Janitor Job Description
Janitors are responsible for cleaning the interiors and exteriors of schools, office buildings, hospitals and other public and private facilities. In addition to cleaning, many Janitors are tasked with inspecting property and performing maintenance, such as replacing light bulbs, and minor repairs.
While Janitors generally report to a manager, their work is completed with little or no supervision. Demand for Janitors is expected to increase 6 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding a total of 136,000 positions.
Janitor Duties and Responsibilities
The true scope of a Janitor’s job will depend upon the needs of the organization they work for, but there are a few primary responsibilities that can be applied to nearly all Janitor positions. A review of current job listings identified the following core responsibilities.
Provide Daily Cleaning and Maintenance Services
The main duty of a Janitor is providing regular upkeep of a property. This may include sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning and resupplying bathrooms, emptying trash bins and light lawn maintenance. They must also clean any spills or other hazards that occur to prevent injuries to people or property. Some janitors are also tasked with securing buildings in the evenings or opening them in the mornings.
Perform Periodic Cleaning and Repairs
In addition to their daily cleaning duties, Janitors are called upon to periodically perform heavy cleaning tasks. Shampooing carpets, waxing floors, trimming shrubbery or trees and other specified tasks are common duties of the Janitor. Some Janitors do seasonal inspections of a facility’s systems, such as heating and cooling units, smoke detectors, and fireplaces just to name a few. Many Janitors also perform small repairs, such as fixing leaky pipes, troubleshooting issues with thermostats or replacing light fixtures.
Maintain Supply Inventory
Janitors keep an eye on their cleaning supplies and equipment and reorder necessary inventory when needed. Some Janitors may directly order from suppliers, while others may put in order requests with someone in their company. Janitors also are expected to keep their tools and equipment in good working order and maintain a clean and orderly supply area.
Janitors must be reliable problem solvers. They should have good time management skills as well as the ability to work with minimal supervision. Janitors, who often interact with staff and the public in the course of their duties, also should possess good communication skills. In addition to these traits, employers look for applicants with the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Janitors with these core skills. If you want to work as a Janitor, focus on the following.
- Knowledge of cleaning procedures and practices
- Prior experience working with cleaning chemicals
- Knowledge of safety practices
- Ability to meet physical requirements, such as lifting, bending and standing for duration of shift
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your skillset and broaden your career options.
- Experience with hand and power tools
- Ability to use equipment such as sanders and carpet shampooers
There are more resources available on the Web for those interested in becoming Janitors. We scoured the Internet and found these links full of learning opportunities.
On the Web
Janitors’ Closet – This site is run by Bob Croft, who runs a cleaning business in Phoenix, Ariz. It is full of Croft’s thoughts and commentary on the cleaning business.
The Cleaning Blog – This blog is maintained by Millennium Commercial Cleaning Services and focuses on environmental, or green, cleaning practices.
Living in a Custodial World – A blog dedicated to educating school staff on the topics and duties related to the custodial staff.
The Professional Cleaner’s Personal Handbook – A comprehensive training manual for those who clean for a living.
Janitorial Service Training Guide: The Universal Way to Clean – A training guide covering the theories and practices of professional cleaning.
International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association – Founded in 2004, IJCSA has members from the janitorial services, housekeepers, house cleaning services, and janitorial suppliers. They provide certification courses, resources and networking opportunities.
International Sanitary Supply Association – The ISSA began in 1923 and offers its worldwide members benefits such as resources, research, networking and conferences.
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