Not an example of my work but I saw this on a customer’s front door today and thought I would share. Obviously the original multipoint locking system had failed. But rather than source and fit a direct replacement, the handyman (or cowboy) that did this used a completely unsuitable mechanism as an alternative. The mech he fitted was for a upvc door not a wooden one, so his mech had rollers that stuck out proud from the door edge. No bother for this intrepid workman. He just hacked out pieces of the frame so the rollers could enter and the door could close. The full length keep plate is a right mess and it is a struggle to raise the handles fully due to all the misalignment between mech rollers/hook bolts and the slots in the keep. Due to the differences in this mechanism and the original he also had to fit new handles. But because the backset is different, the new handles do not quite cover the original handle screw holes and euro profile hole in the door.
I dread to think what the landlord paid his handyman for this poor effort, but if he had called me then job would have been done right using the right parts and without any damage to frame.
Do you want to be a locksmith? You’ve seen it in the movies, a quick 2 second fiddle with a lock and hey presto they are in! You have seen the two day courses being offered on eBay etc to become a locksmith, promising high incomes for very little outlay. So you think why not give locksmithing a bash – after all, how hard can it be?
I started Linacre Locksmiths over 11 years ago and can say that in all that time only around 10% of my work involves lockouts. Most of the work is either remedial work – fixing broken locks, adjusting upvc doors, rekeying locks etc – or replacing or fresh fitting various locks. The trouble is that if someone gets locked out then a professional locksmith comes out and can indeed literally get them back in their house in a couple of minutes sometimes. So they think ‘wow, easy money. I could do that!’
You search for how to become a locksmith and suddenly eBay sellers and others offer to train you in two or three days. They might ‘train’ you in a rented office, or a small workshop on an industrial unit. You will be taught how to pick basic cylinders and mortice locks. No point in the ‘trainer’ using high security locks like you might find in the real world that you cannot open. After all, he promised you it is easy, so the locks will be primed to almost fall open (like the movies). Then comes the sting. You can’t just head off into the locksmithing world without the right tools can you! You are sold cheap imported poor quality tools, some of which you will never need, some do not even work properly, at vastly inflated prices. You don’t know any different so buy them. So after 2/3 days you are £2000 down and armed with poor knowledge and poor equipment. And all you can hope to do are simple lockouts, which as I mentioned earlier only account for 10% of an average locksmiths workload.
To be serious about being a locksmith you need substantial initial investment and proper training from well researched training companies. You need to be prepared to make a loss for the first year at least. And I haven’t even touched on how you actually get your name out there and attract customers!
Not all locksmiths are the same. In my latest BT directory through the letterbox recently there were two full pages dedicated to 8 ads for locksmiths – from just two companies. Take a closer look at each full double page spread. Don’t these ads look like different companies, all with different telephone numbers? But each double page spread is just one national company – a call centre type operation that relies on sub-contracting any work out to the nearest locksmith to the customer. That is why they also ask you to quote a ‘reference number’ on the advert.
So the customer pays twice in effect, once to the call centre company (around 60% of the inflated total rate) and again to the actual guy who turns up (the remaining 40%). A simple gain entry job can end up costing well over £100 plus vat when it should be a lot less. Who knows what the expertise and professionalism of the person who appears at your door – usually in an unmarked van or estate car. They are unlikely to be actual professional locksmiths, possibly handymen or people sold the dream of becoming locksmiths by doing a two day ebay course! Tales on the internet abound of ham-fisted individuals going straight for the drill and destroying perfectly good locks. After all, they can then sell to you at a high price some parts (that were probably not needed until they drilled them). Search out reviews from customers on these big national companies for yourselves (if you look hard at the pictures you should be able to identify them)