Topic: General Chatter
In the UK most locksmiths have either worked for or definately heard of the main contractors; Keytek, Reactfast, Lockaid, Able Group; that supply work all over the country to self employed locksmiths like you and I and pay you a cut of the money, typically 40-60% minus your CIS deductions.
These companies charge heavilly and often encourage a huge markup on parts. As the subcontractor you are deployed to complete the work and deliver the bad news (the bill). Its often an uncomfortable position to be put as a lot of your customers tend to be poor or elderly folk, easilly mislead and manipulated over the phone.
Its rare you find a lockie that enjoys working for these companies, however as a new start up its an essential stepping stone in gaining experience and meeting new customers.
I myself knocked two contracts on the head after a few months, mainly because I wasnt tough enough to rob from the poor to give to the rich... I often found myself charging as little as possible so that the customers didnt go away and hang themselves afterwards.
Secondly, when it came to pay day getting your money was usually an ordeal. As most of you know all monies generated are to be sent to the contractor on job completion and then you are paid your share and reimbursed for your expenses at the end of the week/month.
Payment rarely arrived on time and i often found myself out of pocket the end of the month and chasing my money. Able Group and Reactfast were particularly skilled at delaying payment and i eventually resorted to threats of removing locks I had installed.
Initially Lockaid werent too sloppy on the paying up side until I began negotiating a higher percentage for work further afield. Needless to say im still awaiting payment to this day for that work....
I have also been asked to perform underhand tactics such as 'go back and see if you can charge a bit more on the parts' and to perform work without receipts. Lockaid are indeed a very shady company to the extent i cant publish some of my suspicions.....
and that was the last bit of sub-contracting i did.
My accounts are just the tip of the iceburg, iv heard stories of big lockies being shafted for thousands by non paying contractors thats seem to turn on the subbing locksmith for no apparent reason.
It will always be a risky area to work in and undoubtedly an uncomfortable one. It all boils down to how badly you want the work, unfortunately for the newcomer its pretty much essential to get the ball rolling and to meet new customers.