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Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
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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Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Impact Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

 

 

Impact Locksmiths Liverpool

It has been over six months since I uploaded a featured locksmith to the blog so here is the first one of the year:

Paul Clark t/a Impact Locksmiths Liverpool is a fairly new, skilled and enthusiastic locksmith looking to start off on the right foot in this competitive game. Paul has obviously received some first class training as is knowledgable and kitted out properly to make an impression in the Liverpool area.

You may already recognise the name from the various locksmith forums and online networking sites that Paul is a keen member of and contributing his wisdom to.

Impact Locksmiths are based in Croxteth Liverpool so well situated to provide a fast and reliable locksmith service in the Liverpool area. Not part of any national locksmith call centers or franchises Paul is a genuine bona-fide local locksmith!

If you are based locally and looking for a top notch locksmith in Liverpool, door repairs or just some friendly advice then it is recommended that you give Impact Locksmiths your first call. You can contact Paul directly with the details below:

 

 

 

Paul Clark
Impact Locksmiths
50 Riviera Drive
Croxteth
Liverpool
L114US
Mob: 07590208096
Web: http://www.locksmith-4-liverpool.co.uk/


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:11 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 May 2016 3:11 PM BST
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Sunday, 28 February 2016
Make or Break | Locksmith Blog
Having enjoyed my biggest earning week on record in the seven years that I have been trading as a locksmith you'd think I would be celebrating, however I feel you have to take each week as it comes in todays climate. There are more locksmiths sprouting up than ever, I really thought the whole training boom would have quietened down a bit with the recession behind us but new start ups are still investing enthusiastically in hope of taking a slice of the market.

Let's be honest, most new locksmiths are a flash in the pan and vanish as quickly as they appeared with only a small percentage ever actually making it beyond six months. It is one of the most difficult trades to establish yourself in with ferocious competition for limited work. Often the new locksmiths have invested heavily with redundancy monies and grants buying up new tools and training courses only to find a few months in that they are not cut out for the hard work involved in growing a locksmith business or simply need a proper regular income to make ends meet. My first few years were brutal and I wouldn't have made it work without my part time job and some close trade contacts.

Even now as an established locksmith you can't take your eye off the ball. The advertising game is constantly changing and let's face it, Google pretty much has every small local business by the balls. A lot employ the help of SEO services, do SEO themselves and others rely heavily on the expensive might of Yell/Hibu to help the customer find them. All this additional work on top of the day to day running of a small business and keeping on top of new products and locksmith tools.

Moving on swiftly to national locksmith firms, hell bent on conquering every corner of the country. They rely on the high turnout of new 'locksmiths' to carry out their dirty work since most established locksmiths will not entertain the idea of subbing for them. Some of these national locksmiths firms are even providing their own basic locksmith courses to groom the ill-informed trainees for their own use. Other national locksmiths firms are using foreign nationals with very limited experience. This is an ever increasing threat to genuine local locksmiths who are often target of dirty tactics and ridiculous undercutting on price in attempt to break them.

The future of locksmithing is never a certain one and should never be taken for grantid. The rewards can indeed be fantastic but are hard earned ones that take a serious amount of dedication, time and financial investment. I have seen so many great established locksmiths go bump, fall too far behind the times or just call it a day over the last few years being unable to adapt to the change to online advertsing methods and failing to compete with the plummeting work rates.

Good luck to you all, it's a battlefield out there.

window locksmith upvc door gearbox upvc restrictor inside a upvc door lock

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:12 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2017 10:13 AM GMT
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Thursday, 25 February 2016
Copying Content | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Just a quick post to remind subscribers not to duplicate the content of my Locksmith Blog. A few people have been copying private videos that are intended solely for the locksmith community, a few assholes outright copying my articles to their own blogs/sites word for word, image for image.

"If I find you I will kill you..." Ok maybe not, but I will turn those images you are hotlinking to into a far less desirable image that you really don't want on your webpages Tongue out

If you want to use anything just fire me an email. I am happy to help courteous and genuine locksmiths.

Rick - http://www.locksmith-in-wolverhampton.co.uk/

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 5:03 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 28 February 2016 1:49 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Avocet ABS Opening Tool | Locksmith Blog

Over the last month there has been a lot of talk about Avocet ABS Tools and dimple opening tools on the horizon. Most of the information has been pretty vague and I know a lot of locksmiths were getting that spam email that showed a grainy video of what appeared to be either a brute force or self impressioning tool. The email was in poor English as you would expect of foreign spam.

Well finally one of these Acocet ABS tools has hit home soil and a video was posted last night on an online forum showing a quick demonstration. I will be honest at first I thought this was going to be another crappy wonder tool like previous self impressioning tools. I was surprised to see a tool that opened the Avocet ABS as easy as turning a key in it!

ABS locksmith tool

The ABS opening tool has 5 blades which comprise of a milled out section around the fixed magnetic pin, obviously 5 for each possible location of the pin. A foam medium is loaded into the milled out section and covered with a clear vinyl like tape, probably to enable the blade to ride smootly into the keyway. The locksmith demonstrating turns the tool like a key and click the lock is open!

Avocet ABS tool

I am always sceptical when a new tool surfaces as most of the time they are shite. I know there is a destructive dimple opening tool out there that I have been told first hand is awful and will make a mess if the plug splits. (Found a video) This ABS opening tool however seems to deliver and looks simple to use once you have worked out the location of the magnetic pin inside the target lock.

For the warrant locksmiths up in Yorkshire where the Avocet ABS is a common security upgrade this tool is going to be a godsend. I personally do not see many so won't be ordering one for myself, I believe it was priced £100 odd pounds.

Now the Avocet ABS is a 3 star all singing and dancing lock. I am guessing Avocet are already aware of this ABS tool and are working on a fix for future models which I reckon would be along the lines of new key profiles/warding and higher security pins to prevent easy impressioning. I will be interested to see where this goes.

You can view the full video below ==>

Thanks to Scott Robertson of Mansfield Locksmiths for letting me use his videos: *I have removed the embedding as some people were struggling to view. They can be viewed via the links below:

http://s79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/placeborick/Abstool_zpsphzlohfg.mp4.html

 http://vid79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/placeborick/Abstool2_zpsprfvauww.mp4

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:40 AM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:14 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Yell.com Hiding Reviews for Nationals | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

If ever there were compelling evidence that Yell.com is protecting it's big spenders then this is the smoking gun.
As my followers know I am not a big fan of the directory so I am always happy to help them lose a little more custom.


All the usual suspect national locksmith firms seem to have brought protection, The most prolific 'Keytek locksmiths', that advertises under various sister company names 'Fort Secure' and 'Crown Locksmiths' no longer has a rating platform on it's pages at all.
So we have to ask why would yell.com hide it's reviews?

Their reviews must have been so consistantly shocking that it had begun to effect their Yell.com leads. Rather than lose a customer that spends hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, Yell.com have obviously bent the rules to suit one of their best customers and blocked any possibility of negative feedback on their pages.

Everyone needs to boycott this scummy directory right away! They have no regard for the end user who will undoubtedly be stung hard by these scam locksmiths, they have completely undermined every genuine small local locksmith business that has been loyal over the years and frankly I think its time their ship sank for the greater good.

A lot of people are wising up, I make apoint of telling the whole story to every customer I work for. Most small time locksmiths know the score now, they just need to resist lining the pockets of Yell and stand firm until the playing field is at least level again.

Yell.com knowingly supports scam locksmith firms and hides reviews!


Updated 12/02/16

And check this displayed on my local area search for 'locksmith Walsall'

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/placeborick/coffee2_zpskidpapb0.jpg

Top of the maps, a listing for a coffee supplier that has been hijacked by no other than Yell who now have it redirected to their directory. Low and behold, Keytek sat right there at the top of the page....

yell.com scam

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:33 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 25 February 2016 5:06 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Abus 3 Star Cylinder Test | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Whilst on a lock change in Wednesbury this morning I got my hands on an Abus 3 star lock cylinder. I have fitted the Maco 3 Star version, which is in fact identical but they're pretty pricey so I haven't given any the destructive test until today.

The Abus 3 Star locks feature a robust central cradle that houses the cam section of the lock, a sacrificial front section and all the usual anti-pick and bump features you would expect of a three star lock.

abus 3 star lock cylinder abus lock in vice

I set myself up in the vice and using my grips on the front 10mm of the lock (as in a real world scenario you shouldn't really have access to more than that)  and began the snap test, expecting the front section to sheer off to begin with. I was surprised to see the entire cast section of the lock snap off right up to the cradle which allowed me to open the lock with a flat blade screwdriver!! I was pretty sure that should not have happened and kicked myself that I had not filmed it.

I flipped the lock around and set up my camera this time, again only using the front 10mm of the lock cylinder and snapped it again clean off at the cradle (Click here for Video). The central cam did not lock up in any way and allowed the cam to turn freely. Okay we could argue that there may be an extra bit of plastic or wood lipping further up the cylinder and thus dampening the force closer to the centre of the cylinder, however looking closer at the snapped sections there is no sign of fracture near the designated sacrificial cuts.

It seems the Abus 3 Star lock cylinder has not been designed for horizontal snapping forces and the lock is clearly weaker at this point due to the additional material removed for that final pinstack and the two horizontal securing pins. It really was an unexpected and exciting result from a tried and tested three star, kitemarked cylinder.

lock snapping snapped 3 star lock

I have only tested this one cylinder so I can't really state that these locks are not fit for purpose, but if this attack can be replicated in a door on other Abus 3 star cylinders then I really think the need downgrading to 1 star. If more material were to be removed from the sacrifical cut then they may pose more of a problem. A reliable locking cam mechanism really needs adding in place of the free floating cam currently used which is in fact vulnerable to wire bypass attacks anyway.

Locksmiths! If you have some old Abus 3 Star locks then I would be interested to see your result. Please film it and I will upload with your results. Cheers.

Update 02/02/16

A few authoritive sources have been in touch stating this lock is about to lose it's 3 star rating for the very reasons highlighted above. Seems like a wise move until the design is brought up to date.There are much better upvc door locks nowadays.


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:33 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:16 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Schlosser Ultimate Pro 3 Star | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Schlosser Technik have been expanding their range of locks and have recently released their TS007 3 Star lock - The Ultimate Pro 3 Star. I managed to pick one up from a locksmith in Brownhills over the weekend. I will be honest my first impressions weren't great, it felt ratchety and cheap in the hand, and overpriced at £20 (trade price). I have blogged in the past about the schlosser quality which is what you would expect of a budget anti snap lock.

schlosser 3 star locklock snapiing

So with an hour spare i thought I'd get it out and have a pick at it. Usually Schlosser Technik are a 30 second pick for a competent locksmith... I couldn't have been more wrong! Fifteen minutes in and I am now head scratching as this lock gives no feedback, it's awful. I gave up hand picking and gave the electric pick gun a blast, again to no avial. Passing the anti-pick test it now has my attention!

I decided that now it would be a good moment to vent my frustration and snap this lock apart to see how well it held up destructively. It was clear the cam had some sort of locking mechanism in it as the entire 6 pinstacks are removed when snapping. can't be too difficult now right?
Wrong again!

chlosser clutch3 star lock

I must have spent the best part of an hour trying to fathom a non destructive operation of the cam, without success. Pushing it in, pulling it out, half dismantling from an outsiders point of view to find a bypass but still nothing. It would not play ball. Even breaking apart the remaining section of external lock body as you can with a garage door cylinder, you would still struggle to detatch the cam from the locked in clutch piece which is held in place by a 7th pin on the internal half of the lock. The only way to open this lock after snapping and without a load of drilling is via the key on the internal side which will release the clutch.

I spent some more time trying to pick that external half of the lock and eventually had to throw in the towel and see what had beaten me. I popped off the circlip and emptied the pin stacks. It contained 4 stainless mushroom driver pins and two pin-in-pin drivers, one which was free floating, the other sprung. A formidable setup for even the most accomplished lock picker.  I would be interested to know how the seasoned locksport pickers get on with this lock.

So my conclusion couldn't be further from my initial impressions of the Sclosser Technik Ultimate Pro 3 Star. It may not be constructed to the high tolerances we are used to seeing in the higher security locks but it will most definitely do it's job and prevent a lock snapping burglary. I have no doubt this will beat any burglar looking to gain entry. It's going to leave a few good locksmiths head scratching too if they try and snap this lock from the outside. Now that I know what I am up against I would leave a snapping/plug pulling attack right at the end on my list of options. Drilling the lock in the traditional sweet spot carefully may be the best DE technique for this particular lock as upsetting that clutch piece is going to make life hard.

schlosser clutch assemblysecurity pins


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:08 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2016 3:17 PM GMT
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Monday, 7 December 2015
Five Annyoing Things Customers Say | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As emergency locksmiths Cannock we are always dealing with the general public and meet all sorts of weird and wondeful characters, it's what makes the job more interesting. There are however certain things which we encounter on a weekly basis that really grind our gears, ceratinly my own. Here are my top five annoying things that customers do or say to locksmiths.

1> The know it all / I'm an engineer and I can't fix it.

I don't know why people like to drop this line when you are repairing their door? It's like they're saying "look mate, I am equally qualified or moreso and have already taken a look. I am not sure you can fix this". Of course they shut up as soon as you unjam that door they have been trying to open for the last week. These are the type of customer that like to stand over your shoulder suggesting better ways to do things or give unwanted opinions. I know a lot of less pateint locksmiths would pack up tools and leave, I get on with the task and smile. One of my favourite ones was a big burly chap that had been trying to chop a padlock off with some bolt cutters and failed. I took my cutters out and I could see him grinning since I was half his size. Five seconds later his padlock is off and the meathead is dumbfounded. It's all about technique not strength mate...

2> Hagglers

I don't mind a little bit of haggling before the job, I understand that in a lot of cultures this is the norm and I can give or take a few quid in certain circumstances, otherwise I will pass on the work if they're too keen. One thing that really pisses me off however is the customer that wants to haggle after the job is completed. The majority of time a firm NO will be enough to get your money but there are some that really push it and it's hard to remain professional.

3> Not giving the full story

A close relative of the haggler, this customer uses deception to get a better price. They will call a locksmith for a lock change but fail to mention important details; They have no keys and are locked out, or the door has been kicked off it's hinges and has been in the back garden for a month. You end up adjusting your quote accordingly on site only to be told "I'll get back to you then..." These customers usually end up blocked on my phone, I can't stand being messed around.

4> How much if I have my own lock?

I personally do not reduce my rates to fit a customers own lock unless I know full well it's the correct one for the job, and even then it's not by much. I have entertained this idea so many times in the past only to be handed a knackered old lock and they've still have the cheek to ask how long my work is guaranteed for. When you start dealing with these sort of customers the likelihood of the job coming to bite you in the ass further down the line increases and no locksmith likes a call back.

5> Do you do a free call out?

For a genuine local customer this is not a problem, number five is aimed more at the people that want you to come out, diagnose the problem and suggest the solution but then tell you they will call you back so they can have a go themselves first. Having slipped up on occasions in the past by giving away too much information I have learned to keep my cards close to my chest. "This is how much it's going to cost to resolve your issue", they can take it or leave it but I am not really willing to divulge any further anymore. At the end of the day our locksmith knowledge and expertise is what we charge for so it would be silly to turn up and give it away for nothing. 

Special thanks to Alcatraz Locksmith Edinburgh for their latest contribution to the locksmith-directory.org.uk/Scotland


Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:14 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 1 February 2016 7:45 AM GMT
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Thursday, 19 November 2015
Belgaurd, Gibbons Alternative Opening | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Bypassing

gibbons lock gibbons lock

This is quite an old trick really but today I actually got to use it so have taken a few snaps just to show you how it works.

As any good locksmith will know these old Gibbons aka Belgaurd (rebranded in various forms) are an unusual 8 gauge curtain lock and are cheap and nasty inside making them a difficult pick.

There is however an easy alternative destructive bypass that makes life easier than drilling into the organs of the lock.

On the bolt side of the lockcase is a pre pressed hole that holds the curtain spring. It happens to sit directly in line with the bottom of the lever pack. Inserting a poke wire or small screwdriver you will be able to lift the lever bellies together which fall in line to open, all you have to do is provide a little tension via the curtain. If you aren't lucky enough to be bolt side of the door you can still access the same sweet spot by drilling yourself a 4-5mm hole in the case at this point: (approx one inch towards bolt from top of curtain)

Pictures below show belly of levers through the hole and then engaged with stump.


levers down levers engaged

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 6:42 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 5 December 2015 1:35 PM GMT
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Factors Affecting Calls | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I am currently enjoying my slowest week of the year, my phone has barely rung this week. Websites are all performing well, no problems with my phoneline... sometimes it's a complete fecking mystery as to why this happens, but it does. I normally use this unplanned spare time to finish of those bist of DIY that I never get time for or to brush up on advertising but I have actually been in bed most of the time sweating out a particularly nasty cold... anyway, It's a great opportunity to update the locksmith blog and todays topic will be 'Factors affecting Calls'.

Firstly let me just say that these factors are purely drawn from my own experience of approx six years and from chatting with other locksmiths who also suffer the occassional work drought.

commercial lock repairslock picking practice

School Holidays

I can almost guarantee that a school holiday week will be a steady one for locksmith work, ok the emergency locksmith work seems to come in but the bread and butter jobs seem to dry up. I guess during this period people spend money elsewhere on days out and holidays away so repair work gets but on the back burner for another week.

Weather/Season

I wrote some time ago about seasonal locksmith work. Peaks of hot and cold weather often take their toll on uPVC doors in particular. I notice a good increase in uPVC door lock repair work during the coldest months of Winter from Dec - Feb.

Crime 

Every now and again there will be a spate of burglaries, car thefts or lock snapping incidents that will get the local community talking and Googling. I often take to social media when i notice this change and get involved offering advice and maybe throw out a few discounts to generate a bit of work of the back of this. Word of mouthrecommendations can go bonkers if you pitch it just right.

Financial year end

This can be a rewarding period with regards to commercial work whereby it seems companies try and use up their remaining yearly spend on things that have been put off throughout the rest of the year.

Physical directory advertisements

If you are one of the few remaining local locksmiths that bother to advertise in the door to door directories you will probably notice that the first few months of a fresh directory being delivered will bring in the most leads, tailing off throughout the year as people lose and throw away that book that sits around the house.

Website downtime

A web hosts server can sometimes go offline for repair work or other problems. It is worth checking your websites are actually live on a daily basis to ensure they are actually working. Notify your host immediately if you see any error messages as they may not be aware of the problem yet. Most local locksmiths rely heavilly on web generated leads so we are potentially losing money every hour we aren't online.

I am sure there are other factors that affect the amount of locksmith calls we can receive but I think I have covered the main onesabove, if you can think of anything I have missed write me a comment and I will add it to the list. 

Rick

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:13 AM GMT
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Friday, 6 November 2015
This Weeks Summary | Locksmith Blog

I realise I have not been updating the locksmith blog as much as I have in the past, things have certainly become busier with one thing or another. I swear there are less hours in the day as you get older, either that or  am slowing down.

I thought I would summarise a few of the jobs that I have completed this week, thoughts, feelings and points worth mentioning, etc. etc.



uPVC French Door Unjam / Repair

I turned up to find a set of B&Q french doors that the owner had installed himself a few years back. Let's just say it wasn't a quality installation, the frame loose form the brickwork and wobbling around. The key tunred but handle seemed disconnected from the rest of the mech. This was easilly opened by spreading the door and manually returning the hooks.

Now as most uPVC locksmiths know, french doors can be a pain in the arse at the best of times and this particular set was the typical dragging on the frame type, slave door never been opened with shootbolts corroded and nasty. I whipped out the mech and replaced the knackered gearbox, drowned the rest of the components in release spray and oil and installed the working lock back into the door.

The doors needed some serious adjusting, it makes you wonder how these customers ever locked the them in the first place! So all squared up nicely, keeps adjusted to match... but would the bugger lock? Nope.
It's when you get an unknown fault that you begin to start sweating, I hate it and you put yourself through the whole problem solving routine, taking a keep off at a time to work out where the problem lies. All keeps now on the floor in a pile and I still don't have a working door!?
The door appeared to be working fine in the open position which only left the shootbolts. 

After a little more head scratching i solved the mystery. I must have connected the bottom shootbolt one tooth out on the serrated fitting so the shootbolt was extending another millimetre more than before. This was bottoming out on the plastic in the frame. A quick drill in the bottom of the keep and bobs your uncle!

 

Opening A Jammed Safe

I had a call from a woman who had shut her scarf into her big old safe at the office and was now unable to get it open again. When I arrived I found that all the handymen had already been let loose on it and broken the unlocking handle by forcing it, scarpering back into the shadows when I arrived.

I unscrewed it and poked out the piece of broken metal, then making myself a makeshift handle with a pair of grips and the remaining square spindle. Pressing on this if felt as though the bolts were almost retracted. A few clonks of the rubber mallet with a little downwards pressure on my handle and I felt it slide into place. I then prised open the jammed door with a couple of flat bladed screwdrivers. The woman was chuffed I didn't have to rip her scarf.

The broken handle was an all in one cast piece and I could not source a replacement the same day. I decided to repair it myself by drilling carefully my best square hole into the back of the handle, inserting a fresh length of spindle bar and bonding it in with some chemical metal after roughing up the contacting surfaces to ensure it would bond nicely and was as good as the original once it had all set. Job done!
Locksmith Cannock.

jammed safe

 

Unjamming A Locked Nightlatch Snib

This is a really common occurance with the 40mm nighlatches, the latch bolts aren't very long and do give a little under forcing so if the door user has knocked the snib deadlocking button down on the nightlatch and then slams the door hard enough, it will shut, making a re-entry impossible with the key and the door deadlocked.

If it's a particularly loose door you may be able to spread it and pop the latch. I wasn't so lucky and had to use the drilling into the back of the lock case method which I discussed in an old blog post whereby you 'mickey mouse' the lock cylinder to remove, drill a hole to access the inside of the nightlatch and then remove the snib from the deadlocked position. It's the best method in this scenario, leaving the nightlatch fully functioning afterwards. Insert new cyliner, jobs a good en!

mickey mousing a lock

 http://www.locksmith-in-worthing.co.uk

 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:02 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 19 November 2015 3:00 PM GMT
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Monday, 2 November 2015
uPVC Window Repairs | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

I have had a lot of customers get in touch with me lately who seem to be struggling to find uPVC window lock repairs in the West Midlands. It appears that most double glazing firms aren't interested in these smaller jobs and a lot of locksmiths shy away from uPVC window lock repairs.

I myself do not deal with replacement glass units for double glazed windows but I do undertake a lot of lock and hinge repairs, particularly seized and broken mechanisms which jam the window shut, the same way a upvc door mechanism fails, in the majority of cases the same central gearbox will break under forcing or through wear.

I think the reason a lot of locksmiths shy away form this type of window repair work is because it isn't something that is generally taught on locksmith courses and usually requires the locksmith or repairer to think outside of the box a little and improvise in some cases. Over the years I have taught myself to unjam and free up faulty window lock mechanisms and have a few custom made tools that allow me to spread the window and manipulate rollers without the need for removing glass and beading. I taught my friend at Alcatraz Locksmith Edinburgh how to make one and he loves it!

Once the window is unjammed you can unscrew and remove the locking strip from the window edge which is usually straightforward. If working above ground floor level it will require a little more care as not to drop parts or tools. I have always managed to do this from inside but please be careful leaning out of open windows, if uncertain get yourself up a ladder and familiarise youself with the positions of screws and how to disassemble the lock. 

There are many types of window locks, the espag style being most likely in a uPVC window unit. This style incorporating a central square hole gear that operated a slider fixed with rollers, which in turn can also operate side mounted shootbolts and occassionally a central hook depending on the manufacturer. These can be in a one piece strip or three parts connected by crocodile teeth fittings. Depending on the lock and the part broken you could either end up replacing a complete strip or just a central gearbox section, again dependent on manufacturer.

window repairs window repaired

Window hinges are another common job whereby a stiff window has been forced and bent the hinges or the hinges have worn preventing the window from closing properly or catching on the closing edge.
Very easy to replace on smaller windows however I would suggest an extra pair of hands with large windows or upper story windows as the weight of the unit can be misleading. I have had a few occassions where I have been unscrewing a hinge on a heavy window only to drop a screwdriver and have to sketchily jam the window back in its hole. A good tip is to keep a few screwdrivers and screws in your pocket!

Replacement is straightforward and the hinge fits snugly in the top corner of the frame, remember they are handed and sometimes you may need to replace the pair if they open at different rates/angles to the originals. Another good tip is to sure that the pointed top end of the hinge locates correctly in the attached plastic keep. If it doesn't you may have inverted the hinge on itself and the top corner of the window will not pull in if this is the case.

Don't talk yourself out of that next window repair job, get out there and add another string to your bow! £££

pile of moneywindow lock mechanism

 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 12:34 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2016 1:19 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Door Repairs | Locksmith Blog

It is fair to say that door repairs now account for the majority of the work undertaken as locksmiths and that uPVC and composite doors now outnumber traditional wooden doors at domestic dwellings, both incorporating multi point locking systems that are prone to jamming and misalignment issues.

If you haven't already begun to undertake door repairs it is most certainly an area you should be getting familiar with as soon as possible if you are to survive in the modern locksmith world.

Here are some of the typical jobs I undertake as a door repair specialist in Wolverhampton:

- Door alignment

Over time and under it's own weight a door will drop, particularly the upvc insallations. This can be down to warping in the door, hinges coming loose or just the kids swinging on the door and other abusive use. These are generally simple jobs unless there is considerable warping or a poorly fitted door but more often than not all that is requires is a few turns of the top hinge adjuster. Toe and Heeling may be required for doors with little adjustment left in the hinges.

- Unjamming and Repair

Usually resulting from heavy use and forcing of the lock, eventually something gives and the multipoint lock seizes preventing opening of the door. A repair usually consists of unjamming the mechanism and either replacing the center case or complete unit, depending on the fault and lock type. A good understanding of the types of lock and different brands is essential for this.

- Security Upgrades

Upgrading euro locks to anti snap and higher security handles are nice easy jobs that should not be overlooked. As simple as taking measurements and ordering the correct parts. Just be sure not to give your customers too much information as a lot will go away and Google it themselves ;-)

My good friend Steve at Hugo Locksmith Rainham has just made the leap into the upvc repairs sector and is thriving!


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:23 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 2:56 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Directory Listings | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter
Here is a copy of my latest rant on Facebook that went viral this week. Please copy and share it around. It's good to let your customers know how things really work!

BEWARE THE DIRECTORIES! (Thomson + Yell)

A little known truth that potential customers might be interested in is that very few genuine local tradesmen now advertise in the physical paper directories (the usual door to door books), as well as their digital counterparts.

The genuine local and most competent tradesman are ditching the directories in their droves since the large national firms are constantly eating up the prime advertising space. We are simply sick of paying for advertisements that get lost amongst an array of national advertisers that use false locations, make misleading statements and use a network of redirected landline numbers to rope in and dupe unsuspecting customers.

The truth is, the directories do not give a shit. These national companies are keeping them afloat and the blind eye is being turned to keep them sweet.

A common tactic used by national advertisers is to buy a full page advertisement and split it into multiple adverts using different trading names and numbers. The truth is that all the numbers actually reach the same call centers. The customer will generally not accept the first inflated quotation and shop around, unwittingly ringing the same firms over and over, led to believe the inflated price is in fact the going rate for such work.

The little guys, the local guys that can probably offer the same service at a fraction of the cost are being pushed out and it is becoming harder for customers to find details of genuine local tradesmen.

The same thing is happening online, national firms paying premium prices for misleading adverts that trick a customer into using their services.

EVERYONE SUFFERS!

As a customer you will rarely receive a satisfactory result, if you do it is going to cost 2-3 times more than your local tradesman.

Genuine local tradesmen struggle to make ends meet due to lack of work and go bump leaving the nationals a free for all and charge whatever they want.

My one piece of advice for any potential client that has bothered to read this far down into my rant is this:

DON'T RUSH INTO ANYTHING!

Alarm bells should be ringing if the people you have called are unfamiliar with the area, have different accents or are pushing uncomfortably hard for the sale. Some won't even issue a quote unless they have your card details and postcode. Is this what you would expect of your local reputable tradesman?
Get online, Google the company but be wary of review platforms which are notoriously open to abuse and 'self reviewing'. Often after a poor review the offending company will bury it below a pile of self authored reviews.

I won't rant any further, I just hope I have reached just a few people and raised awareness of the appalling standards that have been adopted by the leading directories.

Please like and share folks, if it saves just one customer from being taken for a mug then it was worth writing.

Peace X

https://www.facebook.com/wolverhampton.locksmiths

Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:59 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 16 September 2015 11:02 AM BST
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Tuesday, 1 September 2015
The £102 Call Out fee| Locksmith Blog
Mood:  irritated
Topic: General Chatter

You will always hear me ranting about why people should avoid national locksmith firms and how they trick customers out of hundreds of pounds.

Well in this case a customer was charged £102 for someone to 'take a look'.

An angry locksmith called the offending national firm to challenge them and recorded the poor excuses on his phone.

Please listen and share, it is disgusting and trading standards need to come down hard on these thieves.

http://www.tapeacall.com/z287mmxp72


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:48 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 1 September 2015 8:51 AM BST
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