Get Quotes from Top Locksmiths in Los Angeles, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Lock Smith or Pop a Lock in Los Angeles

Top locksmiths in Los Angeles can save you in more emergencies than when you accidentally lock yourself out of your home, office, or car. Definitely, a good locksmith will save the day when:

  • You lose your keys
  • You forget the combination to your safe
  • You need to replace a broken lock
  • You need to change the locks of your rental after tenants move out
  • You need to upgrade your locks after a burglary incident

Note, over 1,000 burglary incidents are recorded every month in Los Angeles. Burglarized homes have a four times higher likelihood of experiencing another break-in within the following six weeks.

When searching for a qualified locksmith in the city to help in these situations, ensure the professional is properly licensed, insured, conversant with California locksmith regulations, and can answer the following questions satisfactorily:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Locksmith in Los Angeles?

Per Chapter 8.5 of the California Business and Professions Code, any person in Los Angeles who originates keys for locks, installs, rekeys, repairs, opens, or modifies locks for compensation must be licensed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs' Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).

Applications for BSIS-issued locksmith licenses can be submitted to the bureau via the state's BreEZe Online Services platform. Applicants will be required to register a user account on this platform before initiating the application process. Alternatively, applications can be made by completing and submitting a pdf Locksmith Company Application for License Form, along with all relevant additional documents, to the BSIS at

Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Applicants are typically expected to comply with certain eligibility requirements, such as

  • Paying an application fee, a license fee, and any other stipulated fees
  • Undergoing a criminal history background check through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Applicants are typically required to submit a separate Live Scan Request Form for this
  • Submitting two recent passport-quality photographs
  • Submitting a certified copy of their fictitious business name statement filed with the Los Angeles County Clerk, where applicable

It should be noted that BSIS also requires all licensed locksmiths to undergo a separate registration process for their employees and any branch offices that they operate outside the principal place of business listed on their licenses. These registrations can also be done online via the BreEze platform or by submitting either an Application for Locksmith Employee Registration Form or a Branch Office Registration Application Form, along with all applicable fees, to the bureau via the address provided above. Note that each locksmith employee that is to be registered must also undergo a criminal history background check.

Similarly, BSIS-licensed locksmiths that wish to perform any work at a single site that exceeds a total value of $500 must obtain a separate contractor's license from the DCA's Contractors State License Board (CSLB) before doing so. This board offers two licensing options to interested locksmiths, namely the C-28 - Lock and Security Equipment Contractor License and the C-61/ D-16 - Hardware, Locks and Safes Contractor License, and these licenses can only be obtained by individuals who:

  • Are up to 18 years old
  • Have either a valid Social Security Number or an individual taxpayer identification number
  • Properly complete and submit an Application for Original Contractor License Form
  • Have at least four years of locksmith-related work experience and can provide acceptable documentation to verify this
  • Pass a CSLB-administered licensing examination
  • Pass a background check
  • Comply with the CSLB's mandatory insurance and bond requirements

Note that providing locksmith services without a valid BSIS-issued license is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $10,000, imprisonment in a county jail of up to one year, or a combination of fines and jail time. Likewise, performing locksmith work worth $500 or more without an appropriate CSLB-issued license carries separate penalties of up to $15,000 in fines and up to six months in jail.

You can get additional information on the licensing requirements and procedures for Los Angeles-based locksmiths by contacting the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services at (916) 322-4000 or (800) 952-5210 and the Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752. You can also verify your intended locksmith's license status via the California Department of Consumer Affairs' DCA License Search platform.

Do You Hold Any Certification as a Locksmith?

After confirming that your intended locksmith has been properly licensed by all relevant regulatory bodies, it is also a good idea to check for additional credentials like membership and certification with a professional body. Certified locksmiths typically have a number of advantages over non-certified locksmiths, such as:

  • They tend to be better trained and more experienced
  • They have access to state-of-the-art tools and equipment
  • They are more likely to be insured and also have access to better insurance options
  • They are regularly updated on the latest industry regulations and technological advancements and developments
  • They are held to high professional standards by their certifying organizations.

While the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) is one of the most renowned locksmith-certifying organizations in Los Angeles, professional locksmiths in the area also often undergo training and certifications from other organizations like the California Institute of Locksmithing and the Society of Professional Locksmiths (SOPL). Some popular certification options that these organizations offer include:

  • Fundamental Locksmith Certification
  • Registered Locksmith Certification
  • Certified Professional Locksmith Certification
  • Certified Master Locksmith Certification
  • Certified Automotive Locksmith Certification
  • Certified Professional Safe Tech Certification
  • Certified Master Safe Tech Certification
  • Certified Forensic Locksmith Certification
  • Institutional Certified Professional Locksmith Certification
  • Certified Electronic Locksmith Certification
  • Certified Institutional Lockshop Manager Certification

It is important to note that any claims of certifications made by your prospective locksmiths should always be verified with the appropriate certifying organization before you conclude hiring agreements with the locksmith in question.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Locksmiths in the City?

You should always find out and agree on much you will be expected to pay for your required locksmith services when making hiring arrangements with locksmiths to avoid getting into payment arguments and other disagreements once the job is done. Even though locksmiths in the city typically charge an average of $100 to $250 for their services, the actual cost of hiring these locksmiths will depend on factors like

  • The type of locksmith services required
  • The type of lock
  • Your location within the city
  • Trip fees
  • The urgency of the required services
  • The time of day
  • The complexity of the job

To this end, you should strongly consider contacting at least three different local locksmiths, getting cost estimates from them, and comparing their rates before making your final hiring selection. This helps you avoid getting overcharged for your required services by unscrupulous locksmiths. However, you should also be wary of locksmiths with rates that are noticeably lower than the others, as this is also a scam tactic used by fraudulent locksmiths to entice unsuspecting clients.

What Kind of Locksmith Services Do You Offer?

Professional Los Angeles-based locksmiths are usually experienced enough and well-equipped to offer a variety of lock re-opening, installation, and repair services to both residential and commercial clients. These include, but are not limited to

  • Security lock upgrades
  • Smart lock installations
  • Access control system installation
  • Key cutting and copying
  • Key replacement
  • Re-keying
  • High-security lock installations
  • Safe selection and installation
  • Safe unlocking and repair
  • Door and window lock repair
  • Building lockout service
  • Car lockout services
  • Electronic access installation
  • Auto and motorcycle lock services
  • Emergency locksmith services
  • Mobile locksmith services

Nonetheless, you should always get confirmation from your intended locksmith that they have the necessary experience, tools, and equipment needed to provide the specific types of services that you require before signing any contracts with them. Be sure to also find out and agree on the costs of these services before the locksmith begins any work, and make sure that this is included in your contract, along with any guarantees or promises that the locksmith makes concerning the job. Doing this greatly reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and disputes between you and the locksmith at the end of the day.

Listed below are average price ranges for commonly requested locksmith services in Los Angeles:

Estimates for locksmith services based on the type of service:

Key duplication
$10 - $25
House/building lockout
$50 - $200
Door lock repair
$50 - $200
Door lock installation
$100 - $350
Key extraction
$50 - $200
Key replacement
$70 - $125
Rekeying house locks
$75 - $165
Safe opening
$150 - $450
Changing locks
$150 - $555
Filing cabinet lock replacement
$55 - $85
Mailbox key replacement
$55 - $90
Auto locksmith services
$20 - $350
Emergency services (in addition to regular charges)
$100 - $300
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Estimates for locksmith services based on the type of lock being installed/replaced (materials only):

Sliding Door
$20 - $300
$25 - $65
$25 - $65
$30 - $80
$40 - $85
$60 - $95
$100 - $550
$100 - $240
$150 - $350
$180 - $275
$200 - $500
Grip Set
$235 - $580
$250 - $515
$300 - $500
Door latch guard
$50 - $150
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Estimates for locksmith services based on the locksmith's expertise/level of experience

$50 - $75
$75 - $105
$110 - $165
Trip fees
$25 - $100
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Provide Auto Locksmith Services in Los Angeles?

Approximately 30,000 vehicles are stolen every year in Los Angeles. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a large number of these auto thefts occur simply because the car owner forgot their car keys or fobs in the vehicle. To this end, if you find yourself locked out of your vehicle, you should always seek the services of an auto locksmith as soon as possible to help you unlock and regain entry into it. If you are locked out of, damage, or lose the keys to a motorcycle, then you should make sure that the automotive locksmith company you call has a team of knowledgeable and well-equipped motorcycle locksmiths. This is due to the fact that motorcycle keys generally utilize a different form of manufacturer coding than other types of keys and cutting new ones frequently necessitates the use of specialized equipment, even if you still have the original key.

You should also always verify that the motorcycle or auto locksmith you intend to hire has ample experience working with the make and model of your vehicle, and ask if they also offer mobile service options in addition to their in-shop locksmith services.

Listed below are services commonly provided by car locksmiths and motorcycle locksmiths in Los Angeles, as well as cost estimates for these services:

Key duplication
$10 - $50
$40 - $150
Car lockout
$85 - $160
Key extraction
$50 - $200
Door lock repair
$50 - $165
Car ignition repair
$150 - $350
Changing locks
$50 - $175
Transponder key reprogramming
$50 - $220
Keyless fob replacement
$150 - $300
Key replacement
$75 - $275
Bike lock change
$70 - $150
Motorcycle key replacement
$85 - $120
Car door and truck lock repair
$50 - $250
Motorcycle seat lock repair/replacement
$10 - $40
Motorcycle steering/wheel lock repair/replacement
$20 - $50
Motorcycle gas cap lock repair/replacement
$10 - $25
Mobile services
$100 - $250
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Provide Emergency Locksmith Services?

You may need to search for Los Angeles-based locksmiths near you that can get to your location immediately or as soon as possible in certain unanticipated and usually urgent situations, like:

  • You suspect that someone has attempted to break into your home or has gained access to your private space
  • You are locked out of your home or car
  • You have forgotten the combination to your safe
  • You have locked your keys in your home or car
  • Your home has been burglarized
  • Your home or office access control system is broken or malfunctioning
  • You have lost your keys
  • Your keys have been stolen
  • Your key broke inside the lock
  • You just moved into a new home and need to get the locks changed

When dealing with these emergency scenarios, it is crucial to make sure that the locksmith you contact is not only properly licensed and qualified but also readily available and located close enough to the site of the problem to ensure that it is handled promptly. An effective way to locate locksmiths that fit these criteria is by utilizing online directories provided by reputable organizations like the Associated Locksmiths of America and the Better Business Bureau. Note that you will typically have to pay extra fees in addition to the locksmiths' usual rates when you hire them for emergency services.

Mobile locksmiths are another good option for getting emergency locksmith services in Los Angeles. These types of locksmiths operate out of mobile workshops, and hiring one for your emergencies affords you benefits like:

  • Faster response times
  • 24/7 availability
  • Better access to remote and hard-to-reach locations
  • Little to no towing fees for auto emergencies
  • Greater efficiency and experience as a result of the frequent job requests they typically receive

Alternatively, you can consider utilizing the services of local and national 24/7 locksmith brands like KeyMe and MinuteKey that allow consumers to make duplicate copies of their keys at available self-service kiosks around the city. Note that you must have previously created and stored a digital copy of the key in question before you can utilize this service. Some other downsides of these types of self-service locksmith companies include:

  • There is always the risk of a data breach and strangers or unauthorized parties subsequently gaining access to digital copies of your key
  • There is no guarantee of a self-service kiosk being close to the location of your emergency
  • There is always the likelihood of the self-service kiosk being unable to duplicate your key immediately. This usually happens with high-security keys

If you feel uncomfortable utilizing these types of self-service locksmith options, you should consider saving the contact details of up to two reputable and personally-trusted emergency locksmiths that you can reach out to when necessary. Doing this also goes a long way in helping you reduce the stress of dealing with emergency key-related situations. Other actions that you can take to prevent or reduce the likelihood of dealing with an emergency locksmith situation include:

  • Getting spare keys
  • Using lockboxes to avoid lockouts
  • Keeping proper track of your keys
  • Installing smart locks
  • Ensuring that your locks are well maintained
  • Getting locks that fit your unique lifestyle and preferences and familiarizing yourself with their features

Do You Provide Smart Lock Services?

Smart locks refer to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled devices that allow homeowners to lock and unlock doors via fingerprint, voice activation, or even remotely. Given that these types of locks do not operate the same way as most traditional locks, you should always hire locksmiths that have the necessary skill set for the job if you have any smart lock-related issues. In some cases, this skill set may include advanced IT and programming skills.

As such, if you are locked out of your home because your smart lock has been damaged, hacked, or its battery drained, always be sure to confirm that the locksmith you hire has the necessary knowledge, experience, and equipment needed to resolve the issue satisfactorily. The locksmith should also be conversant with the smart locks' unique operating technology and any recent updates pushed by the manufacturer. Common operating technologies that many smart lock manufacturers often combine for their products include:

  • Mobile apps with digital keys for wireless door locking and locking
  • Fingerprint sensors with biometric recognition and authorization for door locking and unlocking
  • Programmable numeric keypads with PIN codes for door locking and unlocking

Data published by the National Council for Home and Safety Security suggests that at least 63 percent of homebuyers want smart locks and alarms in their homes. However, even though many homeowners are trading-in traditional locks for smart locks due to their superior technology, convenience, and enhanced security options, it should be noted that these devices also have some disadvantages:

Pros of having a smart lock Cons of having a smart lock
Ease of entry Heavy reliance on phones and networks
Convenience due to remote locking and unlocking Reliance on batteries that need constant recharging or regular replacing
Enhanced security and safety Susceptible to hacking
Protection from lock picking High cost of installation and repair
Connectivity with the rest of your home and other smart devices The technology may fail

Examples of leading manufacturers of smart lock products favored by residents of Los Angeles include:

  • August
  • Schlage
  • Lockly
  • Yale
  • Kwikset
  • Ultraloq
  • Level
  • Wyze
  • Nest

Do You Conduct Background Checks on Your Employees?

Locksmiths that wish to operate in Los Angeles are typically required to undergo a criminal history background check before they can obtain state-mandated occupation licenses from the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS). Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to ensure that any locksmith company you intend to work with in the city also regularly vets their employees after they have been licensed and registered by this agency. Professional Los Angeles-based locksmith companies generally carry out different types of background checks on their staff and potential employees. These checks include

  • Criminal record checks: this involves contacting local, state, and federal agencies to check for past criminal convictions and pending or ongoing court cases, if any. This is one of the most common background checks typically carried out on locksmiths
  • Civil court checks: this involves checking local and federal court systems for any non-criminal suits, claims, or judgments involving the locksmith
  • Credit checks: this involves checking the locksmith's full credit history and it usually covers payment histories, bankruptcies, unpaid bills in collections, civil judgments, tax liens, and recent credit inquiries
  • Driving record checks: this involves checking the locksmith's driving records and typically includes confirming the validity of their driver's license and accessing their driving history to see if they have any DUIs/DWIs, license suspensions, or moving violations. This type of background check is usually done for locksmiths and other employees that will be operating company vehicles for business purposes
  • Drug screening: this involves testing the locksmith for drug use. These drug screenings are typically carried out regularly and without any prior announcements
  • Education and employment verification: this involves verifying the locksmith's education, employment history, and on-the-job experience
  • International background checks: this refers to background checks carried out for locksmiths that have previously lived, studied, or worked outside the United States and it involves checking for criminal records and verifying their education and employment experiences

Always confirm that your intended locksmith company regularly vets their employees, especially ones that will be directly involved in providing your required locksmith services. Also, ask for the name and description of any locksmiths that will be sent to your home, and make sure that these locksmiths provide corresponding IDs before you allow them into your house or vehicle. Doing this goes a long way in ensuring that only reputable and trustworthy locksmiths are granted access to your personal space, which in turn reduces the likelihood of crimes like theft and robbery from taking place.

Lastly, you can also carry out a personal background check on prospective locksmiths and locksmith companies by

  • Asking for references of local past clients that can vouch for the quality of their services
  • Checking available local police, court, correctional facility, and other similar public records
  • Using reliable background check websites and services
  • Looking the locksmith company up on review websites and social network platforms like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review

Do You Provide a Warranty for Your Locksmith Services?

Warranties are an important part of any service because they give you the peace of mind that the work was done properly, with the right tools, and will perform as intended. While these warranties can be verbal, written, or implied, it is always a smart move to hire locksmiths who offer written warranties, as this helps you get a comprehensive understanding of the warranty's terms and coverage options.

Professional Los Angeles-based locksmiths usually offer clients two types of warranties, namely:

  • Manufacturer's warranties: these types of warranties are usually valid for a year and they generally cover any defects with the lock itself and other products used for the job. Note that you may need to get in touch with the product manufacturer directly if there are any problems with a lock that is covered by warranty. However, using a reliable and skilled locksmith considerably minimizes the likelihood of this happening as they frequently use high-quality products in their work
  • Workmanship warranties: these types of warranties cover any defects or errors that may arise as a result of the work done by the locksmith. The validity of workmanship warranties is usually dependent on the locksmith that issues them

While the terms and conditions of warranties issued for locksmith services typically vary by product manufacturer and locksmith, these warranties are usually voided in situations where:

  • The lock product is not installed per the manufacturer's specifications
  • The lock product is damaged by a natural disaster
  • The lock product is damaged as a result of misuse, negligence, or vandalism
  • The lock product is worked on by an unauthorized locksmith

It is advisable to take the time to read and understand the terms and conditions of any warranties that you are offered to avoid situations that can void them.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Locksmiths in the City?

Per state law, all locksmiths that operate in Los Angeles must carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Likewise, locksmiths that hold state-issued contractor licenses authorizing them to provide services worth $500 or more at a single work site must maintain surety bonds of $15,000 during the validity period of these licenses. It is also a good idea to make sure that your intended locksmith carries general liability and professional liability insurance, regardless of the type of license they have or the scope of your required services. This way, you avoid being held liable for injuries or property damages that may occur during the work or for any work-related defects caused by the locksmith's negligence, errors, or improper service delivery.

Therefore, always ask for proof of insurance, and bonding where necessary, from your prospective locksmiths in Los Angeles and verify this with the relevant issuing organization before concluding hiring arrangements with them. It is also crucial to confirm that the locksmith's liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury and property damage and that the policy's minimum limits will be adequate for the scope of work at hand.

Inquiries concerning the mandatory insurance and bond requirements for Los Angeles-based locksmiths can be directed to the local district office of the California Division of Workers' Compensation at (213) 576-7335 and the California Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Locksmith in Los Angeles

Complaints against bad locksmiths in Los Angeles can be filed both locally and at the state level with agencies like the LA City Attorney's Office and the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) respectively.

Unscrupulous and fraudulent locksmiths frequently attempt to defraud residents of Los Angeles in need of locksmith services using a variety of schemes and dubious approaches, such as

  • Demanding advance payments in cash before starting any work
  • Providing shoddy services or leaving behind improperly installed or replaced locks
  • Using inferior products for the job despite quoting rates for high-quality ones
  • Stealing valuables and private information from customers
  • Using deceptively low advertised prices and official-looking bogus websites to entice customers
  • Using high-pressure sales tactics, and sometimes intimidation or threats, to persuade customers to pay for unnecessary services

In August 2019, the LA Times reported that a local homeowner had allegedly been swindled by a locksmith who had initially charged $60 for lock re-opening services, increased the fee to $457, and then proceeded to seize the victim's driver's license until this amount was paid. The Bureau of Security and Investigative Services estimates that it received 2,822 consumer complaints in the 2020 – 2021 fiscal year and 2,813 of these complaints were referred for further investigation.

The following tips can help you avoid situations that may lead to unsatisfactory services and scams when looking for locksmiths in Los Angeles:

  • Be suspicious of locksmiths that use generic phrases instead of specific company names or sound vague when you contact them
  • Get referrals to locksmiths from friends and relatives who have received satisfactory locksmith services in the past or from reputable organizations like the Associated Locksmiths of America and the Better Business Bureau
  • Ask any locksmith company you call for an estimate of the job. You should also consider getting and comparing cost estimates from several local locksmiths
  • Find out if your auto insurance company has a list of recommended locksmiths in situations where you require auto locksmith services
  • Make sure that your intended locksmith has a valid license. You can verify your locksmith's license online or by calling (800) 952-5210
  • Never hire any locksmith that asks for payment upfront
  • Insist on getting a receipt from the locksmith and make sure that it includes the locksmith company name, a local address and phone number, and the cost of all parts, services, and the full amount you were charged for the service
  • Be suspicious of locksmiths that use an 800 number instead of a local phone number
  • Do not let locksmiths drill your lock, and be wary if they insist on doing so. Professional and competent locksmiths typically possess the expertise and equipment required to open doors without drilling into them
  • Contact the LAPD at (213) 928-8223 immediately if the locksmith threatens you or insists on a fee for showing up

You can file complaints concerning unsatisfactory locksmith services and fraudulent locksmiths in Los Angeles with the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) online or by mailing a pdf complaint form to

Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
P.O. Box 989002
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002

Suspected unlicensed locksmithing activities in the city can also be reported by completing and submitting a UAAU Activity Lead Form to the BSIS through any of the submission channels provided at the bottom of the form.

Lastly, complaints concerning Los Angeles-based locksmiths can also be filed with any of the following agencies:

  • The LA City Attorney's Office: by calling (213) 978-8070 and (877) 522-2737 or by submitting a complaint online
  • The LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs: by calling (213) 974-1452 or (800) 593-8222 or via an online complaint form
  • The LA County District Attorney's Office: by calling (213) 257-2450