Cost of services

Not really a question, more of a moan.

The lock breaks on my back door, so I call the insurance assistance helpline. They want to send out a locksmith and will reimburse 150 euros for the callout and labour. I was expecting for the locksmith to come and secure it temporarily so I can sort out a replacement at my own cost down the line, compare a few quotes etc.

The locksmith calls me and asks me to send a video of the broken lock. He calls back and says that the best way he can secure it is to install a new 1 bolt lock. This costs 250 euros. Obviously this is only temporary as in order to be covered by insurance you need 3 bolt. How much does that cost? 450 euros.

So we’re talking 600 euros to change a lock! I asked him how long it takes : 30 minutes.

A quick search online shows you can buy 5 bolt locks at Leroy Merlin etc for around 250 euros. However in order to get the reimbursement for the callout and labour I’m obliged to go via the insurance.

I get that salaries and job security and taxes and everything are higher in France, I really do (and I love France for the fact that there is a less exploitation of workers than somewhere like the UK). But 600 euros to change a lock? For a 30 minute job? It seems really excessive to me.

Any tips for how to do this cheaper are very welcome!


Personally speaking, forget insurance and either do it yourself or get a local artisan to pop round for a bit of cash. Replacing a lock on a door is not that hard, even I have done it in the past and I am no handywoman but at least it was secure.


Then don’t use your insurance. Get someone to be in the house while you go to Leroy Merlin and then change the locks yourself.


If yu can’t leave the house, order online for prime delivery to the property next day via amazon etc. Leroy Merlin have an online site too!


Good tips, I like your confidence!

Have you installed mortice locks?

Just have a look on YouTube as there are plenty of tutorials on there, I did my FIL back door 5 point lock last year and it was easy and under €100.


This takes me back to my working days. Following the production of a quote for whatever the potential customer would respond by saying ‘but I can buy the materials for X from such and such DIY shed so why is your quote so expensive?’
I am sure that whatever you did/do in your life you provided a service that some people wanted and others could do for themselves. That’s life and it provides the wherewithal for each of us to make a living.
If you have the capability to do the work yourself then that is a win win for you but if you dont then a professional is the way forward.

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I’m with you JohnBoy. I don’t want to anyone to be exploited and I want everyone to be able to earn a proper living.

Two problems I have though: not all the stuff in ‘DIY shed’ is worse quality than what a tradesperson might get from their supplier. So why does it cost almost double the price? Also, 300 euros/hour for labour just seems a tad excessive.

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If the 300 euros is broken down into the various costs then it might look more reasonable. Yes 30 minutes to do the job but how far is the operative travelling to and from the job? How much fuel is used and general upkeep for the vehicle the locksmith uses? Is the cost inclusive of VAT which the locksmith and you have to pay?
The list is endless.
I hope you get the lock sorted asap

We would never call on insurance for anything less than major issue. France is a big country so they use people who are likely 100km away, and you have no direct control.

The lock on the front door of our gîte has broken - possibly client usage - so they have had to use back door for the last little while. It never occurred to me to call out our insurance, and neither can I do it myself as don’t want to mess up an expensive fairly new door. So we have local locksmith coming this afternoon. No idea what it will cost but my guess is that it will be less than had I used the insurance and got back €150 or so.

With insurance you pay for the convenience and peace of mind as well as the actual service.

It would surprise me if a lot of things didn’t have an insurance price, so to speak, here as well as in other countries.

There also seems to be a ‘tradesman on government approved list for trade’ surcharge for some things that might qualify for government support, that does seem quite hefty and beyond what any such approval would reasonably cost to acquire or maintain.

Unless its an old or special door the broken lock would be a std size, if its a multipoint lock as seen on double glazed euro cylinder type doors you probably need a gearbox assembly comprising of the lock case and the various shoot bolts. That means taking accurate measurements. There are univesal replacement kits available to order, one being the Verso brand which I have used many times.
Milo and Avocet are two popular brands in the EU.
As to the cost of repairs, clearly I never charged enough! There was a chap on a development I used to work on, I carried spare locks for some of my sites. He bodged it, took 5 hours to bodge fit the wrong lock and charged for 5 hours + travelling. Took me 20 minutes to un bodge it and fit the correct lock.


No, but I’m not moaning about the cost of getting a professional to do it and looking for alternatives :slightly_smiling_face:


Isn’t it also the difference between price and cost a consideration?
The price of the replacement and arranging it’s fitting through your insurance may on the face of it seem appropriate but… since you have made a claim, expect that your premium will increase at next renewal as any discount will (probably) be forfeit and this will be a hidden cost to add to the overall project.
Simply either doing the job yourself (if able) or getting in a man (or woman) who can even though it is insured could be a sensible way forward dependant upon circumstances.
As you have already made the claim, expect a premium increase even if you manage to extract yourself from the clutches of the insurance provided repairer. You made a claim - whether or not it ends up being paid is less material.

We got badly caught out by that! We phoned our car insurance to ASK about making a claim, and then didn’t proceed as the work was less than the excess. Later on we went to change our car insurance and were told that there was a premium as we had claimed in the previous year. Many cross letters later we had to give up, and wait another year to change insurance, All we had done was have a two minute conversation about the amount of the excess!!!

Very questionable behaviour, France or UK?

I would guess France.


@fabien has mentioned this before and suggested pudency when considering whether to even enquire about making claim…

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There’s the old joke about the expert that fixes something with a small tap from a hammer, then submits a 10,000$£€ bill - when asked for a breakdown of costs he proffers “For tapping with hammer 1$£€, for knowing where to tap 9,999$£€”

But, if you can do the job yourself, you might as well do so, even if a suitable lock will cost 250€ - 450€ to do the job properly is a joke and if you need an initial call just to secure the door temporarily with an additional 250€ bill that’s actually 700€ of which you are only going to get back 150.

Despite @JohnBoy’s pleading about costs, petrol etc etc the locksmith knows that he has you by the short and curlies as you aren’t going to want to leave your house unsecured, hence the ridiculous price.

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I’ve had to lay the law down many a time with companies that we had a negotiated BPU, when they submitted a quote for damage caused by a break in or water damage etc. Some companies and tradesmen up the price considerably when it’s an insurance job.

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