When disaster strikes, and you lose your car keys, or get locked out, it’s really painful. In the fifteen years we’ve been in business, we’ve met countless people, waiting days and sometimes weeks to get mobile again. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith to help you.
We’ve written this article to give you a few pointers on finding a good quality company. For most of you reading this, we’ll be miles from you and can’t help you. However, we hope these pointers will save you time and money and will also help the other local independent Auto Locksmiths around the UK and the world.
Locked out and somewhere to be
A few weeks ago, we took a phone call just as we opened up in the morning. A young man had locked his keys in an Audi A6 and needed them out urgently. We told him the earliest time we could do was 3pm, later that day.
Next, he visited us at the shop, not realising we were the same company, and explained how important it was to get into the car. He was driving to collect a family member from the airport and they would be waiting. Again, we explained the earliest was 3pm.
Lastly, he called us again and was very angry. He told us he’d already paid £100 to a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith over the phone, and we were supposed to be there and wasn’t going to pay again. There was clearly some confusion.
After checking the number, it was clear he’d spoken to a large national company who quoted £180 to unlock the car and promised to be with him within 90 mins, so he paid them the £100 deposit. It wasn’t us and no-one else arrived.
Once we’d cleared up the confusion, we opened the car, he happily paid us just £90, and he was on his way. So, lets explain how this happened.
Finding a local car Key Man Auto Locksmith
There are two problems that you’ll come across when looking for a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith. Either you live in the middle of nowhere, and have no choice, or, you are in the middle of a city and have too much choice! Both problems can lead to calling an inexperienced, badly equipped locksmith, that will not have the skills or technology to help you. So, here’s what we recommend.
This is easy to say, but it will save you money if you take some time to do some research of who’s in your area.
We recommend the following.
Call your local car garage.
Hopefully you have a good relationship with whoever looks after your car. The garage will have a number of their local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith. Garages are an amazing source of good contact numbers for keys, air-conditioning, chipped windscreens and car electrics etc. Many garages are one-man-bands and they can’t possibly have the skills and equipment to do it all. Therefore, they have a network of go-to tradesmen to help them. They may give you a number to deal direct, or they may want to sort it out for you.
Ask on Facebook.
Most of us are on Facebook and we share our perfect world for everyone to see. But did you know that Facebook is an amazing search engine for getting help? A simple post asking for help is all that’s needed, does anyone know anyone? We have a Facebook page and are messaged every day, asking for help. People don’t like to recommend anyone that may be shoddy or dodgy, so the contacts you get should be good.
Search on Google for a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith.
This is normally the first thing people do, but we rank it in third place. Google is the perfect place to find your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith, however it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We all love Google, it’s a goldmine of information and contact numbers, but the way advertising works can leave you making a bad choice on who to call. Let me explain.
When you’ve lost your car keys, and need a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith, you’d hope that the perfect, local expert would pop up as first choice. However, we all know this isn’t what happens. Google sells most of the first page to advertisers. These are national companies that pay a lot of money to get themselves on the first page, in Bold green and they are hoping you’ll click on them. We know this, because we’ve spent thousands of pounds in the past to be up there on the first page.
It’s possible that your local expert is there. However, it can be very expensive to advertise, and your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith will probably be a man in a van, small business, without the funds to pay a lot of money to Google. We’ve been there and any profit you make in a month can quickly get eaten up by Google AdWords.
Who should I choose on Google?
Take a look at a search we did. We looked for ‘locked out of car Lincoln’. This is where we live and and our business is based, but we don’t advertise using Google Adwords. Therefore we’re not first on the list.
The first result that comes up is an advert. You can see this because it has ‘Ad’ in a green box as part of the search result. This is an excellent example of Google showing you something that’s not helpful. For a start, this company is not a local car key man auto locksmith. When we click on the ad, (sorry Lincoln Locksmiths) they have a list of what they do, none of which mentions cars and unlocking them.
I know nothing about this company, or have any reason to choose them as an example. They are most probably excellent. However, they don’t do what I need and this is a good example of the problems with diving straight in with a Google search.
The second result isn’t much better. Another Ad, this time an Auto Locksmith. However, the problem is they are nearly 50 miles away and unlikely to drive all that way just to unlock a car!
Do I need a local company? What’s wrong with choosing a National Company?
Our next search result was a national company. They certainly aren’t from Lincoln. I’m sure they are a good company, and not the company our customer called in the story above. However, they’re certainly not based locally.
When you click on the advert, there is a page that mentions electrical work, not locksmith work!
The problem is basically how the Auto Locksmith business is set. Throughout the UK, there are hundreds of specialists, like us, that are good at cutting car keys and doing a professional job. However, as we’ve shown, the companies that advertise on page one of Google may not be one of us.
Sometimes, they’re nothing more than a re-seller, or a broker. When you call them, their job is to find a local person in your area that will do the job. However, they won’t tell you this and when you talk to them, they’ll want a deposit off you to ‘secure an express service’.
Why they want a deposit
What this means is, they want £50-£100 deposit, so they can then start phoning around to find someone local in your area. I’m not suggesting the national company shown above do this, I just use their advert as an example of a national company.
Then, someone from the national company will do a local search, or have a network of people to call on. They’ll be tasked with the job of coming out to you. Now on paper, this may seem like a good way to find a local Car key Man Auto Locksmith.
However, every month we talk to customers that have waited days and paid a large deposit, but no-one has arrived, just as in the story above. This is simply because the big national company can’t find anyone to do the job. Maybe the people they normally use are on holiday, or sick, or just too busy doing their own work. Whatever the reason, you’re left waiting, and waiting.
If you call a company on Google and they want a deposit to come out and unlock your car, alarm bells should ring. Why does a local Car key Man Auto Locksmith need to take money from you up front? Now sometimes, if we’re ordering a very unusual key for your car, or a purpose-built car lock, we’ll also need to take a deposit.
But it’s quite unusual and we never do it when unlocking a car. In fact, it’s a curse to be paid before the job is done. Whenever we’re paid up front, we seem to have problems! So, if they want money off you, ask them ‘where are you based?’ and see what they say.
How Do I find a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith instead of a national company?
We’d advise looking at the first listing that isn’t an advert. Look at the listing and have a read who they are.
Hopefully they’ve filled out their ‘Google Place’. If they have, they’ll show up on a map, with a photo of the van, or shop they work out of. There will also be links to call them or find them on the map.
Take a look at how we’re shown on Google to give you some idea of what to look for. This is not a paid listing, we’re not advertising. If they have a Google listing, then hopefully they’ll have some reviews. Straight away this will show you if they’re trustworthy and capable of helping you. Are other customers happy with using them as a local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith? It’s very easy top pick up the odd poor review and we have a couple, simply for not getting back to customers fast enough. However, the bulk of the reviews need to be positive.
Check out their website.
Do they have a website? Now having a website doesn’t mean they’re good at what they do. There are still plenty of old school tradesmen that don’t want to mess about with websites but are brilliant at what they do. We understand this. However, a website is a chance for you to meet the very person that you are just about to give lots of money to. Again, hopefully they’ll have more reviews and testimonials from happy customers.
Give them a call.
Just have a chat with them. Tell them you need help and be prepared to give them the make, model and car registration. Telling them your car is red, or you ‘think it’s a Citroen’ isn’t going to help you or them. Once you’ve given them this information, your local Car Key Man Auto Locksmith should be able to give you a price and time to come and help you get into your car or get mobile again.
They won’t answer, what do I do?
Imagine you are doing their job. They will either be hard at work, concentrating on making keys, picking a lock, or programming keys. Or they’re talking to another customer on the phone, or they are driving from one job to the next.
So, this means when you call them, they may not answer the phone. If you can, leave a message and text them, asking for a call back and say if it’s urgent. This will help them decide whether they should stop what they are doing and call you, or call you once they have finished for the day. Unlocking a car can take enormous concentration, and many will not answer the phone unless it’s urgent.
Another good check is to call your local garage and ask if they have heard of the company you’re thinking of using. If there are bad companies, the word quickly gets around.
How much should I be paying for car keys?
This is a really difficult question to answer, simply because there are lots of things that change the price. Also it will depend on the level of competition in your area. Click here for a guide to what determines the price of your car keys.
So, take care, call around and don’t rush in. There are lots of really good, professional local Auto Locksmiths that can help you, but sometimes finding them can be a bit tricky. Good luck!