Skip to content

Are You Spending Too Much to Rekey Locks?

As the one responsible for multiple, or hundreds, of locations, you are well aware of how overwhelming it is to keep track of all the keys for the locations that all of your employees have access to. You are also aware of how often one of those key-holding employees are the cause of needing to rekey locks at one of those locations in your purview. Most of the time though, it isn't just one lock, or one key holder, that is affected when a single employee either loses a key or leaves the company. Even if you don't have an identified budget line allocated for rekeying locks at all of the locations you are responsible for, you know the costs can add up fast when multiple locations and master key systems are involved in rekeying or changing locks. Is there a better and more cost-efficient way?

The Complexity of Commercial Key Systems

Whether an employee has been terminated, a location has experienced a security breach, or even if a store moved to a new location, you know for the security of your product and your employees the locks need to be changed. But changing a commercial lock is complicated. There are so many options on how to proceed depending on how the key system was set-up. 

Since many facilities managers opt to have a master key system installed to add convenience for access, the need for a lock change gets complex quickly. In a master key system, an experienced professional is able to arrange the pins in a lock to allow the lock to work with more than one single key. This means that higher level employees in an organization have access to a larger number of doors. As a real life example let's say a territory manager might have the master key which operates all location locks in the Southwest US, while a regional manager will only be able to access their group of stores in a particular state, and a store manager can only open their location. They all hold keys in the same master key system, but their access differs. So, in this master key system scenario, if a regional manager's key is lost, which locks -- and how many locks -- actually need to be changed? Well that is not an easy answer, especially without the full schematic of the key system to consult. One thing is certain, you can't just change that one store's lock when it is part of such an elaborate master key system. This is often when a knowledgeable locksmith is typically needed to determine a way to repin a set of locks for that level with the least amount of organizational disturbance. 

This is also when the costs can start quickly adding up. 

Standard Rekeying Costs

Many commercial buildings have interchangeable lock cores installed with the knowledge that they will likely need to change the locks at some point. As for the price, most locksmiths will charge a standard site visit fee to service your building, then depending on the lock type, commercial lock rekeying in the field will cost around $20-35 per cylinder. By counting the number of locks needing to be rekeyed, you can quickly create a rough idea of the total cost, which can amount to more than $200 per visit, per location, on average. But we are talking about complex commercial master key systems, not a single lock in a single location.

Luckily there's alternative lock technology that can help, not only with altering a lock within a complex master key system, but can also help reduce the long-term costs that your organization incurs with this business expense. Imagine if a store manager had the ability to change the locks themselves -- how would that free up your time and your budget?

The ROI to Rekey Locks

Though hiring a professional locksmith or managing a core swap to handle compromised locks in your system is standard, technology has advanced to allow authorized personnel to rekey locks without tools or hardware removal - even for commercial master key programs.

With user-rekeyable cores, authorized personnel can conduct up to 9 rekeys per core (depending on the key system design) without locksmith expertise, specialized tools or additional hardware. Even rekeying a master key system is quick and easy with these rekeyable core options. When a master key is lost or stolen, simply rekey all locks at the master level and issue new master keys. There is no need to change or distribute any of the lower level keys as they are unaffected. This master key level rekey becomes extremely cost-effective while also reducing widespread organizational disturbance. Rekeys are designed to only change the key level of the breached key, not all keys in the system.

Although the initial investment of a user-rekeyable core is slightly higher, over time this option costs less based on the amount of rekeys you can manage internally. There is also less strain on the staff because a rekey takes seconds, instead of the hours they would wait for a locksmith callout to arrive and perform the rekey.


In over 30 years of business, we've helped many multi-site organizations reduce their overall rekey costs while also empowering their frontline managers to quickly and efficiently rekey locks. With InstaKey's cloud-based key system records database, when a rekey is necessary you can quickly determine the scope of the rekey and get frontline managers in action with rekeying kits already at their locations.

If you would like to explore a more technologically advanced key system option, that could reduce overall annual costs for anticipated lock rekeying, consider a consultation. Our experienced team can guide you through the design, implementation, and maintenance of a cost-effective and customized key system that is more easily managed when locks need rekeying. To learn more about our services or steps your company can take to reduce the cost to rekey locks, contact us today.

Get a FREE Consultation