Washington, D.C., locksmiths give tips on staying safe and secure
As a locksmith, what are some of the services you provide?
Jeff Carroll: "I rekey locks; install and repair residential locks; do automotive lockouts, master keys and emergency services; and I change safe combinations."
John Hardy: "We change locks; install high security locks; and we do lockouts, safe work and some automotive work."
Bob Felts: "We do everything that has to do with locks or safes. We do lockouts for houses and cars, and we rekey and install locks."
Who we talked to
Jeff Carroll, owner
Mt. Airy, Md.
How do you charge?
Carroll: "I charge by the job."
Hardy: "We charge a service fee based on the distance from our office. Then it depends on the job."
Felts: "We charge by the distance and by the type of lock."
What's the average fee for customers locked out of their house, their car or their safe?
Carroll: "I charge a service fee of $80 which includes the first cylinder. If you come to the shop, it's $20 per cylinder to rekey a lock."
Hardy: "Our service fee ranges from $65 to $75. Then the minimum cost is $72 for the first 45 minutes, plus the service call fee. The cost can vary per job."
Felts: "An auto lockout is a $90 flat fee. To rekey a home, it's an $80 (service fee) plus $45 for the first half hour and that includes the first cylinder. Additional cylinders are $23."
Before you start a job, do you require some type of identification?
Carroll: "If it's an emergency, yes."
Felts: "For a lockout service, yes."
What happens if the customer's ID is locked up and they can't get to it?
Carroll: "I can't recall any instance where that's happened to me."
Hardy: "They'll have to show us an electric bill or something that matches their ID."
Felts: "We open their car or home, and we ask for ID immediately."
Do you have any funny or memorable experiences from your experience as a locksmith?
Carroll: "A dog followed me into a house once. He was a very friendly dog and sat quietly watching me while I worked. When I got up to leave, I told the homeowner what a nice dog she had, and she said 'that's not my dog, I thought it was your dog!'"
Hardy: "A guy was locked out of his Mercedes while it was stuck in the snow with the tires spinning. He got out to check the tires when the doors automatically locked behind him because the car was still in gear."
Felts: "We've opened cars for people that have their windows open. We opened a car twice for a lady within 10 minutes. We opened her car, drove away and she locked her keys in the car again."