What are the duties of a key holder?

keys to your business image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com

Key holders are important workers in the retail industry. These employees usually have more experience than their colleagues and take on added responsibilities to help operate the store in a responsible manner.

Every retail business needs at least two key holders to ensure that all of the important duties that the job requires are fulfilled at all times.

Open and Close

One of the most important duties of a key holder is to open or close the retail shop each day. An opening key holder must unlock the doors, inspect the property, deactivate the overnight security system and turn on any indoor or outdoor lights. Closing key holders perform the same process in reverse, activating the security system and making sure that the store is secure and locked with no customers or employees remaining inside.

Protect Keys

Key holders are responsible for protecting the keys they use 24 hours a day. Because the key holder also needs to know the security code for the alarm, it's important that the key holder never keep the code in the same place as the keys. This means that even if someone steals the building keys, it will only represent a partial security breach since the potential thief would still have to get past the alarm system.

Emergency Contact

Because they can reset the alarm system, key holders are usually entrusted as emergency contacts for local police or a private security firm that monitors the property. In the event of an alarm activation or suspected security breach, one of the key holders must go to the retail location to deactivate the alarm and ensure that the store is safe, before locking up once again.


Besides their duties as key holders, most of the retail employees entrusted with keys are also managers of high-ranking sales associates. This means they perform standard duties such as setting employee schedules, customer service, restocking merchandise, placing product orders and maintaining a clean and organised retail space.