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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Door Repairs | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As with any trade, 'knowledge is power' and the more strings you can add to your bow the better. With every maintenance firm, man and his dog stealing away the bread and butter locksmith jobs such as lock changes, diversity has never been so important.

Door repairs are still a relatively untapped source of income for a lot of locksmiths that still tend to shy away from it for fear of dealing with the unknown and lack of experience.

For me every locksmith job is an adventure and I honestly enjoy being put to the test now and again and deal with something that is not run of the mill. So here I am again trying to encourage local locksmiths to veer off their usual path and try something new.

door repair workrepair gearboxes

Door repairs is a broad term, there are a lot of doors to go at! Thinking over the last year I have personally repaired sliding patio door components, up and over garage doors, commercial aluminium doors, plate glass doors and even giant custom sliding doors at a car showroom.

Despite the initial urge to shy away from the job it's always best to see it through and at least go and take a look. The majority of the time it's something relatively simple that any good locksmith can easily recitify.

Occasionally you will have to learn on the job. Until last week I had never replaced the rollers on a sliding patio door. On a quiet day I accepted the job and lerned how easy it actually was. Easy money I had previously dodge in the past.

As always, in conjunction with developing my own new locksmith and door repairs skills, a website spawned dedicated solely to door repair work. It has worked extremely well for me and I have also begun to build pages for other locksmiths targetting the same market in their area.  Take a look and contact me with your thoughts: http://www.doors-repaired.co.uk/upvc-door-repairs.html

A couple of examples can be seen here:

http://www.doors-repaired.co.uk/huddersfield.html

http://www.doors-repaired.co.uk/poole.html


patio door repairsupvc door handle repairs

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:09 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2017 12:44 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Inside A Bramah MD27 | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

bramah MD27 Lockbramah mortice lock

The Bramah MD27 was the first deadlock in the UK to be awarded a BS3621 rating back in 1963. A good 54 years on and this lock is still manufactured and considered one of the most secure mortice locks on the market, particularly against picking due to it's unique design, similar to that of a tubular lock but with sprung wafers instead of pins.

Bramah breakdownBramah lock core

This week I managed to get my hands on an old stock Bramah MD27 from a good locksmith friend, so thought I would do a simple breakdown so you can see what is inside. I know it's one I've always been curious about.

Firstly a breakdown of the lockcase itself. There is a flat coverplate on each side of the lock and a removable front faceplate. If you ever dismantle on of these you should probably leave the faceplate in place as the lock will eject it's bolt as soon as the key is turned, the faceplate effectively holds the bolt in once thrown.

You will notice that the keyway on the reverse side is upside down as one operates the bolt from above and the other from below. Each lock core is surrounded by a steel bushing with a cut out machined to allow the bolt roller (rear of the bolt) a pathway upon turning the key.

bramah keybramah lock breakdown of the core

I was reluctant to disassemble the inner core at first since I'd never seen one but soon sussed out how it worked. The machined brass plug has a groove around its circumferance with a circlip like steel plate in place. This is in fact the gates for the wafers to align with, allowing the brass plug to turn through it. Inserting the key and aligning all gates allowed the two halves to slide from the plug.

Each wafer is in fact a folded section of sprung steel with a one false gate and one true gate. The keen eyed lock enthusiasts will notice that all of the false gates appear to be below the true gate leaving it potentially vulnerable to opening. Can you guess how? That is a test for another day.
Bramah lock waferInside a Bramah Lock Core


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:11 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2017 12:47 PM GMT
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Safe Lock Collection | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have been wanting to build myself a collection of safe locks for a while now, they fascinate me, miniature puzzles designed by clever engineers with the sole purpose of staying locked until presented with the correct solution. 

Every time I take one out and look at it I am amazed that some of these can be picked open. It takes a lot of skill, even more knowledge and some clever tools for locksmiths to defeat the best safe locks.

I was lucky enough to start off my safe lock collection this week with a nice selection from a friend and locksmith in Cheshire who kindly donated some to me. I haven't stopped playing with them since and already looking to get my hands on some more of the modern designs before searching for some of the more obscure and older safe locks.

inside a safe lockinside of a safe lock

So to the main purpose of my post, what safe locks have you got you want to sell/swap with me!? Anything is considered, keys, no keys, broken, etc,  I am keen to hear from you and you can contact me by clicking on my email address: placeborick@hotmail.com



mauer safe lockMauer safe internals

lagard lock internals7 lever safe lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:37 AM GMT
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Thursday, 15 December 2016
Are Locksmith Franchises Worth It? | Locksmith Blog

Buying into a locksmith franchise is a sure fire way to get your foot in the door when it comes to becoming a locksmith, providing training, tools and vehicles alongside expert advertising in your target area would tempt anyone with the cash to buy into it, seeking an exciting opportunity to make a tonne of money...

For a fortunate handful of locksmith franchisees this has been the case. Speaking with other locksmiths and reading locksmith forums online however it seems that the overwhelming majority of locksmiths that buy into these franchises have a rather different story to tell. So what goes wrong?

Firstly we need to consider how a locksmith franchise works. Usually there is a joining fee, a considerable lump sum to set you up with your own kit to get started and expert guidance to get the ball rolling. Once you are up and running as a trading locksmith a percentage of all your earnings plus other business fees are paid to the firm.

It's a finite business however and once all areas are filled with franchisees it has effectively reached saturation. This is where many ex locksmith franchise owners have found themselves in trouble. When a new recruit is interested in joining the franchise - lump sum in hand ££,  it makes great business sense to run the existing area holder out by whatever means to secure the new contract.

It's one of many shocking practices I have heard time and time again amongst locksmith groups and online forums. If this is the case it is bordering on criminal! Of course I cannot comment on the business model of any of the locksmtih franchises having never had the pleasure of working for one myself but it's certainly something I would encourage potential wannabe locksmiths into researching a little more in depth before parting with hard earned cash and redundancy payouts.

In my own experience working as a local locksmith for nearly ten years I can however tell you that of the seven ex locksmith franchisees that I know personally, six of them have few positive words about the experience. Be vigilant, research very carefully, ask for opinions from current members as well as ones that have parted ways before signing anything, it's easy to be drawn in by fairytale stories of success and fortune.

Happy Locksmithing and I hope everyone has a great Christmas.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:39 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:10 PM GMT
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Sunday, 4 December 2016
Cars Most Likely To Be Stolen | Locksmith Blog

Working as a locksmith in Wolverhampton, I regularly attend the aftermath of car key burglaries where thieves have targeted the homes of performance and luxury car owners, taken the keys and driven off never to be seen again.

It doesn't take long working as a front line locksmith to see that car key thieves favour certain vehicles. I would say about 80% of the time the target is one of five vehicles.

5/

At number five is the boy racers old favourite, the Subaru Impreza. Back in the day this car would have probably been number one on the list but is still a desirable target since a lot are highly modified and worth good money to a thief when broken up and sold as parts.


stealing subaru's

4/

Well technically this is one of two vehicles, the M3/M5 made by BMW are another hot target for vehicle thieves. Working as an emergency locksmith I've seen that thieves have gone to great lengths to take these cars from dismantling automatic gates to the more worrying confrontation at gun point in the victims home...


bmw m3 car key thefts

3/

Audi S3 is another favourite for vehicle thieves, the top 3 in this list are what I would describe as getaway vehicles, since they are often used later on by criminals to commit further crimes. High powered 4 door vehicles such as the S3 are desirable as they're pretty inconspicuous when debadged. I know Pat at Chichester Locksmiths has seen a few of these vanish this year.


s3 target of thieves

2/

Volkswagons Golf R comes in at number 2 for exactly the same reasons as the S3, in fact they're pretty much the same car. A fast hatchback with 4 doors is ideal as a getaway car for robberies and further burglaries. It's often stolen prior to more serious crimes and later abandoned.


golf R stolen

1/

This is the car targeted most often, by a country mile in fact, at least in the West Midlands area where I work as an emergency locksmith. Fords Focus RS is without a doubt the biggest target of car key burglars for all of the reasons discussed above, It's a fast potential getaway vehicle but also a favourite of car modders so always worth good money in parts too. If you own one of these I'd be very careful indeed.


most stolen vehicle

Okay now that I have put the wind up everyone reading this that owns one of the aforemetioned vehicles I'm going to let you know the preferred method that crooks use for stealing your keys so that you can improve your home security and make your vehicle a tougher target.

Lock snapping is the most common method of car key burglary in the West Midlands and probably the UK. Older uPVC door locks are vulnerable to an attack called lock snapping that could see your door opened in under a minute by a seasoned crook. It can be performed with basic tools and is more often than not carried out during the night whilst the onwers are soundly asleep in bed. Frightening indeed!

Luckily relatively inexpensive lock and handle upgrades are available to make this much harder for opportunist thieves. A lot of insurance companies now specify this on insurance policies so it's worth investigating to ensure that you are covered against this should you be unlucky enough to have your vehicle stolen.

You can never have too many deterrents! A thief is always going to be looking for the easiest target so ensure that your vehicle and home are or at least look more of a risk than the next potential target. It's an obvious checklist really; cctv (real or dummy), alarms, good locks, visible detrrents such as dog signs, lockable gates, parking posts, security handles.... the list goes on.

As for where you decide to keep your keys is entirely your decision. I have heard some horror stories working as a local locksmith where intruders have actively come looking for the keys once inside the house. Some will advise to leave them in a visible place to avoid confrontation in this situation where others would prefer to lock them away and protect them. I sincerely hope that none of you reading are ever in this situation.

If you would like any advice on home security or would like a free security survey then I would advise you to check your local locksmith or security expert on http://www.nnll.org.uk or http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk


Posted by Rick the Pick at 6:33 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2016 8:05 AM GMT
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Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Want A Dedicated Door Repairs Page? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

 

I have been running my door repairs website for a few years now and it has grown quickly to become the leading door repairs directory in the UK.

I am asked every single week by locksmiths and seo firms wanting a dedicated page on the site and have decided that for a limited time I will be offering dedicated pages on a first come first served basis, one company per area.

Of course this is only applicable to genuine local firms, I am not interested in selling out to national firms and locksmith franchises that rip off the customers.

Pages are priced at £100 fully built for a lifelong listing on the directory.
Building yourself just a handful of backlinks from your webpages and social media should easily put the listing on page one for 'door repairs *area*'

If you would like to take a look at a couple of examples and see how they rank you can click on the links below. Be sure to Google 'door repairs *area*' and see how these pages rank.

http://www.doors-repaired.co.uk/cannock.html

http://www.doors-repaired.co.uk/sutton-coldfield.html

http://www.doors-repaired.co.uk/walsall.html

I won't be providing this service for long so if you're interested then you can drop me an email to Placeborick@hotmail.com


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:50 AM BST
Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2016 10:56 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 27 September 2016
National Network of Local Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Since I posted previously about how well online networking seems to be working amongst local locksmiths I have been pondering new ways of improving this network and as always build a dedicated website.

The idea arose after reading locksmiths comments regarding the worthlessness of some of the lockmith organisations and how they're always named 'national network..... locksmiths'. To the public they must appear genuine however as locksmiths we know how easy it can be to obtain some of these recognitions. It's all to easy to buy into a membership for use of a logo without any real vetting, MLA being the exception.

Naturally I thought it would be funny to jump on the bandwagon with the NNLL or National Network of Local Locksmiths, albeit with a serious agenda. The main purpose as always is to give exposure to the smaller self employed and family locksmith firms that struggle to compete with national locksmith franchises and call centres. I think by creating a genuine network of local firms we will be able to steer customers in the right direction should we be unable to help them personally with the lock issues. Most of us advertise 24/7 but in reality it's hard to honour that fully.

I have begun building the site which will be similar in format to other locksmith directories that I have created, listing locksmiths via region and all their contact details so that customers can choose the nearest locksmith in their area. It's just a landing page at the minute but should be fully live and ready to accept entries by the end of the week, providing I'm not bogged down with work.

Take a look and if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas that you think may benefit the cause then please do leave me a comment or drop me an email at Dudley Locksmith


Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:57 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:11 PM GMT
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Friday, 16 September 2016
Best Lock For My uPVC Door? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews
best upvc door locks

There are an awful lot of locks available for uPVC doors, ranging from nasty aluminium cylinders that barely work from new, up to the all singing and dancing three star cylinders, which again come with such a range of additional gimmicky security features that it could easily confuse a total novice looking to get the best lock for their uPVC door.

I've posted a few times with comparisons on budget lock ranges and anti snap cylinders and as a locksmith i feel it's important to REALLY test the products I supply and recommend as the best locks for the job. When locks that locksmiths have supplied start failing it is an inconvenience to be called back to repair the problem but also damages a hard earned reputation.

I am asked on a daily basis "What is the best lock for my uPVC door?" ...Well firstly let me give you a run down on the obvious contenders.

Brisant Ultion

Brisant began marketing a few years back now as 'locks for locksmiths' with a range of good looking anti snap locks that I think are in fact rebranded Federal cylinders. Eventually their three star diamond standard lock was released; the Ultion, a formiddable looking lock cylinder withanti-snap features and a locking central cam. It soon became aparent however that these locks were suffering from quality issues and I hear complaints on a daily basis about lock cylinders jamming. If it were a five pound standrad lock it would be less of an issue but on an all singing and dancing lock you've convinced someone to upgrade to it's really not acceptable.

Best lock for your door rating: 3/5

http://www.brisant-secure.com/ultion.php


Avocet ABS

Another three star lock cylinder, again a great looking lock with fancy keys, incorporating a magnetic element to make unauthorised copying less of a problem. These were pushed pretty hard a few years ago by the police and neighbourhood watch groups as the best lock for your door and for a short time they probably were. It seems however they're not holding up too well over time and I hear regular stories about these failing. The second problem is that these are now a relatively old design and dedicated tools are now available to open these in just a few seconds. The cylinders are also handed so as a locksmith more stock is required to vover all the offsets. Avocet now appear to be focussing more on their new lock the ATK, a more traditional looking pinned cylinder with all the heavyweight features of the ABS. The ABS is old hat now, if you really insist on Avocet then the new ATK is probably a safer bet.

Best Lock for your door rating: 3/5

http://www.avocet-hardware.co.uk/abs-secure.asp

 

BKS Three Star

I must admit I'm a fan of the BKS 3 star cylinder and is one I fit regularly as an anti-snap solution. It's not a lock that is marketed to the public and at present is only really available through trade suppliers. I got my first sample form a locksmith in Edinburgh. I have thoroughly tested the BKS lock myself when it was rebranded and released at a local hardware supplier and although it lacked all the fancy gimmicks of the previous two locks, this one did exactly what it promised without being over the top, a well designed snapsafe lock that would stump the majority of burglars. The downside, for locksmiths at least is that the cylinders are handed and more stock would need to be carried to cover the offset variations. Conclusion? This is a good lock for your door but there are better.

Best lock for your door rating: 4/5

 

Yale Three Star Platinum

The Yale brand is the benchmark by which all cylinders are compared and a name everyone knows. Regular readers of my blog will know that I've tested this cylinder thoroughly in all of its forms and am frankly astounded by the strength and reliability of this lock cylinder. The evolution of this cylinder started with the initial British Standard anti-snap lock, turned one star cylinder and now offered in the current three star platinum form. There are no gimmicky keys to cause problems and uses a traditional 'yale style' key. What impresses me most with this lock however is its reliabilty. I can't recall one story of a Yale anti-snap lock cylinder failing let alone encountered one myself. It's clearly a well manufactured product with high tolerances that will not let you down. If I had to be picky and name one issue with these locks it would be the micro allen bolt securing the thumbturn which can be a pain to remove when installing the locks. In my opinion the Yale three star cylinder is the best lock for your upvc door and ticks all of the boxes; security, longetivity and quality.

Best lock for your door rating 5/5

http://www.yale.co.uk/en/yale/couk/productsdb/cylinders/AS-Platinum-3-star-Euro-Profile-Cylinder/

 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:58 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 26 September 2016 8:59 AM BST
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Monday, 12 September 2016
Networking With Local Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
In the past it seemed that the majority of locksmiths kept fairly tight circles of trust when it came to the sharing of knowledge and work within their area.

With the rise in number of nationals and locksmith franchises bombarding the advertising space the self employed locksmith community appear to have formed a strong union to work against this common enemy which lets face it is a threat to every sole trader and small locksmith firm out there.

Over the last year there has been a significant increase in Facebook groups and forums with the sole purpose of sharing knowledge and work amongst the true local locksmith community with work that cannot be covered in a particular area being posted for other genuine local locksmiths to pick up.

Sharing the wealth so to speak not only reduced the chance of the customer stumbling upon the number of the national locksmith firms and getting swindled but also helps build close relationships with your local locksmiths. 

I understand that not every locksmith and his neighbour are best friends and I am sure the sharing of contract customers and regular clients will be a grey area, but those one off customers that you can steer in the right direction will help starve the national locksmiths of their prey.

As always on my blog I have to discuss an SEO persepective, a benefit in this case; A customer searches for a local locksmith and they call you. You aren't available but if you can give that customer useful information, ie a number of another trusted locksmith, and they call it, in the eyes of Google that customer has clicked your site, found the information they were looking for and closed the session. Bonus points for you and your website!

Of course this can swing the other way; you don't answer the call or do not provide an alternative source and the customer clicks back on the browser and moves to the next business in the Google search.

There are so many large firms and chancers looking to sub contract "OUR WORK" out to us. Why give them the opportunity to take a slice of it? There is more than enough to go around the genuine local locksmith firms and earn us all a great income if we can prevent these leaches from thriving in our areas.

I really think that working together as a community of local locksmiths alongside educating the potential customers in the country about national firms will pave a long and profitable future for genuine local locksmith firms.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:31 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:09 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 9 August 2016
The Future Of Home Security | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

The future of Home Security - A guest Post by ITCC Locksmiths.

Home security has come a long way in the past decade, homes are more secure than ever as lock designs have become more complex to protect against picking or lock snapping, more windows are double glazed and more people have burglar alarms and high quality CCTV systems.

The majority of these changes have given rise to more opportunities for locksmiths to make money, eg: fitting more advanced security systems such as alarms, CCTV and installing and repairing intercom systems have become a staple for many locksmiths in London.  These advances in technology have helped us locksmiths in the past, however it is now time to look to the future and what opportunities or challenges these may bring.

Modern and future home security seems to be heavily influenced by advances in a piece of technology called The Internet Of Things. Now for those who don’t know, the internet of things is  a network of devices such as sensors, cameras, locks, etc which are embedded with electronic software that enables them to collect data then take certain preprogramed actions.  Future home security will become much more complex and may require a completely different set of skills, on the other hand some of these systems are designed to be simple to install/manage which may mean less complex security installation or repair jobs for us.

Now let’s just take a quick look at the most modern security systems on the market as this will give us a better understanding of how things at least look to develop in the future

Modern home security systems such as the ones offered by a company called Custom Controls not only focus on home security but also on home automation known as the smart home.  For example some systems can integrate almost any piece of electrical software such as heating systems, air con, garden irrigation this can also include electric locks, CCTV, alarms which are increasing in popularity and they also include perimeter security such as infrared detection beams, vibration and sound detectors. Now of course at the moment these systems are extremely expensive and only wealthy individuals can afford them.

Like most new technology though, such systems will become much more affordable with time and more wide spread. Some of these new systems have been designed to be easy to set up and will require no or very little industrial insight while some of these systems are much more complex and will undoubtedly be installed by the supplier themselves. Now another potential problem I can see is that these systems will require maintenance, this will also include electric locks and theses contracts will more than likely go to the suppliers which are often multi million pound security companies, which may take jobs away from us locksmiths.

The way I see it is that locksmiths are not going anywhere anytime soon, people will still need their doors unlocked and their locks repaired or replaced and keys cut. However the rise of home and security integration does pose a threat as these new security systems will undoubtedly be installed by huge security companies. However that does not mean that we can’t at least try to muscle in on the installation and maintenance of such systems especially as these systems become so wide spread and generic.

this will require a slightly different skill set but I believe for the ambitious locksmiths of the future understanding home security integration as well the Smart Home may become very profitable.

This post was written by Callan Wells-Raynes a London Locksmith who works for a family run locksmith company called ITCC

 

 

 locks stockeddigital lock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:01 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2016 3:37 PM BST
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Thursday, 4 August 2016
PLDUK Advertising Scam | Locksmith Blog
"Hi, my name is John Smith from West Midlands Police, Don't worry you haven't done anything wrong. I'm calling about the rogue traders campaign...."

Yes this post is about the scammers at PLDUK that call you up pretending to be the police and offer you a placement in their fictional publication.
They're not the first, they won't be the last and if like me you were a naive young locksmith you have probably fallen foul of similar scams in your first year trading.

I have been trading as a local locksmith long enough now to have heard them all so I have no problem just ending the call straight away or leading them on a merry dance for a few munites if I'm feeling cheeky.
The problem is when work is thin on the ground or as a new start up there is always the chance of getting roped into these scams, particularly those that sound like a genuine organisation such as PLDUKs police inpersonation.

I always give new guys one piece of advice:
If the company is cold calling you then it's 99% likely it's a scam or other worthless sales call, I mean always give them a few seconds, you never know....

Common lines are:
"Hi my name is John Smith, I'd like to introduce our company bla bla bla..."
"Could you take on more work in your area? We have 12345 calls a day in your (tiny) suburb and need someone to pass this locksmith work on to..."
"Hi, we noticed we could not find your website ranking well on Google...."

What annoys me most about PLDUK is that their intention is to scare you into thinking they are exposing rogue traders in their magazine and the implication is there that if you don't pay up it could be your locksmith firm. I am pretty sure it's bordering on fraud by impersonating the police in this manner so if they keep pestering you it might be worthwhile dropping a complaint to trading standards or your local police.

Anyone looking to invest their money in advertising should ideally be looking for recommendations from other good locksmiths and using proven methods rather than wasting money with the cold calling firms. Be vigilant and do not be roped in by these scammers. Happy Locksmithing.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:46 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2016 4:14 PM BST
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Thursday, 7 July 2016
Testing Anti Snap Locks | Locksmith Blog
As any good locksmith should, I am constantly experimenting, testing and destroying all manner of locks to see how they work, if they work and which ones I can rely on myself.

Today I grabbed myself a selection of anti-snap locks from my scrap brass box to see which was the best anti-snap lock. All were tested using a simple pair of grips on the outermost section of the lock, no more than 10mm to simulate a snapping attack.

The locks are all budget locks to mid range up to a one star rating so should provide some protection against a lock snapping attack. Bare in mind that it is recommended to install one star anti snap locks alongside a two star handle set, however it's not a combination I regularly encounter myself.

snapped lock cylinders

The pictures are self explanatory. Nearly all the locks I tested snapped in the usual sweetspot and not at the sacrificial cut with steady horizontal pressure applied in either direction.

The addition of a strengthened central section makes a lot of difference. The Magnum cylinder was indeed tougher to snap but still failed eventually, the grade of hardened steel used was still brittle against a snapping attack.

The ISEO cylinder had the addition of a steel staple like join between the two halves which made it difficult to fully separate them. This may cause some confusion in a lock snapping burglary but wouldn't prevent the unlocking of the door, again fully snapping with a little more work.

Another one star lock cylinder which I won't name didn't even have a sacrifical cut through the plug, only in the euro body so was no more difficult than a regular lock cylinder. Whether this one snook through quality control or they're all like this is anyones guess.

snapped lockYale anti snap lock

Top of the pile and an anti-snap challenge winner for today is the Yale anti-snap cylinder kindly donated by Locksmith Chichester, In both one and three star form the Yale snap safe lock cylinder is tremendously tough against a lock snapping attack and clearly has been designed carefully to meet all requirements. The sacrificial section snaps off easily and the remaining portion is secured by a seriously strong piece of hardened steel, which is not treated to the extent that is too brittle like the reinforcement of the Magnum cylinder.

A further attack on the remaining section of the Yale cylinder failed. I even managed to break the grips. Nuff said.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:30 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2016 6:14 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016
Invoice Work, Tricks and scams | Locksmith Blog

As most estabished locksmiths know there are always maintenance firms and agents looking to play middleman and make a profit by subbing the work out to you. The problem is a lot of these middlemen maintenance companies are really poor payers or complete non payers, so we need to weigh up the risk vs reward before accepting locksmith work from these sources.

Scams that I have fallen foul of in the past include a property management company that got me to send the invoices to it's liquidated former self, another firm in serious debt looking to get a load of work done across it's properties before announcing bankruptcy, and the firms that just try and deny all knowledge of the work.

When these type of firms call looking to book your locksmith service you need to be asking yourself a few questions:

-Have you or any of your other locksmith associates ever heard of them?
It's easy to nip onto an online forum now and to ask other locksmiths if they have heard of or had dealings with the firm.

-Are they based locally at a physical address?
If a firm is based locally it's easy to drop by and chase the debt in person should the invoice go unpaid.  They are more likely to pay up than risk repeated confrontations.

-Are you dealing with a domestic or commercial client of theirs?
You are less liekly to be messed around on commercial locksmith work as this is normally repeat business. It will not look good for them if you start chasing the customer directly for payment/threatening removal of goods.

Always enquire about payment terms before accepting sub contracted work and if it doesn't suit you then it is better to pass than to be left out of pocket and chasing a debt. I usually state to new and unknown firms that I require immediate payment before proceeding. Once you have built up trust you can extend your terms some.

Don't be roped in just because you're having a quiet period. I'd rather be without the work than risk being left out of pocket and chasing my money. Do not make the mistake of undertaking weeks of work before seeing a payment on promise of 'more work' or 'we'll only use you'.

Trust your gut feeling! It's rarely wrong.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:17 PM BST
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Bullying Within The Profession | Locksmith Blog

From day one of venturing into the locksmith world I learned that in no other community do tradesmen hate on one another like locksmiths do. The locksmith community is full of those that think or in some cases truly believe they are holier than the rest of the community.

Which leads me into my first blog post of the month and my first rant in quite some time. I do love a good moan.

I want all the new start ups and inexperienced locksmiths reading this now to pay attention to my next statement:

Every single trading locksmith will make a complete f**k up of a job(s) at some point in their career.

 

I just wanted to put that out there straight away. All the locksmiths you see on the forums claiming 100% NDE, never drilled a lock, never ran away tail between leg, master of all master locksmith types, they have all made a pigs ear somewhere down the line. You just won't hear about it.

I have read a few posts on locksmith forums and groups lately naming and shaming (albeit in a private group) new locksmiths who through poor judgment or inexperience have messed up. I won't lie it does piss me off, not becuase they are reporting poor workmanship but because of the reasons I believe they do it. It's almost as if slating someone elses work makes them feel a better locksmith for it. Just like your schoolyard bully.

Within the first year of trading as a locksmith I had fixed several jobs by more experienced locksmiths so I know first hand that it definitely happens. I quickly learned that the locksmith world is rife with bullshitters and the majority of the time it's all about scaremongering and protecting their bubble.

Have I ever screwed up a job? Yes on several occasions! The only saving grace when things go pear shaped is that you hang in there and rectify the issue, get someone else to help you out or re-imburse for your cock up.

My parting words of advice for anyone thinking of throwing in the towel, feeling pushed out or not up to the job is firstly take everything you read/hear with a pinch of salt, there is a lot of bullshit, oneupmanship and hating going on and until you're experienced enough and take a step back it's hard to see it. Secondly, don't become involved in it, it's easy to think this is normal behaviour. It's not, concentrate on developing your own skills and knowledge along with your own techniques.

If in doubt phone a friend, ask your trainer, you can even phone me if you like. Happy locksmithing.

screw jamming a locklatch reversal on fercobroken milenco lock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:19 AM BST
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016
iZettle Card Reader | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

I have been testing a new card reader this month, the iZettle System.
I'm a little bit oldchool really, payments by cash, invoice or cheque but having the card reader as another option helps out in certain scenarios.

For example I recently had to let a group of drunk guys back into their apartment. Nice easy locksmith job but then came the confusion about paying, didn't have enough cash between them, couldn't find the chequebook, etc. I really didn't want to drive one of them to the cashpoint for fear of being vommited on so I opted to test run the card reader.

I opted for the iZettle card reader as it is free to order, you just pay a percentage of the charge per transaction, effectively a pay as you go system which is exactly what I wanted. Most systems require a subscription or upfront purchase fee for their readers.

The iZettle card is easy to set up; create an online account, register and verify your bank details, download the free app for your iphone and you are ready to go. The app allows you to pre create items in a basket if you offer a range of services at different prices, however I use a simple template and just input my own price depending on the job.

It is as simple as following the on screen instructions, inserting the card, inputting a pin number and then email or text the receipt to the card holder.

Monies are held in your account 'processing' for approx three working days before they are released into your nominated bank account, less their transaction fee. I actually add this percentage to my final bill so that the customer is paying for the card usage anyay. The iZettle app has features to check your existing transactions, money credited and a refund option should you require it.

It's been handy to have on a few of my locksmith jobs now and I am warming to the idea now that I fully trust the technology. The only downside to the free iZettle system is that you cannot take phone payments in advance of work. The card must be present to complete a transaction. 

izettle readerizettle appizettle transactions

 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:08 AM BST
Updated: Saturday, 30 April 2016 2:32 PM BST
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Millenco Replacement Cams | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews
Most locksmiths that deal with uPVC door lock repairs will know that one of the most common uPVC door lock failures is the shattering of the old cast Millenco cams, generally the top follower through continual forcing of the handles. The result is a handle that now spins 360 degrees.

Over the year these have been repaired by swapping the redundant gear with the broken one, anyone that's anyone knows how to do this. I blogged about this a few years ago: http://midlandlocks.angelfire.com/blog/index.blog/1427229/upvc-mech-replacement-parts-locksmith-blog/
The problem now is that once this 'spare' gear breaks we find a mechanism with no useable parts and is a replacement jobby.

They are not the cheapest mechanisms so when someone finally started remanufacturing the gears for the Millenco multi point locks I was eager to get my hands on some - Window Parts Millenco Cams.

Windowparts have had the cams remanufactured to the same spec as the originals and appear to be stronger too. At £10 a pop it is a cheaper alternative to the full Millenco mechanisms which are pricey from some suppliers. Definitely worth grabbing yourself a handful to get you out of a pickle and give the customer a cheaper alternative solution to their broken uPVC door lock.

millenco lock parts

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:12 PM BST
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Monday, 4 April 2016
Stolen Locksmith Tools | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have just seen a post on Facebook that shows another victim of auto locksmith tool theft. The usual tin opener attack on the body of the van to gain access. A real shame when someones business and income is affected.

Keep your eyes and ears open for cheap or suspicious sales of auto locksmith tools and if you have any suspicions give Surrey police or the chap a call on 07801768920.

Good luck fella.

 

van broken in tovan break in

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 6:53 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 4 April 2016 6:53 PM BST
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Tuesday, 22 March 2016
National Locksmiths. Are We Winning? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As every genuine local locksmith firm knows, the battle against the national locksmith franchises is a real concern, we simply cannot compete with their massive advertising budgets that allow them to bend the rules that govern the rest of us self employed small firms.

Over the past years you have listened to me harping on about what we can do to counter these tactics. Most locksmith groups and forums have some sort of anti-national campaign on the go and everyone seems to be doing their bit to spread awareness of these scammers.

The big question is; Is our collective might greater than that of these huge locksmith firms?

Well I really think the tables have turned in our favour.

I have been asking every single customer I work for, where they found my number, why they chose my locksmith service over any other, etc. An overwhelming proportion are stating "I liked that you were really local", "I liked your article on national locksmiths", "I did not trust the other companies I rang".... it seems being upfront and informative on our websites really does work.

You know I am a big fan/hater of yell.com and I'm always keeping a close eye on them. They seem to be working overtime lately trying to create leads for their biggest customer, any UK locksmith will know who that is! All review widgets on the yell.com website have been removed from this national locksmith firms advertisements because the negative feedback would cripple them, that's not in Yells best interest. Yell.com hiding negative reviews.

 

More worryingly is that Yell are now editing stagnant places pages they manage and turning them into locksmith listings that redirect to their locksmith pages. Guess which company sits at the top of all those pages... This is totally against all Googles guidelines and is a pretty risky move on Yells part which could see their privellages removed. Everytime you spot one of these suspicious listings with a link to yell.com be sure to report it using the feedback button at the bottom of the search page!
This desperate attempt to generate calls leads me to believe things aren't going too well.

I have heard numerous stories over the past few months about national locksmith firms telling potential customers that the genuine local locksmith firms are 'rogue traders' if they can work so cheaply and we are not to be trusted. Myself and many other lockmiths I know have experienced this, luckily the customers are smart enough to work out who the real rogues are after a brief chat. 

I really think the combined effort of the small local locksmith firms is starting to impact these greedy national locksmiths and we must continue to educate everyone searching for locksmiths and every customer we meet.

Make sure your website explains that you are a genuine local firm and not part of any national franchise or call center, urge them to obtain as many quotes as possible and to ask all the right questions.

It doesn't have to stop there, there are so many ways in which you can prevent a national firm from duping another customer. If you cannot do a job, pass it to another genuine local locksmith that can, there are plenty of online forums and groups that allow us to refer jobs if you do not physically know another locksmith. Your honesty and helpfulness will be remembered.

Do not sub for these companies. Helping them get a foot in the door in your area is bad news all round. Why would you allow them to take your work and then give it back to you at a lesser rate? Once they have a few locksmiths to do their dirty work they will increase advertising in your area... it's a no brainer.

Right enough waffling... Keep up the good work.

Update

All the spam listings that were showing at false UK addresses were removed. Happy days


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:49 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 4 May 2016 9:05 AM BST
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Thursday, 10 March 2016
Noke bluetooth padlock | Lockmith Blog

Today I got my hands on a Noke bluetooth keyless padlock to play with. Thanks to Simon at Enfield Locksmiths for the freebie. Here is a short review and initial thoughts.

The Noke padlock is a stainless 40mm shackle with keyless entry by several means which can be programmed via a dedicated smart phone app. Once you have registered and added the padlock to your managed list in the app you can then select how you would like the padlock to function.



noke padlock noke padlock battery

The shackle doubles up as an electronic clicker and is used to wake the padlock. If the app is running on your smartphone and the shackle is clicked whilst within range, the padlock will flash green and unlock. Additional keyfobs (sold separately) can also be programmed to work in the same manner.

Obviously this isn't the ideal setting if you are likely to be within range of the padlock whilst it is tampered with so if you are likely to lock up your bike and nip into the local shop you might want to add the authorise function. This will ask for permission to unlock the padlock on your screen and will not automatically unlock.

The third option is to manually log into the app, and click 'unlock' on the padlock menu.

The fourth and my personal favourite is the morse code style unlocking. (Click for a video) You can log into the app and create a sequential code of dots and dashes correspnding to short and long clicks on the shackle, short clicks indicated by a blue flash, long clicks by a white flash. This means you could safely lock away your phone in a locker, use the padlock to secure it but still be able to unlock the padlock.

Noke padlocks advertise a years battery life under 'normal use' and it is supposed to be weather resistant. The seal on the back of the lock doesn't seem tight fitting but does have a rubber o-ring. I personally would not use the padlock for permanent outdoor applications unless it was well shielded from rain. Although the electronics are well sealed inside the lock, the battery may still short out if moisture seaps in.

It's certainly an interesting design and I can see this being a great product to sell to my customers with special access requirements. 



noke padlock instructions noke padlock app

Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:00 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2016 10:20 AM BST
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Saturday, 5 March 2016
Lost a Key? | Locksmith Blog



As a bit of a businessman I am always looking for extra ways to earn additional money on top the existing locksmith work I do. I was researching different products that I may be able to sell to the customers that I deal with. Speaking with a friend that works as a locksmith in Wolverhampton I was informed of an online key recovery service called Lostakey.

The concept has been around for years however Lostakey has brought it upto date with an online key recovery service where lost keys can be returned to their rightful owners via a unique reference number printed on specially designed key rings. Rewards are offered for the lucky finder of the keys for their time and honesty. The keyrings come with a free years service when registered online and then £5 a year subscription from the keyring owner.

So can we make ourselves some extra money by selling these keyrings on the side? Well if you consider the potential cost of losing a set of keys consisting of a vehicle and a few house keys then we are already into hundreds of pounds for replacement locks and auto key programming. Selling the product should be pretty simple. The keyrings retail at £5 to the general public however bulk orders to locksmiths are little over £1 each. (Current offer to locksmiths is 100 keyrings, next 100 half price).

lostakey 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:57 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 2:13 PM GMT
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