Hearing the crunch of your key snapping in your door’s lock is never pleasant – nor is the fee your local locksmith charges you for an emergency call-out to rescue you.
They’re capable of helping you when you’ve locked yourself out, lost your keys or broken them. Locksmiths are also capable of charging extortionate fees for their services as you often need them in a pinch.
To stop inflated prices, there are some key things you need to know when approaching a tradesman.
This article will detail how much it costs to change a lock, what affects the cost of changing a lock, how much locksmiths charge per hour, how to save money when changing a lock, what’s involved in changing a lock and how to find and hire a locksmith.
If you’ve been stung by emergency fees before, or are accident-prone and want to safeguard yourself in the event you lock yourself out, keep reading to find out the best ways to keep costs at bay when hiring a locksmith.
How Much Does It Cost to Change a Lock?
The cost of changing or replacing locks depends on the exact specification of the work you need to be done.
The prices listed in this section are for relatively simple jobs, using budget locks, with costs including labour, call-out, materials and VAT (if your locksmith is VAT registered). Use these costs as a guide, then get quotes from multiple locksmiths to ensure that you’re paying the best price for the service you need.
General Home and Work
Much of the work carried out by locksmiths is with homeowners, tenants, and business owners who have either lost their key or whose keys have snapped inside the lock.
For this type of work, you should expect to pay:
|Locksmith Job||Estimated Cost|
|Replace lost keys and replace door lock||£75 to £85|
|Broken/snapped key in door||£65 to £75|
|Broken key – keep the same cylinder||£80 to £90|
|Lost key – replace standard mortice and rim locks||£125 to £140|
|Locked out of your home – gain entry||£65 to £75|
If you’ve locked yourself out, it’ll cost you from around £70 to get you back into your home or workplace. There’ll be additional charges if you need to change your lock altogether after locking yourself out, or if your locksmith needs to remove a snapped key from your current lock.
Then, if you need your lock to be repaired outside of normal hours, you are likely to be asked to pay a significant premium on top of these prices, which we’ll cover later in the article.
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When it comes to lock repair jobs, external repair prices tend to be higher than internal lock repair costs because of the increased level of complexity, as well as the extra time they take to repair.
Here are some common lock repair jobs and their expected prices:
|Type Of Lock Repair||Estimated Cost|
|Garage door lock repair||£50 to £60|
|Internal door lock repair (bathroom/bedroom)||£40 to £50|
|uPVC window lock repair||£50 to £60|
|Door handle repair||£50 to £60|
|Front or back door lock repair||£60 to £70|
|uPVC door lock repair||£60 to £70|
|Patio door lock repair||£60 to £70|
You should expect to pay at least £50 for a locksmith to come out and fix an external lock. If you want to change or replace an existing lock, you’ll likely pay at least £75 including materials.
However, the cost could be quite a bit higher depending on the type of lock you want to change.
If you’re looking to upgrade your locks to more secure variants, you can expect to pay a little more than you would if you were repairing an existing lock.
Here are some common lock replacement jobs and their expected prices:
|Locksmith Job||Estimated Cost|
|Garage door lock replacement||£75 to £85|
|Patio door lock replacement||£85 to £95|
|Night latch (wooden door)||£85 to £95|
|Rim cylinder replacement||£65 to £75|
|Mortice lock||£110 to £120|
|Changing all the locks at a property||£300 to £400|
It’s important to note that if you’re replacing a mortice lock, the cost may increase substantially depending on whether additional work is required to be done on the door and frame because of the size of the mortice lock.
The cost of changing all the locks at your property will also vary depending on the number of locks that need replacing, the cost of the locks, labour charges, and the provision of additional keys to you and other members of your household.
As with any tradesmen, if your locksmith supplies your new door lock, there’s likely to be a retail mark-up on the price you pay. To avoid this, you can easily purchase your own lock from a DIY retailer and then get a locksmith to install it for you.
As you’d expect, locks manufactured by household name brands are more expensive. High-security specification locks also attract an additional premium (look for Ts 007 3, SS312 Diamond, and BS3261).
Finally, the larger the lock, the higher the price.
For general locks, you should budget to pay the following as a minimum:
|General Locks||Estimated Supply Cost|
|Rim Cylinder||£10 to £15|
|BS Rim Cylinder||£15 to £20|
|Patio Door Lock||£10 to £15|
|Garage Door Lock||£15 to £20|
|Window Lock||£20 to £25|
The supply cost of a new door lock is usually between £15 and £25 for a basic cylinder lock for a UPVC door. Mortice deadlocks are a bit dearer, with prices ranging from £25 to £35.
For a more secure BS3621-approved night latch, you should anticipate paying at least £45 per latch.
For Euro Cylinder locks for UPVC doors, the minimum prices are as follows:
|Euro Cylinder Lock||Supply Only|
|Budget||£15 to £20|
|Anti-Snap||£45 to £55|
The budget Euro Cylinder is generally priced at a significant discount to the anti-snap models, but as expected, the level of security the budget version affords is not as high as the premium model.
For the most popular mortice deadlocks, you can expect the following minimum costs for purchase:
|Mortice Deadlocks||Estimated Supply Cost|
|3 Lever||£15 to £20|
|5 Lever||£20 to £25|
|5 Lever to BS3621||£25 to £30|
|3 Lever Sash||£15 to £20|
|5 Lever Sash||£20 to £25|
|5 Lever Sash to BS3621||£30 to £35|
The British Standards accreditation, BS3261, is a security-focused design and manufacturing specification. BS3261 locks are much better at resisting forced snapping and opening than locks not produced to this specification.
The more levers a mortice deadlock has, the more protection it will offer homeowners, landlords, tenants and business owners against break-in.
And finally, for night latches, the standard UK minimum prices are as follows:
|Night Latch||Estimated Supply Cost|
|Standard Yale||£20 to £25|
|Yale to BS3621||£45 to £50|
The most common type of front and back door in the UK is a standard UPVC door, so this price will likely apply to you.
The minimum size of quote you should expect to receive from a locksmith to change a lock on a UPVC door is:
|Locksmith Job||Estimated Cost|
|Standard Euro Cylinder Lock||£85 to £95|
|Anti-snap Euro Cylinder Lock||£105 to £115|
Emergency Locksmith Costs
If you need a locksmith to help you outside working hours, or at the weekend, you should expect to pay significantly more in labour charges, with the same being true for any national holidays.
You can expect to pay anywhere between £10 to £100 per hour more for work at these times – and their call-out charge (if they apply one) might be higher, too.
It’s always best to try to avoid calling a locksmith out of hours if possible because a relatively simple job may end up costing you well over £200.
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What Affects the Cost of Changing a Lock?
A few factors contribute to your locksmith’s cost other than labour and call-out charges. These can include:
Complexity of the Job
When you’re speaking to a locksmith to get a quote, try to explain in as much detail as possible what it is you need to be done.
Experienced locksmiths will be able to give you a fairly reliable estimate of the expected cost of the job if you tell them about the types of lock and their locations, and the condition they’re in (such as if a lock has a broken key in it).
This level of detail can help to alleviate any potential extra fees during their call-out, as they’ll know the specifics beforehand.
If the doors and windows you need work on don’t use standard locks (especially smart locks or digital locks), make sure that you tell your locksmith when you’re on the phone to them.
Although many locksmiths will stock standard sets of locks in their work vans (such as BS3621), they may need to visit their local wholesaler to buy non-standard locks after they’ve turned up if they didn’t know about a specific lock beforehand.
For this scenario, you’re likely to be charged for their travel time and expenses incurred by your locksmith, but it’s something you can avoid altogether if you’re able to let them know in advance.
How Quickly You Need the Work to Be Done
If your locksmith has to leave one job to attend to a job you need doing at short notice, you’ll likely pay a premium for this speed of service.
Wherever possible, try to arrange work as far in advance as possible to get the best rates.
Time of Day and Location
Similar to the speed of the job, the time you call a locksmith out will directly impact the price you pay. The same job completed in working hours in the middle of the week will be considerably less than something completed on an evening during the weekend.
Costs are likely to be higher in cities, so if you’re living in central London, you can expect to pay a little more based on this fact.
Whether or not your locksmith needs to do additional work to make your new lock fit will affect the price you pay. As locksmiths generally charge by the hour, any extra time will be reflected in your invoice.
If you’re supplying the lock, make sure it’s on-site for when your locksmith arrives so they can get started straight away without any delays.
How Much Do Locksmiths Charge an Hour?
As mentioned above, locksmiths normally charge for their time by the hour – which means the longer and more complex the job is, the higher the price you’ll pay.
London locksmiths are likely to charge up to £90 per hour, whereas fees in the North of England and the more populated areas of Scotland and Wales can expect to pay the lowest prices of around £60 to 70 per hour.
Some locksmiths keep the same charge per hour after the first hour, however, others choose to offer a reduced hourly rate past that. For example, you might choose a locksmith with a rate of £70 for the first hour, and £35 for all subsequent hours.
Some locksmiths will also have call-out charges for the work they do. Call-out charges are often fixed at somewhere between 50% and 100% of the hourly rate, or the first hour’s rate if your locksmith offered reduced fees from the second hour onwards.
If you choose a locksmith who does charge a call-out fee, ask them if the charge is dropped if the job they’re doing for you takes an hour or more. When speaking with a locksmith before they visit you, make sure you ask this so that you don’t end up paying more than you want to.
Depending on the size of the locksmith firm you choose, you may have to pay VAT on top of the hourly rates, the call-out charge and any materials used on your job.
For homeowners, landlords, and tenants, most of you will not be able to claim the VAT back from HMRC – you may wish to choose a smaller locksmith to avoid paying VAT altogether.
However, if you’re using a locksmith for your business and you’re VAT registered, you can claim the VAT back.
How Can I Save Money on Changing a Lock?
Costs can quickly spiral with locksmiths if simple jobs take much longer than anticipated, or if emergencies arise that haven’t been budgeted for.
The best ways to cut the cost of your locksmith’s invoice as much as possible are to:
- Employ them during working hours
- Give as much notice as possible (for example, if you’re having new doors fitted next week and you need them to come around)
- Ask about their call-out charging policy
- Tell them as much as you can about the exact nature of the work you want them to do for you
- Let them know if any of the locks on your door and windows are non-standard so they can stock up in advance, rather than collect them when they’re on the job
- Try to use a locksmith as local to you as possible so you don’t have to pay for their travelling expenses and the time it takes to get to you
- Find out if they are VAT registered and if you’re eligible to claim this back.
For most jobs, the expectation is that the locksmith will bring along the locks and other necessary materials to complete the job. Most locksmiths will mark up the price they pay on their materials to make additional money on the work they carry out for you.
If you’ve bought your own materials for your locksmith to use on the work, let them know when you speak to them. That way, they won’t end up buying stock they don’t actually need which they’d then have to charge you for.
Use HouseholdQuotes to compare quotes from between three to four locksmiths and find the best deal for you!
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What’s Involved in Changing a Lock?
The process for changing a lock is fairly simple, and your locksmith is likely to follow this order:
Removal of Old Lock
Firstly, the old lock will be removed along with the deadbolts.
Installation of New Lock
The new lock is then set in place, with any additional work carried out on the door or window to enable the fixture to fit correctly.
Final Testing and Checks
An important part of the job, the locks are then tested to make sure they fit correctly and – importantly – that the keys supplied work for the new lock.
How Do I Find and Hire a Locksmith?
To find a reputable locksmith, it’s best to first ask your family, friends and neighbours for recommendations. This will save you from spending hours searching and scouring through references to see if they’re up to the job.
However, if no one can give you a recommendation, using HouseholdQuotes can help to save you up to 40% when comparing quotes.
We’ve done the background checking you’d expect to give us the peace of mind that we’re only recommending that the very best in the profession provide you with a competitive quote for the work you need doing.
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Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
You must get your quote in written format, and ideally signed by the locksmith to guarantee that the cost written down won’t be exceeded without prior consent.
Find out if there’s a minimum call-out charge, and if any parts are covered by a guarantee in the first instance. This way you can easily compare traders with one another and find the best combination that works for your budget and your needs.
If your locksmith is using hourly rates, ask your locksmith to give you a rough estimate on the length of time it’ll take to complete your job. Before deciding to choose a particular locksmith, ask them to commit that, if it takes them longer than they expect, the quote will not change.
For fixed quotes, make sure to get the same written assurances from your locksmith, as well as a receipt for the work once you’ve parted with your money. If there’s no receipt, it’s harder to bring a rogue locksmith to justice or hold them to account.
Before confirming any work, ask to see your locksmith’s public liability insurance, and if applicable, their employers’ liability insurance.
Public liability insurance will protect you if your locksmith causes damage to your property, and if your locksmith has employees, they are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance. If they don’t have it, then it’s reasonable to question whether they are a firm you should trust.
Whether you’re planning on changing your home’s locks, or just planning for the inevitable when you lose your keys, here’s what we suggest bearing in mind when looking to hire a locksmith:
- Ask about their minimum call-out fee, and their terms of pricing (if it’s hourly rates or a fixed fee)
- Explain your job in detail, and let them know about any non-standard parts
- Make sure to get any quotes in writing and signed by the trader before agreeing to any work to ensure the price stays as originally agreed
- To reduce costs, look to source the locks yourself – but make sure to let the locksmith know this in advance to save them buying the same product twice
- Wherever possible, try to not call during out-of-work hours, such as weekends, evenings, and any national holidays as your price will skyrocket.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is There a Professional Association for Locksmiths?
Should My Locksmith Belong to Any Professional Organisation?
Although it’s not required for a locksmith, if they are part of this association it’ll prove their dedication to the industry and help you to weed out any potential cowboy traders.
How Do I Avoid Being Overcharged by a Locksmith?
On the quote, ask your locksmith to itemise every part of the quote and to sign it, stating that the overall price for the work will not be higher than is written down unless you change the specifications of the job.
Always be sure to get your quote on paper, no matter how cheerful or helpful the trader may be. Be very wary if a locksmith is doing all they can to avoid being tied down on a price.
What’s the Most Secure Type of Lock?
Different types of locks will be more durable and secure for different types of doors and windows, such as whether you’ve got a UPVC or a wooden door or window. Your locksmith will be able to advise you on the best choice for your circumstances.