As an Edinburgh locksmith I see many websites heavily advertised on the radio and television that claim to be about vetting tradesmen and making getting quotes easy etc. Obviously they can’t be named here, but these should be avoided. We can call them ‘Quote a Trade’. These are big businesses that make a HUGE amount of money from people using the service. Customers don’t pay to use it but the tradesmen do, usually 10-20% of the estimated job cost. All 3 people who come to give you a quote pay this fee whether they get the job or not.
Why is this a problem for customers?
1. Skill of Tradesmen Not Guaranteed
What decent, busy, skilled tradesman whether it be a plumber, electrician or locksmith, would pay a fee to quote for a job? The unfortunate reality is that the people that come to see the job don’t have a steady stream of work from regular sources.
2. Higher Prices
When quoting for a job they have to first of all cover the costs of getting the lead from ‘Quote a Trade’ and also be cheap enough to beat the other 2 tradesmen who have also been sold the lead. This squeezes the profit margin and encourages the use of poor quality parts and corner cutting on the job.
3. Quality of Parts
I recently attended an emergency lockout where the customers had gone with the cheapest quote from one of these websites. They had 3 deadlocks installed on exterior doors of their home. The main entrance lock had failed, unsurprisingly; as it was a brand I’d never heard of and was most definitely NOT an insurance approved lock. After doing some research I found these locks are sold on eBay for £5.79 each…… a proper, knowledgeable locksmith wouldn’t dream of using parts like this on exterior doors, or interior for that matter.
Should they have been unfortunate enough to be burgled their insurance company would not have paid out. This is sadly what happens all too often when customers use these quote finder websites.
4. Quality of Website Reviews
These quote/lead finder websites advertise that the tradesmen are rated by customers, but in reality the online review system is easily and very often manipulated by tradesmen to try and get more work.
To be clear, it’s not all bad. There are good local tradesmen on these websites but RARELY will you get a better deal than if you find them on your own.
The only winner is ‘Quote a Trade’!
My advice to all customers is to call your own local trusted trades people – you’ll still get quotes for free, but they’ll probably be the same price or cheaper and include better quality materials and a more comprehensive job. After all, who would you rather give your money to? A friendly, local business or a greedy company feeding off honest tradesmen that you’ll never see face to face?
Hero Locksmith is a trusted, local locksmith in Edinburgh. We always use good quality branded parts that come with a 12 month guarantee and our prices are always honest and affordable. Please get in touch or Tel: 0131 603 7329 for a free, no obligation quote.