Building Custodian: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 18, 2019

A building custodian provides basic maintenance and cleaning service to a building, which can be for an endless amount of organizations and industries. Janitors typically mop floors, take out garbage, tend to minor repairs, and clean many different aspects of a building; they commonly work when a place is closed as well.

Essential Information

Building custodians work in various settings and are responsible for the general upkeep of a building. Job duties may include vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and small repair work. Custodians frequently work after a building has closed for the day to ensure that rooms and offices are clean and ready for the next day. There are usually no education requirements for building custodians, and they are often trained for specific duties once they are hired.

Required Education None, although sometimes a high school diploma is preferred
Other Requirements Basic knowledge of repair techniques, or job training alongside an experienced custodian
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 7% for janitors and cleaners
Median Salary (May 2018)* $26,110 annually for janitors and building cleaners

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Building Custodian Job Description

Building custodians are responsible for the general maintenance of schools, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, stores and office buildings. The duties of building custodians will vary depending on the type of establishment. Generally, tasks include cleaning floors, windows, carpets and walls; taking out trash, and maintaining all entrances and common areas. In addition to cleaning bathrooms, custodians must ensure that paper towels, soap, toilet paper and other sanitary items are available. Custodians may also have to help employees or teachers set up and break down for events or meetings.

Some building custodians are expected to make minor repairs in a building, such as fixing leaky pipes, electric or electronic devices, appliances, and desks and chairs. Other duties may include painting, mowing lawns, landscaping and other maintenance projects.

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for custodians (also known as janitors and building cleaners) is expected to increase as fast as the average through 2028. Job prospects should be decent, with many new openings expected in healthcare facilities. In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $43,340 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $19,060 or less per year.


There are no educational requirements for becoming a building custodian. Most custodians are first hired to apprentice or train alongside an experienced custodian to learn the routines and operations necessary to keep a specific building clean. While most employers prefer that custodians have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, this is not always the case.

Building custodians need to be in good physical condition, because much of the job is strenuous and requires long shifts of standing on their feet. They also need to be able to accurately follow directions and understand basic repair techniques.

Building custodians don't need experience or education, just dedication to work hard and get the job done. If they do that, they will potentially find more work, which is moderately increasing due to the rapid openings of healthcare facilities.

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