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Rogue Locksmiths In Rotherham Area

8th May 2021

With all the news around recently, I’ve been thinking about the subject of honesty. Don’t worry, I’m not about to start talking about £800 rolls of wallpaper, flat refurbishments or who paid for what and when. I’m not even talking about the dishonesty of those who try and break into people’s houses and create the need for locksmiths. Rather, I’m looking closer to home at locksmiths themselves, or rather those who claim to be, and how they can tarnish the profession. 

If you have a sudden need for a Rotherham  locksmith, and don’t already have the details of a trusted one, what is your first port of call? I’ll put good money on it being Google. And why not… it’s the obvious place to look. You put in your search term and, at the top of the results – with the letters Ad next to them, are paid search results from companies that give Google money in order to get their company near the top. Below these are then the most popular or useful results, hopefully I’ll be there near the top if you’re searching locally, but to get to these you have to scroll past the sponsored sites. 

You might assume that the google algorithm is giving you the most useful results, even in the paid section, and is showing you those companies who are near you and which have good customer reviews etc. But whilst some results may fit this description, it’s likely that some results crop up for companies who, despite having very locksmith-sounding names, aren’t locksmiths at all.

How does this happen? Well I guess I’ll tell you, otherwise the second half of this blog won’t be all that useful. These companies –with impressive sounding names like, say, Rotherham Locksmiths  24/7 locksmith security Ltd” are actually call centres, usually based out of the county and sometimes even in a different country. They manage to trick google into presenting them as local companies, and are knowns as “lead generators”, or “lead gens” to those in the know. These call centres have a list of poor-quality subcontractors on call, who then get your details forwarded on by text or email, and turn up at your home, and this is only the start of the trouble. 

The job of the Lead Gens is to try and milk each customer for as much money as possible. This can involve giving an initially low estimate on the phone in order to get the sub-contractor on site, and once there, they demand 3 or 4 times the quoted price, giving reasons such as the work being more complicated than expected. The customer then pays up as the job is often an emergency and they need access to their house, or to be able to make doors secure. Cases have been seen where an initial quote of £50 has ended up in a final bill of £500 – this is also known as bait and switch (lure customer in with a low price, then switch to a costlier outcome). In 90 per cent of jobs using these lead gens, the customer ends up paying more than the estimate. 

Although this model is not just limited to locksmiths (see also carpet cleaners, house repairs, removal companies etc), our profession does seem to attract them, often because of the urgency of the job, and people trust google to provide decent results. To be fair to them, Google is always looking at ways to solve this problem, but each time they block a load of the companies, new ones appear, and it’s a constant battle in which the search engines are always one step behind. 

Even those customers who do a bit of extra research and go to the websites listed instead of just ringing the phone number may find themselves faced with a site with a convincing front page. Lead gens will take on websites with professional sounding domain names – it doesn’t cost them much at all, and can carry out the bait and switch method via there too. 

 

 

It’s important to realise that Lead gens aren’t in it for repeat customers – they are happy to just rip off customers on one job then move on – they will often take up to 40% of the cash paid to the subcontractor and it’s all about quick cash and moving on, not building a loyal customer base. 

Now I’ve warned you about these companies, what can you do about it? Unfortunately there is no simple answer except do your research. Ask around for recommendations, and if you do have to google a locksmith, check to see if it says where they are based. If it’s a 0800 number, that’s often a clue that it’s a national company. Also, don’t leave it to the last minute – when you’re in an emergency situation you’re bound to not pay great attention to research, so it’s best to have a few numbers in your phone upfront, just in case a situation occurs. Let’s face it, it’s unlikely you’ll go through life without needing a locksmith at some point, so why not have the number of a reliable and trusted one in there saved in preparation.

I know I shouldn’t blow my own trumpet, hell, I can’t even play a recorder, but I try and be the very opposite of these lead gens. I base my business on honesty and transparency. I don’t have a call centre team behind me, although sometimes I think it might be an idea when the phone doesn’t stop ringing!  It’s just me running my own business, and giving honest quotes that I am happy to explain and then stick to.  A lot of my business comes from word of mouth and repeat customers, so if I was to act unethically, as well as this going against my principles, it would be idiotic of me from a business point of view as I’d lose that loyal customer base. 

There does seem to be a bit of dishonesty around recently, whether you look at politics, or football, or pick up any newspaper. But I do believe most people are honest, and I try to run my business that way. Please do watch out for those lead gen companies though – they give the rest of us a bad name. For any assistance with locksmith Rotherham or security issues, call me on 07990573857



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