Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yelp?! ... Help!!

The idea of easily going online and finding out the best and worst about a place you might be doing business with seems great. However, along with everything else online this processes has proven to disappoint consumers and businesses alike.

While trying to get a grip on all of the false locksmith business listings, Baldino's Lock and Key noticed it was not correctly listed on Yelp. When we started to investigate we noticed multiple listings of addresses we were not located at along with ... what we thought ... were very "iffy" reviews.

When our marketing associate logged into her Yelp account and wrote Baldino's correct address/website on the listings with incorrect information Yelp suspended her account. When she explained she didn't write a review just added the right address so users wouldn't drive out of their way, Yelp then wrote that our business was "no longer in business". This was their solution instead of taking down the incorrect listing and adding the correct one. This only hurt Baldino's more when people thought we were no longer open.

Recently Yelp has been getting a lot of heat from consumers and business owners for fake reviews. The New York Attorney General even did a sting operation called "Operation Clean Turf". The sting lasted a year and caught 19 different companies writing fake reviews. Most of them were search engine optimization companies that were hired by small businesses (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/09/26/yelps-fake-review-problem/)

In the Yelp Terms of Service it's stated that all users not violate guidelines by compensating someone or being compensated to write a review. Writing fake reviews is easy when you are writing them as an anonymous user.  One way to fix the problem of ALL fake reviews, listings, and businesses advertisements is for these search engine companies and review websites to actually take the time and verify who is a legitimate user. Click here for Yelp Terms of Service.

The point is...users beware. Don't trust reviews and ratings with out digging a bit deeper. You can following some of these tips from
  1. Don't rely solely on the overall star rating 
  2. Change the way reviews are sorted 
  3. Search for what you care about 
  4. Look at an individual reviewer's stats 
  5. Check out the filtered reviews
  6.  Write your own reviews

Monday, November 11, 2013

Safety Technology

School safety is always at the top of everyone's mind but recent events have only amplified concerns. If you work in the education industry, or have a child that is enrolled in school, we know you are aware of how essential it is to choose the right security package for that school. Door locks and hardware are the first step to ensuring the safety of students, and faculty.

There are many different options when it comes to choosing locks. One of the biggest is mechanical vs. electronic. ASSA ABLOY and Baldino's can help you find a set that will benefit each school and meet any industry security requirements.

Baldino's can go over each step and set you up with the perfect solution of ASSA ABLOY lock.

Step #1 – Clearly identify/ define expectations
Step #2 – Evaluate current policies and practices
Step #3 – Assess existing opening to ensure current security is fully functional
Step #4 – Prepare a plan to address security concerns

photo credit: ASSA ABLOY 
To find out more about school safety you can visit http://www.assaabloydss.com/local/dss/Solutions1/Education-Solutions/K-121/ for a full brochure!

Monday, September 30, 2013

National Preparedness Month

September was National Preparedness Month and Baldino's Lock and Key participated by attending the Preparedness and Security Expo on September 5th, at McNamara Headquarter Complex. The expo included booths and vendors from over 30 organizations. 

Our managers Sean Kent and Jeff Waldo set up our booth with security brochures and an Arrow Revolution Touch Screen Display. They said there was such a great turn out and they were so busy talking to attendees they could only snap this one picture!

We wanted to thank everyone who put on this expo. In the wake of the tragic events that occurred at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C this month, it is imperative that as civilians we are prepared for any emergency. The website http://www.ready.gov is a great resource for families to get information on how they can be prepared and practice emergency preparedness. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to Choose a Lock

How to Choose a Lock

With so many different high-security products in the market, it can be difficult to choose the right lock system for your home or business. But your safety relies on it—so you have to be careful with your decision. How do you go about choosing the right lock from such a big selection? There are certain key factors to look at that can help you determine how to choose a lock—and we’ve outlined them for you!

Type of Door

The first thing you should consider is what type of door you have. If you have a solid door, you should choose a lock that can fit in it the way it is. If you have a flimsy door that could easily be kicked in, you may need to think about installing a new door or having alterations done. After all, a high-quality lock can only help so much when you don’t have a sturdy door (or window) to go with it.

Lock Grades

Once you’ve made a decision regarding your door, you can begin to compare different locks. Be sure to choose a lock with a Grade 1 classification. Why? Lock grades signify strength and durability—and according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which are upheld by the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association Inc. (BHMA), a Grade 1 classification is used to identify the strongest and most durable products.

Key Control

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection based on lock grades, check for key control. What does that mean? Key control gives the homeowner (or business owner if you’re getting office locks) control over how many copies can be used to open your locks; only the key manufacturer itself or certain designated locksmiths can make duplicates. This means that your keys can’t be copied just anywhere, reducing your chance of burglary through replicated keys. Though key control can be expensive, it’s worth the extra cost to keep your building secure.

Lock Brands

Next you’ll want to look at lock brands. Make sure you purchase a lock from a well-known manufacturer with a reputation for producing highly secure products. Some brands to consider include Schlage, Kwikset, and Sargent. At the same time, avoid discount locks that come with low costs but tend to be less secure than their more expensive counterparts.

Of course, the locksmiths we can provide you with more specific recommendations and advice on how to choose a lock. While we typically suggest deadbolt locks for their advanced security capabilities, we can also provide you with ideas regarding other types of lock systems—and we can install them in conjunction with alarm systems or other electronic security solutions that will work together to protect your home.

Visit one of our 18 lock shops to see our product selection or contact us for help choosing and installing a lock in Maryland, Washington, D.C., or Virginia.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Lookout

A few weeks ago we shared a link on our Facebook page to a show called The Lookout. It's a show that airs on ABC giving consumers a guide to products and services; while offering them tips on how to get what they are paying for.

The episode we shared was close to our hearts because it showed the world what locksmith "scammers", as we call them in the locksmith industry, were doing to hurt our businesses and the community.

When you're locked out it is usually a panic situation. You need to get in, but you can't, and you need to quickly. That is why you should have a locksmith already programed in your phone for these type of emergency situations. Maybe go and visit them so you feel comfortable with the company.  

If you didn't get a chance to watch the episode here is a summary and some key points we wanted to get across -

At the beginning of the investigation a certified locksmith installed the most simplistic deadbolt lock on the market. They then had a women call posing to be locked out. The "locksmith" came and the first troubling thing he did was not ask for ID. A locksmith should always ask for your identification.

There were 2 locks on the door. The consumer stated she didn't know which was locked. Before figuring that out or even trying to pick the lock he immediately started drilling it. He drilled both locks open (breaking the drill in one). This not only ruined both the deadbolts, it left her with no way to lock the door that night and forced her to buy a new set. All of this was unnecessary and cost her a lot more than what the company originally quoted.

The BEST part - even the host of the show picked the lock (with a few verbal tips from the professional locksmith). There was no reason to ruin the lock by drilling.

Locksmith scammers are hurting real locksmith companies because they flood the yellow pages and internet with addresses and phone numbers. Most of the time with an address that isn't theirs (it ends up being another company). They falsify the whereabouts of their company because they want the consumer to think they are close by and will be able to get to their house or car fast. The phone numbers actually go to a call center in another state. These call centers take calls for many company names, which is why they answer "locksmith" and not "Baldino's Lock and Key" or whatever their company name is.

Locksmiths who pull these scams also hurt the community by using bait and switch tactics on their customers. Quoting one price, and then finding bogus reasons to charge a much higher one. They make consumers not trust locksmith companies.

Please be aware and verify you are using a local, licensed, and trustworthy locksmith when it comes time for your next lockout emergency.

Friday, May 31, 2013

One Stop Shop

If you have been in a Baldino's Lock and Key within the last couple of years (and we hope you have) then you've probably noticed some of our locations sell ink jet and toner cartridges as well. Odd? Maybe... but, just like Al Baldino thought all of those years back, Mark Baldino, his son saw something everyone needed and made it so!

While ink and locksmithing don't necessarily go hand in hand both are here to help our customers. While Baldino's help protects your families, belongings, and homes Rapid Refill helps you save money AND the environment.  Rapid Refill sells recycled ink cartridges. We have all the most popular brands and you can save up to 30%. There is no reason to buy new cartridges every time yours runs out. Recycling saves on plastic making sure the environment doesn't get littered. 

So, next time you walk into a Baldino's or Rapid Refill don't be confused! We are your one stop shop for ink, toner, and locks!!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Locksmithing and Social Media

In recent years Baldino's Lock and Key has embraced a new kind of marketing and advertising - social media. With Yellowpage usage dwindling, consumers have flocked to the internet in search for local locksmiths. Unfortunately, as we have written about in the past, the search can be tedious due to the overwhelming amount of scam advertisements. Thankfully, social media can help you become more visible AND help the locksmith consumer feel your company is the right choice. 

At Baldino's we use a few social media strategies to get by ...

  • A blog (yes, this one!)
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • A Facebook page
  • A Twitter feed
  • Customer Reviews
  • Google +
  • Youtube Channel
All of these together legitimize our company as real, there, and available to help. We have all of our information including hours, locations, walk in shop address, phone numbers, and parking information. Our webpage is informative, easy to navigate, and links to all of our other social media pages. 

We try to update our content so the online community can see we are still around and want to keep them in the loop. We add new pictures of trade shows we attend, jobs we do, and all of our locations. Seeing new pictures and updated content also helps the search engines to notice your website is still relevant. Also ask yourself...do your customers really know what you do? Most locksmiths don't just provide lockout service! At Baldino's we provide lockout service, key duplication, high security lock options, safe sales, security alarm sales, the list goes on!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Keeping Your Family Safe: The Gun Debate Rages On

After the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary and the infamous Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting the topic of gun control is in full blown debate mode. We don't want to get in the middle but we do feel this is a good time to remind people....if you do keeps guns in your house, there are ways to keep them there safely.

Here are some statistics from the DHSH:

Firearm Ownership
  • 40% of American households have guns
  • 4% of children in American homes live in homes with at least one firearm

Storage Practices 
  • 28% do not always keep guns locked in a secure place
  • 25% only “occasionally” lock and store the bullets separate from the
  • 48% do not regularly make sure that guns are equipped with child
    safety and trigger locks
  • In 30% of hand gun owning homes, the gun was stored unlocked and
    loaded at the time of the survey 
  • In 72% of unintentional deaths and injuries, suicide and suicide attempts, the
    firearm was stored in the residence of the victim
  • 47% of high school kids and 22% of middle school kids said they could get a
  •  6% of high school kids said they had carried a gun to school within the last 30
  • 72% of parents think their kids would not handle a gun without their
 There are many different sizes, types, and brands of gun safes in different price ranges. The best way to find a safe that will work best for your household is to come in and speak with one of our safe specialists and see the safe in person.

Click HERE to see a Safe Selection Guideline you can look at to help in your decision.