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Master Key System

Whether you’re a property manager, landlord, or business owner, master keying can be an extremely convenient and simple way to control access to your property

In this article, we will look at master key systems from two different perspectives. First, we will examine how a master key system can work for a landlord with multiple properties and units. Then, we will take a look at how a business owner can utilize a master key system to make employee key control easier.

Master Key System advantages for a landlord

As a landlord, you may have started off with, let’s just say, a 2-unit rental property; no big deal, that’s only a couple keys to worry about. But then you bought another property, and another, and another; soon you will have amassed a hefty collection of keys to keep track of. Working as a professional locksmith, I have personally seen this scenario more than once: a landlord or property manager with baggies of keys, hastily marked and totally disorganized. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that hard when you utilize a master key system designed specifically for you by a locksmith.

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With a master key system in place, you can ensure convenience and ease for both you and your tenants. In this scenario, a locksmith is able to rekey your locks so that you have one key to open every door in your stable of properties along with ensuring each tenant has their own personal keys for their rental. Does your property have shared or communal doors? No problem. With a master key system, we are able to make your tenants unit key open shared doors as well; or, if you prefer, we have the ability to make a separate key for shared spaces while still maintaining a master key for the whole property. In reality, as a property owner, the choice is up to you. We can design a master key system as complex or simple as you would like. Our goal is to make your job easier.

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Master Key System advantages for a business owner

Now we will look at master keying from the perspective of a business owner. Let’s say your business has 2 departments; we’ll call them sales and purchasing. Within each department, there are 4 offices. So, in this example, sales have 1 shared door with 4 private office doors, purchasing has 1 shared door with 4 private office doors, you have one door to your office, and you also have a facilities/maintenance room. That gives us a total of 12 different locks in your building. As the owner, you need to control which employee has keys for which doors, and of course, you need to be able to access every room in your property. With the help of a professional designed master key system, you’re certain who has appropriate access to each room.

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How does master keying an office actually work? To answer that question, let’s look at the system in the form of a flowchart (Figure 1). With this perspective, it is easy to determine the hierarchy for each key/lock that is needed. So how does this work in practice? Given the system below, the executive office would be the grand master key. This key is able to open every door in the system.  Next down the line, we see the maintenance/facilities key; this would be considered and engineer’s key and would open the maintenance room and every other room in the building, except the executive office. The next level in the system would be sales & purchasing; these would be considered master keys, allowing the sales manger to open the sales area and the sales offices.  This also allows the purchasing manager to open the purchasing area along with the purchasing offices. The sales master key and the purchasing master key will only open doors in their respective departments and will not allow the user to open higher level doors, such as the executive office. 

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Finally, each individual office will have the lowest keys on the chart, these are called change keys and only operate individual offices. So, in a nutshell, using this master key configuration, we have designed a system that allows every staff member to open every door that they need access to;  this still allows management to have one single grand-master key to operate all the doors in the facility. Another important feature when designing a master key system is allowing for expansion. When designing a system, we account for the inevitabilities of remodels, reconfigurations, expansions, and other future changes. By building these variables into an original system, we can easily account for additional locks without the need to start from scratch.

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With a professional designed master key system, we are able to make your locks and keys work for you. Whether you are a business owner or a landlord we can create a 100% personalized system to meet your specific and unique needs. The expandability of a master key system designed by a professional locksmith allows for almost limitless key control possibilities.

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