What are the costs for a locksmith in Switzerland?

Locksmiths: reputable tradesmen and cowboys

Being locked out is an uncomfortable experience - especially at night or over a weekend. If a high bill for the locksmith then drops onto your doormat, emergency door opening turns out to be an irritating drain on your wallet. Here, you can find out what costs are justified and when they are exploitative.

Emergency locksmiths: the basic services

It can be difficult to compare the prices of different locksmiths but there are some general guidelines. Door openings in the evening and at night, as well as on weekends and public holidays, incur higher costs than normal business hours. An assignment at a late hour will incur a fee of around 270 francs and during the daytime, those who have been locked out will lose around 180 francs.

The labour costs include a call out fee as well as the first hour of the mechanic's labour. Additional travel costs are not applicable, even if you live in a remote location. If the arrival is delayed due to traffic jams, bad weather conditions or construction sites, you will not be charged extra.

There may be material costs

If the door is locked but the lock is not jammed, it will take no more than 15 minutes to open. However, if the key is inserted from the inside, the workload increases and the mechanic may then drill the cylinder. A reputable company is careful to do as little damage as possible to the door opening but this can not always be avoided. Several components may need to be replaced, especially when it comes to a solid and burglar-proof locking system, and additional costs for supplying materials may, therefore, be added to the regular fee. Depending on the type and length, a new cylinder lock costs between 140 and 360 CHF. Reputable tradesmen charge only the actual costs of the materials.

An emergency service comes at a price

An emergency service has its legitimate price as after all, employees must be on call around the clock and 365 days a year. The maintenance of a fleet with several emergency vehicles is also very expensive. Cheap Internet deals that promise door openings for under 100 francs are too good to be true: at such low prices, there is a danger that service providers will make their profits elsewhere and this often happens due to overpriced access, material and service costs.

Transparency is important

Reputable key emergency services list the expected costs clearly. When booking the order, you should learn in detail which costs you can expect right from the start. Thanks to smartphones and the Internet, this is possible even from the staircase or in front of the locked front door. Hidden costs are often disguised in the small print by unprofessional key services. When placing an order by telephone, you are entrusting your details to the person responsible for the case. Be wary of being caught off guard: the tactics of dubious service providers are to take advantage of customers in distress with superfluous additional services.

In certain cases, the insurance pays

Ideally, your insurance will pay for emergency key services. Unfortunately, it is not always the case that it will pay the total cost. Household insurance companies will often only pay the fees if keys have been stolen. If possible, you should check with your insurance before calling the locksmith as this will quickly make the financial situation clear.