How many times have I heard this expression since I became a locksmith ……… Countless! It seems that anyone with a trade i.e locksmith, gas fitter, electrician, plumber gets this said to them quite a lot. Why? If the job is done professionally and right, then surely that’s a good thing? Not a reason to start haggling over an already agreed price. A professional tradesperson will endeavour to get a job done as quickly as it can be done properly, time is money! If I am called to a lock out in the middle of the night then surely its in the customers best interest that I get the job done as quickly as possible? Do the customers not think they are getting their monies worth if I get the job done quicker than they thought? No thought is given to the fact that I will have gotten out of a nice warm bed to come and get that person in to their home because they have lost their keys. Before I even leave the house I (and other tradespeople) have paid for:
- A van and sign writing on the van
- Tax and insurance on that van
- Stock on that van to deal with just about every situation
- Power tools and spare batteries
- Locksmith tools (and of course our magic wands)
- A uniform to crawl in to
- Business insurance – in case it all goes wrong
- Membership of certified associations so that you know the person you are ringing at 2am is a bone fide locksmith.
Not only that but (believe it or not) I wasn’t born a locksmith! I know people will be shocked at that but, yes I had to undertake a training course and practice like you wouldn’t believe. I still, now sit and practice lock picking, I take locks apart and figure out why they don’t work and how to get past the security features lock manufacturers put in place. I do all of this in my time – I don’t get paid to do it as I am self employed, I do it so that I can be good at my job and when needed put this expertise to good use. Likewise when I wake up and feel dreadful, unfortunately I can’t ring the office and have someone cover for me, its down to me, like any other sole trader. There is no sick pay, holiday pay or overtime! You can see why then it may piss a trades person off when “Joe Bloggs” is trying to get out of paying the agreed price.
A lady goes in to surgery for new boobs. The surgeon (who has studied for years to be an expert in plastic surgery) does the job in a reasonable time and before long the lady is back in recovery and having a cup of tea. This lady would never in a million years then start to haggle with the surgeon over the agreed price of her boobs as he had done the job quicker than she thought. It would never happen, so why then haggle with a trades over the time it took them to do the job. We are not paid a day rate, we are paid per job. The price we quote is the price regardless of whether it takes 10 minutes or an hour. The price doesn’t go up if we take longer than we thought, if its a difficult job then we will be there till the door is open and you are safely back in your home.
Being a tradesperson you have to be competitive however we have all seen the “trades people” (cowboys/rouge traders etc.) offering what seems like an amazing price. Mmmmmm I bet these home owner were well impressed with their bargain locksmiths.
The same has be said for those customers who ring for a price for regular locksmith work (again this can go for most tradespeople), we all know roughly what we charge for certain jobs so a rough price can be given over the telephone. “I will get back to you” – means that they think the price is to expensive and they will get some random relative who did a joinery course back in “the day” to do it! That is absolutely fine, there are lots of people out there who are quite capable of doing the job, I mean how hard can it be???
Any qualified and professional tradesperson will take pride in their work and this will be reflected in the price they charge. Its insulting then when customers who have received a fair price and a good quality don’t feel like paying for it. I know I sound like I am whingeing, but I’m not. This is not something that happens on a to regular basis, its just when it does it can be quite embarrassing.
Before people start banging on about its my choice to be self employed – yadadadadada! I know this and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love (generally) working for myself, I love the fact that I have a set of skills that not many know, I love the fact that when I feel like crap I can stay in bed, I love the fact that I can earn a living from something I have chosen to study and practice.
Any hoo, this is the end of another blog, I’m off to haggle with the guys at McDonalds over the price of a big Mac meal and I think I’m going to pay this months phone bill with hugs!!!!