The Unpredictable World of an Emergency Locksmith: An Honest Account
As a Locksmith I deal with locks, security grilles and safes. In my last diary posts I have shared with you how I manage the security grilles and safes side of the business. In this post I will share with you how I manage the most unpredictable side of the business – Emergencies! I am a 24 hour Emergency Locksmith in North London.
Managing the emergency side of the business means that no matter what I am doing or where I am I’m always aware that the phone could ring at any moment with the news that someone is locked out or locked in or that they need a door repairs locksmith fast! The circumstances of an emergency call out can vary from non urgent to extremely urgent. There have been occasions where small children are locked in a house alone and the urgency and the pressure to open a lock (particularly with people watching) is quite intense.
Work Life Balance – Work Life What?
Managing to offer good response and balance other work commitments and family life is challenging to be honest! Over the years I have become more used to managing my time and the stress that comes hand in hand with being permanently on call. Of course I do take time out but I still always take phone calls and offer a 24/7 service. We are a family run business and it is important to me that each call that comes through gets the best possible response and information. As the owner of IKS Locksmiths and a qualified experienced MLA locksmith I feel that I need to respond to all the calls personally and promptly in order to offer the best possible service to my valued customers.
Emergency situations can be any of the following;
Securing the property and lock replacement
- Burglars snib or chain the door from the inside
The method of getting in will depend on the situation
- Stolen keys
Locked out and need locks changed
- Lost keys
Locked out and may need locks changed
- Locking keys in the house
The method of getting in will depend on the situation
- Being locked out by a child
Urgency to enter a property because a child is alone in the house
- Child or adult locked in a room
Opening and possible lock replacement
- Snib on the inside of the lock falls into a locked position
This is a common problem and may involve lock opening and lock replacement depending on the situation.
- A failed PVC door mechanism broken in the locked position
Open and replace the mechanism
- Being handcuffed to a bed
Less common but it happens!
Emotions Running High
In these situations I come up against a range of emotions in customers from desperation, panic, distress and those who are angry and reluctant to pay the going rate for a locksmith to help them out of the situation! I often come across customers who say I urgently need a locksmith I’m locked out but they are shocked at the price. It never fails to amaze me how many seem to believe I should leave the comfort of my home late at night, travel to them and use my tools, knowledge and experience to access their property non destructively, quickly and efficiently for a minimal fee.
Sometimes a job can take minutes and sometimes hours depending to the difficulty of the situation. My price will always remain fixed as quoted on the phone and agreed by the customer. It’s funny how some people don’t recognise that getting access to the property quickly is a positive and doesn’t mean they are not getting value for money! It’s not uncommon to hear “That only took 5 minutes and you’re charging that!”. I’ve even had a lady say to me “My husband doesn’t even get paid that much!”.
To survive as a locksmith business in this highly competitive market I need to cover the costs of my time, fuel, vehicles, tools, stock, marketing, admin and keeping my knowledge of the industry up to date. As much as I enjoy being a locksmith I do it to support my family and not as a hobby. I know that the prices that I charge are fair and highly competitive. I am a mobile locksmith and not renting a premises allows me to minimise overheads so I can focus is on providing only high quality products and workmanship at really competitive prices. I can confidently say that IKS Locksmiths always provide excellent value for money.
I have to say that on the whole my customers are very appreciative of my work as I mention in my post The Joys of Being a Locksmith. This is a real motivator for me as a locksmith.
The Best Customer Service Possible is what I aim for and that involves;
- Honesty and integrity – I am Master Locksmith Approved and this is a must.
There are many Rogue London Locksmiths severely lacking in honesty and integrity!
- Arriving at the job within the time frame promised – I always give a large timeframe to cover any possible delays.
Some locksmiths lie about the time they will arrive to secure the job.
- Doing the job quickly and efficiently and avoiding unnecessary damage
It is not uncommon for a locksmith to drill a lock unnecessarily to profit further from a job
- Charging a fair fixed price
A trustworthy locksmith will not charge more than discussed on the phone. You would be surprised how many people I meet that have been ripped off in this way.
- Understanding and empathy about what the customer is going through
It is unfortunate that there are so many locksmiths out there that take advantage of the vulnerable.
My Main Difficulty as an Emergency Locksmith is that there is stiff competition from Rogue Locksmiths who are experts, not at locksmithing, but at taking advantage of customers who are calling around looking for the best price and arrival time. I have mentioned this before in my diary post A London Locksmith – Telling Tales where I tell how a locksmith near me uses underhand tactics to secure work and rip customers off as a business strategy. Choosing an MLA approved locksmith will ensure that you avoid encountering one of the many Rogue London Locksmiths and the problems that I have mentioned above. Read this post for tips on what you need to know when looking for an emergency quote.
When all is said and done it is the probably the unpredictability, the pressure and the challenge of the emergency side of the business that keeps me interested and motivated to keep doing what I do despite the difficulties I experience. It is a bit of a juggling act and there is never really a dull moment as an emergency locksmith. The situations I deal with and people I meet really keep me interested and on my toes.
I hope you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation, locked out or in or locked to something! If you ever do find yourself saying I need a Locksmith! I’d be delighted to assist. Please save my number for emergencies: Martin IKS Locksmiths 07947426981.
To find out more about IKS Locksmiths click here.
My next diary post will be an insight into my work with Master Key Suites. In the meantime all comments and questions are very welcome.
Martin (The North London Locksmith)