National locksmiths and Call centers
51 Drancy Ave
How a national locksmith company works
National locksmith companies are generally just middle men.
There will be a main call center where all the local telephone numbers are diverted.
Once a job is phoned through they will take the postcode and check against their list of 'engineers' to see if one is local and available.
'Engineers' are generally freshly trained locksmiths as the experienced locksmiths have enough of their own work to avoid sub-contracting.
The 'engineer' will be instructed to charge by the hour + parts (which carry a healthy mark up) + VAT.
Customers are rarely informed of the additional charges or are led to believe otherwise.
The locksmith will take home a small percentage of the bill whilst the lions share is banked by the national.
Reasons to avoid a national locksmith chain
First and foremost; the rates will be verging on extortionate!
These locksmith companies spend millions every year in advertising, flooding the paper directories with huge adverts and buying sponsored links through Google.
The sheer cost of advertising means they simply cannot compete with the rates of a real local locksmith and will charge double if not triple for the same work.
Post work customer care is as good as none existant. As soon as you have paid and signed the receipt you are legally satisfied with the job.
They do not cherish their reputation like a small family business. Should anything go wrong, your complaints will fall on deaf ears.
How to spot a 'call center' locksmith company
In a paper directory you will be looking for adverts listing numerous local landline numbers, it seems they have every area covered right?
A small local locksmith firm would not own ten landlines across the area!
Generally adverts will be larger in size although a new tactic is to buy up a page of smaller adverts with varying designs.
When calling you will notice that their accent is not local and you will hear various rings and typing in the background.
Not really something that happens in your local locksmiths house or shop.
They rarely give you a quotation before taking the address.
This is because they have to search for the nearest locksmith, if its a good distance from your location, expect to pay more and wait longer!
It also means should you decide to cancel your booking for whatever reason (like getting a local locksmith there in half the time and price) they will have all your contact details to attempt to recover the money owed.
Should I work for a National locksmith firm?
From a newly trained locksmiths perspective it is a good way to get experience and to begin to understand the nature of the locksmith profession.
Myself and many other locksmiths started the same way. however work should be completed with an air of caution.
Its not a matter of 'Will they shaft me', but When!
Money owed is seldom settled on time and you can expect to be chasing it for weeks if not months of putting in your invoice.
If you cannot attend every job they forward to you expect to be dropped to the bottom of the pile, they rely on availability and having to call around all thier 'engineers' costs time and money.
You may end up negotiating at some point for a larger portion of the bill should a particular job entail extra work or skill.
Although they will agree at the time to get you out there, they will rarely honour their word and leave you fighting to reclaim the extra.
Experienced locksmiths tend not to work for these companies due to a their own steady workload and regular customers.
So overall in the long run I would recommend dropping the nationals as soon as you can but definately use them to get yourself started, steal some customers and make the teething mistakes in their name.
In an ideal world we should boycot them completely however people need to brinf bread to the table and faced with this or nothing its an obvious choice.