Tag Archives: savings

How to Prevent Being Locked Out

No one wants to find themselves locked out of their home or apartment and, as evidence from just weeks ago will show, some people will go great lengths to avoid paying the cost of a locksmith. If you want to avoid having to call an emergency or 24 hour locksmith there are a few steps that you can take before leaving your home to help ensure that you do not find yourself locked out. While none of these tips may be completely flawless, they can help to put you in a better position to be able to access your residence at any point without having to call a locksmith.

Leave a Spare Key

In the past, many residents would leave a spare key hidden outside of their front door in a spot they would think is “secure”. It is not recommended to employ this strategy with your spare key. Burglars will check all of the common places that a spare key could be hidden outside and can be inside of your home in just a matter of minutes. Instead of leaving a spare key outside, leave that spare key with a close-by family member or extremely trusted neighbor. By doing this you can ensure that your key is both secure and available when you find yourself locked out of your home.

Smart Lock Installation

With the way that technology is completely ingrained in everyday life, it is a lot more common to forget ordinary house keys than it would be to forget your smartphone. Now your keys and smart phone can be one in the same and offer you access back into your home. Back at the beginning of October, lock manufacturer Kwikset began offering the first residential smart lock to the public. Rather than having to carry around an ordinary house key, you are able to easily and conveniently open your lock through an application on your smartphone. Traditional keys can still be used on the Kwikset Kevo smart lock, but with how smartphones have become attached to our everyday lives, it makes it much less likely for you to walk out of the house without your key if you have access through your smartphone.

kwikset kevo

The Kwikset Kevo is the first smart lock slated to hit the Australian market on October 1.

Location Apps

In addition to being able to actually open your lock, smart technology offers other avenues through which you are able to keep track of your house keys. Some applications, such as the Tile App, allow for you to locate your keys through an application on your smartphone. Before leaving your home, or locking your door, you can pull up thee location application on your smartphone to ensure that you have your keys with you.

Anytime that you do find yourself locked out of your home, it is wise to have a professional 24 hour locksmith that you know you are able to turn to. Pronto Locksmiths offers just this to the residents of Brisbane and Gold Coast. With an average response time of just 40 minutes and over 15 years of industry experience, Pronto Locksmiths is a locksmith that you can trust to complete any lock service. Contact Pronto Locksmiths today to receive professional advice or to request your locksmith service.

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What is bait and switch?

A lot has been made about bait and switch tactics in the locksmith industry, but many may be left wondering, what exactly is bait and switch, and why are locksmiths doing it? While we will provide readers with an idea of what bait and switch tactics are, Pronto Locksmiths always has, and always will, offer fair pricing to our customers and you can call at any point to receive a no obligation price quote.

Step 1: The Bait

There is a simple reason that bait and switch locksmiths are able to continue to thrive, and that is lack of preparation on the side of the customer. If you are able to complete research before you are in need of locksmith service, then you are unlikely to run into this type of issue in the future. What generally happens when someone is locked out of their home or vehicle is that they turn directly to a search on their smart phone and usually call one of the first choices there. When calling this first locksmith, the customer may ask for the price of the service, and when they do, are given that the service “starts at” a low, seemingly reasonable price. The customer accepts and a locksmith is generally dispatched to their location.

The Switch

After the locksmith arrives on scene he will complete service as the customer had recommended, however he will then hand the customer a bill which could be as much as five times more than the initial “bait” price. Either through intimidation or the customer not wanting to waste anymore time, the customer will generally pay the larger fee and go back about their day.

How it Happens

There are two main reasons that locksmiths are able to get away with this. The first being that many customers do not have a specific locksmith to turn to when they are in need of service. Since many customers have begun turning to digital sources to find their locksmith, it is easy for these unprofessional and predatory services to come up above more reputable locksmiths in online searches. These unprofessional locksmiths know this, and they also know that anyone who has lost their car key or is locked out of their home is likely in a rush to get back in. They use this to their advantage and assume that customer will pay this inflated price once it is provided. Some customers do, but for other this can be extremely frustrating and make you feel as if you were taken advantage of. There are easy ways to avoid this happening to you.

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of bait and switch, you only have to make sure to complete a few minutes of research when you have the free time. Whenever is comfortable, make the call to a few local locksmiths and verify their pricing, with quotes, to ensure that you will never be up-charged once you are in an emergency situation. By strengthening customer knowledge, we can help to rid ourselves of these “bait and switch” locksmiths who prey on the misfortunate of everyday customers.

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What to Look for in a Mobile Locksmith

Being locked out of your home or losing your car keys can be an extremely frustrating situation. When this occurs you want to already have a vetted mobile locksmith who will be able to assist you rather than having to find one on the spot. It is highly recommended that you first find a locksmith in your area, that can be trusted, before you ever are in need of service. If you are not prepared and find yourself in need of locksmith service, you can easily be fooled into paying astronomical amounts for less than professional service. Pronto Locksmiths has tips on what to look for in your mobile locksmith when vetting companies. Finding a locksmith who suites your needs before any service is needed, will help you to save money and hassle in the long run.

24 Hour Locksmith Availability

You never know when you may find yourself locked out of your home or vehicle, so it is best to have a locksmith already saved to mobile device who will be able to assist you. When vetting locksmith companies make sure to ask if they are available 24/7 for service. It is also important to ask whether it will also be a professional completing overnight service and not an apprentice in training. Additionally, you will want to ask what the rate for overnight service is compared to the rate during normal business hours. All of this information will help you to decide if that company is right as your 24 hour locksmith.

Pricing

As mentioned above, asking for pricing is crucial when choosing a locksmith. Before choosing your locksmith for service, ask the price of likely services that you may need. Since price can differ based on your location, ask for a price quote for lock outs near your work and home. It is also recommended to ask the locksmith a price for the replacement of your car key, this is important to know since his price will likely be much cheaper than that of the dealership. All of this will help you to make an informed decision for your which locksmith should be yours, but beware, if a locksmith can not offer you a price quote for a specific service they may be trying to pull the bait-and-switch tactic on you and should be avoided.

Service Area and Professionalism

It is obviously crucial to check the service area of the locksmith that is going to be providing service for you. As mentioned above, the distance a locksmith has to travel can affect pricing, so make sure that you are within the service area of your locksmith at both your home and work. Lastly, but most certainly not least, check the professional credentials of the locksmith which you are choosing. You want to make sure that only a true professional is completing service on your home or vehicle. By choosing a professional, like Pronto Locksmiths, you can not only rely on the locksmith for emergency services, but also use his training and expertise to help upgrade your home or commercial security.

By taking the time to simply call a few local locksmiths before you are ever in need of service, you can prevent large charges and unexpected hassles in the future. All it takes is just a few short minutes, to call your local locksmith to check a few basic details which will give you peace of mind that you will always be able to reach a professional when you are in need of emergency locksmith services.

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Proper Installation by a Locksmith Saves You Money

As a Brisbane locksmith for nearly 20 years now, I have seen many changes to my industry. When I first began, locksmithing was not even considered a trade and no ticket or certificate was available. It was really a case of sink or swim; you either had the skills or you did not. Twenty years ago, locks were more likely to be repaired using parts available from the manufacturer. However, in today’s lock industry, mass production in other countries has made it more economical to replace locks than it is to repair. That is not to say that the skills learned 20 years ago have no relevance. Having a professional locksmith who you can turn to for lock and key service is extremely important. If you do choose to have a handyman or carpenter install your lock then you could be faced with large repair bills in the future. Fractions of an inch in error can cause your lock to fail in the future, avoid this from occurring by selecting a true professional from the beginning.

Just last week I was called by a real estate agent and asked to respond to the site as soon as possible to repair a faulty front door lock. I wish I could say I was shocked by what I found when I arrived on site but honestly it is all too common. The lock was a Gainsborough Tri-Lock and the latch was not retracting all the way into the door when the tenant used the handle this was, of course, creating a lockout situation and the tenant was scared to close and lock the door since they may not be able to get out again.

A handyman would have simply replaced the lock, written a bill and moved on, but would have missed the underlying problems. The tell tale sign that there were deeper issues was the new lock did not fit easily into the old holes on door. This resulted in friction with-in the lock mechanism which in turn created excessive wear on moving parts. All leading to lock failure on a lock less than 10 years old.

locksmith snib rotor

Pictured is the split snib rotor which disabled the resident’s lock.

Pictured above is the Snib Rotor from the Tri-Lock. If you look closely, you will notice the splits around the square hole. Once split, the snib rotor cannot hold the square spindle firmly and of course will not retract the latch properly. This results in the lockout tenant had reported.

Could I have simply replaced the old lock with a lock which did not have a split in the snib rotor? Yes, however this would only solve the problem in the short term. A handyman or carpenter is likely to simply install a new lock to solve the problem in the short term, without eliminating the long term issues that caused the original lock to fail. This is why some locks have a much longer lifespan than others. A handyman or carpenter who installs a lock does not have a concentration which focuses solely on locks and keys like a locksmith does. So when they install a lock, normally to save the builder a few dollars, there are likely to be long term issues which can cause you lock to fail or become damaged. This is all because a locksmith knows and understands how a lock works, and which parts wear and which ones don’t and why.

proper lock installation

Pictured above the white line you can see the misaligned holes drilled by the initial contractor.

The photo above shows how important it is to have your lock properly installed. The two holes at the top of the image are the ones I drilled so that the lock would work properly. The two just below it are the original holes drilled by the original installer. Notice what is different? The top holes are located a little to the right. This is the correct position for the fixing holes, and by having them installed in the correct position we can eliminate internal friction and as a result increase the functional lifespan of the lock. Please note that I also used a lock with a slightly longer cover plate to cover the old incorrect mounting holes.

door with trim removed

This image shows the door after the door trims had been removed.

The first problem was of course the mounting holes which were in the wrong spot. Once I had fixed that issue and assembled the lock I noticed that the door seals were also creating back pressure on the latch. It is this increased dragging on the latch that also creates premature lock failure. In order to relieve pressure, the only action to take was to have the door’s seal removed.

door seals

Door seals which were removed to help improve the lifespan of the customer’s lockset.

One thing to note is that 99% of the locks available for the Australian domestic market now are NOT designed to operate with the back pressure created by installing a seal around the door frame. Yes, by all means, install a weather seal at the bottom of the door (I use and recommend Raven Door Seals). However, you should think long and hard before you go to your local hardware supplier and buy a roll of felt or rubber sealing for the frame. Ideally a little bit of free play (or a rattle) of 1-2mm is perfect.

A simple test is to turn or push your door handle while you have the door open, if it operates with ease when door is open but is stiff when door is closed, then you may have a problem. Its ALWAYS cheaper to get a locksmith to service an open door than it is to get a locksmith out to open a door lock which has failed and then fix the issue that caused the failure in the first place. The important thing is to take preventative action by calling a locksmith as soon as you notice the issue, rather than waiting until the lock deteriorates at a later point.

The poor owner of this property had to buy a whole new lock to fix the snib rotor problem and pay for the time to diagnose as well as repair the back pressure and crooked lock. Unfortunately for this owner, replacement Tri-Lock’s are not cheap! It would have cost far less to fix before the lock failed.

A Locksmith Saves You Money in the Long Run

It is also worth noting that when any lock manufacturer cycle tests their product it is never tested on a door with back pressure and the lock is always installed straight and true. I have seen many warranty claims against manufacturer’s rejected because the lock was “not installed to manufacturer specifications”. When I first began locksmithing one the first things I was ever taught was that the difference between a lock or a key working and not working is 0.002 of an inch! Next time you have your lock service, ask yourself; is the small savings in the short term, worth the additional repair costs in the future?

This post was authored by Tony P. of Pronto Locksmiths. Tony has over 15 years of professional locksmith experience and is happy to share his vast knowledge with residents of Southeast Queensland.

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