If, like many, you find that your new locksmith business is struggling to generate enough business leads you may be wondering what your next step is. A friend of mine who has run a Market Harborough Locksmiths for many years offers some insight into the problems new start ups face in this field. He states that the locksmith market has become saturated, with new locksmith businesses starting and failing in the area on a yearly basis. The rise of the internet and the fall of traditional paid advertising methods such as the Yellow Pages and Thomson Directory goes part way to explaining why so many new start ups fail at the first hurdle.
Many well established locksmith businesses have a good base of repeat customers, and word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising there is – always do a top notch job and you are more likely to build your own customer base of satisfied clients eager to extol your skills to friends and colleagues.
Obviously though, the new start up will need to generate calls in order to start working on their reputation building exercise. The internet provides a bewildering array of methods to do this. You will need your own locksmith website, obviously, but this on its own means nothing if no-one can easily find it via an internet search. Take the time to research Search Engine Optimisation, surely the holy grail of business in this modern age, apply the research to your own locksmith website your career will get underway. Don’t forget to add your new business to a decent locksmith directory or two, to gain valuable links to your website.
When disaster strikes, and water is running down your stairs you need an emergency plumber, fast! A plumber nearby should be your first choice, as they will have the fastest response times, and should be able to avert the worst of the calamity that has befallen you.
Ask them to advise over the phone, they should be able to guide you through shutting off your water supply to prevent further water damage. The handy local plumber should then be just a few minutes away to come and repair the leak or burst pipe.
At all costs, avoid the national companies that purport to be local. They will have large adverts in the Yellow Pages, and will have invested heavily to appear at the top of Google searches for a local plumber. Look out for freephone numbers or other tell-tale signs that they are not a friendly local tradesman. If they don’t sound knowledgeable on the telephone, or they are not familiar with your address end the call – they are not the local plumber you are looking for.
If you are a landlord of multiple properties you are probably well aware of the drama surrounding keys and locks in your properties. Departing tenants often fail to return keys. The doors and windows in rented properties are rarely cared for or properly maintained. Extra keys are cut and distributed without your permission.
It is vital that you stay on top of this situation, which is why you need to get in touch with a proactive local locksmith with vast experience of these problems. Our colleague, a busy locksmith in a university town Trent Bridge Locksmiths Nottingham, is used to these situations and more.
He recommends using a restricted key system throughout your properties, which can’t be replicated by traditional key-cutters. Copies can only be made at your request. Charge a small key deposit, and your keys will always be returned at the end of tenancy.
Consider having your local locksmith have an annual check of your locks, it can often save money in the long run as simple adjustments and maintenance can prevent expensive repairs.
If you have multiple properties, consider rotating the locks from property to property to save money on parts.
For many people, the only time they need to contact a locksmith is when they have lost their keys and find themselves locked out. Unfortunately the urgency of this situation leads many people to call the first locksmith that comes up on a Google search. Frequently this will end up costing the customer a lot more that they need to be paying a locksmith to attend a lock out situation.
Quite simply, there are many national companies that advertise themselves as ‘local’ companies. Agreed, the sub-contractor who works for them may well live locally, but the company could actually be based many miles away. They will be spending a large amount of money on advertising and also to man their call centre 24 hours. All these extra costs are directly recovered by hiking the customer’s bills by quite obscene amounts.
A friend of mine, a Northampton Locksmith, recommends doing a little research and finding a genuine, local locksmith whose bill will be far more reasonable due to lower overheads. Take the time to get recommendations from friends and family on do your own search online. Put their number in your mobile phone, and you are fully prepared should the worst happen and you find yourself locked out.
When deciding how to allocate your advertising budget, it is important to carefully consider which adverts are likely to provide the best returns. With the internet becoming many people’s favourite method of researching local services, many traditional forms of trade advertising are in danger of becoming obsolete. But how can you compete with your rivals without spending all of your budget on SEO?
This is where your expensive Yellow Pages advert ends up!
Paper directories such as the Yellow Pages and Thompsons are finding it difficult to compete with internet search engines like Yell and Google. The size of these books has shrunk significantly, and many people do not even keep a copy in their homes any more as they can find information quickly and easily on their computers, tablets and mobile phones. However, there are a few publications that may prove worthwhile.
Local papers can be the ideal platform for an ad, as they highlight the fact that you are a local business, not a national company. These ads are usually charged by the word, meaning that the cost is flexible. A simple ad should cost less than £10, and more expensive options could include photos, colours and borders to make them stand out.
Local trade magazines are also a good idea, and can also prove a cheap alternative to the larger publications. These magazines are popular with clients like Coventry Locksmiths and, due to their small size and local relevance, are likely to be kept by the public. These magazines usually offer a choice of quarter, half and full page ads, and will allow you to provide artwork of your choice.