Products are usually straightforward when it comes to pricing. You might be able to find a product cheaper online but have to wait for shipping. But generally, most products can be found within 10-15% of each other. Unfortunately, that is not the case with services. The same service might vary by 300% or more depending on the location, time, and several other factors.
In fact, if you look at online forums for the trades “how to price” services is one of the most talked about topics. Figuring out “how much should a locksmith cost” is actually really complicated. In this article, I’d like to break down some of the most common factors that go into pricing.
If someone writes chicken scratch invoices and hands them over it certainly takes less time. If a company writes detailed notes and takes pictures it certainly takes more time. A company that doesn’t track things well will almost certainly be cheaper – at first. However, a company that takes time to write things out and do things properly can save a lot of money in the future. Taking the time to explain options and communicate with a customer – well, takes time. And that’s time that has to be built into the cost of service.
Most locksmiths provide on-site services, meaning they are mobile. In order to provide those services they have to drive to your location. Gas, wear and tear on a vehicle, and insurance do add up. Some companies charge a flat rate for anyone inside their service area. For anything outside their area they may charge a flat fee or charge by the mile. Location certainly plays a role into the speed at which a locksmith can arrive.
Sometimes it’s an easy job and it’s all about having the right parts or tools. Some jobs require a lot of extra effort that may not be apparent to the customer or even the locksmith until they arrive in person. Some shops charge a flat rate for a service others charge by the hour and some use a combination of the two. A technician should provide a written estimate before starting complex work.
Having the correct parts in stock is extremely useful. It prevents return trips and delays while parts are ordered. The number of different items most locksmith shops have in stock would amaze people. Little pieces and parts collected over the years for when an obscure lock comes up again or a custom job needs to be completed. Some customers are upset that parts are marked up. There are a lot of reasons for this. Ordering, tracking inventory, and opening up packages takes time. And after all, time, is what most places bill for.
Urgency + Time
Emergency services are usually higher cost than non-emergency services. In some cases, locksmiths may adjust their schedule to accommodate an emergency. That inconvenience and extra effort is compensated by increasing the price of the work done. After hours and holidays often do incur additional charges.
At Lock Alchemy we strive to offer transparent pricing and are able to quote most jobs over the phone.