Tips for Hiring Tri-State Locksmiths

Updated June 15, 2021
Key on a chain
It's important to research potential locksmiths before hiring them in order to avoid scams. (Photo courtesy of Kwikset)

Multiple states and jurisdictions regulate locksmiths in the NYC tri-state area.

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Getting locked out of the house or car is a frustrating affair, particularly if it happens late at night. In many cases, calling a locksmith is the best way to quickly regain entry without damaging your property. New York City-area residents have many options when it comes to hiring locksmiths.

To avoid falling victim to a scam, follow these 4 important steps:

1. Verify the locksmith's place of business. Scammers will often only use phrases such as "New York City locksmith," instead of a registered business name when discussing their company. Avoid using companies that do not have an actual brick-and-mortar location. Check online for verification.

2. Ask for a detailed estimate.  First check the fee during the telephone conversation and again on-site, before the work is started. If the estimates do not match or seem inflated, the locksmith should not be allowed to perform the work.

3. Check reviews online. This quick check can help you determine if the proposed business is a local contractor with a history of assisting clients in your area.

4. Ask for identification and licensing. A legitimate locksmith should be able to provide some proof of licensing and professional identification.

Tri-state locksmith licensing requirements

Locksmiths and locksmith businesses operating in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut are required to apply for licensing and abide by laws governing the industry. The licensing requirements vary by state. Here is an overview:

New York City

Starting in 2012, locksmiths operating in New York will undergo more stringent regulations. To obtain a license, applicants must provide current, valid photo identifications and pay a licensing fee and submit proof of locksmith qualifications. These can consist of certifications indicating completion of locksmith courses at a school licensed by the New York State Education Department.

The applicant also must submit their fingerprints to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and pay a $75 processing fee. The license must include a current color passport-size photograph of the applicant. The state of New York also requires that all locksmiths maintain an insurance policy that can sufficiently cover any claims or judgments for damages that may occur.

Locksmiths are required by the state of New York to display their licensing information at their place of business and to carry a copy of their license when conducting business

New Jersey

Locksmiths operating in New Jersey are required to be licensed, bonded and insured, and must complete a minimum of two continuing education credits to retain their license. Locksmith businesses are required to pay business license fees and employee listing fees, while individuals are required to pay license and application fees.

To become licensed, an applicant must be at least 18, demonstrate good moral character, hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, and not have been convicted of a first-, second-, or third-degree crime in the 10 years prior to the application. They also must have at least three years of hands-on experience or completed a two-year apprenticeship program.


The state of Connecticut does not require locksmith applicants to complete apprenticeship programs or locksmith education programs to be added to the state's list of locksmiths. However, a locksmith must provide an FBI Identification Record and a criminal history check from the Connecticut State Police Bureau of Identification.

He or she also must pay a $200 registration fee on December 31 of each even numbered year as part of the application process. Locksmiths are required to visibly display their registration at their place of business, display their registration to anyone on request, and include their registration number in any advertisements.

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