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Interview with a Locksmith – Lemon Locksmith & Security (Andrew Dunn)

Interview-with-a-Locksmith Lomon Locksmith Andrew Dunn

We interviewed Andrew Dunn of Lemon Locksmith & Security, who are a local locksmith company based in Leeds.  Andrew’s company recently passed the MLA Exam and became a fully approved MLA Approved Locksmith Company.

Read on for what Andrew had to say about his journey as a locksmith, from the reason why he became an MLA member to funnies stories he has encountered whilst out working.

1. So tell us a little bit of a back story about yourself, when did you become a Locksmith and how long have been a Locksmith?

I’ve been a locksmith for around 4 and a half years. Before that, I was always doing office jobs on a computer, and it just really wasn’t for me. I wanted to get out and about. I have a degree in product design and used to work designing underground water pipe systems, but ultimately, I wanted to be my own boss.

2. How did you originally get into Locksmithing and Why?

When I was a young boy, my father bought me a ‘lock picking practice set’ for Christmas. I used to play with it a lot and learnt the general principle of picking locks from a very young age. I became fascinated by it all and started practicing on all sorts of locks.

Like most people, I then kind of followed the herd into going to college, then university etc not really knowing why, and lock picking soon became something I forgot about.

It was then years later while in my soulless office job that I got talking to an old friend. It turned out he was actually a locksmith down south, we got chatting about what he did etc and I knew instantly I wanted to do something similar myself.

Emergency Locksmith Middleton Leeds - Lemon Locksmith and Security

Andrew Dunn – Owner of Lemon Locksmith & Security

3. What advice do you have for people wanting to become a locksmith?

Learn how to pick locks, sure, but don’t focus 100% of your energy on that. You also need to study and learn terminology / different product brands etc too to give your customers confidence that you know what you are talking about. Also, don’t think that just because you can pick locks that the work will come rolling in.

You must focus on getting work either by advertising, contacting estate agents and joining the MLA (as a more long term goal).

I’ve seen so many people who just sit at home practicing picking locks while complaining that the phone doesn’t ring, lock picking is fun, but it’s still a business after all, and you must find a way to proactively generate work. Don’t just wait for the phone to ring.

4. How has being a member of MLA helped you as a locksmith?

In summary, contacts and knowledge. I’ve met MLA members both offline and online through the Facebook group have given me a great amount of knowledge allowing me to take on more advanced work.

It’s always good to learn more advanced skills, otherwise you just end up competing with handymen who swap euro cylinders all day long.

I’ve also sourced parts from other members whom I would never have found otherwise.

For example, recently I sourced 20 old style window locks for a big job which I couldn’t find anywhere else.

5.  How did you find out about the MLA?

I looked into locksmith associations a while back and came to the conclusion that the MLA was the only one which customers would take seriously. Mainly because there are actually tests to pass to prove yourself.

I’ve seen the MLA logo on other locksmiths websites and noticed that those who had the logo were also pretty damn good locksmiths, so I knew it was something worth joining.

6. What made you make the jump to become a full MLA Approved Company?

I rank quite high on Google for ‘commercial locksmith’ and because of this receive quite a lot of enquires from businesses looking for a locksmith for larger jobs. For example, I recently changed 50 locks for a University in my city of Leeds. Big companies will be sure to get multiple quotations for such large jobs.

By having an MLA accreditation, this means that you don’t have to compete by merely been the cheapest

You can have an edge over your competitors by showing them you are MLA member.

Commercial companies (and especially schools) seem to like this is it gives them more of a guarantee and safety in choosing you. I believe it is now easier for me to win commercial contracts due to being MLA approved.

I recently even did work for a large company who maintain trucks who need the locks changing on their shutters (e.g. water trucks, fire trucks).

Lemon Locksmith Commercial Work 2 Lemon Locksmith Commercial Work

7. Are there any funny stories from your time in the industry that stick out?

There was a rather awkward incident where I went to pick the lock of a car open for a customer as he had locked his keys in his car. I successfully opened his door and retrieved his keys. To my embarrassment, I then locked my keys and tools in my own van!

Being a locksmith, I was too embarrassed to tell the customer I was locked out, so I thought, right, as soon as he’s gone I’m going to have to call another locksmith to help me out.

But this customer just wouldn’t go! I tried to say a few things to make the customer leave such as ‘’ok drive safe then!’’, ‘’enjoy the rest of your day’’. But no, this customer had nowhere to be and just stayed chatting about his life story. After around 30 minutes of ‘’ok cya then!’’, ‘’getting late now you best be on your way’’, ‘’well you best be off then’’.  I’d had enough.

 I just said ‘’look mate, I’ve locked my keys in my van and I need to make some calls now’’.

And then to top it off, I had the smug expressions of the other locksmith who came to rescue me to contend with. I could see he was very pleased with himself.

Anyway, both me and the customer had a good laugh about it, and he gave me a good google review, probably because he felt sorry for me.

8. What are your plans for the future?

It took me a while to pass the MLA Exam and become accredited. I’ve achieved that goal, so maybe I will rest for a bit now. However, in the long term I might start getting into other security related work also such as fitting security grills etc as It’s something I often get asked about.

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