Monday, 23 December 2013

Advertising Your Locksmith Business | Locksmith Blog

In my opinion advertising has become the most vital part of running a successful locksmith business.
The game is constantly changing, particularly online advertising which sees directory companies rise and fall in a matter of months, its hard to decide where to concentrate your time and money for the best return on investment.

Im going to give a quick summary of my experiences with a few different forms of advertising and how much impact they have had on my locksmith work.


Directory Books (Yell, Thomson, BT)

The future has never looked so bleak for the physical paper directories. Both Yell (Hibu) and Thomson Local both struggling to keep their heads above water this year.

Ten years ago the success of your locksmith advert in these directories was proportional to the size of advert you could afford.

Nowadays its hard to get noticed amongst the plague of national companies filling the advertising space with the all important AAAAAAAA prefix to ensure a well placed advert.

I have always kept a basic locksmith advert in the directories just to have a presence and usually break even or make a small profit on the adverts... but nothing to shout about.

This year I have ditched them completely and I don't think it will have any impact upon my success.
My directories go straight to the recycle bin. How about yours?

Online Directories

There are a few more choices with regards to advertising your locksmith business in an online directory.

As well as the two aforementioned companies that run the paper directories there are also Yelp, Locksmith Directory UK, MLA directory, Lactartes and other smaller directories that can all achieve a page one presence on Google in some areas.

The success does vary from area to area and while you are always tempted to pay for a premium locksmith listing on these sites you can have just as much success with a well rounded free advert.

Yell and Thomson supply data to Google places and are currently bending the rules to force false data to the top of the maps listings for their clients, you know those locksmith listings that have a false or vague location!? It works at the minute, but this kind of black hat work will inevitably lead to further demise.


Flyers and Door to Door

I have delivered flyers and business cards in all my local areas in the past advertising door repairs and locksmith services and have had some success with it.

Its hard work but good exercise whilst you aren't physically working on locksmith jobs its worth getting out there, park up your van and post some adverts out.

Most will end up in the bin, that goes without saying but some people do tend to hang on to adverts and I have had some decent work as a result of a physically posted advert.

Word of Mouth

In my opinion this is the big one!

People love to talk. People love it even more when they can recommend someone to help a friend or relative!

Ensuring you offer a great locksmith service is key to building a good reputation. Don't rip anybody off, ensure all your work is as good as you can make it, go that extra mile to put a smile on the face of your customer whether it means having a quick look at other doors/windows in the house or knocking  a few quid off if they are genuinely struggling to pay the bill.

Recommendation is the hardest advertisement to acquire, it grows over time but once established can bring in a large proportion of your locksmith work. My friend James has been a Locksmith Sale for about 20 years and hardly spends a penny advertising these days.

This is why a lot of the national locksmith employees and franchise investors struggle to establish themselves as they are usually the face behind the extortion that nobody will recommend.


Locksmith Websites

Having your own website built and investing in regular locksmith SEO work is often more rewarding than advertising on online directories.

Again, it can take longer to establish this and grows with online endorsements form other websites and forums that may recommend your services.

It also requires you to keep up to date with current online trends and social media and if you haven't already got a Facebook and Twitter fan page set up, you need to get on it NOW!

Advertising your locksmith website often involves chasing the Google carrot as the algorithm evolves but with the increase in smartphone users that will now Google a locksmith in an emergency it has never been so important to have your own online presence.

Rick | Cannock Locksmiths





Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Dedicated SEO service for Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog

An SEO company for Locksmiths
This month I thought I would post a review for the company working on my two websites.

Locksmith SEO by Rick                                            http://midlandlocks.angelfire.com/seo/

Rick who built the sites over a year ago has been working as a locksmith for over five years and also with Websites and Search engine optimisation in the past.

Using various methods which may as well be black magic for all I know and a boost via social media and blogging, the websites have grown to be quite profitable and rank extremely well in the search engine reports for all my key terms, in fact one of which hasn't left top spot since it got up there!

Until recently this was more of a thing he did for fellow friendly locksmiths but has now decided to make it more official by offering his services to the locksmith population.

Ricks passion was born from a hatred of national locksmith chains and franchises polluting the internet that could afford to pay SEO experts large amounts and brute force their adverts to the top of Google pages.

Although Google works hard to prevent spam, particularly in the 'locksmiths' category, there is still a load that slips through

As for the cost of this fabulous SEO service I have found it to be very competitive and a lot cheaper than hiring an established SEO professional that probably wouldn't understand the industry as well anyway.

When compared to a package I took from Yellow Pages/Hibu last year the return on investment is substantially higher than I got with Yell, a massive company by comparison.

So if you are a novice when it comes to building a website or getting it found online I would urge you to contact Rick immediately to discuss your requirements! He is limiting his websites to strictly one locksmith company per geographical location (each site will contain 3 pages/locations).

Its simply an opportunity not to be missed!


SEO for Locksmiths | Locksmith Barnet | Websites For Locksmiths

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Door Repairs in Sheffield & Barnsley | PSS Locksmith Blog

Its now approaching the time of year that local locksmiths like to refer to as the busy period.

As the cold weather approaches the uPVC door locks begin to fail and I usually see my door repairs in Sheffield double in frequency in the run up to Christmas.

The problem with using plastic to build doors is that its very sensitive to changes in temperature, expanding in the warmer climate and then contracting in the cooler winter months.

Over several years this can leave your door mis-aligned and in some severe cases, bowed or deformed.

I have been repairing upvc doors in Barnsley and Sheffield for a good few years now and have noticed that the darker coloured doors have a considerably shorter lifespan.

Firstly i would suggest that if you are thinking of having a dark finish uPVC door fitted you need to be sure it is in a well shaded area, I would not advise having one fitted in a hot spot absorbing the heat of the sun all day.

brown upvc doors


Of course there are alternatives to upvc doors.

Newer style composite doors are much more robust in terms of weathering due to their layered design of various materials such as insulating foam, wood, GRP and wood. As with upvc doors though The darker coloured finishes are prone to sun damage during the hotter weather and can cause the GRP skin on the door to crack or bubble.

If I had to give one piece of advise i have learned over the years repairing doors its that you should never leave a problem to get worse.

As soon as your door begins to feel too stiff, fail to lock on occassions or generally becomes annoying or difficult to use then it would be wise to have a professional door repairman such as PSS locksmiths Sheffield to come and adjust the door.

A simple adjustment can make the difference between a smooth locking door and a broken £150+ replacement locking mechanism.

Pennine Security Solutions - Door Repairs in Sheffield

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Knowing Your Customer | Locksmith Blog

Pennine Security Solutions | 01142135134 | Locksmith Sheffield


Learning to know your customer is something that a locksmith learns from experience.

Admittedly sometimes I may be overly judgemental and I probably turn down ten locksmith jobs a month where I make the descision that this particular customer may either cause a problem, not have the money to pay or I just feel wasn't very polite on the phone.

I have been out countless times in the past to customers locked out who then argue the toss over price once the door is open and when working alone this can be an intimidating experience.

The concern became so great that I eventually stopped attending jobs that I deemed to be too risky for me to waste my time on, however with locksmith work falling thin on some weeks you occassionally have to take that gamble.

One job in particular that stands out in the back of my mind is when a gang of youths showed up wanting  me to open an apartment door they didn't own or have any paperwork to show me.
I didn't particularly fancy getting my head kicked in that evening, nor did I want to be aiding a burglary so sat there for 5 minutes pretending to pick open a lock before claiming it was a high security lock and I couldn't do it.

They weren't happy but I left with a clear conscience in an undamaged head :-)

So i may be discriminating against people that sound too shady over the phone or feel are at risk of pulling a fast one but one thing is for sure i trust my intuition nowadays avoiding late night calls from drugged up teens and gangster types that can't speak proper English.

 




Monday, 22 April 2013

Five more random Locksmith Tips | Locksmith Blog

Wow!

Had loads of positive feedback regarding the last post i made earlier in the month sharing five random locksmith tips.

So by popular demand i shall follow with a further five tips to improve your locksmithing experience, just the little things that can improve an awkward job, speed things up a little and make life easier for us.

1/ Inserting the Yale tailpiece

When changing a nightlatch cylinder it is often difficult to re-insert the tailpiece of the rim cylinder into the slot in the back of the nightlatch, particularly on the small backsets.
I find that filing the corners slightly off the tailpiece will guide it home much smoother without trying to poke it in place with a wire.

2/ Picking Eclipse/Walsall lever locks

These new grey cheapo BS lever locks have a serious flaw. My mate, a locksmith in Stoke, noticed only the frontmost lever in the pack is capable of engaging the antipick notch due to the ridiculous design of the bolt. An easy pick knowing that once the back four are set all you need to do is lift that front lever in.

3/  Yale MPL grub screws

Lost the grub screw from that old yale mech? Cut down a normal euro retaining screw and remove the head.  Saw a small notch into the end and file tidy before inserting with a flat blade screwdriver.

4/  Save good curtainwheels

Hang on to unworn curtainwheels from old locks. These come in handy when repairing welded gate locks. Nine times out of ten I have found the problem is a worn curtainwheel and replacing the innards saves you serious time and more importantly the customers money.

5/ Latched PVC door - No letterbox

Split spindles can have a customer locked out even though the door is as good as open. When there is no letterbox handy to use a letterbox tool I use a flat steel bar and pry open the latch area.
The PVC has more than enough flex to remain undamaged and the door will simply pop open unscathed. Childsplay, just try make it look more technical than it really is.

Hope these few nuggetts are of help to you.

Rick - Walsall locksmiths

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Five Locksmith Tricks & Tips | Locksmith Blog

Working as a self employed locksmith brings new challenges every day.

Seldom are two jobs the same and there are always head scratching moments when encountering a new lock problem.

Most of a locksmith's knowledge is gained through solving these problems and discovering new techniques to make life easier next time around.

Here are five random tips & tricks I have discovered over the years that may be of benefit to you and your locksmith business:

1/ Drilling into a lever pack

When drilling a lock case lever pack side, you can prevent the tip of the drill burring up the levers by using a flat tipped drill bit for the final penetration. Bending or damaging that front lever can cause a world of pain so a quick swap of the drill bits is well worth practicing!

2/ Planning ahead

Before setting out on your lockout job, quickly log into Google Maps and find the address then take a closer look at the door. This helps in recognising the property which may be harder to spot on a dark night but also lets you take a good guess at the types of lock to expect. Its surprising how many customers describe something completely different on the phone.

3/ Check all doors and windows

When attending a lock out you should weigh up all your options before commencing work, particularly destructive openings. Occasionally there are other doors and windows already unlocked that are overlooked by the panicking customer and the majority of the time the alternative doors have weaker security or keys still inside the lock. Why fight against the heavily secured main door?

4/ Mortice keys that just spin 360 degrees

A common problem with lever deadlocks is the curtain or bolt tail breaking off through excessive force and the main symptom would be a key spinning all the way without unlocking the door. Since you have the key to hand you can insert and turn to 180 degrees to align the levers with the bolt stump. Access the bolt with a tidy hole or through the door-frame gap to manually inch the bolt open.

5/ Millenco uPVC mechanisms (submitted by Locksmith Walsall)

When changing a cylinder on a Millenco mechanism in a upvc door, always remember to use the smaller retaining screw and never the new one supplied with the cylinder. A screw that is too long will enter too far into the lock case and prevent parts from moving, worst case scenario results in a bent mechanism! A costly mistake that you don't want to make.

Five completely random tips for locksmiths. I hope to share some more in the future.

Mike: Huddersfield Locksmiths

Monday, 18 March 2013

Locksmiths Letterbox Tool | Locksmith Blog

Sidewinder lock tool
opening a thumbturn cylinder
There have been a few new locksmith  tools pop up in the last couple of months, however the tool that I feel deserves a special feature on my Locksmith Blog is the Sidewinder, developed by Outside In lock tools, a small tool manufacturer owned by Simon Barber, a local locksmith in Ipswich.

The sidewinder is basically an add on for the souber letterbox tool that can be fixed to the end and used to manipulate thumbturns, bunches of keys and nightlatches with knobs.

The way in which this tool delivers a direct turning force to the target is the secret to its success and after my first few uses was left smiling with satisfaction at the ease in which it helped me gain entry.

This tool is a MUST HAVE for any warrant locksmith and in fact all locksmiths! Im not quite sure how i ever managed without one.

And it doesn't stop there folks!

Simon has also developed a further attachment which when combined with the Sidewinder can also defeat letterbox guards which are now commonplace on local housing properties.

Testimonials:

Rick - Walsall Locksmiths
The new sidewinder attachment is a fantastic tool and already saving me a fortune in carbide drills.
Possibly the greatest tool since the snapper bar.

Mike - Huddersfield Locksmiths
Combined with the rattler tool this is superior to any other letterbox tool to date. Payed for itself in a single job.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Running a Successful Locksmith Business | Locksmith Blog

With hundreds of new locksmiths training across the country every week its no surprise that the bread and butter work is thinning out somewhat.

Although the majority of new locksmiths never make it past the six month mark there are a few that work hard to get established.

Im often asked what the keys to running a successful locksmith business are?

In my case; a lot of marketing, a pinch of luck and having some good contacts already established in the locksmith industry.

If i had my time again though I would certainly focus on these key points:

1/ Be available

If you are to compete in the emergency locksmith field you need to be available almost all of the time, don't advertise 24 hour if you can't honour it. If you find yourself turning down as much work as you are doing due to other commitments then this may not be the best career choice.

2/ Never arrive late

Nobody wants to be hanging around waiting for you, make sure you can show up when you are supposed to, ideally get there early! Not only does it show you are a keen professional but also gives you the opportunity to have a quick look at what you are up against and to relax a little.
I have so many customers moan to me about how the previous locksmith they called failed to show up on time and tried to keep them waiting further... usually the national locksmith chains!

3/ Keep enough stock

Ensure you have enough stock to complete the work there and then. You should be stocking a large range of euro cylinders in all sizes and finishes, all sizes of sash and deadlocks, ideally a range of brands to save any carpentry work and all the common upvc mechs to eliminate the need for another appointment.

It is almost impossible to keep everything on board your van and you will no doubt encounter new and unusual locks on your travels but lacking the basics listed above would be unprofessional.

4/ Avoid shiny tool syndrome

It is tempting to buy all the latest tools and gadgets when starting up, however a lot is not essential and can be purchased further down the line as your budget allows and your business grows.
I have seen a lot of locksmiths jump straight in and buy thousands of pounds worth of decoders that then sit on the van gathering dust. Unless you intend to go straight into warrant work they won't be earning their keep and you could make better use of a good curtain pick at a fraction of the cost.

5/ Be wary of national contractors

You may decide to work on behalf of a national locksmith company or franchise in your earlier years.
Although best avoided altogether they can be a good way to gain experience and steal away some local customers.

Know when its time to ditch them! Once they start messing you around with pay (which they will) tell them to stick it. Afterall these guys are taking work in your area and then sending you anyway at your expense.

 Holmfirth locksmiths

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Locksmiths vs handymen | Locksmith Blog

Iv been the second/third locksmith to be called to a job lately in which a chancer (one of which works for a national locksmith franchise...) has turned up and walked away without even trying to help.

Today for example; a guy had got the wrong key stuck in his deadlock. The first locksmith shrugged and left the customer stuck in his own house without attempting to remove the key.

I took the handle off and forced the curtainwheel around in about 10 seconds...
No damage to the lock and the correct key worked perfectly no need to change the lock.

It seems most are now chasing the easy jobs and can't be bothered to have a crack at the real work which to be honest i find more enjoyable.

I guess its the nitty gritty jobs that separate the real locksmiths from the handymen and will undoubtedly lead to their business failing.

Mike | PSS Locksmith Huddersfield 01226-893-927

Monday, 7 January 2013

Most secure Lock | Locks too secure? | Locksmith Blog

I recently read an article written by Wolverhampton locksmiths and how the local housing association managing that area have stopped fitting high security locks to the doors they service.

This was due to the carpenters and handmen responsible for the out of hours service for lock outs and lock changes not being able to open them sufficiently.

What used to be simple lock jobs were now drawn out battles with what sound like very secure doors with all the optional extras.

The question was asked on their blog: Can a door be too secure?

I recently attended a job where an elderly woman was locked out in Sheffield from her apartment on the third floor of the building due to someone messing with her lock.

She had recently purchased a new secured by design door with letterbox guard, anti-snap cylinder made by Yale and secured by design door handles.

The lock seemed to have had something pushed inside it but i was unable to fish anything out of the lock.

Can a door be too secure?

In this scenario.. YES!

What followed was pretty much professional lock butchering, removing the handles and drilling the cylinder was tough work, much tougher than it needs to be!

Its great to see locks evolving to be more secure with new designs to combat the latest flaws in security, however it might be time for a rethink to make these locks more managable for professionals with the correct tools as opposed to manufacturing invincible door setups that keep everyone out.

Thanks for reading

Locksmith Sheffield | 07917-421-482