The Key to Success In Recession.
When Britain is gripped with recession and burglaries are on the increase as a result of accumulative financial despair, one would be forgiven for thinking the security industry would be booming as a direct result. Houses being broken into? Locks to be be picked , nicked and sold on for scrap by criminals and replaced lucratively by the professionals…? Not necessarily so. Journalist Tess Egerton homed in on The Bristol Locksmith and clients to unpick a few industry rumblings of discontent and set the record straight.
If you look on any Google search engine, you will find pages and pages of Locksmith entries all over the UK. Bristol is no exception to anywhere else in the country, but is certainly a good example of a niche market which has grown over ten fold in the last three years ; perhaps more so than most places.
Owner and proprieter of The Bristol Locksmith, S.A Nutt, explained further:
“One of the biggest problems these days is that you can get all the specialist tools on eBay and can Youtube the instructions to teach yourself via the internet in becoming a locksmith. It’s all there for the taking, and people who have otherwise been struggling to find employment during recession times are setting up very quickly in this area of technical ability , then going out to assist families locked out of their homes or cars.”
He continues , “Competition has also increased significantly over the last few years because anyone can advertise very cheaply or for free on Google , therefore taking away business which would have been advertised in the yellow pages previously. In addition to this, when you buy specialist equipment such as a eurocylinder snapper tool from the average supplier, they don’t check your identity any more to ensure the consumer is a legitimate locksmith or security company. That, coupled with materials generally being cheaper more recently invites laypersons to try their hand at specialist areas within our industry”.
This can prove a somewhat dangerous problem for those searching for cheap quotes however. It transpires that very often the cheaper locksmiths are those who have only recently started up. Bristol businessman Amit Patek conveyed one such story.
“We have many properties over the whole of Bristol and the South West and have experienced many a problem with the cheaper companies in the past. As a result we had to call The Bristol Locksmith to repair and replace the damage as they have the expertise we had actually required in the first place. On one occasion our newborn was locked by accident in our bedroom which was fitted with specialist American locks and the professionals were the only ones who knew what to do with it. On reflection, we wish we had called them in the first place, saving ourselves panic, time and money”.
Of course, there is always a flip side to report too. A second Bristol locksmith interviewed , but wishing to remain anonymous, claimed the bigger companies also try to take a larger slice of the pie by monopolizing the higher slots on the Google rankings with paying internet ads and pay per click search engine assistance. He claimed “ On average people pay around 30% more on their lock fittings just to finance the larger companies advertisements. This means both customers and the remaining security companies are inadvertently penalized as a result”.
Bristol Pharmacist Phil Hurst also expressed an element of discontent regarding start-up companies during recession times. Owner of many chemists in and around Bristol, he is aware of criminals breaking into his premises for supplies of methanol and therefore requires fast, efficient repair on the locks once the damage has been done. He goes on to say:
“As the owner of a few commercial properties with very specific contents, I have to be completely sure the work on my chemists is carried out meticulously by locksmiths who are very experienced and know exactly what they’re doing. I can’t compromise the safety of my premises , given their contents. I would always use the likes of The Bristol Locksmith as I know they have been running successfully for many years and have never once turned up late or made a mistake. I think that’s a necessity when you’re locked out or have suffered a burglary.”
So it would appear that despite a tsunami of new locksmiths on the block, the indulgence of Google marketing during recession times and a comparative fall in sales for the mainstream locksmith businesses, the news isn’t all bad.
Amit Patek states categorically that the best craftsmen are still the ones required the most out there.
“Once I’ve used someone good in the industry, I pass on their number to friends and family and good news spreads fast. I wouldn’t dream of using someone unknown now. Plus ,in a disaster we like to have someone friendly, polite and efficient dealing with our problem when it occurs, so we feel less likely to panic”.
The final word goes back to The Bristol Locksmith himself on the matter;
“I have a wide range of ongoing customers, whether they’re business premises or elderly people forgetting their keys in sheltered housing. They want the work carried out quickly, but quite frankly they also prefer a familiar face who can make them feel better at the time too”.
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