Call three locksmiths and get complete cost estimates over the phone. Don’t believe them if they tell you they have to see the lock first, most locksmiths can give you a very accurate price over the phone to within $10 and you can always text a picture. If you are locked out it will cost at least $70 in Seattle no matter who you call. If somebody tells you that it will cost $35 and up be suspicious: it is probably too good to be true.
When they show up they should ask you for proof that you have permission to enter/break in. You should remind them of the promised price and they should repeat it. Don’t sign anything they hand you unless they fill out the “Total” field in their receipt with the number that they promised. They should begin to use lockpicks to open your house door. If they say they are going to use a bumpkey or an inflatable air wedge or a drill there is a good chance they are going to overcharge you. Don’t let anybody charge more than $100 to open your car if your keys are locked inside at any time of day or night, tow trucks will usually do this for $100 even at three in the morning.
If you are having your home or business rekeyed, ask to see ID of the technician and get a written quote before they begin working. Remember, they could keep a copy of your new key and allow themselves into your home or business at any time or sell the key to criminals. Make sure that the information on the receipt looks accurate.
If you do pay a fake locksmith to rekey your property, they might do a terrible job. Here are some pictures I took of actual lock cylinders that were on a very expensive house in West Seattle, ground floor. They show only one or two pins per lock, meaning that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of keys would open these locks.