Key Cutting 101 | FAQs From Curious Customers


You likely use them every day, you have probably lost a few, and these little things are a huge security measure—keys may be small, but they are extremely valuable. While locks are specifically made to work with a certain key, the keys can be duplicated most of the time. Key cutting is the process that involves cutting a new key to match the one you already have. Take a look at some of the questions you probably have about key cutting services.

How long does it take to have a key cut?

The basic key cut will only take a few minutes. The existing key is placed in a machine that uses the measurements to create a duplicate copy and punch it out. If the key has a complex design, you may have to wait a bit longer for the process to be completed. 

Do key-cutting locksmiths have to have a license?

Locksmiths who cut keys do sometimes have to have a license to offer their services in the state. However, a license is not always a requirement for locksmiths unless they will be doing other tasks beyond cutting keys, such as opening locked doors. In order to obtain a license, a locksmith will typically have to undergo a criminal background check and file an application for a license with the state. 

What kind of keys can be cut or duplicated?

The majority of keys can be cut or duplicated, even those that are more complicated or have an incorporated security transponder or electronic transmitter. However, key cutting most usually refers to the basic duplication of a standard key, which would be a basic metal key you would use to open a door, padlock, or vehicle. Some keys will actually have a "Do Not Duplicate" message engraved on them, which means a lot of locksmiths will not make copies of these keys. It is not that these keys cannot be duplicated; they probably can. However, the manufacturer of the key placed the engraving on it for specific reasons. 

How much does it cost to have a key cut?

The cost that you pay to get a key cut will depend on what type of key you have to be duplicated and how complex it is. For example, you can get a copy of a regular door key for as little as $1.25 to $2 at a lot of places, but a more complicated key, such as a car key with a transponder chip, could cost you as much as $100. 

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