Locking yourself out of the house can be a very stressful situation in Houston, TX. But knowing some basic information about how much a locksmith in Houston TX “should” cost, can keep “panic” from getting you ripped off. So how much should a simple door opening cost? Some people find that out the hard way.
Rip off Report, From Miss Helpless:
I went quickly out and slammed the door and said, “Oh, I’ve locked the keys inside.” Without a phone book, and on a Sunday, I searched the internet and found a locksmith close by. When he arrived, he couldn’t pick the lock so he said it will destroy your lock, but I had to get into the house, so, he went ahead and did it.
Miss Helpless says the locksmith quoted a price and upon arrival. It didn’t match the bill. “I said, you told me $75,” he said, “No, I said $275.” That’s when I first heard about that, I thought, I’m not hard of hearing. And I looked at the invoice and here it was $351 and I said, “What? That’s extremely high.”
The locksmith also added $26 just because Miss Helpless paid by debit card- not cash. Miss Helpless says she called the locksmith several times looking for the manager, and every time she heard the same thing. She said give me your name and number, I’ll have him call you back in the morning, well, of course there was no call.
Security expert and locksmith Fred Trotter says he hears stories like Miss Helpless all the time; mainly because consumers don’t know what locksmith services should cost. Fred Trotter with Houston Safe and Lock says a weekend service call should run no more than $75 to $95, depending on distance and time of day. He says drilling is rarely needed; maybe one in a hundred basic locks.
“I usually charge about $20 to $45. Extra for drilling and you don’t necessarily ruin the lock, just ruin the cylinder.” Mr. Trotter says replacing the cylinder should run no more than $30. That’s a top price of $95. For the weekend service call, $45. To drill, if needed, and $30 to replace the cylinder– for a total of $170. no where near $351! Now that you know what it should cost, ask whoever you’re talking to on the phone, if for some reason you can’t pick the lock, how much is it going to cost if you have to drill and replace.
$170 represents a “ballpark” of what a basic locksmith service should cost from a reputable company. If you do need a new lock, that can cost from $25-$200 depending on the brand and strength of lock you want. Make sure you call a licensed local locksmith, ask for the license # and the address where they are located. Even ask for the owner and managers name. If they won’t give you that information as required by law then keep looking until you find a reputable locksmith.