Locksmiths are all thieves who charge unholy amounts purely because they know they can, right?
Being a locksmith these days isn’t easy. Life in the 1990s was much simpler, in pre-internet days: an ad in a local parish newsletter provided many locksmiths with most of their business. London was still the sort of place where homes near to the centre were affordable.
Things are very different nowadays. Tradesmen are feeling the squeeze:
A hike in business rates makes it very hard to have your own workshop or office space. A lot of preparatory work is done at the back of a van, for example, or in a garage at home, miles away.
It’s no longer common for tradesmen to live near the centre of town. The amount of locksmiths in all the central post codes has dramatically decreased over the years. Everybody is now in suburbia, driven away from expensive areas. Living further from the centre usually increases the average time spent on the road.
And even a van causes trouble! People are cracking down on diesel emissions. This will sooner or later become a problem for all of us, but vans are usually affected first in these matters.
London’s congestion charge is a burden many locksmiths face, too, which erodes £11.50 in profits every day spent inside the zone.
In fact, central London isn’t a nice place to be in a vehicle in the first place. It’s crowded and there’s nowhere to park. Our engineers occasionally have to park far away and bring all their tools along with them in a taxi or on the Tube to get to their final destination! The traffic is slow and dense, and it’s rarely a pleasant experience being there as a man in a van.
New laws about using mobiles in cars are particularly severe. At Metrolocks, of course, we condemn phoning while at the wheel without a hands-free device, but many are still caught out. If a locksmith makes that mistake, he is burdened with six points on his driver’s license!
And if all this weren’t enough, the government’s workplace pension scheme imposes a higher cost to all locksmiths who have their own staff or apprentices.
It’s an expensive game to be playing. Locksmiths don’t have it easy, and they’re feeling the squeeze.
But in spite of all this, we remain humbly at your service, ready to spring into action the moment you need us.