Back Page, May 2023

May 1, 2023

10 Years Ago

Our 2013 Automotive Update listed HATA’s newest new remote head key blanks and fobs for Ford, Infiniti, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota. Steve Young wrote what would prove to be the first in a series of articles on decoding locks with Original Lishi picks. Jeremy Earles with Ingersoll Rand (now Allegion) shared tips for transitioning credentials to smart cards. Jerry Levine wrote an article on specialty screws for door hardware installations and repairs. Gale Johnson shared his key-cutting tips for locksmiths using code machines. Selling wireless door or gate intercom systems was covered by IntercomsOnline. Levine visited AMSEC to see how gun safes were produced. His Wired Vs. Wireless article addressed access control basics (before Bluetooth and Near Field Communications came into widespread use).  Locksmith Ledger tested the Major Mfg. HIT-66-200 Tool for mortise lock installations. Tim O’Leary’s article, “Choosing and Specifying Electronic Locking Devices,” offered tips on how to select the best electronic locking device for a particular application. Institutional locksmith David Lee explained bypass keying, a masterkeying specialty.

20 Years Ago

DORMA (now dormakaba Group) introduced a new family of mortise and cylindrical commercial locksets in 2003. Jerry Levine showed how to service Yale Heritage residential locksets. Hugh Curry reported on the Marks Survivor series of cylindrical lever locksets. Locksmith Ledger provided an overview of the different encoded card types used for access control.  Gale Johnson installed an electric strike on a stainless steel door. Jerry Levine wrote about the exceptional features of the Securitron one-of-a-kind mortise unlatch electric strike. American Eagle door closers and exit devices were the subject of an article by Gale Johnson.  Dale Bowman explained the revolutionary concepts behind the Medeco Keymark lock cylinders.  Tom Gillespie showed how to upgrade a decades-old bit lock.  Jeff Trepanier showed how to keep old mortise locks in tip-top shape. Laurie Simon provided a historical look at some early innovations from Reading Hardware Corporation.  Trepanier (Tiny) also showed how to fit keys to a 1999 Harley Davidson Road Glide.  Tom Gillespie introduced the latest Pro-Lok car-opening manual.  George Teasdale enumerated some common mistakes to avoid when changing a safe combination.

Take Our 2023 National Average Price Survey

The last 12 months have been challenging, with the annual inflation rate expected to hover between 3.5% and 4% this year and higher interest rates meaning that financing new equipment is more costly. The products that locksmiths install have become more expensive, too, with most distributors passing price increases down the line to their customers. One positive is that the average cost of a gallon of gas is $3.46 for March 2023, down from $4.22 a year ago.

In this uneasy economic environment, it is time for Locksmith Ledger’s 2023 National Average Price Survey, which will hopefully be a tool for commercial locksmiths to use when setting their prices. We are interested in seeing if locksmiths held the line or passed on their rising costs to their customers.

Scan the QR code or go to to complete our National Average Price Survey.

Pricing can be a sensitive topic and a balancing act. Charge too little, and your bottom line will take a hit. Charge too much, and customers will shop around and go elsewhere.

Our words of advice: don’t sell your services and expertise short. Pricing varies based on a whole lot of factors:  cost of living in your area, competition, market size and more. You should expect to provide superior service and receive fair compensation.

In 2022, the average residential lockout call was $85 during regular business hours and $128 after hours. Similarly, the average auto lockout call was $82 during regular hours and $117 after hours. And the average hourly rate was $92 during regular business hours and $135 after hours. This year, we’ve added another category, Service Call, based on feedback from last year’s participants.

Our survey also measures pricing on common electronic access control, lock and door hardware installations, as well as the specialized fields of automotive and safe servicing. Not everyone performs all these services, so please skip over sections that don’t apply.