Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
View Profile
« July 2015 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Bypassing
Featured!
General Chatter
Lock picking
Locksmith Jobs
Reviews
Useful references
You are not logged in. Log in
Locksmith Blog | Locksmiths Blog | Blog
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Small Claims Court Part 2 | Locksmith Blog
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: General Chatter
Three months ago I wrote detailing my experience using the small claims process online to serve justice on a scammer that owed me money.

After issuing a warrant upon them through Croyden County Court things went quiet, but I allowed the 8 weeks to pass that was stated in the guidelines for the bailiffs to go and do their thing.

Still nothing, so I began to start pestering and calling every week for updates. Three or Four weeks passed with nobody really knowing what was going on, nobody calling me back as promised with updates, I began to feel a bit annoyed.

So last week, a good 12 weeks or so later I finally decided to complain officially to Croyden County Court, a woman called me back swiftly to tell me goods had been seized but the defendant had applied to get them back!?

Today, 3 days later I called again for another update to be told the business is no longer trading or at the property. (They are I called them to check). Croyden County court have now washed their hands of the matter and told me to speak to my legal advisor.

So my question is; What the hell has happened? Have they cocked up somewhere and failed, been given the run around by a smart defendant or been paid to turn a blind eye to the case. They did not wish to comment.

The whole thing has left me fuming as I have wasted my money chasing this debt which was a straightforward case completely in my favour.

Not sure what else to do about it. Justice did not prevail!

So my advice to anyone about to throw a load of money into chasing their debt via small claims is DON'T BOTHER, it's a farcical service designed to give false hope, a complete shambles where nobody truly knows what the hell is going on.

I'm pissed off! Next time I'll send the boys around instead.

Update:

Many moons later I got a letter from the courts explaining that another debtor had a winding up order against the firm who owed a tonne of money. Seems they knew it was coming a ran up a load of debts. Quick change of company name and they're out trading again. Scumbags that make a living from screwing other people. These types get their come-uppance. Dare I reveal who the scam letting agents are? Click the linky, remember the name 'Red Properties London' and avoid like the plague.

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:33 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 12 April 2016 2:30 PM BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 29 June 2015
5 Years Old | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

Tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of my Locksmith Blog! I had planned on publishing a post tomorrow, however I am currently sat around the house with a face on me because the wife has taken all our car keys to work with her. Cry Seemed like a good opportunity to update websites and get on top of the paperwork.

I will be honest, I never expected the locksmith blog to get any followers! I have little to no experience writing anything and know I can waffle on sometimes. It turns out I was totally wrong and now have a worldwide audience in both locksmiths and hobby pickers looking forward to my next post of lock related jibberish. Google seem to like my content too, and it always surprises me when I get a call from some random person asking for advice that has stumbled across one of my articles.

The creation of this locksmith blog led to several other projects that I now oversee such as the Locksmith Directory and SEO for Locksmiths as well as aiding in the No to Nationals campaigns and educating potential clients of the importance of using local locksmith as opposed to call centers operating nationally.

I am not entirely sure how to celebrate this 5 year milestone so am going to list my five favourite posts since it all began.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you will find my ramblings of some use in the future.

Rick.

Top Five Locksmith Posts

1/ Cyber Locks - I must admit this became a bit of an obsession for some time, firstly blagging some expensive samples from a local cyber lock dealer, learning how they work, learning to defeat them and eventually tackling some of the all singing and dancing designs out on the job. Locks of the future?

cyberlock

2/ Aubin Trophy Lock -  I was lucky enough to have an up close and personal look at the Aubin Trophy Lock in Wolverhampton. Arguably the ultimate lock, most certainly the most valuable.

trophy lock

3/ Lock Experiments - Just one of many experiments from back in the days when I had far too much time on my hands. Usually ended in failure but always enjoyable.

lock bumping

4/ Featured Locksmiths - A sub section I created to showcase local talent. I think it's important to help the small guy get noticed and a little feature atricle always helps.

featured locksmiths

5/ Dimple Lock Picking - My favourite locks to pick and always the first ones I grab when i get time for a bit of practice. My lock picking skills are nowhere near as refined as they used to be in my hobby picking days but it's always a confidence booster sitting down and defeating a few higher security cylinders.

avocet abs lock picking 

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 11:05 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 29 June 2015 11:40 AM BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, 19 June 2015
Zoo Hardware Copies | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

zoo ERA lockZoo hardware are now stocking a range of reproduction lever locks from various manufacturers that have expired patents.

I have used a lot of the three lever mortice range from my local locks supplier without any issues for well over a year now but was only recently made aware of the newer BS rated locks.

The first I got my hands on was a free sample lock, a BS Era Fortress copy from my mate Steve at Hugo Locksmiths Barking. The lock looked and functioned as good as, if not smoother than the original Fortress design, I particularly preferred the new chunkier keys.

Upon internal inspection it seems the dimpled ERA levers have been replaced with flat spaced levers.

I was however concerened about the quality of the latch spring in the sashlock version which does not sit comfortably in place and will undoubtedly fall loose once the grease has thinned out some.
The genuine ERA version has a much beefier spring.

The price difference compared with the originals was peanuts so decided not to buy into any of these particular locks.

Last week a locksmith on the Island forum mentioned they were now reproducing the 3g114/3k74 Union (formerly Chubb) range of mortice locks, which as you know have always been pricier than your average lock.

I have always replaced these like for like where possible in the past due to the non standard dimensions so was interested to see what an alternative could offer.

I ordered a couple of Zoos BS deadlocks replicating the 3g114 and was thus time pleasantly surprised with the quality which was as good as the originals aside from the lesser grade brass in the bolt.

At nearly £10 cheaper than the genuine Union locks, these are worth investing in.

Zoo has an extensive and expanding range of products that are worth checking out via the website: http://www.zoohardware.co.uk/products/byhierarchy/15/17.html#1/12

zoo deadlocksCHubb 3g114 copy lock


Posted by Rick the Pick at 1:26 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 2 July 2015 1:22 PM BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 18 May 2015
Small Claims Process | Locksmith Blog
bailiff

As a self employed locksmith that takes on commercial work we will all encounted the odd non-payer, perhaps through bad management of finances or just sheer cheek and trying it on with the small guys.

Chasing a debt is usually pretty straightforward in my exprience and the usual threats of action and removing locks, etc usually does the trick.
I have already published a short guide to chasing debts for locksmiths in a previous post which you might want to read first.

Eventually we all come across one that really tries it on though and will ignore or dispute everything you send at them. Unfortunately I've have had a couple to deal with lately.

I completed work for a property management firm based in London a few months ago, collecting keys from workmen and changing locks. I left the keys to be picked up by one of their agents later that week who was supposed to post the money (I was away at the time.)

I was surprised to find he took the keys without leaving money as agreed and was straight on the phone to them when I got back. I was told they 'forgot' and they will pay asap...

As you can imagine this went on for a while, me chasing the debt to the point where I would ring every day to be told 'so and so is in a meeting at the minute, can we take a message, blablabla'. I began to lose patience and sent the final demand, a seven day letter from a solicitor.

This was ignored and I sent a message to the directors phone stating I am going to pursue this if not settled immediately. He finally replied and assured it would be sorted... It wasn't

Having never taken anyone to court I was dubious about incurring further losses myself but decided I needed to make an example of these assholes.

Issuing a Small Claim

The process itself is fairly straightforward; Firstly you need to register an account with Money Claim Online

The next step is to fill out the 'issue claim form' on the website. This requires company name, trading address, money owed, etc and takes no more than half an hour to fill out. It costs £25 to issue.

Once completed this is then sent to the debtor giving them 2 working weeks to respond to your claim wherby they can dispute, pay up or Ignore.

My debtor chose to ignore.

At this stage you can now log in and have to option to request judgement. Since the client decided to ignore all corespondance the judgement went in my favour.

To enforce the judgement and recover money you now have the option to request a warrant of execution. This allows a bailiff to attend on your behalf and collect the outstanding amount or goods to the value. This cost me a further £75 however, this and the other £25 for issuing the claim can be added to the grand total. Larger debts may incur larger collection fees.

Once accepted this is dealt with at the debtors local court. This process can take sevceral weeks and I myself am still waiting for the results of this step. I will update accordingly.

Part two can be found here.




Posted by Rick the Pick at 9:58 AM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 2:58 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 9 March 2015
Why Avoid National Locksmiths | Locksmith Blog
Topic: General Chatter

As you well know I am always whinging about national locksmith firms, their ludicrous fees, shoddy work and undrhand sales tactics.

It is something every genuine locksmith will encounter, the disgruntled customer that has rang for a second opinion or for advice after a national firm has tried to rip them off.

I have decided to quote you a few experiences of rogue locksmiths that have been taken from various locksmith forums, myself and friends of mine and put them up here for people to read. All company names will be blanked for obvious reasons.

Enjoy

----

I had to follow Locksmith Company X the other week, Dropped snib, old style vertical letter box that flap opened sideways,cylinder incorperated in top part of letter plate nice easy opening one would think.
Not so it would seem, he drilled fixings and punched lock off back according to customer and all this took an hour and a half.
Then made off with old lock ( as it was a special and needed to be ordered ) and left door unsecured and never returned.

----

I am just back from a 'broken key' job...steel key snapped inside a euro cyclinder. As usual, I asked the customer where she got my number. After telling me, she also said she had phoned another lockie first (Company X) and was quoted £120 +VAT +Part

----

So, fitted some anti snap euro's for a customer today. He mentions that his dad (77 years young) called a locksmith out yesterday to sort his upvc door out (not locking).
He got the company from Thompson local book.
Son informs me how much they are charging for the job! He didn't know dad had called them until today.
Dads house was only round the corner so I said I'd have a gander, they have removed Mpl and fitted temp over nighter.
They have taken £130 deposit and wrote an invoice out fit £169.50 inc vat.
On this invoice it's wrote on that customer owes £39.50 on NEXT bill!
Dad has been informed verbally that the next bill owed when work complete will be £290 plus the £39.50! WTF Exclamation
It's the first time I've come across this sort of thing, it's cooking crazy! How do they get away with it?
I've told them to ring the company and get them to explain the costs.
I've measured up for type of Mpl and it's era 4x roller £25 ish plus vat to us!

----

I had a lady phone me up over Easter, - on the Sunday. She'd got a failed mech, and said she'd had some guy that was a 'Thug-type' (her words) with a skin-head and tats, who had come along, taken the mech out, said he didn't have one, so put it back in again (leaving her door unlockable) and asked if she wanted him to order her one. She said she wanted to think about it for five minutes. He THEN said 'If you go into the next hour, it'll be another £450+vat.' Unknown to the Customer, she'd signed a paper to agree to paying the first hour at £450+vat. At which point she phoned me in tears. I went round and sorted it there and then (Era Saracen IIRC Rolling Eyes ) for £190 all in.. (it was a Sunday remember). Anyway, she showed me the paperwork she'd been left by the other guy... It made astounding reading.
(can you guess who it was yet?)

----

Just been working for a customer who had been waiting 2 hours for Locksmith Company X to show up(told 30 mins).
He called me and cancelled them, they wanted to charge him cancellation fees etc etc and threatened court action if he didnt.
Hugo Locksmiths Romford

 ----

Just had a young woman call me in tears as some wannabe national going by Locksmith Company X was trying to shaft her.
Tried to leave with the mech claiming it was a custom made lock and needs to be rebuilt at his factory.
Wanted £300+ vat
She told him bollocks and he took 70 quid off her to put it back in the door.
My blood is boiling, i told her to take a picture of the cunt so i can share it around
[update] He fooked off and took the lock with him!


Posted by Rick the Pick at 10:02 AM BST
Updated: Friday, 5 June 2015 8:25 AM BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, 27 February 2015
Hugo Locksmiths Romford | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I haven't had a featured locksmith for quite a while now so this month the spotlight is shining on Hugo Locksmiths based in Romford.

Steve has been working as a locksmith in Romford for quite some time as part of the Lockrite franchise, which he eventually decided to leave and build his own brand, Hugo Locksmiths.

A well as all the domestic aspects of locksmithing you would expect of a well seasoned locksmith to offer, Steve provides a wide range of commercial services for business owners and commercial premises in Romford, Barking and Ilford areas such as roller shutter locks and hardware, high security locks for vulnerable premises and master key suited locks for access control and restriction.

Hugo Locksmiths Romford also provide a uPVC door repair and opening service for jammed and faulty uPVC door mechanisms, as well as more modern composite door setups using similar locks.

Stocking a wide range of repair locks and replacement parts, even for obsoloete mechanisms, Steve is well prepared for the majority of uPVC door problems and lock changes in Romford.

Please take five minutes to take a look at his new locksmiths website and remember to add that number to your phonebook!

Hugo Locksmiths
5 Hugo Gardens
Rainham
Essex
RM137LA
07957-624-954
http://www.locksmith-in-romford.co.uk
http://www.locksmith-in-rainham.co.uk

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 7:55 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 6 November 2015 8:59 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, 31 October 2014
LTC Curtain Pick Review | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

Over the last few months I have been struggling with curtain picks that are well worn, completely broken or just not up to the job and was reluctant to throw money at more curtrain picks without doing some homework beforehand.

The binding edge of all my RPCP's tools finally bent beyond repair. To be honest I wasn't the biggest fan of the design as it did not allow much control upon releasing tension on the levers, so more often than not I would reset the entire pack rather than the last few binding levers. I also found the lollypop wire holders would unscrew themselves mid-picking if not bollocked up super tight.

island locks LTC picks LTC curtain wires

Last week I was lucky enough to be offered a set of LTC curtain picks by Jay at Island Locks who is now manufacturing the unique design born from the frustration of teaching with existing curtain picks that just weren't good enough to send his students away with.

The LTC curtain wheel picks feature three noteworthy improvements over existing lock picks that are currently on the market.

island locks pickset reading lock levers

The first being a lever height indicator that screws directly into the pick wire handles. Once aligned with the pick wire end it can be used to read the lever bellies of locks prior to picking locks such as the ERA viscount, invincible and vectis, allowing a rough decoding of the levers. Identifying high and low lift levers correctly is important with these particular locks and the indicator eliminates the need for guess work.

Secondly, the T bar end towards the tip has all been machined flat so you may twist and dig under levers without your wires being trapped in the central guide. I have found similar T shaped curtain picks to be a little restricting in the past and do not allow you to perform that spiraling manoeuvre that frees a stuck pickwire due to a tightly guided end section. There is plenty of room for all angles with the LTC picks!

view of a lock pick unique lock pick design


Thirdly, my personal favourite design feature; the removable pin piece.
The tip of the pick allows removal of the contact pin that catches the curtain. This allows for modifications and different end pieces to be used for different locks. If you are a bit clumsy like myself you might like to use a longer pin so you do not push all the way through the lock. although a notch will need to be machined from your pin so you can reach the back lever on a right mounted lock.
Note that the default pin is of minimal height to prevent excessive force stretching the hole it is pressed into. A longer pin will be more likely to widen the hole over time.

So after a few hours testing it seems an impressive kit with some nice features that are both aesthetically pleasing and work well.

The LTC curtain pick is available either directly via Jay or through
Duffells here: LTC Lock Picks

picking eclipse bs lock island locks picks

Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:48 PM BST
Updated: Monday, 9 November 2015 3:00 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, 17 October 2014
Oval Anti-Snap Locks | Locksmith Blog

The UK's first decent oval profile antisnap lock has been released, the Brisant D oval cylinder!

Like many other locksmiths I have had requests to install anti-snap products in apartments that use oval style lock cases and have never had a retrofit product that would meet their expectations. I know the guys over at Legend Locksmiths in Barnet have been crying out for a product like this.

The new anti snap oval cylinder from Brisant incorporates all the same features as their standard antisnap range apart from the strengthened center bar. If you have ever tried snapping an oval you will know it is much stronger than a stadard euro due to the extra material in the center, so I can't see this being a real issue.

The lock, a 6 pin dimple cylinder incorporates three antidrill pins in the front section of the cylinder as well as two offset in the rear portion of the lock. Sacrificial sections on both sides ensure amatuer snapping atacks fail leaving the door both secure and in working order.

I will now be having a play to see how these oval antisnap locks pick.

 oval snap safe cylinders


Posted by Rick the Pick at 3:41 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 2 December 2014 7:59 AM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Friday, 13 June 2014
King of Locks Wigan | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Featured!

King of Locks based in Wigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This months featured locksmith is Sean King at King of Locks based in Wigan.

Sean has been in the game for nearly a year now and has survived that notorious six month period that sorts the hitters from the quitters. It has never been harder to establish yourself in the locksmith industry with new locksmiths trained every week, few of which actual last the first six months trading.

He has worked hard to establish himself as a local locksmith in Wigan and has built a strong local reputation by investing wisely in online advertsing and SEO alongside a local Checkatrade reviews scheme.

Sean at King Of Locks has proved that online advertising is the way forward with over 90% of new leads from online sources.

If you are based in Wigan and require a locksmith that will go that extra mile to deliver a fast and reliable service then I recommend you give Sean a call and find out what he can do for you.

King of Locks
5 Winsmoor Drive
Hindley
Wigan
WN23SP
07539504998
http://www.kingoflocks.co.uk


Posted by Rick the Pick at 8:18 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 27 April 2016 4:15 PM BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
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
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
Monday, 2 June 2014
Brisant BS Locks | Locksmith Blog
Topic: Reviews

The British Standard Brisant Cylinder

To be honest, Brisant locks aren't exactly new news. They have been around long enough now for anyone in the locksmith trade to have heard about them. Rick at Cannock Door Repairs has been raving about them ever since the company popped up.

I have been sitting on the fence waiting to see what others opinion were on the Brisant locks before putting my hand in my pocket and purchasing any. They recently advertised an offer I could no longer refuse on their all new singing an dancing Brisant BS rangeso I just had to get a batch ordered.

I knew to expect something special after reading several months worth of positive feedback on the Brisant range and upon opening the first box was not disappointed.

It is immediately aparent that this lock is designed to withstand a prolonged attack from even the most experienced burglar.
Unlike the majority of antisnap locks on the market, the Brisant BS has anti-drill pins beyond the sacrificial section to ensure the cylinder resists attack long after the snapping has been tried.

The Brisant cylinder features all the other security features that you would expect of a quality anti-snap product such as anti-drill pins, strengthened spine as well as a couple of trap pins, making for a formidable opponent.

The lock has been designed with the locksmith in mind, which is why this is quickly becoming the most popular product amongst locksmiths around the UK. The antisnap sections are not handed as with the Yale BS cylinders and comes in a dual brass/satin finish similar to the MulTLock for a universal colour match. It seems we no longer need a van full of locks for every application!

brisant bs locks brisant upvc door lock

What I was most impressed with was Brisants reluctance to sell to the general public, a tactic which can damage the locksmiths ability to sell the product. ** The very reason a lot of professional locksmiths are unwilling to offer the Avocet ABS which is sold with very little discount to trade professionals. There is nothing worse than working for a customer that sits there quoting lock prices from Ebay whilst you work.

(** I have since learned that Brisant will actually deal with public orders and key cutting. There are also rebranded versions of the Brisant available on ebay)

The BS range carry a TS007 one star rating (unsure why they didn't meet the criteria for a three) but should be more than sufficient to satisfy any special insurance requirements for uPVC security.

Update Jan 2016

I feel I need to update this post to reflect a chnage in view on the Brisant range. I am hearing countless stories of locks failing due to an over fragile sacrifical section. I myself had a couple broken which I had put down to my own heavy handedness but it seems this is in fact a design flaw.

I am also concerned about the actually key control as it turns out anyone can ring up Brisant and order a key copy by supplying the code to them, no questions asked. This is not good enough for me personally to continue using them.

 


Posted by Rick the Pick at 2:56 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 20 January 2016 4:24 PM GMT
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older