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A Guide to the Different Types of House Locks

The reason we train locksmiths is because locks are supposed to be complicated and secure. They’re specifically designed so that nobody except the key-holder can use them to gain access to wherever they’re installed. Learning how to install, operate, and replace house locks requires specific training because there are so many different types. And that’s where we come in.

Yes, like everything, there are several different types of house locks, each with their intricacies and unique mechanisms. Let’s take a look at some of the most common house locks and tell you a little more about how our MPL experts can get you trained up on every single one of them.

Padlocks

We can’t mention different types of locks without mentioning padlocks. Padlocks can be secure, safe, and reliable locks – but not for the front door of your home. That’s because padlocks are the only type of lock that is not permanently attached to whatever it’s protecting.

Mortice Locks

Mortice locks are one of the most common door locks found throughout the United Kingdom, particularly the Five-Lever Mortice lock (British Standard). In fact, mortice locks are so common, that many home insurance policies will refer to them as the house lock of choice. On our locksmith training courses, we’ll teach you all about the British Standard kitemark, and what BS3621 means.

These locks are robust and difficult to force open, since they’re protected by the strength of the door frame. A key is required to open and lock the door from both sides, and they’re easy on the eye since all of the mechanics are inside the door.

Cylinder Locks

Another common lock is the cylinder lock.

Different pins of varying lengths are combined in one assembly, and only the key which correctly fits the shape created by the assembly will open the lock. This is a common type of lock used in electronic locks, such as those with ‘fob’ permission locks.

Single-sided cylinder locks are operated by using a key on the outside of the door. Another locking device, such as a thumb-turn, is found on the inside of the door. This means that a quick exit is possible, and that becomes significant in the event of a fire or emergency. As you might imagine, a double cylinder lock requires a key for access on both sides and is more secure than a single-sided cylinder lock.

Cylinder locks can also be swapped out and changed without needing to remove the entirety of the internal hardware. On our locksmith training courses, we show you how to do that with minimal fuss.

Multi-Point Locking Systems

So, by this stage, you already know a thing or two about house locks and their locking mechanisms. If all of the different bolts, cylinders, keylocks and pins have been a little bit confusing, then you may find the popular multi-point locking system a little easier to comprehend.

It’s in the name, really. This is likely to be the type of lock you find on a uPVC door. As the key turns (on either side of the door), a minimum of three different locks move and secure themselves within the door frame. Sometimes, there can be up to five different points of contact, making it a very secure door lock. The majority of new homes will use a front door with a multi-point locking system.

Lock Types and MPL Locksmith Training

There are still many other types of lock used throughout the United Kingdom, including rim locks, and nightlatches. You can learn everything you need to know about all of these types of locks on one of our Locksmith Training Courses.

Our courses are extremely flexible, and you can learn the basics in our 1-day course, or complete the full training in an intense 5-day locksmith course. We have over two decades of experience in the industry, and our purpose-built locksmith training centre has all the resources you need to become a City & Guilds approved locksmith. Contact our team today on 01924 693 293.

5 Common Door Lock Problems and How to Solve Them

We’ve all done it – curse at doors that won’t open or close correctly. It might be a small, irritating door lock problem that worsens over time. Or, it could be one single catastrophic door lock failure. Whether you’re desperate to get indoors after a long journey, in a rush, or you’re trying to bring in the food shop, door lock problems are the last thing you need.

Their purpose is simple, but the technology and locking mechanisms behind door locks can become complicated. This makes some types of lock more prone to failure, or complications. Let’s discuss 5 of the most common door lock problems you could face. We’ll also share a few easy-to-remember solutions so that the next time you encounter a problem with your door lock, you know exactly what to do.

Misaligned Door Locks

It’s usually pretty obvious when a door isn’t correctly aligned within the door frame. Misaligned doors are unsightly and they’re certainly not great for the energy efficiency in the room. But it also means that the door lock won’t be correctly aligned either.

In its simplest form, a misaligned door lock means that the locking bolt doesn’t meet the strike plate on the door frame. When it begins, this can be an annoying door lock problem with a straightforward fix. However, this misalignment will worsen over time and could become a very serious door lock problem. Eventually, after a misaligned door has been constantly forced closed, the door lock will break.

Even if your door lock has been installed correctly, its position can move over time. Temperature changes can affect doors and even warp the material. Before you start dismantling your door lock, check the hinges on your actual door – it could be that your door is misaligned, and simply adjusting the positioning of the door might solve the problem.

If the problem isn’t with the door alignment, then you’ll need to adjust your lock and strike plate until they’re flush. Remove the strike plate and move it so that when your locking mechanism is activated, the two of them meet perfectly.

Loose Door Parts

A less serious problem is a loose door part. While this is considered more irritating than catastrophic, it’s a common problem and can eventually have serious consequences. There are many moving parts within door locks – once one of those parts becomes loose, the whole sequence is at risk of becoming damaged.

Extended use will loosen door knobs, handles, screws and latches. These loose parts mean that your door lock isn’t likely to function correctly – you might find yourself locked either inside or outside of the building. This makes things like burglaries easier, and creates a huge fire risk.

Try to tighten the screws you have access to. If that doesn’t work, the screws might have worn away completely, and need to be replaced. If, even after replacing them, there are still door lock problems, there could be a more complicated issue within the door lock mechanism.

Stiff and Jammed Door Locks and Latches

Another annoying door lock problem is a stiff, hard-to-use latch. Whether it’s a handle or a key-turn which is stiffer than it should be, this could also become a serious issue. That door lock is stiff for a reason – if you leave it for long enough, that stiff door lock will eventually become one that jams. It could become so jammed that you end up breaking your key inside the lock.

Do not ignore the signs of a stiff door lock. As with loose door parts, the risks of ignoring a potentially stuck door far outweigh the benefits of ignoring a faulty lock – your security and safety are at risk.

Doors become stiff and then unusable due to a build-up of dirt and grime within the mechanism. Try to clean the dirt away as effectively as possible with a cotton swab. Much of it will be hard-to-reach, so you might have to dismantle the lock to reach certain parts. Then, do your research and apply the correct lubricant to the jamming area. It’s important that you use the correct type of lubricant, as the wrong type could further damage the lock.

Broken Keys

It seems like you only ever break a door key when you’re already having a bad day, but the truth is that there’s more to a stuck key than bad luck. As we’ve already mentioned, ignoring common door lock problems will eventually cause a key to stick or break completely.

A key broken inside a door lock compounds the problem. As well as being stuck either inside or outside, you now have part of a key lodged very specifically into the door lock. Depending on how it broke (or got stuck), this could prevent you from moving parts of the door lock mechanism to fix the problem in the first place.

A key extraction kit has the tools you need to safely remove a broken key from within a lock. Be careful not to push any key pieces further into the lock. Once the key parts have been removed, inspect your door lock and figure out the problem – it might be time for a new door lock altogether.

Faulty Internal Mechanisms

The final door lock issue we’re going to discuss is one of the most difficult to solve – faulty locking mechanisms. Normally, this requires professional help and is the problem that is most likely to be broken beyond repair.

There are many different moving parts within a door lock. No matter how advanced or reliable your door lock is, eventually, one of those parts is going to break or wear down. When this happens, it’s normally time for a completely new door lock.

For more information and tuition about door locks and common door lock problems, check out our Locksmith Training Courses. You can train to become a fully qualified locksmith in as little as 5 days with MPL, and there won’t be a door lock problem that you won’t be able to fix.

Dave – Dortech Maintenance

Dortech Maintenance are delighted to be working with MPL Locksmiths in the upskilling and development of our site engineers. We look forward to continuing to develop this partnership and would highly recommend their training courses to others

Elliott – Engie

Six Engie carpenters attended the advanced locksmith training course at MPL Locksmith Training to improve their skillsets in force entries to SBD doors. All carpenters who attended the two day course found the course informative and beneficial.

The practical training sessions delivered by the qualified trainers enabled the Engie carpenters to perfect the non-destructive force entry in high security door locks. I would recommend MPL as a training provider as the training delivered a cost saving to the business through non-destructive force entries

Bill – Ashton Pioneer Homes

In December 2018 I sent two of my operatives to MPL for locksmith training. The training was excellent and they have been able to put this in to good use. It has shortened the time taken for evictions and helped us portray a more professional image in front of bailiffs and other staff. I would highly recommend them for training and for purchasing the right tools.

How to Promote the Benefits of Snap-Safe Cylinder Locks Over Standard Locks

One of the greatest skills you can develop as a locksmith is a good depth of knowledge about the types of locks you can install. Being able to offer your customers advice about home security in general, and locks specifically, will allow them to recognise your expertise and help to build trust.

Often, there is a trigger for having your locks changed: post-burglary or attempted burglary; a broken lock; to prevent a particular person or persons accessing the home; or when moving into a new home. However, increasing numbers of people are proactively seeking to upgrade their locks. It’s a good time to think about it, as burglaries traditionally spike around this time of year due to darker nights. Plus, the national awareness campaign – National Home Security Month – creates a lot of media noise around home security.

As well as the opportunities that lock upgrades present to locksmiths, you also have a responsibility to offer good advice and reassurance to your customers. This is more likely to generate repeat business as your customers trust your advice.

Upgrading to snap-safe cylinder locks

Locks are the first line of defence for any property and, of all the security measures you can implement, a good quality lock is the most fundamental. Reinforce this point with all customers. The most secure locks are SS312 Diamond Sold Secure standard. They are more expensive than standard cylinder locks, but here are the benefits to help you make the sale:

Traditional cylinder locks can be snapped

As we know, traditional cylinder locks are vulnerable to lock snapping where the cylinder is broken to manipulate the lock to open. Snap-safe locks break at a designated point that doesn’t allow for the lock to be opened, making a break-in much more difficult.

Lock-snapping is easy

You don’t need special tools. It takes just a few seconds to do, and you can even watch videos on YouTube that show you how to snap a lock.

Lock-snapping is common

Lock-snapping accounts for around a quarter of break-ins. With the exception of an unlocked door (a third of burglaries are insecure break-ins), it represents one of the easiest ways to access a house.

Why promote snap-safe locks?

Snap-safe locks cost a little more than standard cylinders so there’s a small additional margin to be made on the product. However, installation takes the same amount of time, so you may wonder what’s in it for you as a locksmith to convince your customers. Well, apart from the professional responsibility to enable your customers to achieve strong home security, you’re also selling your knowledge and expertise as a locksmith. This builds trust and your customers are more likely to trust you to review other locks such as windows and garages. Plus, if anyone does attempt a break-in, the most likely outcome is that the break-in will be thwarted by the lock, but the cylinder will break at its designated point and need to be replaced. No greater evidence would be required to show the value of your recommendation and you would be the tradesperson of choice for any replacements.

The skills to develop your locksmith business as well as the technical skills required all form an essential part of our locksmith training. See our locksmith training courses for all options available.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Lock?

Today, locks are an extremely important part of everyday life. From super-advanced, encryption-protected systems to simple padlocks, businesses and individuals all have information and equipment they would like to safeguard. This could be as complex and valuable as official sensitive data, or as simple as the tools in your garden shed. Regardless, you’ll be using some form of lock to protect your property.

Choosing the best type of lock can be overwhelming. It can seem like there’s an endless range of locks, each of them unique in structure, integrity and suitability. Where do you begin?

In this article we’re going to take a look at the most common types of lock that are used throughout the world. On our locksmith training courses, you’ll be exposed to these common locks and you’ll learn everything you need to know about them. By the end of the course, our newly-trained locksmiths will understand their mechanisms, their functionality and their uses in industry. Even if you have no plans to become a locksmith any time soon, here are some of the most common types of lock to be aware of.

Padlock

When we think of locks, padlocks almost always come to mind. This is a lock in its most simple form and one of the most recognisable. They are certainly useful, and, unlike other types, are normally portable. However, they don’t provide the highest level of security in comparison with other kinds of lock.

There are two different types of padlocks: combination padlocks and key-based padlocks. Combination varieties normally involve spinning dials which must be aligned in order to release the locking mechanism. As the name suggests, key-based padlocks need a key in order to be opened. Both of these types of padlock can be useful when a high degree of security is not necessarily required.

Mortice Lock

Deadbolts are perhaps another most common type of lock and again, their mechanics are straightforward. These locks are normally found on both internal and external doors of residential and commercial properties. With mortice locks, you’ll find that there are 2, 3 and 5 level types of this kind.

Their design may be uncomplicated but this ensures a strong resistance to brute force. Mortice locks are particularly useful in making sure that doors cannot be forced open.

Cylinder Locks

Cylinder locks use the fundamentals of many other locks. Types of cylinder lock include rim cylinders, screw-in cylinders and Scandanavian cylinders, as well as the most popular lock – the Euro Profile Cylinder. Many of these provide extra security with more advanced features. They have many similarities, but all look different.

These types of cylinder lock are essentially a hybrid lock which consists of two common lock forms. Each lock has a different level of security, depending on their make and type, and can all be found on aluminium, uPVC and composite doors.

Rim Cylinder

A rim cylinder will include a large tailpiece which extends through the panel and combines with the locking mechanism on the other side of the door. For that reason, rim locks are mounted on the door itself. Contrarily, mortice locks are operated by a cam instead of an extended tailpiece. Mortice locks are attached on the side of the door, since the lock hardware is installed in a hole within the door.

These cylinder locks provide a much greater degree of security, but locksmiths will typically find installing them more labour-intensive than other locks. Cylinder locks are among the more complicated locks on our training courses.

Euro Profile Cylinder

The Euro Profile Cylinder is the most common type of cylinder lock. Many Euro Profile Cylinder locks come with additional safety features, such as snap safe, anti-pick, anti-drill and lock down mode. The lock is usually held in place by one screw. It locks into place once inserted through the locking mechanism and handle set.

The three variations of this lock are similar to deadbolts: single (half cylinder, double cylinder and single cylinder with thumb turn. Keys and thumb turns are used to turn the locking mechanism within the door.

The Euro Cylinder is the key to the security of a door. Most people think this is because of how many locking points are involved. However, it’s actually down to the security of the Euro Cylinder itself. If this is bypassed, the locking mechanism can be manipulated non-destructively.

And those are just some of the most common types of lock. There are plenty more types of lock to learn about and understand, and you’ll be able to do that on each of our locksmith training courses. Check out the different options on our page to find the one that suits you best.

A Sales Guide to Access Control

In this guide, we’ve offered up some tips and tricks for anyone looking to successfully sell access control systems and your installation services to their customers. If that’s you, use this information to better your understanding of the market and to improve your own knowledge and sales technique too.

Firstly, develop an understanding of who might use access control

To be able to sell your access control systems and your services, you need to know who is on the lookout for them, or who could be interested in them when approached.

It’s the commercial market that typically invests in access control systems, with the vast majority of sales coming from developers working on new office units and industrial units, or those looking to improve their existing units. These businesses and individuals are the kind of client you should spend most of your time targeting, when looking to sell access control.

You will also find that developers of apartment buildings will be interested in some sort of access control system, so it’s well worth approaching these businesses to speak to them about your product and your services. You should also consider any new hotels being developed, along with existing hotels undergoing renovation.

When assessing the market you could promote your product and services too, location plays an important role in how well you do with your sales. Consider areas in the country that are currently undergoing a lot of development and think about offering your services in and around that location.

Top tip: If you haven’t covered these four basic steps to promoting your locksmith business as a whole, you might want to start here before focusing specifically on access control.

Ask questions to get a potential customer thinking about their security needs

When it comes to approaching a potential customer and meeting with them to discuss your product and service, it’s a good idea to really get them thinking about their security needs.

You’ll probably find that many prospects will shun the idea of investing in high end security, or changing from their existing (perhaps more traditional) security system. However, with a little conversation and further detail, you could soon help them to understand just how useful and beneficial access control can be.

Find out how many people access or will access the building on an hourly or daily basis. Explain that with so many people coming in and out of the building, it can be difficult to keep up with who should be accessing the space and who shouldn’t. Better yet, access control can allow the right people in and out at a much quicker pace than traditional security, such as keys.

Ask them what their current process is when an individual makes it into the building that shouldn’t be in there, or when someone attempts to enter the building without the proper permissions. Chances are most buildings won’t have a solid protocol in place, and from there, you can explain just how beneficial access control can be in these situations.

Bring the conversation back to efficiency, by discussing their need for remote locking features. Are there any areas of the building that need to be locked when someone enters and exits? Is there too much risk at stake by relying on individuals to lock the door themselves? You can explain how access control could automate the job for them and as a result, keep all private spaces in the building as secure as possible.

Another question you could ask them is whether or not they require a telecom system. Explain the benefits of having a telecom system and how a short term investment into this type of access control could greatly benefit the security of the building in the long term.

These are just a few of the topics you could discuss when meeting with a potential customer regarding access control and your installation services.

Think about the potential for an upsell when you win a client

When you successfully win a client over and you’re booked in to install a quality access control system into their building, it’s worth thinking about any other security areas you could upsell to them.

From CCTV to high quality key locks, has your client considered all areas of security and if not, is there anything you could suggest or recommend to them, that will help to establish trust with your new client and encourage further business down the line?

You should also consider upselling your services, by encouraging them to sign up to a contract where you regularly services and maintain the access control you have installed for them. This will sign the client up to a long term relationship and if you carry out a good job, could see you being recommended by them to other potential clients in the long run.

When it comes to selling access control and your installation services, it all comes down to knowing the target market, what is going to encourage them to sign up, and how you can create a long term relationship to promote further sales down the line.

If you’re a budding locksmith who has stumbled on this post a little early on in your career, why not think about booking onto our access control course for developing your skills and expertise? Access control is set to be one core component in the future of security, so having the skills to carry out the installation of these services is essential to the success of your long-term locksmithing career.

5 Tips For Somebody Starting A Locksmith Business

When starting any new business, there are always things to consider, but what are the specific factors to think about when planning the launch of a locksmith business? In this post, we’ve offered up a few things to bear in mind or carry out, when starting out as a business owner in the locksmith industry.

1. Make sure you receive the correct training

Training is key for any locksmith, even for those who are not looking to start their own business in the trade. If you are new to the industry, it’s true that finding the best training courses and providers can prove particularly difficult, but taking the time to research and discover the best training for you will really benefit you and your business in the long run.

Look at what’s included

When looking for a course, take into consideration the content covered. Make sure it covers all methods of entry, identification, maintenance and repair, as well as providing information on the latest high security locks.

Accreditations

Some of the more high-quality courses will offer some form of accreditation at the end. Although the locksmith industry is not regulated, a recognised accreditation that will give you credibility is a must for any aspiring businessman. These accreditations will help when it comes to marketing your business and it also looks good to the customer.

Don’t go for the cheapest option

It’s true what they say – pay cheap, pay twice, and this certainly can be the case when looking for locksmith training. The best way to find quality training is by looking at the reviews of the training provider and proof that people have succeeded after the training they received.

Does the training provider offer a backup service? This is a must when you first go live, so again, look for this in the testimonials. A lot of companies advertise this but don’t actually deliver.

2. Get your marketing right

Any training course you attend should also include business and marketing advice. It’s one thing gaining the skills practically, but if you don’t know what works and doesn’t work when it comes to advertising and promoting your business, you may struggle to get things off the ground.

Think about your target market and where you might best get their attention. Think about the tone you would like to set, to put yourself across as a friendly, honest professional that they can trust. Engage with prospective customers on the likes of social media, and make sure you cover all possible opportunities when it comes to promoting to various markets.

When dealing with enquiries, always ask the customer how they found out about you, and keep a log of the advertising source. This will help you identify what advertising is working best for you and gives you something to work from when it comes to renewing advertising with companies or adding to your promotional strategy.

When it comes to sub contract work, you need to know what sort of organisations are worth approaching and how to promote your business to them. What’s more, getting the right balance of sub contract work and work form private customers is key – if you can get this right, you will earn a decent living.

3. Make sure you have the right tools for the job

It’s important to have the right specialist tools to hand that are required for different job type scenarios you will likely come across when in business. However, there is a balance – don’t buy tools you have not yet had to use, but don’t fail to invest in the tools you know you will need. So many people have to walk away from jobs because they haven’t got the relevant tools to do the work, whilst others end up spending copious amounts of money tools that will lie unused.

Get the absolute necessities to begin with, followed by investing in specialist tools as you begin to take on more specialist work.

4. Provide a good service and offer competitive prices

It’s vital to always give your customers the best service possible. This involves everything from being professional when booking the job in, turning up on time (or communicating with the customer if you are going to be late), explaining the process of the job in hand to the customers and pricing the job before starting the work.

Jobs must be completed to a high standard in order to build a successful business that will last you many years to come. At the end of the day, happy customers are essential to the success of a locksmith business, so do everything in your power to provide a good service without costing yourself out of the market.

5. Build a reputation with customer feedback

Customer feedback is key to growing a fruitful locksmith business, so make sure to ask your customers to leave a review on your social media profiles and Google Business pages. The latter will not only help you rank higher in searches, it will also give you credibility with potential new customers from the off.

If you do happen to receive any negative feedback, always try to rectify it to make the best out of a bad situation, and potential customers will appreciate your trying to make things right.

There’s plenty more to think about when building a locksmith business, but these 5 tips were certainly get you started. Be patient, take your time and provide the very best service you can – all of this will help you to succeed as a quality locksmith business owner.

What Is Access Control And How Can It Benefit Your Business

If you’re running a business in the locksmithing industry and are looking for ways to expand, access control is an area certainly worth looking into. Offering this unique service is a sure fire way of expanding your customer base and growing your business, not to mention boosting your reputation and expertise.

Find out more about access control and how it can benefit your locksmithing business here.

What is access control?

Access control is a broad name to cover the security intercom systems put in place to manage who is and isn’t able to enter certain areas. These systems are used in abundance in today’s society, both in commercial and residential properties.

Some systems permit entry through the scanning of a key card or fob, whilst others require a code or permittance from an individual on the other end of the speaker. However, they all share the same end result of limiting the individuals within the space to just those who are supposed to be there.

Whether it’s an industrial park restricting access to staff, or an apartment block with many residents coming and going, you’ll see these security systems used throughout the country. Whilst they are mainly utilised in city centre properties,you will see the occasional access control system being used in surrounding areas too.

Access control is increasing in popularity

As the economy develops and as many more offices, residential complexes and industrial parks are created, the demand for access control systems is constantly on the up. However, it takes a certain set of skills and abilities to properly install these systems and to ensure they perform at their very best. This is where the role of a professional locksmith comes in.

Only locksmiths with the necessary skills to install access control systems will be able to carry out the job properly, so the relevant training and experience is essential. That being said, it’s well worth investing your time, money and effort into this training, as the skills you gain from it will give your locksmithing business an incredible boost.

The benefits of adding access control to your services

Locksmithing for access control systems isn’t something that’s covered as part of the basic locksmithing training. It’s a niche area in the trade and it’s very unlikely that every locksmith will take part in the additional training to develop their skills in this area.

That means that if you do, competition is very low and it’s much easier to be hired for these services for any projects in your local area.

What’s more, because it’s a rather complex area of locksmithing, the cost of your services are much higher than they would be for your simple lock change on a front door. Low competition and higher returns – need we say more about the benefits of access control for your business?

There’s also the advantage of repeat business. It’s likely that you will be asked to return to the same property for regular maintenance checks on the access control systems you previously installed. Better yet, you may even be hired by the same development company for future construction projects they carry out.

There are very few drawbacks to adding access control locksmithing to your business. It takes very little effort on your part to undergo the relevant training and, in time, you’ll soon see the great impact it can have when adding this niche to your range of services.