard Mortice £95 (each additional £75)
- Yale type Nightlatch £85 (each additional £65)
- 3 lever Mortice (internal doors) £85 (each additional £65)
EMERGENCY ENTRY / LOCK REPAIRS / KEY CUTTING
- Emergency entry £60 / £80 (50% off additional doors)
- Lock repairs £50 / £65
- Key cutting £5 per key
So how much does a locksmith cost?
The answer is not that much, if you phone the right company.
You should avoid using national locksmith firms, and pay per click companies at all costs.
Shop based local locksmiths can provide a good service and aftercare. However, due to their overheads, the prices they charge can be very high.
Home based mobile locksmiths, charge the cheapest locksmith prices.
Use one who organically (not paid for) ranks high in a search engine, and has good reviews over a period of time. This will also help you avoid the rogue tradesman – they never rank high, and their reviews will have exposed them.
We hope you enjoyed this small article regarding the pitfalls of calling the wrong locksmith. Follow this guide about locksmith prices, and what determines them, and you will save money
At Alcatraz – Edinburgh locksmiths we are always happy to give some advice, and are only a phone call away.