How much does a locksmith cost?

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Hiring a professional locksmith can bring many benefits, including expert resolution of immediate issues and long-term security improvements, with many locksmiths offering services around the clock. In the UK, locksmith services range widely in cost but are typically from £75 to £500, depending on the job's complexity. Small tasks like lock changes usually take approximately 20 to 30 minutes, while emergencies may extend to a couple of hours. When choosing a locksmith, it’s essential to pick someone qualified and accredited, with local professionals often providing the best value. Please note, all prices are estimates that are accurate as of 2024.

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Understanding typical locksmith prices helps you set aside the right budget in case of emergencies. After all, you don’t want to be caught off guard by unexpected expenses when you're already dealing with the stress of a security issue. It also allows you to compare quotes and services, ensuring you get the best value for your money. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about locksmith costs in the UK.

We'll cover the following topics in this pricing guide:
  1. Average locksmith costs
  2. How much does a locksmith cost hourly?
  3. How long does a locksmith take?
  4. How to reduce locksmith costs
  5. FAQ
  6. Your locksmith checklist
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Average locksmith costs

On average, hiring a locksmith in the UK costs between £75 and £500, depending on the scope of the job. The average cost of changing a standard uPVC lock is £125, but changing all the locks, including two exterior doors and several windows, will set you back around £500.

It's important to note that these prices can vary based on factors like the job’s complexity, the expertise and experience of the locksmith, the time of day (with after-hours services typically costing more) and your specific location within the UK. These average costs give you a ballpark figure to consider when budgeting for locksmith services, ensuring you're not caught off guard financially.

JobPrice rangeAverage cost
Changing a standard uPVC lock£100 to £150£125
Changing an anti-snap uPVC lock£125 to £175£150
Changing a Yale lock£90 to £120£100
Replacing a garage door lock£80 to £90£85
Replacing a patio door lock£90 to £100£95
Replacing a night latch£85 to £95£90
Replacing a rim cylinder£70 to £80£75
Replacing a mortice lock£115 to £165£140
Changing all locks (two exterior doors and windows)£400 to £600£500

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How much does a locksmith cost hourly?

The cost of hiring a locksmith in the UK can vary significantly based on several factors. The average hourly cost of a locksmith is around £65, but this can increase depending on the complexity and urgency of the task. Factors that impact costs include the type of service required (such as emergency lockout assistance, lock replacement or advanced security system installation), the time of day and the location.

Emergency or out-of-hours services often cost more. A locksmith’s tiered hourly rates during different times of the day or night might look something like this:

  • 8am to 6pm: £65 per hour
  • 6am to 8am/6pm to 8pm: £75 per hour
  • 8pm to midnight: £85 per hour
  • Midnight to 6am: £120 per hour

One of the primary benefits of hiring a professional locksmith is the assurance of quality and expertise. A skilled locksmith can resolve your immediate issue and can also provide long-term solutions, improving the security of your property. Plus, locksmiths come equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to handle various types of locks and security systems, which is especially important in emergency situations.

Additionally, professional locksmiths can offer valuable advice on maintaining your locks and upgrading your security systems to prevent future problems. While the cost of a locksmith may seem like a significant investment, the benefits of hiring a professional usually far outweigh the downsides. You receive peace of mind knowing that your property is secure and the job is completed efficiently and correctly. Moreover, experienced locksmiths are often insured, which means any potential damage during the service is covered, adding an extra layer of security.

If you need help choosing a professional, have a look at our locksmith hiring guide.

Lock change cost 

Changing a door lock is one of the most common jobs a locksmith is called for. The lock replacement cost can vary widely depending on several factors, including the lock type, the intricacy of the installation and your location. On average, in the UK, the price for changing all your locks will be around £500, based on the property having two external doors and multiple windows.

The average cost to change a single Yale lock during usual business hours is around £100 per lock, including materials and labour. On the other hand, changing a standard uPVC lock costs around £125 per lock in total. If it’s an anti-snap lock, it will be around £150 per lock.

Emergency locksmith cost 

The price of an emergency locksmith in the UK also varies significantly. Emergency situations usually command higher prices due to the urgency and the out-of-hours service. Factors influencing the cost include the time of day (with nights, weekends and holidays usually costing more), the complexity of the job and your location. Some locksmiths may also charge an additional call-out fee for emergency services, which is around £50 to £150 on top of other costs.

Cost of vehicle ignition replacement

The cost of ignition replacement by a locksmith varies widely, usually averaging around £250. However, the price depends on several factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the intricacy of the ignition system and the type of key required. Some examples include standard, transponder or keyless. The cost might be higher for luxury or high-end vehicles due to their more complex and secure ignition systems.

Key fob replacement cost 

The average car key replacement in the UK is £240. The overall cost differs due to several factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the type of key fob required and whether it's a standard fob or one with advanced features like keyless entry or remote start. The cost is higher for key fobs with sophisticated encryption and programming requirements.

Door key replacement cost

The cost of a door key replacement in the UK largely depends on the key type and lock. The price is relatively low for a standard house door key, typically ranging from £4 to £10 per key. However, if the key is for a more complex lock system, such as a high-security lock or a lock with a restricted key profile, the cost can increase, potentially ranging from £15 to £30 or more per key. If the lock itself needs to be replaced or rekeyed to fit a new set of keys, this would incur additional costs.

Cost to rekey a lock

The cost of rekeying locks in the UK typically ranges from £45 to £65 per lock. An internal house door is the most affordable option, costing around £45 per lock. On the other hand, rekeying a front or back door lock, uPVC lock or a patio door lock is around £65. The rekeying process involves altering the lock mechanism so that a new key can operate, while the old key becomes obsolete. Factors influencing the cost include the type of lock, the number of locks being rekeyed and the complexity of the lock's design. Rekeying is often considered a cost-effective alternative to replacing locks entirely, especially when maintaining the same lock hardware is desirable. It's a popular choice for those who have moved into a new home or lost a set of keys.

Cost of a locksmith when you’re locked out of your house 

Being locked out of your home can be stressful, but this is one of the most common reasons locksmiths are called. If you're locked out of your house, the cost of hiring a locksmith can vary, typically ranging from £65 to £120 per hour in the UK. This price can fluctuate based on several factors, such as the time of day, as after-hours or emergency call-outs generally cost more. Locksmiths may also charge a call-out fee, which can increase the overall cost. It's best to confirm the total price (including any additional fees) with the locksmith before they begin the work. This service fee typically includes the cost of labour and any necessary tools to regain access to your home.

Cost of a new front door 

In some cases, you might want a new front door installed, for example, if there’s been significant damage to your lock and door. The cost of a new front door in the UK can vary considerably based on the door type and material. For a standard uPVC door, which is popular for its durability and low maintenance, prices usually range between £250 and £450. This option is often favoured for its balance of affordability and security. On the other hand, wooden doors, preferred for their classic and natural look, have a wider price range. Depending on the wood quality, design and craftsmanship, wooden door costs can start from as low as £120 and go up to £1,800 for high-end, bespoke designs. These prices generally reflect the cost of the door itself, excluding installation fees.

Cost of removing a broken key

Removing a broken key from a lock requires precision and skill, and this locksmith service in the UK typically costs around £90 for labour only. The price varies depending on the complexity of the lock and the difficulty of extracting the broken piece. Some other factors that can affect the cost include the type of lock, the extent to which the key is lodged in the lock and any additional damage to the lock mechanism. It's a delicate task that often involves specialised tools to carefully remove the broken key without damaging the lock, ensuring it remains functional for the new key.

Cost of emergency boarding up

If you’ve been locked out and had to force entry into your home, or you’ve been the victim of a break-in and damage has been caused, the average cost of boarding up your home last minute is around £200. The cost generally includes the materials used for boarding (such as plywood or metal sheets) and the labour involved in securely installing them to protect the property from further damage or unauthorised access.

How long does a locksmith take?

The time a locksmith needs to complete a job depends on various factors, such as the scope of the job, the extent of damage and accessibility. On average, replacing a lock might take about 20 to 30 minutes. However, a more straightforward task like fixing a lock can be quicker, often requiring only 10 to 15 minutes. Unlocking a door, a common request, typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the lock's complexity and condition. More extensive jobs, like emergency boarding after a break-in, might take a locksmith about one to two hours, taking into account the severity of the damage and the required security measures. Each job's duration varies, but most locksmiths aim to provide an efficient and prompt service, especially in urgent situations.

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How to reduce locksmith costs

Hiring a locksmith can seem pricey, but there are ways to reduce the overall costs. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain your locks regularly: Regular upkeep of your locks can prevent major issues from arising, reducing the need for extensive (and expensive) locksmith services. Simple tasks like cleaning and lubricating the locks can prolong their lifespans significantly. 
  • Make DIY basic fixes: For minor issues, consider DIY solutions. Simple tasks like tightening loose screws or aligning strike plates can be done without professional help. However, ensure you have a basic understanding of the mechanism to avoid causing further damage and a more costly fix. 
  • Compare quotes: Before settling on a locksmith, source quotes from multiple professionals. This will help you find a service that fits your budget without compromising quality.
  • Choose local locksmiths: Opting for a local locksmith can reduce costs, as they typically charge less for travel. This move also supports local businesses in your community. 
  • Upgrade to high-quality locks: While it seems expensive initially, investing in high-quality, durable locks can be more cost effective in the long run. They’re less likely to malfunction and require less frequent repairs or replacements. 
  • Negotiate better rates: Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices, especially for large or multiple jobs. Many locksmiths are open to discussion, especially for non-emergency services.
  • Schedule services during regular hours: If possible, schedule your locksmith services during regular working hours. Emergency or after-hours services often come with premium charges.
  • Use warranties and insurance: Check if your home insurance covers locksmith costs. Also, use warranties for lock repairs or replacements, if possible. 
  • Educate yourself on common issues: Understanding common lock issues can help you know when to call a professional and when it’s a problem you can handle, saving unnecessary expenses. 
  • Make preventative upgrades: Sometimes, upgrading to a more secure system can be more cost effective than dealing with recurrent lock issues. Consider smart locks or high-security options that offer better longevity and security.
     
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FAQ

What types of locks are there? 

Several types of locks are available to choose from, each catering to different security needs, door types and budgets.

Here are some standard options:

  • Mortice locks: These are embedded into the door itself, offering a high level of security. Mortice locks come in various lever counts. Typically, the more levers, the more secure the lock. They’re commonly found on wooden doors and are a popular choice in the UK for external doors. 
  • Night latches: Also known as Yale locks, night latches are mounted on the inside surface of the door. They automatically lock the door when it's closed, providing convenient security. They're often used in combination with a mortice lock for added security. 
  • Anti-snap uPVC door locks: Specifically designed for uPVC doors, these locks are built to resist snapping, a common method burglars use to break into homes. Their unique design prevents the lock from breaking at its weakest point.
  • Multi-point locking systems: Commonly found on uPVC and composite doors, these systems lock at multiple points along the door frame with the turn of a key, providing a high level of security. They're excellent for exterior doors as they distribute the locking force across the door, making it harder to force open. 

What locksmith tools are needed to unlock a door?

Locksmiths can use a selection of tools to unlock doors without causing damage. One such tool is a trip wire, designed to manipulate frozen tumblers in a lock. A trip wire enables locksmiths to gently move the frozen tumblers into the correct position for unlocking. Hex keys, also known as Allen keys, are another standard locksmith tool. They’re often used to modify or grind down the existing key, which then opens the door. Additionally, plastic shims are often used and are especially effective with door latches. These thin, flexible tools can slide between the door and its frame, creating a small gap to manipulate the latch and open it. Each tool is chosen based on the lock type and the specific requirements of the task at hand.

Can I change my locks myself?

Yes, changing your locks yourself is possible if you have the right DIY skills and tools. Changing a standard door lock typically involves removing and replacing the existing lock with a new one, which can be straightforward if the new lock is of the same type and size. However, it's essential to ensure that you choose the correct lock for your door and that it meets any specific security requirements you have. If you're not confident in your ability to change the lock correctly, or if the lock is part of a more complex security system, it's best to consult a professional locksmith.

Your locksmith checklist

 
  • Plan in advance: Before seeking a locksmith, assess your needs. Understand the type of service you require, whether it's a simple lock change or a more complex security upgrade.
  • Assess your situation: Determine the urgency and complexity of your situation. This will guide your decision on whether to DIY or call a professional. 
  • Budget accordingly: Calculate your budget, considering both the initial costs and any potential long-term expenses. 
  • Seek advice from experts: Don't hesitate to consult with local experts or locksmith associations for advice on the best options for your specific needs. 
  • Choose experienced professionals: For complex jobs, hiring a professional locksmith with relevant experience and qualifications is crucial. 
  • Verify qualifications and accreditations: Make sure to confirm that the locksmith you choose is fully qualified and accredited by a reputable association. This ensures a certain level of expertise and trustworthiness. 
  • Understand the lack of official licensing: Be aware that there's no official government licensing for locksmiths in the UK, meaning anyone can claim to be a locksmith. This makes checking their credentials even more important. 
  • Request detailed quotes: Ask for a breakdown of the quotes you receive to understand exactly what you're paying for. This helps in comparing different services and avoiding hidden costs. 

The great news is that finding a reliable, professional locksmith with MyBuilder is free, easy and quick. All you need to do is share the details of your job on the MyBuilder platform, and anyone suitable and available will be able to reach out to you.