Sir Fix A Lock

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Blog Summer 2018

Sep. 16th 2018

Blog Summer 2018

Failed and Locked UPVC Doors

If you have a UPVC or Composite door, the gears in the Multi Point Locking (MPL) system are complicated, small and fragile. When working however, they give you very good security with their multiple points of locking. It is best practice to keep the door and MPL system serviced by a professional who will make sure that the door is hung correctly, aligned and serviced with the correct lubricant. This will ensure your security is working well for years to come.

I work on many doors a week that have failed. Customers normally tell me that they’ve never had the door serviced and the mechanism was making a noise or getting more difficult to lock over time. If you call me on the first symptoms of a problem, there is a very high chance that a service will completely fix your door with no parts required. I also will show you how to keep on top of the lubrication which only takes 1 minute. What I can promise is that if you don’t, then you will be locked out with the multipoint locks engaged and expensive parts will be required. I can guarantee this as it’s something I do all the time. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

However, with a locked and failed UPVC door, not all is lost; the door does not have to be destroyed to get it open. We have thorough knowledge of the systems and the right tools to get the door open though and in a way that will not damage your door. We can also fully secure your door whilst permanent parts are sourced. Although a new MPL costs somewhat, it is far cheaper than a whole new door and it will be completed quickly thus protecting your home and it’s contents from unwanted persons.

Master Suites and Keyed Alike Properties

Having one key to open all your doors to your property is a great convenience. It saves you carrying a big bunch of keys around and fumbling for the right key in the dark or when you’re in a rush. There are various levels/standards of having a one key option to suit both your security and budget requirements.

Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd also has Master Suite systems that enables individual keys to open single doors but also a Master Key to open them all.

Other benefits include never having copied keys as each key is cut from scratch as a new key. If you lose a key, you only need to contact me and I’ll cut a new one from the workshop so there is no locksmith callout to open a door. The keys are restricted so that means no unauthorised people can get copies made anywhere so your controlled security is always intact.

HMS Ocean

This magnificent ship, which was the Royal Navy’s Flag Ship, has recently been retired and sold to the Brazilian Navy. As part of its conditions of sale, it has to be in fully working order. Many of the locks in the Officers and Senior Rates quarters had no locks or keys. The locks are specialist and very hard to source. To try and find them in the quantity required proved difficult however we were able to get them and install the new locks to the ship quarters.

Award Nominations

Sir Fix-a-lock has been shortlisted and at the awards nights for two awards this year. In April, we were finalists at the Herald Business Awards in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. In May we were at the Devon Chamber of Commerce awards in the Customer Service category. Trading Standards ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme also started a new monthly ‘Member of the Month’ award and Sir Fix-a-lock was the first ever recipient in the South West for this new feature. I am very proud at where we are as a small business and the successes we are achieving. I’ll continue to ensure that high standards are pursued to keep ourselves on top form and being the best we can.

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Best Lock? Blog May 17

May. 8th 2017

Best Lock? Blog May 2017

I’m still buzzing as I scribe this blog, with fond memories from a couple of weeks ago when I won the Plymouth Herald Business Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. There was some tough competition but as the photo shows, I couldn’t believe it when I heard Sir Fix-a-lock being called out as the winner as I had been runner up for the past seven finals I’ve been to. The award was for charity events I’ve been working on in the past year. Not only have I been raising money for charity as Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd but also for years when I was in the army.  It’s something that everyone can easily get involved in and it’s not always about giving money. Charities always need volunteers and I would always ask if you have some spare time, give a little up to help others. You will gain a lot from it from the feel good factor and help make a difference in someone else’s life.

Herald Business Awards 2017 at the Plymouth Pavilions. Picture: Paul Slater/PSI

Herald Business Awards 2017 at the Plymouth Pavilions. Picture: Matt Gilley.

On the locksmith side, Sir Fix-a-lock has been moving from strength-to-strength gaining more customers and much more repeat custom.  This generates a lot of referrals and I’m eternally happy with everyone helping out in this way.  I have been working hard in the whole 6 years of this business to help people not getting ripped off either by terrible work with bad trades people or horrendous overpricing. I’ve been educating either on jobs, presentations to business network groups and by giving free advice and tips on the video section of my website. I also regularly post to the Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd pages on social media showing what bad trades people get up to.  Please subscribe to my social media pages to see the latest news.

Although the mechanical side of security is currently better than it ever has been, the electronic side seems to be gearing up with the latest technology being put into locks. There are now locks out there that you can open with your smart phone. They’re currently costly as the technology is always being upgraded and a lot of effort is being invested in this field.  Personally I think value for money is still better with mechanical locks which also gives you maximum security.  I myself have stuck to mechanical locks until I feel 100% behind electronic security.

My Lock

Some people ask what lock I have at my place.  I use what I think is the best-of-the-best, the Evva 3 Star British Standard Euro cylinder.  Why do I think it’s the best? Simple, it’s the one that scares me the most if I had to bypass the security and would take me the longest to get in. The system starts with a restricted security key which cannot be cut at any shop.  Every key is cut from a specialist machine from scratch meaning every new key is a brand new and not a copy.  This stops any ‘sticking’ of the key which not just stops frustration but also prolongs the life of the cylinder.  The cylinder has anti drill pins but it can’t be drilled in the conventional manner anyway as it has a different setup inside compared to normal cylinders. It has a side bar system as well as the side pins and coupled with the profile shape, this makes  it pretty impossible to pick open. It has not one but two anti snap features.  Most anti snap cylinders have a sacrificial cut but the Eva 3 Star as an added system that when attacked, it fires a pin into the cam thus locking it into place.  Only a locksmith who understands the system (and there’s not many who do) can then get past that. On top of that, it will take some time even with that knowledge to get past the security. If all that wasn’t a headache in itself, I’ve got a 2 Star handle on my door to boost the security even further. All these words may seem gobbledygook so I’m more than happy to show you the cylinder if you visit my workshop on the Hoe. Just call me for an appointment and I’ll show you it all in action.

As a reminder, I can cut all types of keys from my workshop as well as in the back of the van. My machines are always calibrated and because I understand locks and how they work, I will always ensure your copied key works first time unlike other high street stores. I do not repair shoes though as I don’t pretend to be a cobbler!

Paul Bushell, Company Director, Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd

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Blog Nov 16

Nov. 15th 2016

Plymouth Locksmith Update

Blog Nov 16

So much has happened since I last blogged that I don’t know where to start. Firstly I must say how I’m amazed the way the business has gone from strength-to-strength being multi nominated for various awards this year alone. Sir Fix-a-lock was a finalist at the Plymouth Heralds Business Awards in the Corporate Social Responsibility and the Green Business categories. I was also a finalist at the Devon Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for best Micro Business. As I scribe this blog, I await the outcome at the upcoming Western Morning News Business Awards in the Customer Service category where I’m representing Plymouth with competition from Wadebridge, Honiton and Chudleigh. I’ve also just found out that I have been put forward for the Plymouth Heralds Community Awards which was a shock to learn. I’ll update you all on my next blog.

I’ve also been busy in ensuring my business is very much seen to be at the top of customer service reviews. For some time I’ve had the most positive reviews on the Trading Standards ‘Buy with Confidence’ website in the whole of the South West. This is something I wish to maintain. On Google, I’ve the most positive reviews in the whole of Plymouth, again another achievement I’m very proud of. I’ve been a member of the National Network of Approved Locksmiths since I finished my training nearly 6 years ago. Just recently, I’ve been accepted as a member of the Master Locksmiths Association, which is a big boost. Lastly I have been awarded a Bronze Award recently by the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme, so 2016 has been a very busy year in pushing my small business right to the top of its tree in the region.

Right, now down to the stuff you all like reading about, interesting lock stories. Just recently I came across a terrible attempt at a simple cylinder replacement (picture attached). Sometimes a cylinder can be a bit of a struggle to align through both the inner handle, through the lock and out through the outer handle. Usually loosening the screws on all 3 parts helps in guiding a cylinder through but on this photo, a handyman didn’t obviously know what he was doing. What he did next is something I’ve never seen before and something that had made locksmiths from around the world look in amazement when I posted the pictures online. He shredded the handle to make the hole bigger creating sharp metal edges all around the cylinder. The pensioner whose flat it belonged to even cut herself on those sharp edges when trying to lock her door. Why he had to even do that to the handle beggars belief but why didn’t he file it down before leaving is something I cannot fathom.

slide1

I would always recommend that people check out who they are calling to their house by doing thorough research online of the company involved. Read the reviews and you’ll be able to see if they’re genuine easily enough. Check the Trading Standards website as that’s a website that companies do not have control over. Even something simple like asking friends on social media can help as you’ll usually get a tradesperson who someone has used before. For your elderly parents though, I’d always recommend that they ring you to get assistance rather than leaving them to the perils of the cowboys out there. The elderly tend to use Yellow Pages rather than the internet. The main problem with that is that the national companies mostly use that form of media and they tend to not have as much customer care than a local and independent trader. If they insist on using that media then help them by checking the company out online just to ensure they do not get ripped off.

Ok, that’s enough for now but please be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Linked In to get all my latest updates and pictures as they happen as well as any details of upcoming competitions. I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and feel free to comment or ask any questions. Until next time, keep safe and be careful.

Paul, MD Sir Fix-a-lock

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Blog Feb 16

Feb. 22nd 2016

Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd Blog Feb 16

Firstly, sorry it’s been a while since my last blog but a lot has happened in the past few months. I suppose the biggest news is that I now have a new building, called Camelock, on the Hoe in Plymouth. Johnny Mercer MP officially opened the building in Oct. Camelock is now my main base in the city from where I can repair locks in the workshop and even cut keys while you wait. I can also open up to sell locks if you wish to install them yourselves. Advice can also be given on the installation if required. Please call me before you visit the premises as I’m still primarily a mobile locksmith so I’m out on the ground most of the time.

Camelock, home of Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd

Also in Oct, I was a runner up in the Professional Services category at the Herald City & Waterfront awards. This was something I was particularly proud of especially when I was up against some big businesses against me on my own. The results came down to voting by the public so the fact I was even there was amazing and down to you all. I once again thank you for your solid support.

The UPVC door & window repair side of the business had increased in recent times as people get to hear about that side of my work. It’s very costly to replace whole units and when they can be repaired, this brings your costs down significantly. Almost every part of your UPVC door and window can be repaired from broken hinges (friction stay), mechanisms (espags) and replacement your double-glazing sealed units.

All double-glazed units can either be normal glass, toughened, frosted/patterened and even argon gas filled to enhance the thermal protection properties of the units. Quite often, condensation will get into old glass units and it cannot escape and makes viewing outside difficult. A new unit will give you a clear view and also lets more light in.

The majority of my jobs come down to lack of lubrication on your locks and window mechanisms. Like a car engine, all these parts have metal-to-metal movement and require servicing. With simple self help at a very small price, you can prolong the life of your doors and windows by many years with simple lubrication. The video section of my website shows you everything you need to know and the advice is free. Please feel free to watch them and save yourselves a lot of money.

If you ‘like’ my Facebook page of ‘follow’ me on Twitter, you’ll get all the latest info on Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd as it happens. I try to show you some of my more interesting work or information which will become useful to you. I will not bombard the sites with sales or such like as I find these a turn-off myself so please feel free to follow those pages.

If you feel there are any topics I should cover on the next blog, please contact me anytime and I will happily research it and publicise it here for you.

All the best, Paul.

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Blog March 2015

Mar. 4th 2015

Paul Bushell The Plymouth LocksmithBlog Mar 2015

It’s been a while since my last blog due to being very busy for the past few months so hopefully I’ll be able to fill you in on what’s happened in that time.

Sir Fix a Lock has invested in a lot of new equipment including an electronic key machine that will cut keys to code. For example, if you had a filing cabinet or drawer system that had a lock but no keys, there is usually a number stamped on the lock. The new machine will take that code and cut a key to fit it thus you’ll have a working lock again. More information and a picture of the new machine can be found here.  Key Cutting

Another new addition to the business is the new TS007 3 star lock from Evva which is, I believe, the best cylinder on the market at this time. With strong Austrian engineering, the cylinder has anti-snap features on top of all the other security components on the 1 star system. It can be keyed alike or master keyed to any lock upgrade including padlocks, filing cabinets and with locks on wooden and UPVC doors. The locks also come in many colours to suit your needs. More details can be found on the website here. Profile Cylinders

evva-eps-cylinder

I’ve now passed over all my safe work to a sister company called The Safe Knight Ltd as that company will invest in the safe side of the trade. Safe locks, the entry of safes, the installation, removal, disposal and all the tools and ancillaries are different beasts when compared to normal locksmithing. The Safe Knight will move forward, ensuring that all customers safe needs are met fully and as professionally as Sir Fix-a-lock has done so. The beta website can be found here: Safe Knight Ltd

Lastly, I’ve had a few videos made, an advert and four hints and tips videos. I’ve always known that it’s personality that sells a business so I wanted to make sure that people knew who I am. It also has given me a chance to have a small starring role for my new apprentice, Lottie, who can be seen running from my bike to a customers child. Slightly cheesy but with some humour, you can watch the advert on my homepage.

I’ll hopefully not be keeping you waiting so long between blogs in the future. With the Locksmith Expo taking place this weekend, I’m sure I’ll have some stories to tell with new security ‘toys’ and items to tell you all about in the next blog.

In the meantime, if you ever have any queries or want to ask any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by any method on the contact page.

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Blog August 2014

Aug. 4th 2014

Blog August 2014

Recommendations Go a Long Way.

Well it’s been a busy couple of months as the business seems to go from strength-to-strength, not only from being organically on page 1 of Google searches for ‘Plymouth Locksmith’ but from many recommendations.  I always pride myself on working the highest standards to make sure all my customers are always left satisfied.  This is not only doing the job but cleaning up and explaining what has just happened so they’re left fully briefed.  I also leave my customers with tips to help ensure they’re security items will last longer.  This I believe has helped in you all referring my business to family and friends and I thank you all for your endorsements.

Higher Spec Cylinders.

I’ve always given my customers an option on a normal, middle and higher range security solution to suit their budget and needs.  This month will see the launch of my long term higher spec cylinders which will work on any door or security item you may have.  From padlocks to wooden doors and UPVC doors, the EPS system from Evva, an Austrian company, will ensure that your new cylinders will last well after a normal cylinder will.  The keys are made from nickel silver which is a very strong metal so your keys will not snap.  The keys will also be cut to code so no bad copies will ever be made.  Lastly, the keys are on a restricted profile meaning no other key will work in the cylinder.  The keys are controlled from copying unless the owner/landlord gives permission and can only be cut by me.  This means when someone moves out, you know for a fact that there are no other keys out there.

The cylinders themselves are made from the finest metals and come with all the usual security upgrades you would expect from a top-of-the-range cylinder.  All cylinders can also be Keyed Alike so you will only need one key for your house.  A Master Key system can also be put in place where everyone has an individual key for their door and the owner/landlord can have a Master Key to open every cylinder.  More information on Keyed Alike (One Key House) and Master Key systems can be found on the website under the ‘Services’ tab.

My training takes place in London in two weeks so please keep an eye out on Facebook, Linked In or Twitter for pictures of the new system.

Until then, keep safe and remember, if you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.

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Blog June 2014

Jun. 15th 2014

Blog June 2014

Well, it’s been a difficult month as I finally had my knee op which took me out of work for a short while.  The good news is the op seems to have been a success and I’m now getting to walk again, albeit slowly.  I’m also able to drive Guinevere to all my jobs again which is giving Excalibur a rest for a while.  I’ve missed working as I have a great passion for locksmithing and helping people out.

So, what’s new and worthy of mentioning?  Well, I do not normally have anything to do with cars as I specialise in safes and UPVC repairs but I took the plunge and purchased some car breaking in tools.  This is a new venture for me and although I have nothing to do with car keys, I can at least now get in to your vehicle for you.  Please still call me reference cars though as I can recommend a great local and independent auto locksmith to help you out rather than getting ‘stung’ by the nationals.

Before my knee op, I travelled to Peterborough for training on an upcoming aluminium window system that is starting to roll out throughout the UK.  I was one of eight specialists on the course learning how to repair the system.  It’s an aluminium sash window system by a company called Clearview with their system known as Alumatherm.  Essentially it offers the beauty of a wooden sash window, so authentic looking, it can be installed into graded/listed buildings but with the thermal and sound protection of UPVC windows.  With its many patented parts, it’s a fantastic system being installed into many new government buildings as well as many new builds.

Lastly, I had a stall at the Plymouth Chambers Business Show on 11 June.  This was a cracking show with many great businesses showing off their wares.  Next year I’ll bring Excalibur and Lottie as my crowd pullers; Lottie gets more interest than me anyway 🙂 If you want to see more of Lottie, please add me to your Facebook or Twitter pages to see how she’s getting on.

Until next month, take care and keep safe.

Paul Bushell
MD
Sir Fix-a-lock Ltd

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Blog May 2014

May. 6th 2014

Blog May 2014

I have been very busy so missed April’s blog but I hope this month’s blog will make up for it.  The main news for Sir Fix a Lock is that we are now a Limited company.  The finer details can be found on my contacts page.  It felt right to move it on as the success of the company has been getting stronger.

This month, I have been busy working on a large access control system, wiring in a system where a social club controls who they let in. The system lets genuine members swipe themselves in thus keeping passers by out.  There is an intercom with CCTV linked in to staff behind the bar.  With access to state-of-the-art components, Sir Fix a Lock Ltd can come to your premises and quote (free of charge) for you a system to meet you security needs to a budget that suits your requirements.

In other news, I’ve been called to a few safes recently where the mechanical combination dial was not working or very temperamental.  The mechanical properties on these locks do ‘drift’ over time and it’s always a good idea to make sure you get your combinations changed and safes serviced by a fully qualified Safe Engineer.  This is a field that Sir Fix a Lock Ltd has invested heavily in recently so you can be rest assured that I could help you out before your safe becomes locked closed.  Please bear in mind that safes are designed to keep people out, including Locksmiths.  It is far cheaper to have your safe serviced than it is to break in!

And finally; Last year, I took part in a competition at the MLA Expo to break into a door by non-destructive means and I won by getting through the door in 1 minute and 3 seconds…the fasted locksmith in the UK!  Well, there was a competition on the LASM Expo in March run my Yale to find their Trusted Face.  Embarrassingly, I won so now I can – with tongue firmly in cheek – call myself the fastest, best looking locksmith in the UK 😉  Well, I like good humour so I hope you can bear with Yale’s Trusted Face and keep on using Sir Fix a Lock Ltd as your local trusted Plymouth Locksmith. You can view one of the pictures on my Facebook or Twitter page so please log in and ‘Like’ whenever you have a spare moment.

Regards, Paul

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Blog March 2014

Mar. 19th 2014

Blog March 2014

Well folks, it’s been another productive and varied month in Sir Fix a Lock’s world with a healthy balance of emergency call outs, UPVC repairs, safe and vault repairs and problems because of the hectic weather we’ve had.  It has to be said that a can of silicone spray would keep the locksmith at bay as the extreme weather has been spraying water everywhere.  Please ensure you keep spraying in your cylinders and ‘raking’ the key in and out a few times to keep your locks healthy.

After attending the Locksmith Expo this month, I’ve invested in a new cylinder set where I can key alike two or more cylinders on your doorstep.  This system is not costly and you’ll be surprised at what it can offer you.  I’ve also signed up for a new 3 star British Standard (BS) system that is very modular.  It’s still in the final stages of testing and I’ll tell you more about it when I take delivery.  It’s interesting to see the explosion of 3 Star BS cylinders hitting the locksmith expo showing us how much the snapping method of breaking in to homes is hitting the UK.  Now is a good time to invest in a 3 Star BS cylinder for your UPVC or Composite door.  Please ask me for more information and I’ll be happy to demonstrate the capabilities of a more secure cylinder for you.

As I’m riding my trusted steed (ok, it’s a motorcycle but as I’m a knight, it’s now a steed) a lot more to jobs, I’ve invested in a bike ‘airbag’ which will help if I’m ever knocked off.  I don’t want to tempt any fate however if I was ever separated from my ‘steed’ whilst riding it, I need to make sure that I’m protected so I’m back on my feet as soon as possible.  On the subject of getting back on my feet, I’ll be offline for around 1 week soon on a planned operation on my knee.  Do not fret, I’ll have emergency cover whilst I’m recovering by the ever impressionable Chris Belcher.

Finally taken all my scrap metal to the dealers and now have a cheque for £150 to deliver to Jeremiah’s Journey.  £128 was made up from scrap metal and I made a personal contribution to round it up to the final amount.  This is a fantastic local charity that offers support and information to children and their families when someone special has died.  I’m sure you’ll all agree that the money from all your old locks will be put to good use for these children.

Paul Bushell, MD Sir Fix a Lock

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Blog February 2014

Feb. 18th 2014

Blog February 2014

 

This month has been very busy for me as the business really takes off.  Many referrals and more new customers have been picking Sir Fix a Lock as their preferred Plymouth Locksmith.  I’ve also been concentrating on my social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.  As I write this, I have 103 Likes on Facebook and 370 followers on Twitter, something I want to improve more and give you all some great tips and information worth knowing.  I’ve also registered #PlymouthLocksmith so if you’re messaging on Facebook or Tweeting, please drop that hashtag in on any messages about Sir Fix a Lock.

Something that has been coming more prominent this month is poor key cutting by certain High Street key cutting  shops.  A badly maintained and poorly calibrated key cutting machine will cause problems with your cylinders and could lead to their failure.  I’ve changed 3 cylinders this month that I can put down to this problem.  If you get your keys cut with Sir Fix a Lock, they will be tested in your cylinder before I leave site and I’ll even lubricate your cylinder with a good lock lubricant.  I also make sure that my key cutting machines are calibrated regularly.

I’ve fitted a large safe this month to a major night club in Plymouth.  There’s not much news in simply delivering a safe however this safe had to be lifted up 36 stairs!  This was an extremely hard task where I had to call in outside help to manoeuvre the safe but it’s now fully installed and firmly bolted to the building.

Lastly, I’m taking all my scrap metal to the scrap dealers very soon as well as some old safes I was donated.  All the cash raised from these metals will be given to a local children’s charity.  This time round, Jeremiahs Journey will be the recipient.  Please look into next months blog to find out how much has been raised.

Until then, keep safe and remember I’m available Knight and Day for all your emergency call outs.

Paul, Sir Fix a Lock

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