What does a janitor do?

Janitors perform a wide range of cleaning, maintenance, and beautification services that impact the health and safety of others. Janitors are able to address the health and safety concerns businesses face. Here is a general list of common responsibilities of a janitor:

• Mop, vacuum, and dust floors to minimize trip and fall hazards

• Clean windows and doors to ensure clear viewing

• Perform minor groundskeeping duties 

• Inspect and replace HVAC filters and other components of these appliances

• Remove trash from waste receptacles

• Clean and disinfect all surfaces throughout the building

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What is the average salary of a janitor?

Salary analysts have determined that janitors earn a median wage of $14.31 per hour. The cost of living will raise or lower this amount. With extensive experience, machine knowledge, and industry platforms, this wage can exceed $22.26 an hour. Janitors who work during night shifts are often paid more for their services. Benefits packages for these positions include paid vacations, health insurance, retirement plans, and sick pay benefits.


Working as a janitor

There is a high need for well-trained janitors in today’s world. Janitors train to use advanced cleaning machines and implement strict sanitizing practices within their work environment. Most janitors work indoors with minor outdoor cleaning and maintenance responsibilities. Being a self-starter and having the ability to work alone without consistent supervision are necessities for most available janitorial positions.

What are the responsibilities of a janitor?

The specific responsibilities of a janitor vary from one position to another. Some common duties that you'll encounter as a janitor include the following:

  • Empty waste receptacles and remove trash from the premises
  • Remove dirt and debris from floors
  • Clean and stock restrooms 
  • Wash windows, walls, and other surfaces throughout the building
  • Perform minor repairs and needed
  • Maintain stock inventory and order supplies as needed
  • Communicate with building managers about necessary repair and maintenance needs

What type of equipment do janitors use?

To perform necessary cleaning and disinfecting throughout a business, janitors use specific types of equipment throughout their workday. These pieces of equipment often include: 

  • Vacuums
  • Floor scrubbers
  • Floor buffers
  • Hi-Low lifts
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Basic hand tools including screwdrivers, hammers, saws, and drills
  • Carpet cleaners and extractors
  • Squeegees and window cleaning tools
  • Lawnmowers
  • Snow shovels and snowblowers

What is the work environment of a janitor?

The specific work environment of a janitor depends on the company that you work for. Most janitorial positions involve the interior cleaning of building facilities. If working during business hours, this means that you’re expected to communicate with others throughout your workday. These individuals are your co-workers, supervisors, business customers, and clients. When working in facilities such as day care centers or preschools, you need to know how to communicate with children. Larger businesses such as malls and medical care facilities depend on their janitorial staff to keep the outside appearance appealing as well. When working within these companies, you handle outside elements such as cold, heat, rain, and snow. 

When working during business hours, you’re expected to have good communication skills and provide help to guests who are within the building throughout your workday. When working during night shifts or off-hours, you can expect to have a quiet work atmosphere. In these positions, you will report to a supervisor at the end of your shift or through written communication.

Who are your colleagues as a janitor?

Janitors within most business facilities work alone or with a few other janitors or housekeepers in larger facilities. You report to a supervisor who oversees the cleaning and maintenance needs within the building and on the grounds. 

What is the work schedule of a janitor?

Most janitors have an eight-hour workday with a half-hour lunch period and scheduled breaks throughout their shift. You could be expected to work overtime for special events hosted by the company. These include events and activities such as open houses, public social events, sporting events, and company picnics to name a few. Hospitals and nursing homes schedule their janitors for 12-hour shifts three to four days a week. Schools offer diverse schedules for their janitorial staff. These staff members work on different shifts, with day janitors beginning before the start of student arrival and working through the school day. Night janitors perform more extensive cleaning services that are best completed when there is less foot traffic within the building.


What is the career outlook for a janitor?

When choosing to work as a janitor, your career outlook for the extended future is very good. Industry analysts project that this career path for janitors will see a growth rate of at least 6% over the next 10 years. This equates to approximately 314,900 position openings for janitors each year. The growth within this field is due to retiring janitors currently within these positions, occupation transfers, and an increase in the number of new business ventures. 

Necessary changes in janitorial roles

When you expect a career as a janitor going forward, you gain a new understanding and skills to keep up with the demand. With the advancements in technology, the tools used within your field will be more sophisticated and require training for use. This training is available through trade schools, colleges, and even the manufacturing companies that supply the equipment to your business. You will also need to stay up to date on developing cleaning and disinfecting practices that are within your specific industry as well as those mandated by the government or local regulations departments in your area.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a janitor?

If you are seeking employment or simply want to stay informed about opportunities out there working as a janitor, Spherion has the solutions for you. We work to pair you with the companies that offer janitor positions best suited for your employment needs.

As a leading staffing company, Spherion connects with a wide selection of companies. With our networking capabilities and dedication to those we serve on all levels, we are constantly updating our employment board to bring you the latest available job positions offered. Some of the advantages you will see when working with our team at Spherion include:

  • Weekly paychecks
  • Personal assistance with your career goals
  • Training opportunities specific to your desired career path as a janitor
  • Access to local job boards
  • Employment flexibility
  • Advanced skill training to grow within your career

What education do you need as a janitor?

Most janitor positions that are available don’t require education beyond a high school diploma. But, individuals with more advanced training about cleaning equipment and practices are more often considered for higher-paying positions. Having some level of knowledge or skills gained within a shop course helps with the different responsibilities encountered within a position as a janitor. Throughout your employment, the company often sends their janitorial staff to training courses offered by cleaning equipment manufacturers. Training seminars and conferences hosted by businesses provide you with new insight into the different tools and cleaning practices that are being considered.

Skills & competencies 

There are certain skills and capabilities that will benefit you as you work within a janitorial position. These qualities include:

  • Ability to work well with supervisors, co-workers, the general public, and diverse age groups
  • General understanding of how a building operates
  • General repair knowledge
  • Strong physical stamina that allows for long hours of walking, standing, machine operation, and lifting
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • Self-discipline
  • Time management

The specific qualities beneficial to your role as a janitor will depend on the type of industry you work within, the business setup, and the schedule you work.



Do you like keeping things tidy and well-organized? Do you get satisfaction knowing you are an integral part of a whole? A job as a janitor may be right for you. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about working as a janitor.

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