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Hi guys been a member for a while not really computer savey so new to this but could use some help.

I own The Newland Cobbler in Lincoln and I'm  being overwhelmed by the supermarket/Timpson with currently 4 in the city now and rumours of another 2 to come I'm finding that although I'm not losing a lot of the skilled work I'm getting hammered on the quick turnaround repairs and keys.

I know lots of you are competing with them to so what working for you.

Any help advise or idea's will be much appreciated 

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Just up your game by about 30 % , open 5 mins early and close 5 mins late, go the extra mile with every customer ,  take that bit longer to make sure the repair is perfect,   Make sure your key machines are all set up correctly so you don’t get any complaints . Take a look at your shop and ask yourself if you would want to leave your £ 300 shoes . And finally make sure the customer leaves with a smile.

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A look at your shop is a big one for me. We all know Timpsons are hit and miss at shoe repairs but you can not fault their shops look and cleanliness. My old boss (many moons ago) Mr Adrian Coppin said, "ask yourself if your wife would shop in your shop", that has always stuck in my mind.

I spent last Sunday re-decorating the exterior of the shop, although this was an absolute balls-ache the amount of comments this week has made it all worth while. Just try and be better than them! (not necessarily on price either)

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Most of us are having the same problems, as x Minit uk says walk outside of your shop and have a look from outside into your shop, that’s what your customers see ? . Don’t get into price war if anything be strong and up your price just so you are just under Timpsons I did and it worked for me .

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Be the best key cutter, Invest in the latest equipment (computerised) and start cutting all the keys Timpsons don't or charge a fortune for.

Become an ABS Centre and Ultion centre and any other that you can get it may cost you a couple of thousand but will make you stand out from Timpsons who charge £30.00 + for 1 key and have to order them in.

Always get any blank you do not stock no matter how obscure most suppliers will supply small amounts but even if you have to get 10 make sure you cover the cost and the other blanks may be used in the future. Customers really appreciate the fact you have gone out of your way to help when others just look at the key and say no.

Cannot help on shoe repairs but if your work is good quality you should not have any real issues but keep your prices lower than Timpsons word soon spreads.

We now have 4 Timpsons within a 5 mile radius of us and they are really helping us, when a customer has been to Timpsons and been asked for an Ultion key and they have been quoted £30.00 plus when they come to use and we say they are £9.95 (retail price admin) customers are more than happy and don't ever argue for a discount or moan at our prices. Same for Yale Superior and Avocet ABS which we charge £14.50.

Key cutting is the best way to improve your customer base but as i said you must Invest in the best machinery.

Finally shrink your shoe care products and replace with padlocks/bike locks/cash tins and some 5 Lever BS sash and dead locks.

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2 minutes ago, grahamparker said:

Be the best key cutter, Invest in the latest equipment (computerised) and start cutting all the keys Timpsons don't or charge a fortune for.

Become an ABS Centre and Ultion centre and any other that you can get it may cost you a couple of thousand but will make you stand out from Timpsons who charge £30.00 + for 1 key and have to order them in.

Always get any blank you do not stock no matter how obscure most suppliers will supply small amounts but even if you have to get 10 make sure you cover the cost and the other blanks may be used in the future. Customers really appreciate the fact you have gone out of your way to help when others just look at the key and say no.

Cannot help on shoe repairs but if your work is good quality you should not have any real issues but keep your prices lower than Timpsons word soon spreads.

We now have 4 Timpsons within a 5 mile radius of us and they are really helping us, when a customer has been to Timpsons and been asked for an Ultion key and they have been quoted £30.00 plus when they come to use and we say they are £9.95 (retail price admin) customers are more than happy and don't ever argue for a discount or moan at our prices. Same for Yale Superior and Avocet ABS which we charge £14.50.

Key cutting is the best way to improve your customer base but as i said you must Invest in the best machinery.

Finally shrink your shoe care products and replace with padlocks/bike locks/cash tins and some 5 Lever BS sash and dead locks.

Totally agree, and funnily enough i removed around 12 shoe care products last weekend, re-arranged the retail space and added a much larger range of padlocks, key rings etc putting them in the prime position. One week late have sold nearly a dozen padlocks and cut countless keys for them too.

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in my own little mind I think mr james is on a mission to smother the independants  , despite the outward veneer of " im just the same as you fellas " ,truth of it is  they are like mcdonalds  soon there will be one one every corner, I get stuff brought in to me  and I  often say who did these ? the customer replies  timpsons coz they were handy  my advice show the customer your passion for the  job , polish every pair not with the silicone sponge , use a tin of neutral  sparingly , finish with a microfibre cloth ( you can also up your polish sales this way   touch up  any marks , marks on nude patent  can be removed with a bit of meths on a cloth, always try to leave them with a smile & an empty purse

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3 hours ago, Tom D said:

 I  often say who did these ? the customer replies  timpsons coz they were handy 

It's easy to beat Timpsons on price and service, but sometimes it's all about convenience.  I sometimes come across jobs for very regular customers ( who promise they don't go anywhere else!!) that I definitely did not do. 

Coincidentally, I've contracted my range of padlocks, and expanded my range of shoe care, but that's what worked for me, and I don't really have much local competition.

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Be better than them, as most people on here are saying.

If there's a part of your trade that you don't know - learn it. I've been a repairer since 1987 and only learned to rewelt 10 years ago - I asked another member on here to show me and I drove up to his shop, some 40 odd miles away to learn from him and it was well worth it.

I've recently also started to learn more about key cutting, especially cutting keys to code and keys to lock - something totally alien to me, despite doing keys as long as I've been doing shoe repairs. 

If you want to learn something new or improve your technique - ask for help - I'd rather look stupid and have a few more quid in my till than let my pride drive my customers elsewhere .

You could always ask your customers why they visit your shop and what you could do to improve it, in their eyes;  ask what they'd like for you to sell or offer as additional services.

If you can't afford the investment for the new dimple and track type keys, use someone like Graham Parker who will turn them around in a day or so for you at a price that you can profit from - we do and our customers are willing to wait two days, especially when they're saving a lot of money by not going to Timpson. 99% of the time, Graham can decode the key from a picture if the customer doesn't have the code card.

Rick.

 

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I agree with Rick regarding the shoe repairs. Timpsons turn so much of what I call the old school proper repairs away they are doing a lot of harm to the industry. ( Because if Timpsons say they cannot be repaired Then they can't....but they can, I don't think I have ever turned anything away. I'll have a go, If I fail then I'll hold my hands up.) They turned these boots away because they had a sloping heel. :smt102Some of the stuff I see coming out of there I would be ashamed of. Their key prices are ridiculous. I had a customer in yesterday who said Timpsons wanted to charge him £9 for a ER1. I charged him £5.50, he ended up having £90 worth of keys with me. I would love to pass on all the skills I have learned over the years and would like to see my shop here continue. Personally I don't think it will. I reached 65 this year. I'm not ready for the knackers yard yet, I'll go down fighting.

20181021_121232664_iOS.jpg

 

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On 10/20/2018 at 8:36 AM, Paul_ said:

A look at your shop is a big one for me. We all know Timpsons are hit and miss at shoe repairs but you can not fault their shops look and cleanliness. My old boss (many moons ago) Mr Adrian Coppin said, "ask yourself if your wife would shop in your shop", that has always stuck in my mind.

I spent last Sunday re-decorating the exterior of the shop, although this was an absolute balls-ache the amount of comments this week has made it all worth while. Just try and be better than them! (not necessarily on price either)

Totally agree with this, although my new shop is only 3 years old I'm looking at changing the outwards appearance a little, I could have done much when I moved but money was an issue at the time, my new shop looks 10 fold better than the old one and the next revamp over the next month or 2 will improve yet again but at a much lower cost now everything is already in place.

New signs and a little re-organising for me before the end of this year

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THIS:- IS your strongest weakness IMO

Quote

not really computer savey so new to this 

GET COMPUTER SAVEY.... I've worked tirelessly on getting computer savey over the years. Facebook groups are a fantastic way of promoting your business with the "looking for recommendations" but it requires a team of eagle eyes to spot these and tip you off so you can respond quickly & timely with a link to your page and the personal touch of a reply, family and friends are great for this.

Take your phone to work and photograph all day long, make it part of the routine. start a social media page for your images and get your name out there, larger companies just can not compete with a local entrepreneur on local level concentrating heavily on media has seen massive growth in my business in the last 3 years, people have always got a phone in their hands.

If you have Children, get them on board they've grown up with social media and know all the moves, my Son who's now 16 does my instagram entirely & the work we've gained from that has staggered me, he more than pays for himself.

We do the whole nine yards on socials between us both. we all have the skills to pay the bills & we are all watching Timpson grow at an astonishing rate but if the business wasn't there they wouldn't be either, so we as smaller concerns have to be very pro-active to deal with it & maintain our market share.

Lee

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Also my Son & I do a few videos on youtube and this weekend he just secured his first professional job promoting a local business, its a 60 second ad that the chap in it is using on his own social medias, all these snippets like ads & pages are what make the small business so unique.

 

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On 10/20/2018 at 8:55 AM, grahamparker said:

Be the best key cutter, Invest in the latest equipment (computerised) and start cutting all the keys Timpsons don't or charge a fortune for.

Become an ABS Centre and Ultion centre and any other that you can get it may cost you a couple of thousand but will make you stand out from Timpsons who charge £30.00 + for 1 key and have to order them in.

Always get any blank you do not stock no matter how obscure most suppliers will supply small amounts but even if you have to get 10 make sure you cover the cost and the other blanks may be used in the future. Customers really appreciate the fact you have gone out of your way to help when others just look at the key and say no.

Cannot help on shoe repairs but if your work is good quality you should not have any real issues but keep your prices lower than Timpsons word soon spreads.

We now have 4 Timpsons within a 5 mile radius of us and they are really helping us, when a customer has been to Timpsons and been asked for an Ultion key and they have been quoted £30.00 plus when they come to use and we say they are £9.95 (retail price admin) customers are more than happy and don't ever argue for a discount or moan at our prices. Same for Yale Superior and Avocet ABS which we charge £14.50.

Key cutting is the best way to improve your customer base but as i said you must Invest in the best machinery.

Finally shrink your shoe care products and replace with padlocks/bike locks/cash tins and some 5 Lever BS sash and dead locks.

If at all you can afford to do this then great :)  but an add on, Tell the local Timpson staff each customer they send you (as they cannot do it themselves) give them a couple of quid (drop it to them personally) - maybe drop your biz card in and the staff can put there name's on the back so they will benefit there customer's will appreciate this also and you can gain good business from it

 

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On 10/21/2018 at 12:50 PM, kobblers said:

Be better than them, as most people on here are saying.

If there's a part of your trade that you don't know - learn it. I've been a repairer since 1987 and only learned to rewelt 10 years ago - I asked another member on here to show me and I drove up to his shop, some 40 odd miles away to learn from him and it was well worth it

I've recently also started to learn more about key cutting, especially cutting keys to code and keys to lock - something totally alien to me, despite doing keys as long as I've been doing shoe repairs. 

If you want to learn something new or improve your technique - ask for help - I'd rather look stupid and have a few more quid in my till than let my pride drive my customers elsewhere .

You could always ask your customers why they visit your shop and what you could do to improve it, in their eyes;  ask what they'd like for you to sell or offer as additional services.

If you can't afford the investment for the new dimple and track type keys, use someone like Graham Parker who will turn them around in a day or so for you at a price that you can profit from - we do and our customers are willing to wait two days, especially when they're saving a lot of money by not going to Timpson. 99% of the time, Graham can decode the key from a picture if the customer doesn't have the code card.

Rick.

 

Davenport Burgess now offer a free key cutting course helping you learn to cut any key, I sent one of my team along and have been reaping the benefits since, it's amazing how much confidence he has now he has been there

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