Do you really need a locksmith?

There are a few situations I kind of wish people wouldn’t call me out on. Not because I don’t want the money. More because people could do the job easily themselves. Of course there are two groups of customers, those who have the time to do it themselves and those who don’t.

Before calling me to rekey your house check to see if you have Kwikset Smartkey locks installed. These are really easy to rekey yourself and though they do fail occasionally during the rekey process, they usually don’t. All you need is a smartkey tool and a Kwikset key that is different from your current key. It should be factory original. They have buckets of these at Home Depot and will sell them to you. You may have problems if your key does not say “Kwikset” on it. If you don’t have the tool, you can actually use almost anything that is stiff and will fit in the little slot next to the keyhole on the face of the Kwikset smartkey lock cylinder.

I don’t mind doing the work for those who don’t have the time. I feel bad doing the work for people who are just scared to try though. Let’s look at the cost benefit analysis for calling me out versus having a new knob shipped to your door.

I charge $75 to come out to your house if you live nearby. This is much higher than somebody who delivers groceries or take-out, but lower than some trades like plumbers. If you just want to rekey one lock on your door, consider the cost of just replacing that lock. This is a viable option if your house or apartment is of modern construction. Townhouses fall into this category. Usually only a Philips screwdriver is required to remove or install a lock in these houses though Allen wrenches and flathead screwdrivers may be required if more decorative or import locks are installed by the builders.

A new Schlage F51a knob is running $26 plus tax and shipping. A Schlage deadbolt and doorknob already keyed alike costs $47.97 plus tax and shipping. If you paid me to come out and install that one knob I would charge $20 per lock*, bringing my total to $95 to install just a knob or $115 to install a knob and deadbolt*.

*This cost assumes doors are already prepped for tubular locks. If not then more labor and thus higher costs are required.

In our hypothetical situation of changing one doorknob to a new key the cheapest solution is definitely replacement. If you have the time and bring me the knob with a working key I only charge $15 to rekey it so that is the absolute cheapest you can do without rekeying the lock yourself, though that would necessitate obtaining either pre cut keys or blank keys that you file down and either re-using the pins in your lock or obtaining new pins.

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Bjørn Madsen

I am the Seattle locksmith you've been looking for. High Quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a timely fashion.