When most people or businesses call on the services of a locksmith they do because they are locked out of their home, office or vehicle so want the locksmith to get to them as soon as possible especially if it’s late at night and the customer is on his or her own.
People find themselves locked out for a number of reasons, with domestic property it is generally down to lost or stolen keys with vehicles it’s either a lost keys, faulty key fobs or key cards or you’ve locked your care leaving the keys in the ignition, however this last example happens less than it used to as modern cars work different and many wont even lock if you have not got your car keys or key card in your hand.
Luckily everyone who finds themselves in this predicament knows exactly what to do, you call out a local emergency locksmith, with the empathises on local as you want someone to come out to you as soon as possible, if you are locked out of a building then any 24 hour emergency locksmith will do, if your are locked out of your vehicle then you’ll need an auto locksmith. Many locksmiths work on both buildings and vehicles but not all, so the first step is getting hold of a locksmith who can get you out of your predicament.
Going back 10 or 15 years people had to ring directory enquiries – remember that? – and ask for the number of a local locksmith and the operator found you one and either gave you the number to ring yourself or simply connected you to the number. Nowadays it’s a lot simpler, you basically reach for your Smartphone and do a Google search for 24 hour locksmith or emergency locksmith, you can add on the town or city that you are in if you wish, and search for locksmith in Nottingham for example however most Smartphones will pass on your location to the search engine making adding the town or city redundant. Now this is much better that the old method of ringing directory enquiries, or is it?
Why the Modern way of finding a Locksmith is Causing Headaches for People
The modern way of finding a local locksmith or any local tradesman for that matter is undeniably simpler and quicker than it used to be many years ago, but is it better?
Back when you had to call the operator to find who or what you wanted the choice of local locksmiths was limited to actual locksmiths who where physically located in the area and listed in the phonebook, so when the operator gave you or connected you to the number of a local emergency locksmith in Nottingham it was in fact a local locksmith based in or around Nottingham who could be at you premises or with you at your vehicle in a reasonable amount of time.
With search engine results it’s not as simple, and here’s why.
To have a website and be listed in the local results for a certain area you don’t need to be in that area or even be an actual local locksmith and this is why when you search for a locksmith you get pages and pages of results, a lot more than you expected, surely these are not all local, independent locksmiths located in the area you searched? Well the short answer is no they are not.
What you tend the find with search results is that the top results are not from independent locksmiths at all but from what are know as locksmith call centres, sure, they’ll call themselves national locksmith companies or nationwide locksmith companies claiming to have 100’s or even 1000’s of locksmiths, aptly named engineers, based in every city, town and village in the UK making these companies some of the largest companies, employee wise, in the UK. Reading between the lines you can see that this is utter nonsense and these call centre’s do not in fact employ a single locksmith and all they are is a middle man.
So How Do These Locksmith Call Centres Work?
It’s simple, locksmiths sign up to these call centres for a monthly or annual fee and in return the call centre or national locksmith company as they like to be called does all the marketing and advertising, mans the phones, and runs the website or websites. When a call comes in they check their database for a locksmith in your area and send him or her out to you. Sound like the perfect business model, so what’s the problem?
On paper this does look like the perfect business model, the locksmith doesn’t need to worry about his or her own marketing and website and the customers just rings one number and lets the call centre find them a local locksmith, everyone’s happy! Well no?
The business model is great for the call centre and great for the locksmith who is on their books, so to speak, but it’s not great for the customer, the person locked out of his or her home, office or vehicle and here are the main reasons.
It’s a Lot More Expensive
The cost to the end user is far greater than if would be if they had contacted a local locksmith direct, the locksmith needs to cover the fee he or she pays so adds it onto the job. Also many call centres take a cut of each job or even set the price making a simple access job what would probably cost the customer between £80 and £100, sky rocket to 3 tines as much, sometime more so everyone can get a cut and make money.
You’ll Wait Longer for the Locksmith to Arrive
OK, these call centres claim to have an engineer in every part of the country and will list every town, village or city on their website and sometimes even have a local telephone number for that area when in fact they have far fewer engineers on their books than you think… Not every locksmith wants to sign up to one of these call centres and go around ripping off the public, most have morals.
If you ring up and there is no engineer in your area then they work turn down the work, they’ll simply send you the nearest engineer which can be someone from 100 or more miles away leaving you waiting for hours and being strung along with lame excuses about traffic or the last job taking longer than expected or the classic “he’s just around the corner” line, each time to ring up to find out where the locksmith is.
One business posted a scathing review on social media recently stating that they unknowingly called one of these call centres when they couldn’t lock up one Sunday evening due to vandalised door lock and where strung along for 6 hours and when the locksmith arrived he claimed he had only been given the job two hours around and had come 100+ miles.
You’ll Get a Poorer Service
As we mentioned earlier not every independent locksmith wants to sign up to one of these national companies and go around ripping off the public. In fact most genuine, professional locksmiths don’t want to be associated with these national companies at all choosing to uphold their reputation instead and its because of this that the locksmiths who do sign up to these call centres are generally the unskilled, have a go amateurs who have learnt their trade by watching a few Youtube videos rather than attending a genuine locksmith training course.
The locksmith industry is completely unregulated meaning that anyone can claim to be one. A professional locksmith will turn up with the correct tools and attempt non destruction entry whenever possible, whereas an amateur locksmith will turn up with a hammer, a chisel and a drill and simple attempt to open your door.
You can avoid falling victim to one of these call centres by taking an extra couple of minutes looking though the search results, once you know what you are looking for, the call centres and the independents are actually very easy to distinguish from one another.