As an apartment building owner, the need for a locksmith likely comes up regularly due to changing locks when tenants move out, lost keys, and other circumstances that are beyond your control. Hiring one locksmith company to handle all your needs is a great way to create a reliable long-term relationship that makes it easy to take care of your community's needs. Here are four important things to consider when consulting with potential locksmiths and deciding who to hire:

What Forms of Contact Can Be Used?

When you or staff members have a need for locksmith services, what forms of contact can be used to request the various services you'll undoubtedly have a need for throughout the year? Do the prospective locksmiths you speak with have access to text messaging and instant email communication so you can contact them quickly if a tenant is locked out of their home or if your office has been broken into and the locks need to be changed as quickly as possible? 

In addition to learning about the different contact methods that can be used for each service provider, find out how long you can expect it to take for a response based on the type of communication that's being used and the service being requested. Are text messages replied to before phone calls are returned, and are emergency lockouts made a priority over scheduled lock and key replacements? 

The more communication options you have, the more convenient you'll find it to request services during an emergency.

Which Employees Will Be Working Onsite?

For the safety of your residents and staff, it's crucial to create a file for every one of your locksmith's employees who may be working at your apartment building as time goes on. Find out about each employee's background including education, experience, licensing, and references. It's also a good idea to run a background check on each employee to make sure that there aren't any concerns to consider. Have any of them had any complaints filed about theft or conspicuous behavior while changing a home's locks, or have they had to redo their work when creating news keys for customers due to imprecise measurements or neglect?

With the information received from each potential locksmith you consult with, you can compare each company and decide whose team is most likely to meet your needs and expectations as time passes. Use the information to create files that can be stored in the apartment manager's office for easy access in case they're needed in the future.

Who Will Claim Liability When Jobs are Being Completed?

When the locksmith you decide to hire, or one of their employees are onsite completing projects, who will claim liability if the locksmith accidentally slams someone's hand in a door or an entrance way is damaged in the process? Your commercial liability insurance should cover medical and legal costs if someone is hurt on the property due to negligence or oversight on your part, but you shouldn't have to file a claim with your insurance company and risk your premiums being raised if something goes wrong due to the neglect of your locksmith's company.

Make sure that you are clear about what type of liability potential locksmiths are prepared to claim if you hire them so you know what you're getting into before any initial jobs are completed. Get a copy of their liability insurance policies if possible, so their specific terms can be compared.

Are Ongoing Discounts for Residents Available?

Because you will be using the same service provider for all your locksmith needs, you'll be giving them a lot of business throughout the year. Because of this, some of the locksmiths you consult with may be willing to provide your residents with a small discount for the personal services they may need, such as when they lock their keys in the car or want to change the lock on their storage unit, in exchange for your ongoing business.

This is a valuable feature you can use to attract new residents and keep your apartment units occupied. Have interested residents sign up at your manager's office to participate, and then give the list to your chosen locksmith, so they know who to provide a discount to when they're called for personal services.

These considerations should be included in the list of questions you and your staff come up with before your consultations to make sure that they aren't overlooked. For more information, see a website such as