Locksmith: The Ultimate Guide for 2020

by | Dec 2, 2019

This is the ultimate guide to hiring a locksmith and understanding what a locksmith it does and whats involved from a consumer point of view in 2020.

Firstly let me be clear, this is a comprehensive guide to locksmith prices, locksmith services, how to save money how not to get ripped off by a locksmith. 

By the end of this you will also have a clear understanding of what’s involved in the locksmith process, as well as what kind of lock and door you may have. 

So if you’re looking to up your knowledge on locks, doors and everything safety, you’ll love this guide. 

Chapter 1


Can’t tell a deadlock from a deadlatch? We can help. Keeping your home and possesions safe should be a huge priority and it all starts with a lock.

According to confused.com, if you don’t have the right locks, you may struggle to get home insurance cover at a reasonable price.

Some home insurance policies need to know what type of door lock types you have, and the main reason is some locks are more secure than others. Our helpful guide is your key to understanding the hardware you’re working with.



A Mortice lock is quite a common lock type. This is where the lock sits in the door. 

Derived from the mortice and tenon joint carpenters use to fix wood together. Mortice locks are installed inside the door, and there are a range of of functions, security levels and functions you should consider before purchase. 

Look out for the kite symbol to know if its British Standard, Yale are a common lock manufacturer who are insurance approved British Standard locks


These are normally a secondary lock and your secondary level of defence.

Generally speaking, they come in two forms: standard nightlatches and deadlocking nightlatches. 

These doors lock automatically and needs the key to open from the outside, you can use the latch to open from the inside. 

This should not be your sole lock on the door and deadlock nightlatches are very secure. 


These are one of the most common external door locks in the UK. These are mainly used on PVC doors. 

A multi-point lock system has a minimum of three locking points that all lock and open simultaneously with the turn of a key. 

These lock use a combination of hook bolts, camrollers, and pins which make them extremely secure. The locks rely on the cylinder and handle you have. 


Cylinder Locks are fairly common external locks and often used on back doors and front doors. 

Churchill Insurance recommend checking with your insurance provider  whether this lock is acceptable as it is vulnerable to a common form of break in technique known as lock snapping


Closed Shackle Padlocks are a secure form of Padlock. The closed nature ensures that it prevents bolt cutters and saws getting into the vulnerable shackle. 

Often used for garden sheds or storage units.

These can be super difficult getting into so if you’re looking to deter any would be burglars this will help increase the security of your goods. 

You will be able to find these at most hardware or lock stores. 


IOpen shackle padlocks are the most common type of padlock you will see. 

These are commonly used to lock up bikes with chains, gates, or safe boxes with latches. 

These are fairly easy to snap or drill, so if you are worried about security its maybe best to think of an upgrade. 

Chapter 2


The price you pay for a locksmith can differ exponentially from company to company. This guide should give you an idea of what you could and should expect to pay for a locksmith. Please bear in mind, most locksmiths will probably need to see your lock and door before giving you an exact price. 


If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself locked out of your property, Safewise advise asking a roommate for help or looking for a spare key first, if that all fails you should contact a reputable locksmith. 

The average cost in the UK for a locksmith to gain entry into a house is from £80.00.

If your key is stuck in a lock and you need a locksmith to remove the broken key and gain entry, prices will be from £80.00

If you need to replace lost keys to a house, a locksmith will change the locks for you and prices will range from £90.00 

Note: These prices are estimates and averages across the UK, you may find prices both higher and lower than this depending on where you are based and various other factors.



You may need to change your locks if you have lost your keys and are worried they have fallen into the wrong hands. You may also want to change your locks if you have moved house or want to upgrade the security of your current house. Burglary prevention starts at the property boundary and your last form of defence is your door and lock. 

Change or replace a standard euro cylinder on a UPVC door: UK average from  £90.00

Change or replace a anti snap euro cylinder on a UPVC door: UK average from  £120.00

Change or replace a mortice lock: UK average from £120.00

Change or replace a night latch (normally found on wooden doors): UK average from £90.00

Change or replace a patio door lock: UK average from £90.00

Note: These prices are estimates and averages across the UK, you may find prices both higher and lower than this depending on where you are based





Locksmith Prices aren’t the same for every area. 

City’s are generally more expensive than rural area’s and supply and demand for this skilled job also comes into effect.

As an example, a locksmith in Belfast Northern Ireland would be considerably cheaper than a locksmith in London. 


The Type of lock you require may increase the cost. 

Some locks are more secure than others, and generally these can be more costly too. 

Speak with your locksmith to find out which lock is best for you. 

As an example, a Yale smart lock may cost more than a simpler euro cylinder lock. 

3. National vs Local

This can be the difference from paying for a cheap locksmith or an expensive locksmith. 

A lot of national companies can be double or in some cases even triple the price of a normal local locksmith. 

The reason for this is a few things: 
1. They actually hire a local locksmith to do the job and just take a commission, this can double the price you pay. 

2. They normally charge VAT. So you’re always paying at least 20% more. 

3. They generally charge a call out fee, which gets added to your original bill. 


In conclusion, If you’re looking for locksmith prices or want to know how to get a cheap locksmith, its important to do your due diligence. 

We would recommend trying to hire someone who you know is local, with a good reputation as this will mean the job is done right, and at a fair price. 

Chapter 3

How Do You Choose A Locksmith?

 When you find yourself locked outside choosing the right locksmith can save you money, misery and leave your home protected. 

When you’re at your most vulnerable, locked out and having to make a quick decision on which locksmith to trust to do your lock job, there’s a few things to consider. 

As a general rule of thumb, if its possible always ask for a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member. Otherwise use a search engine like Google to find local locksmiths, alternatively use directory sites like Yell.com or Yelp

What Are The Risks of Choosing The Wrong Locksmith?

1. Not Qualified To Do The Job

Locksmithing is a skilled trade and not everyone can do it. The locksmith industry in the UK is not regulated. This means that you do not need any formal qualifications to become a locksmith. There are over 7000 unqualified locksmiths in the UK. 

With the rise and popularity of Youtube, there are more unskilled and untrained locksmiths than ever before. Many just jump on the internet, watch a few Locksmith 101 videos and think they can do the job, without the write tools or experience. This leaves you with a botched job and often an un secure property. 


Reputable Locksmiths will go through accreditation and training courses with a locksmith association like the Master Locksmith Association. This allows them full training with instructors who have served their time as a locksmith and teach them the best principles on how to deal with common and difficult lock issues. 


2. Not CRB Checked / DBS Checked

CRB Check: Criminal Record Bureau
DBS Check: Disclosure & Barring Service. 

In the UK locksmiths aren’t recquired to be DBS Checked (formerly CRB). 

This means that people with criminal records and histories can become locksmiths and do locksmithing services on your property. 

Many customers would feel uncomfortable letting someone who may have been previously serving time in prison in their home to carry out work. 

This is why we would recommend going with a locksmith who has been DBS Checked to give you peace of mind. 

3. Bad Locksmiths

An unfortunate reality of the industry, some locksmiths are just plain bad. 

They have poor workmanship, make the wrong decisions and end up causing more problems than they solve costing you time, money and more than likely another locksmith

4. Locksmiths Who Overcharge

Unfortunately this is common throughout the UK. Locksmiths who come out and once the job is complete shock you with an extortionate bill.

National Call Centre Locksmiths often work with local subcontractors. The way it works is the national company get your call as they have big marketing budgets to lure you in. They then give the job to the local sub contractor (an actual local locksmith you could have called) They then charge anywhere from double to even 5 times as much as the local subcontractor would have charged. Leaving you out of pocket more than you should be. Check out this video of an episode of rogue traders about a similar type national call centre for emergency locksmiths and other services.

You also get the local locksmiths who add on fees afterwards or overcharge for simple jobs. Often they will imply a job is much cheaper than it is until the jobs finished and you’re forced to pay up. 

Its very easy to pick the wrong locksmith. Someone who doesn’t have the skill, tools or lock know how. It could even be someone who may have hidden motives with a criminal history. Unfortunately these things happen, and they happen a lot. The biggest thing we see day to day is jobs that have been substantially overcharged or jobs that have been completely done wrong and needing done again. 

How Do You Pick The Right Locksmith?

1. Ask Family & Friends

Nothing beats a good old fashioned family or friend recommendation.

You ask family and friends if they know anyone reliable and some of the time they will.

I would still follow the guidelines below even when choosing a locksmith that was referred to you by a friend or family. 


2. Read Reviews

Always do your due diligence on a business and check their reviews

Reviews can be found on their Google My Business, Yell Listing, Yelp Listing or Facebook Page

This will allow you to see people who have used that business before and are happy or unhappy with the service they received. 

3. Things To Ask On The Phone To a Locksmith

Once you’ve been recommended a locksmith, or you’ve found one that your happy with on Google or Facebook, phone them, but make sure you’re both on the same page. 

Here are some questions you should ask your locksmith

1. Is there a call out charge? 
Sometimes locksmiths will come out and offer you an no obligation quote, others will charge a call out charge. 

2. How much will it cost all in? 
If you can describe whats wrong with your lock or key, most locksmiths should be able to give you a general cost that the job may be, or a range at least (depending on what they think needs done) 

You also don’t want to be stuck where the locksmith adds on sneaky costs for parts, labour or call out. Find out the full cost of service. 

3. Do you charge VAT? 
Some locksmiths will charge you VAT (especially those national companies we spoke about earlier). This will add a nasty 20% onto your already agreed price. 

4. Are you DBS checked and do you have insurance? 
Ensure your locksmith is both DBS Checked (for peace of mind) as well as has locksmith insurance. This will drastically improve the quality of the person and job thats being carried out. 


In conclusion, If you’re looking for locksmith prices or want to know how to get a cheap locksmith, its important to do your due diligence.

We would recommend trying to hire someone who you know is local, with a good reputation as this will mean the job is done right, and at a fair price.

Written By Paul

A local locksmith in Belfast with a love for the city (Belfast is a great place to live), history & food. When I'm not changing locks, you will find me writing about them.

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