What is a master key?

If you own or manage any property with a lot of doors and a lot of personnel, then you know how important it is to manage who has access to what door. Having a master system is a great and cost effective system for this. Basically the idea is the main person in charge (the master), has a key that works everything and then there are separate keys for certain doors that only work those specific doors. One example is an apartment building on a master system, the landlord has a master that opens every door in the building. The tenants all have their own individual keys. This can also be done with kitchens or office buildings, basically anywhere you want some people to have access to some doors and not others, while giving you access with one key. That’s a mouthful! This can even get more complex with master/submaster systems which for example; a building owner rents several floors to different businesses, he has a master that opens every door on every floor, and each business manager has a sub master that opens every door on their floor. Each employee has a key to their office only. To make a master, we simply take two keys and add filler pins or master pins to even out the differences between sizes.

The bigger the master system, the more important it is to have a well set up system this prevents some keys from inadvertently working the wrong doors. Also having a pinning chart which lays out the cuts for each door will prevent this from occurring. One tip I always recommend for people who want to initiate a master system is to start over with new keys. In all reality every door is being changed, trying to retain the same keys your tenants or employees had before sounds like it simplifies things, but it really only complicates it as some keys may be too close to another, causing them to inadvertently work on other doors or they may be poorly cut and not master well. It’s just better to start fresh. One last tip is if you start fresh, request a cut list. This will help you prevent having more than one unit on the same key.