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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Standing Out Online | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Firstly, sorry for the lack of posts lately. Things have been pretty hectic.

There has been a lot of talk lately on the locksmith forums that I read regarding the look and feel of business websites.

Generally locksmiths spend a load of money on a professionally built website with all the flashy buttons and Wordpress themes, however it appears that these sites are failing to convert viewers to callers very well due to the fact  they are very similar in design to websites ued by larger national locksmith comapnies.

A lot of locksmiths have been emailing me for advice (since I do a bit of SEO for quite a few locksmiths now) and have been asking for ideas on how to make their websites look more friendly and less corporate.

I have always stood by the no frills approach, keeping it simply to the point with all relevant information highlighted accordingly.

As a working locksmith myself i know that 75% of my new leads are now via mobile search. So all the information your customer needs should be within that top half page of your index page.

Here are some MUST haves for your landing page:

- A bold clickable phone number, this is what your mobile user is looking for, if it is not clear and clickable they may not care to search your page for it and look elsewhere. Listing multiple redirect landlines is a definite no!

-A profile picture of you and possibly your van. So many sites using the pretty lady with headset on or a polished 'engineer' with a bag of new tools. This reaks of national call center or expensive large locksmith firm, and a good proportion of potential customers will steer clear.

-Publish your name and real address. Being on first name terms with your tradesman installs a massive amount of confidence. Most of my customers now call and ask for me by name and when I answer reassures them they have made the right choice.

JS Locksmiths based in Manchester


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:32 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 6 June 2015 5:43 PM BST
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Thursday, 2 October 2014
Door Repairs Directory | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

door repairs by local locksmiths

 

This is just a quick post really to let you know about a small project I have started alongside my locksmith directory. I have decided to create a similar style directory for door repair work, which lets face it now accounts for a considerable portion of modern day locksmithing.

The door repairs directory for the meantime will be run alongside my own door repairs website until enough entries are collected for it to work as a stand alone directory. As with the previos locksmith directory, no nationals will ever be listed ensuring the customer will only ever find good local tradesmen.

The site should be fully built within the next week and I will begin tuning it to rank well.

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


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:06 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 24 June 2015 7:29 PM BST
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Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Can WeTrust Review Websites? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Can We Trust Review Websites?

I decided six months ago to test one of these trade review & vetting websites that you see advertised on daytime television in between home renovation and rogue trader type programmes.

I had noticed a few other locksmiths using them and it appeared a good format in which to publish and share genuine feedback from your locksmith customers.

To join you need to jump through all the hoops of the vetting proceedure and meet with a local representative from the review company who checks you are legitamate. Once you have provided a few references from old locksmith jobs you a pretty much live and online with your own  reviews webpage on their site.

It is simply a case of handing out your feedback forms at every job and convincing the customer to send one off or complete an online survey about your locksmith work to get it published online.

My initial thoughts were that this was an excellent platform upon which to advertise that I am a genuine local locksmith business, trustworthy and proud to share all my feedback with the world. I decided to give it a little longer before taking to my blog and writing a glowing review of this review service... and then we spotted something.

It appears that national advertisers had somehow jumped through all the same vetting proceedures and were also listed around the country. I thought this was unusual as the national locksmith company in question is notorious for overcharging and using freshly trained sub contractors to complete the work. Their reviews refelct this. The company name has changed three times since I have been trading, most likely to disassociate itself from the hundreds of negative reviews across the internet.

Were all these sub contractors individually vetted like us sole traders?
Did there qualifications displayed on the reviews website apply to each and every subby they sent out? Not a chance!

What worries me the most is that despite bad reviews, a notorious history of ripping off customers and failure to prove that each and every one of their sub contractors is qualified and insured, that these cowboys had managed to get prime placement on a reviews site who's moto is to Avoid Rogue Traders. I cannot help but think a little extra money has exchanged hands in order for the blind eye to be turned.

Should I be bothered? I mean the reviews site works for me ok and I do get some locksmith work from it. Unfortunately for me I have a conscience. I meet people that have had their last pennies taken from them by rogue companies each and every week. 'Locksmiths' showing up and ripping off the elderly and vulnerable, leaving them with a door in worse condition than before they started and fleeing with an extortionate call out fee when things go wrong, intimidating customers into coughing up ludicrous sums of money for the simplest of work.... It really is beggars belief that there are such tradesmen being recommended by authority review sites that are simply driven by the money.

This circumvention of vetting proceedures is rife on all review websites.
Any reviews platform where the company is paying to be there gives them the power to remove negative reviews, make false claims and continue ripping off customers that believe they are using respectable local locksmiths.

As a consumer you need to be aware of this fact and understand how these review websites work before inviting anyone into your home.
A good guide on spotting the difference between a genuine local trader and a national firm can be found by clicking the link: Spotting rogue locksmiths or on one of our old posts here

locksmith reviews websites


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:21 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 9:39 AM BST
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Monday, 8 September 2014
Unusual Legge Euro Sashlock | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have already posted this question on a couple of locksmith forums but have yet to find any detailed information on this particular lock.

I was recently changing some locks for an old lady that used to work for Legge back in the 70's with her father, a locksmith in Lichfield, who upon completion presented me with a box of new old stock locks she had stuffed in an old cupboard.

Amongst the old cabinet locks and rim cylinders was an unusual looking euro lockcase and cylinder.

unusual legge lock case

As you can see in the image (which is actually upside down) it appears to be an early style euro cylinder design, however the central cam is split into two for each side of the cylinder, since no clutch mechanism is present. The cam has three gear like lobes that throw the bolt.

strange legge euro cylinder

The iternals of the lockcase are all brass and plastic besides the latch spring which leads me to believe this lock may have been designed to withstand  the elements longer than your bog standard lock, however the only evidence I have to back up this idea is an image I found via a boating forum about maintaining the matching handles which are described as 'nearly impossible to find'.

rare legge lock handles

Reading the responses I have had on the forums from local locksmiths, it seems these locks have popped up now and again around the country, originally fitted for a variety of appliations. Here is a post on another locksmiths blog with some more pictures of the locks fitted in the unusual upside down way.

http://www.owllocksmithsandsecurity.co.uk/split-cam-euro-st-austell/

I would be interested to hear from anyone that knows the true purpose of this design.

old legge sashlock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:59 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 1:42 PM BST
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Locksmith Pictures & Images | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have been meaning to create a post full of some of the lock pictures I have taken over the years but have always found that they get stolen and re-used by other webmasters and re-sellers.

It always annoyed me that people would just stop by to copy and paste all my hard work taking locksmith images to pass off as their own for clients websites. I used to get in touch and have a moan, however I wouldn't have enough time in the day if I were to complain about everyone that had stolen content from my blogs, I see it absolutely everywhere but on the brightside they had to pay by blog a visit in the first place to find it, which is all good exposure.

So instead, I am going to post some here for everyone to use as they wish. I figure a well optimised resource such as locksmith photos can only encourage more visitors to my blog.

So here you go; some (of many) lock photo's to choose from.

Copy and paste them, hotlink to them, etc, etc.... Enjoy :-\


french door locks vending machine lock old lock photo safe locksmith roller shutter locks locksmith photos keys cut old lock photo anti snap locks new door locks fitted videx cyberlock photo of a safe safe repairs locksmith tools inside a euro sashlock anti snap lock cylinder image of locks trap pins in a lock door handle image wooden gate lock old padlock locks background picture picture of a padlock lock cut away drilled locks locksmith locks 5 lever azbe upvc door lock videx cyberlock padlocks picture of old key bunch of keys lock picking picture of old keys

 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 4:58 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 3 September 2014 8:10 AM BST
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Tuesday, 19 August 2014
UK Locksmith Scams | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

National locksmith firms aren't anything new. However the last few years has seen a rise in scam locksmith companies that operate nationwide. I say scam because it is actually questionable whether they are even locksmiths at all.

Working as a locksmith in wolverhampton I am getting increasing numbers of calls from concerned customers that have called these 'locksmiths' out to have been quoted astronomical fees to repair their door, typically in the region of £200-300 higher than a genuine local locksmith would charge.

The same names keep cropping up, and as much as I would love to stick my neck out and name them I will have to refrain from doing so for obvious reasons. What I do advise any customer that has been swindled by these 'locksmiths' is to get in touch with trading standards and let them know! If nobody reports their bad experiences then nothing will ever be investigated. Do not bother with review sites as more often than not, these locksmith companies can easilly get a bad review removed.

So how does the locksmith scam work?

Firstly you are going to be mislead by their advert claiming they are local when in fact they are being deployed from miles away. This often leaves you waiting for ages for anyone to arrive. I find a lot of victims repeatedly call the call center to be told 'just around the corner'. By the time you are fed up of hanging around and attempt to cancel you will be threatened with a call out fee and if you were daft enough to hand over any card details over the phone in advance then you are in trouble.

The locksmiths that do show up have always been described to me as foreign, rough looking and intimidating.

Now come the excuses as to why they can't fix the door. Whether it be lack of parts, obsolete parts, unusual locks.... and will hit you with the huge repair costs, repairs which are rarely neccessary.

A good percentage of customers will at this ppint tell the locksmith that it's too expensive and to forget it, however they are then pressured to hand over money for a call out fee, some of which have been pricier than I would have charged to complete the whole job.

One lady in particular that called me afterwards and was quite distressed, described that after arguing with the locksmith and finally getting him to leave was worried that he now knew that her door would not lock and was unable to leave the house. I immediately went over to sort this out for her.

The more vulnerable customers that are trusting enough to allow the expensive repairs to take place are usually none the wiser and I regularly have family members calling asking for advice when their elderly parents have been conned into paying hundreds more than needed.

Every time I hear another story it makes me sick to the stomache knowing that someone out there is getting rich by misleading and ripping off innocent people in need of help.

I urge anyone seeking a locksmith to ensure that they are getting a genuine local locksmith and not via some call center operation sending out untrained rogues to intimidate people into paying for a substandrad service.

Here is a quick checklist of things that you should consider when calling a locksmith:

> Are they listed in multiple cities?

Local locksmiths will generally cover areas within a 20 mile radius, so anyone advertising in cities all over the UK is going to be part of a national franchise or call center scheme. This does not mean they are scammers but does usually mean you will be paying VAT and call out fees for their service.

> Do they know the area?

Often when giving directions it is easy to establish whether the locksmith on the end of the phone understands the landmarks and roads you are describing. If in any doubt ask them outright if they are based where they say they are. Often false locations are used to give the impression they are locally based.

> Payment upfront?

Are they requesting payment upfront? It is rare for any decent tradesman to be asking for upfront payment with the exception of late night call outs and large commercial jobs. 

> Clear quotations?

How clear is the quotation you have been given over the phone? Does it include VAT and what circumstances is a 'no call out fee' relevant. Often scammers will be very vague and in some cases request an address before they even quote.

> Where did you find the number?

Google adwords is usually monopolised by large companies operating nationwide that can afford to maintain expensive advertising. Small local locksmiths are rarely well placed in competitve ad space so it may be worth while trying some of the smaller adverts or those at the bottom of the page. Same rules apply for paper directories which are rife with national companies listing multiple adverts in disguise.

 

Conclusion

If in any doubt whatsoever, I urge you to reconsider and take the time to grab several more quotations or even phone around friends for recommendations before making a decision.

This is the very reason it is important to support any local traders regardless of the profession to ensure that larger companies and scammers do not get a foor in the door.

Spread the word and share the article where you can.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:51 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 27 April 2016 4:13 PM BST
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Quiet Periods | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Without a doubt at some point during the year you will have a quiet spell where locksmith work seems to come in dribs and drabs. School holiday periods are usually pretty dry for me.

Although it may seem like the tide has changed and leave you checking your mobile phone is still working and that all your websites are still live and displaying correctly, the fact is the majority of potential customers are more likely to put off that door repair or ropey old lock and spend the money elsewhere during these periods.

As a successful locksmith it is important to occupy this valuable free time to polish up other aspects of the business or concentrate on promoting your locksmith services. Just because you are not earning as much doesn't mean you should be working any less.

1/ Get your locksmith business added and updated in as many online directories as possible. Online directories are popping up all the time and usually short lived. Those locksmith adverts you created a few years ago either don't exist anymore or are so out of date they no longer rank well via Google searches. It is important to try and keep these updated just as you would your own locksmith websites to keep content fresh and up to date. Just be aware that a lot of marketing companies use these to collect your contact details and you will probably get a plague of advertisers calling you afterwards for a few weeks. Just tell them to jog on.

2/ Get some fliers printed and delivered advertising your locksmith services and information about new products such as anti-snap locks. Although many locksmiths see this as hard work with little return, it reaches out to the minority that do not use the internet every day to find information such as the elderly. I have dropped on many a good customer that has saved my fliers or business cards and it is well worth the time and effort doing a local drop every now and again.

3/ Another important area you can turn your attention to is your book keeping and account records. Compile all receipts, invoices and other paperwork into a managable state so that when handed over to an accountant at the end of the year or when you come to file your own tax return, it will be less of a headache.

4/ Check out your local competition, see what approach the are taking to marketing themselves, where they are listing their businesses online and what their rates are. Any other good locksmith will be checking you out just as closely and its an important part of deciding what your time and experience is worth to a paying customer.

It is too easy to sit there and complain that work has gone quiet and then do nothing about it. Self employment and small businesses rely on a certain amount of input. Neglecting to work on the administration and tedious tasks will ultimately impact upon your future success.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:42 PM BST
Updated: Friday, 5 June 2015 8:27 AM BST
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Monday, 7 July 2014
Rogue Customers | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have been experimenting lately with review websites and applications to start publishing customer testimonials on my locksmith websites. Its all going well at the minute, however my main concern is running into rogue customers that find your details through these websites and then can effectively hold you to ransom.

Other platforms such as Checkatrade require you to hand out feedback cards before work commences. The problem with this is if you should fail to jump through all the hoops, however unreasonable, set out by your customer you could be getting a poor review.

Spotting a rogue customer isn't always straightforward and the nicest of folk can turn on you should you refuse to haggle on price. I don't mind a bit of haggling but what I do mind is those that insist on haggling after the agreed work has already been completed and breaking the verbal agreement you had.

It goes without saying that anyone that calls a locksmith and straight out states they want it 'cheap' is going to be bother, so you need to choose carefully whether to accept this kind of customer or tell them to jog on. We offer a specialist service as locksmiths and nobody wants to earn the reputation of the cheap guy. Anyone can work all day for peanuts but you certainly can't run a business that way.


Non payers are another rogue that you need to be aware of. I find working as a locksmith the usual suspects that regularly give me grief are small time estate agents and letting firms that like to play middleman. However if they ar struggling to get their customer to pay they usually withold your payment too. Anyone that fails to pay regularly should be refused in the future as are more of a liability than a worthwhile customer. You can take as look at my debt collection guide for tips on dealing with non paying customers.

In the past I have run into my fair share of fraudsters and untrustworthy characters. It isn't always easy to identify them from a mere phonecall and somtimes you do not realise who you are dealing with until you are in front of them. There is always an element of risk when dealing with the public and you will undoubtedly run into the odd nutter now and again.


To protect ourselves when dealing with unsavoury characters it is always wise to check out ID and getting signatures to authorise work, some locksmiths go as far as requesting a photo of the customer for their records. Some of my past run ins as an emergency locksmith include violent non payers, a squatter that conned me into opening a property for her, evicted tennants gaining illegal access back into the property and even a guy posing as a bailiff.

Some would say this is all part and parcel of the locksmith trade but we can certainly do our utmost to avoid bumping into rogue customers that can cause unessessary stress or endanger us and our reputations.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:19 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 7 July 2014 8:20 AM BST
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Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Social Networking. Why Bother? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see so many lockmiths with stagnant Facebook and Twitter accounts, rarely updated and with a handfull of followers. Truth be told these social media pages may as well not exist if they aren't used to their full potential.

According to a recent study:

"Social Media has overtaken porn as the No. 1 activity on the web"

Joking aside, sites such as facebook are in fact the ultimate networking tool and one of the most important tools for a locksmith or in fact any other business that hopes to advertise successfully.

So here are a few tips to make sure your pages are a success and attract the right audience.

1/ Complete ALL Contact Information

Your contact details are the most important information on your social media pages. Make sure to fill in a business name, genuine location, phone numbers and email addresses. It's an obvious one but so many don't even bother!?

2/ Follow Local Businesses

The first people you should reach out to are local businesses and other tradesmen in the areas you operate. Following, liking and engaging yourself in their posts will undoubtedly burn your company name in to the subconscious of anyone reading.

3/ Friends & Family

A good starting point to obtain new followers is to get your friends and family onboard. The more local people linked with your social media pages, the more it will be automatically suggested to similar users and freinds of friends. Think of it as digital word of mouth advertising.

4/ Similar Trade Professionals & Businesses

Alongside local businesses you should also try networking with other professional locksmiths and companies relevant to the trade such as manufacturers. This will ensure you are kept up to date with latest news and products that you may want to comment on or discuss with other like minded locksmiths. Making an effort to get involved with any campaigns and discussionswill undoubtedly boost your profile.

5/ Regular & Relevant Posts

It is important to provide regular content for your followers to keep them informed and entertained at the same time. Posts must be relevant to your page, post about new security locks you have in stock, details of interesting locksmith work you have completed, etc, etc. A post about your cats birthday, car breaking down or a picture of your meal out with the wife will not cut it, save that for your personal pages.

Follow those five simple steps and I guarantee you will begin to grow your audience and eventually pull in some locksmith work both directly and indirectly as a result of your efforts.

I know it may seem like hard work in the beginning, particularly for the oldschool and less computer savvy, but you only get out what you put in.

Rick - Wolverhampton Locksmiths


Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:03 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 27 October 2014 9:39 AM BST
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Monday, 9 June 2014
The War Against National Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Mood:  irritated
Topic: General Chatter

As genuine local locksmith businesses we have all been fighting to hold our heads above the water whilst countless national locksmith firms try their luck at nationwide domination, polluting the advertsing space with multiple large adverts, pricing out smaller companies on Google Adwords and generally doing everything possible to kill us off or get us to join them.

It goes without saying that any locksmith moving to the darkside and subbing regularly is dicing with death and will inevitably be struck off and replaced by more permanent in house lockmiths that are prepared to work contracted hours for a normal wage as soon as the work in the area becomes regular.

I have recently noticed that the national locksmith companies advertsing in my area are becoming more desperate and are employing increasingly aggressive and underhand tactics to grab hold of the thinning work.
It is now common to talk to customers that felt pressured and intimidated into agreeing work by call center style operations that requested a load of personal information before a quote was issued. One woman i worked for recently went as far as saying she felt threatened after revealing to an arrogant man, both her home address and that her door would no longer lock.

So what can we do to ensure these crooks do not damage the reputation of our trade?

The first thing I encourage any genuine local business to do is advertise clearly at the top of all your web pages that you are a genuine local business, put your address and your name! This instantly puts you on first name terms with your potential client and makes the whole affair seem less formal than the tosspot at the call center interrogating the customer.

Use your websites to inform your customers about the problems we are facing with these national locksmith companies. Linking to relevant information and articles on the subject allows them to investigate themselves and will hopefully make them think carefully about who they agree to let into their homes.

Here are a few good articles you may want to link to although taking the time to write one yourselves will achieve greater results.

http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk/nationals-article.html

http://www.the-locksmith-world.co.uk/dont-work-national-locksmiths/

http://arolockkey.com/aro-lock-and-key-how-to-prevent-locksmith-scams.html

Educating our potential customers is our greatest weapon in the war against the national locksmith plague.
They cannot compete with our prices and they cannot rely on a good reputation to get by.
We can never compete with their massive advertising budgets but we can certainly wave a red flag for everyone else to see.


 

 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:12 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2016 10:07 AM BST
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Monday, 19 May 2014
Stop The Nationals | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Raising Awareness Of National Locksmiths

Anyone that is a member of Island Locks Locksmith Forum has probaly already seen Jays huge banner at the top of the landing page.

This is a great banner to display on your locksmith business web page, it will catch the eye of potential customers and make them think twice about who they are calling to complete thier lock work.


Since we struggle to compete with national locksmith firms and their everlasting budgets we can only continue to offer an affordable locksmith service that is reliable, trustworthy and do our utmost to educate as many people as possible about the continual scamming and poor service provided by these large national locksmith chains, out to grab every penny they can.

In all honesty I think the general public are beginning to wise up to the fact that using a genuine local tradesman is the best option and it is often mentioned on my own locksmith jobs that they either know of someone or have been ripped off themselves in thre past so shopped around to find a genuine local business.

If you would like to add this banner to your own website, along with a link to more information on national locksmith chains then you can copy and paste the html code below into the body of your webpage.


----------

<a href="http://www.locksmith-directory.org.uk/nationals-article.html"><img src="http://media.angelfire.lycos.com/preview/2206319/1024x1024-2346216.jpg" alt="local locksmiths"></a>

----------

 

local locksmiths

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:12 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2016 10:09 AM BST
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Friday, 6 September 2013
Stolen Locksmith Tools | locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Just a quick post to reprt some bad news.

A locksmith in Birmingham woke up to find his van torn open yesterday and a load of expensive locksmith tools have been stolen.

Keep your eyes peeled for cheap items for sale and any suspicious online listings etc, etc.

A lot of moneys worth of locksmith equipment has been taken with serious impact on someone's business.

Lets hope these crooks are identified quickly and punished accordingly.

Any information or leads should be reported immediately to West Midlands police.


























Please take time to look at a colleagues new website:
Arvco Locksmiths Brierley Hill


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:49 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 7 July 2014 8:26 AM BST
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Saturday, 10 August 2013
Lock Spotting | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Much to the dissappointment of my wife I began snapping this odd Euro cylinder/Safe lock whilst on holiday in St Lucia this month.

Strange designed half euro that has a 90 degree locking end to it instead of the usual cam.

Not really much more to say about it, i thought it was an oddity so thought id share it with ya.

 Just a cheapy 10 pin dimple lock that looked like it would pick open with any old bit of wire you could get in it.

Heres the pics:


 euro cylinder safe lock
euro cylinder safe lock and key
euro safe
euro cylinder safe housing
euro cylinder safe unlocked
euro cylinder safe locked position


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:37 AM BST
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Friday, 26 July 2013
TS007 Lock Standard | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

TS 007 security Standard - Cannock Locksmiths

Lately you may have noticed a few locks on your jobs that are stamped with stars alongside the BS Kitemark. Heres one i removed last week: Its an Era Thumbturn BS stamped with a single star.
So whats the crack?

TS007 1 star lock

This is part of the TS007 Standard developed by Secured by Design alongside the DHF (Door & Hardware federation) and GGF (Glass & Glazing Federation) whereby locks and door hardware are graded in terms of their protection against destructive attacks and unauthorised opening.

This standard is being adopted by a lot of home insurance companies that require main external doors to meet a minimum of a 3 star rating.

So how is a ts007 3 star rating achieved?

To achieve this a door needs a combination of star rated security products with a sum of three stars or more, ie:

- 1 star lock cylinder with 2 star handle
- 3 star cylinder with normal spec handle

I have compiled a short list of some examples of TS007 rated products but by no means all of them**

**Update: Since this was originally written most major manufacturers have followed suit and have a range of 1-3 star cylinders now available.

1 Star Products

ERA 1 Star Cylinders
Cisa Astral S Cylinders
Yale Kitemark Cylinders
Yale Anti-Snap Cylinders
Magnum aka Yale Superior Cylinders
Brisant BS Cylinders

2 Star Products

ERA 2 Star Handles
Yale Platinum Handles

3 Star Products

ERA Vectis Multipoint lock
Mul-T-Lock Break Secure 3* Cylinder
Avocet ABS Cylinders


Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:41 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 8:00 AM BST
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Thursday, 11 July 2013
Google Penalising Mobile Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
I have been watching the Google Map locations of locksmiths for the last couple of weeks after hearing a rumour that mobile locksmiths that work from a residential base will lose their Google Places listings.

Unless you own or work from a shopfront or have a non-residential location your time is ticking...

It seems Google have decided that this is the best way to deal with the problem of locksmiths spamming the maps listings with any old address across different locations and pretending to be local.

Having dabbled with such tactics myself in the past, I found it was always a losing battle and something Google were working hard to stamp out.

So in short, if you own a shopfront its happy days and you need not worry.
To all the work from home locksmiths like myself you can expect a phonecall sometime soon to verify your business location.

Now you can buy yourself some time by telling a few white lies but inevitably your places listing(s) will get removed eventually.

I would be interested to see if Google are enforcing the same ruling upon their sponsored locksmiths listings, particularly those from national advertisers... (I would be surprised).

Locksmith Dudley

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:55 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 April 2016 8:02 AM BST
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Monday, 10 June 2013
Reasons to avoid Yell.com/Hibu | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

yell false locksmiths locations

I know there are a lot of locksmiths out there that have 'some' success with Yell aka Hibu, however I have recently noticed  that they are intentionally turning a blind eye to all sorts of fraudulant activity by national locksmith chains polluting the web with their false locations.

What brought it to my attention was a listing that appeared by Keytek, a national locksmith group that subs out the majority of its locksmith work to guys around the country.

It appeared they had set up a locksmith shop a few miles up the road from me and upon further investigation there was nothing to be found.

And it seems that im not the only one. I found this post on moneysaving expert about a similar fake listing on yell.com

I decided to take a look at some of the other listings (usually the priority paid ones) on yell.com and found that 90% were in fact false locations used to dupe the customer into believing they are using a local locksmith firm.

Speaking with some of my locksmith friends we had all noticed an increase in calls asking for a particular locksmith in the area that nobody had heard of as the work needed further attention or was not up to scratch.

Yell.com need to start taking some responsibility for the information they are publishing instead of giving the bad locksmiths a free for all. I am meeting customers every week that are being stood up, overcharged or seeking further work from locksmith companies that seem to vanish or stop answering the phone.

They were certainly quick enough to delete a duplicate listing of mine that was added a few years ago so there is no way that hundreds of false locations that are being paid for can be overlooked. It is simply a case of turning the blind eye.

Next time they start badgering you to advertise with them say NO and explain that until this undermining of local businesses comes to a stop then you will not be spending another penny!


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:44 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 1:41 PM BST
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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
The Aubin Lock Trophy | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Today I was lucky enough to view Aubins infamous Lock Trophy on display at Bantock House in Wolverhampton.

This marvelous piece of engineering built by Charles Aubin was on display for one day only at the local museum on loan from its current owner Gunnebo Security Group.


Valued just shy of £250k the lock is kept in its own vault and transported in a security safe whenever it is shown.

The trophy is built of solid brass and comprises of 43 tiered locks, all but the base six governed by one master lock on top of the trophy; a Joseph Bramah radial lock with huge ornate key.

A breakdown of the individual locks and their associated makers and design can be found on the chubb archives Aubin Trophy page.

Here are a few pictures I managed to take of the lock, however I wasn't allowed as close as the local press were so the quality is as good as i could manage with my cheap camera in the dark room. I will link to their pictures as soon as they are available online.

Here is a video of the lock in operation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDhMMGCI4Zo

Here is a better video taken from Express & Star, the local newspaper covering the event

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2z_u_jJG3g



Aubin trophy lock at bantock house

The Aubin Trophy Lock

Aubin trophy lock top tiers

aubin locks bottom tiers

Rick | Wolverhampton Locksmiths 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:40 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 5 February 2014 8:54 AM GMT
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Thursday, 30 May 2013
Black Country Living Museum | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Today I took a visit to the Black Country Living Museum in the West Midlands.

An enclosed miniature village set in 1900's West Midlands it not only offers a great insight into black country living but also a look at the industries that made the region famous.

Of particular interest to myself were the pieces taken from the Willenhall Lock Museum (now owned by the BCLM)

As well as being able to see old locks in situe (and in use) on all of the period buildings, there is also a small section dedicated to the local safe makers and more extravagent locks produced in the region.

Rather than waffle on i will just share some of the pictures (that turned out ok) I took whilst exploring the village.

For a larger version of the display cabinet picture with text click here

period rim locks old prison lock

west midlands safes Wooden Rim Lock

willenhall lock collection Old Customs padlock

lockerbie and wilson toilet lock Lockerbie and Wilson Tipton

Old Rim Lock Locksmiths safe

Brass padlocks 1900's Cast brass rimlock Willenhall

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:01 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 30 May 2013 3:07 PM BST
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Monday, 7 January 2013
Can a lock be too secure? | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
I heard through the grapevine today that the local housing association responsible for the door and lock maintenance in the Wolverhampton area have decided to do a U-turn on upgrading all its doors to the all singing/dancing anti drill/bump/snap locks.

It seems the locksmiths employed by the housing association have been struggling for some time opening these locks when the tenants lose keys or get locked out and despite being trained at a local locksmith training school, still lack the techniques and tools to open these locks effectively.

I must admit i have been waiting for this for some time and surprised they managed for so long. I also recently spotted a small out of hours locksmiths contract offered online by the company.

Having worked on these monster doors in the past i feel for the inexperienced carpenters and handymen that get pushed into these tricky jobs.

Typically the doors comprise of a good quality composite door and frame, well fitted and equipped with all the extras; letter box guards, proper cylinder guards that bolt through the width and breadth of the door, high quality anti drill cylinders such as Roto, ABC trap pin or Mila Evolution.

Its fair to say that picking a good quality cylinder such as these is well out of the capabilities of a handyman and indeed a lot of locksmiths, drilling can be a hard slog when met with off center anti drill posts and stainless pins; without correct drill bits it would be nigh on impossible.

Snapping is well and truly out of the question without causing considerable damage. The anti snap guards inside the doors are collossal and hold very well against destructive attack.

So the question arrises..

Can locks be too secure?

My opinion for what its worth is that lock manufacturers have been in such a rush to address the lock snapping problem and/or just jumping on the bandwagon that the products user friendliness and maintenance capabilities have been overlooked, possibly to the extent that these locks could actually cause as much harm as good.

Don't get me wrong here its important that security issues such as lock snapping and 'bumping' (if that is a problem?) are dealt with in new designs to conform to insurance requirements and to meet BS standards but should also be designed to be removed easilly by the end user should keys be lost or damaged locks needs changing.

Changing a vandalised euro is going to be much more hassle for the locksmith called to replace it if he cant just remove the interior handles to snap it out and prices in the future will increase to reflect that.

Im hoping that this issue will become more aparent to the manufacturers in the future and that solutions are developed to create a more user friendly lock.

I think a little more functionality and a little less impenetrability would make for the best lock!

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:09 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:19 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Seasonal Lock Problems | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

At certain times of the year a locksmith will expect to see an increase in seasonal door and lock problems.

I would define this as a lock problem caused or amplified by the change in weather.

In the colder weather leading to the winter season the most common problem I come across as a locksmith in Bridgnorth is upvc door contraction.

As the temperature falls the door shrinks a few millimeters and can throw the locking mechanism out of line.

Usually this problem can be cured by adjusting the hinges and/or keeps to match the warping in the door and is a fairly straightforward job for a locksmith in the majority of cases.

However the increasing stiffness of the lock is often ignored resulting in additional forces being applied to the lock in order to get the key to turn.

Eventaully something gives and you have a whole different problem to deal with. Unjamming a upvc door lock can be a complete nightmare and prices will reflect that!

Again in the Summertime the exact opposite can occur and you can find yourself with a door that seems too big for the hole with rollers catching on the frame when closing.

Some doors will swell so badly in the heat that they no longer open at all, particularly the darker brown colours that attract more heat.

A tip given to me by another local locksmith for this scenario is to run a cold hosepipe over the door to cool it. Sounds ridiculous to a customer but it works and saves using a door spreading tool.

Those two issues are rarely seen in the more solid composite doors however when choosing a new composite door I would always recommend a customer to choose a lighter colour.

Again with some of the darker shades of door a lot of heat is retained in direct sunlight which can cause the resin shell to blister and eventually crack, particularly in the cheaper range of composite doors.

Padlocks are prone to freezing in the frosty weather, furthermore when we are unfortunate enough to have a downpour beforehand.

In this situation you should NEVER try and force the key. Its not going to happen and you are likely to bend or snap the key making for a tricker opening.

There are a couple of methods I have used in the past from pouring hot water from a kettle onto the padlock, warming the key with a lighter and inserting, or heating lightly with a blow lamp on some of the more extreme frozen locks.

Unfreezing the locks to your car is pretty much the same process however i dont expect anyone to be silly enough to take a blowtorch to their vehicle... I will not be held liable for any burning cars :-D

This is probably my last post this side of Christmas so I hope you have a good one and thanks for reading. Merry Xmas

Rick



icy padlock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:11 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:20 PM GMT
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