What Makes A Great Janitor?

What Makes A Great Janitor?

Janitors—unsung heroes of education and business—are often overlooked for their vital contributions to the organizations they work for and the communities they serve. But what separates the average from the great?

What Makes A Great Janitor

Ten Days Without A Janitor

A day without a janitor.

It's almost unthinkable.

How about ten days?

In ten short days, absent professional custodial services in California's National Parks, visitors caused so much damage to the park due to the lack of regular maintenance and services in the restrooms due to the government shutdown that the parks may never fully recover.

Human feces and garbage have been overflowing at the campgrounds of Yosemite and Joshua Tree national parks — because there’s no staff on hand to clean up, according to new reports.

In California, tourists have been relieving themselves on the sides of the roads because Yosemite’s restrooms and visitor centers have been shuttered since Dec. 22, when the shutdown began, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Trash collection has also been temporarily nixed — even though the park itself remains open.

The makeshift toilet situation has forced two campgrounds to close due to the “health hazard” it creates.

National parks overflowing with poop because of government shutdown

From this national tragedy, it is possible to extrapolate the value that every custodial worker adds to the organization that they work for, as well as the occupants and guests of those facilities.

However, in an industry plagued by turnover rates approaching 400% annually (200% on average), it's crucial to identify the qualities that separate the good custodians from the great.


Qualities of Great Janitors

As with any industry or profession, specific skill sets, both hard and soft, often separate the top producers from the rest, including:

  • Time Management - Time management requires more than just being on time for a job.  Tasks must be specked out and accurately estimated.  Distractions must be avoided.  Customer commitments must be honored.  The very best custodians in the industry know their profession, understand the importance of accurately determining how long any given task will take, budget their teams time and duties accordingly, and keep their promises to their customers.
  • Attention to Detail - Occasionally missing a trashcan is not a big deal.  Consistently forgetting to clean and disinfect known germ hot spots can lead to the preventable illness, or even death, of an unfortunate passerby.  The very best janitors understand their vital role in protecting the health and safety of everyone who uses or passes through the facilities they care for and focus all of their skills and training toward providing the cleanest buildings possible.
  • Organization - Having the right tools, teams, and skills assigned to the proper locations when they are needed is a skill that is long in the making, but critical to the success of every company and school excellent janitors service.  Top-level organization skills ensure that precious time isn't wasted going back and forth to cleaning closets to pick up products or equipment and that everyone fully understands their duties and responsibilities.
  • Safety - The custodial industry can be dangerous--topping many lists for repetitive motion injuries, slip/trip and fall accidents, and dangerous, sometimes deadly, exposure to toxic chemicals.  This is also true of the individuals occupying or passing through the various facilities serviced by custodial teams, and so each team member must keep a knowledgeable eye out for potential safety hazards equipment lying about and understand the proper use, handling, and disposal of the cleaning chemicals they use every day, as well as what to do if someone is exposed to them in a harmful manner.
  • Commitment—Regardless of the knowledge and skillset possessed by any professional, all is not well if that individual and their team are not fully committed to the highest standards of excellence and success—not just for themselves but for the industry and communities at large that their work affects.
  • Industry Knowledge - The commercial cleaning industry is booming, with new technologies and products introduced every year, and at an alarming rate when compared to previous decades.  A truly great janitor/janitorial team will remain on top of their game, year in and out, but staying abreast of industry trends, technologies, and products that provide a cleaner, safer environment for us to work and learn in, typically at a much-reduced cost when compared to conventional methods.


References & Resources



High-quality janitorial service providers committed to their careers and dedicated to the facilities they clean are hard to find, and even more challenging to retain, especially in such a volatile market.

The effort to acquire and train such individuals and forge them into teams and industry leaders can range from challenging to seemingly impossible--costly, to so expensive it appears not to be worth the effort.

However, as recent history and scientific research into the effects our indoor environments, where we spend so much of our day, have on our health, it is demonstrable that employing and retaining a highly skilled team of custodians is a must for any organization wishing to provide top-notch services and facilities to their staff and customers.

The simplest, most cost-effective solution is to outsource your organization's cleaning and infection control requirements to a service provider with years of experience and a proven track record for professionalism and customer success.

Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450

In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410

In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks.

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks.