In Summary - Caretaker
The Work - Caretaker
Caretakers look after different kinds of buildings. They work mainly in schools and on housing estates, but also in offices, churches, hotels, leisure centres and colleges.
Caretakers on housing estates usually work for a local authority or a housing association. They look after a large number of houses. They make sure that empty properties are secure and aren't vandalised. Some caretakers have to check equipment, such as lifts in blocks of flats, or fire extinguishers. If they find a fault, they have to call in the right people to repair it.
In communal areas, such as community rooms, they clean stairways and corridors, replace light bulbs and carry out minor repairs. If there are communal gardens or playgrounds, they might have to cut the grass, make minor repairs (e.g., on broken fences) and clear up litter. They are responsible generally for any landscaping jobs that need doing.
Caretakers are often the first point of contact for tenants. Some problems they deal with themselves, but if they can't, they advise people who to contact. These people should be reputable and recognised.
Some caretakers look after housing or residences on a smaller scale, such as homes for elderly people or private flats. They are sometimes called janitors and undertake similar tasks to estate caretakers. For example, they check the heating systems (and in some cases order fuel and other supplies). They might also do small maintenance jobs for residents. They are responsible for health and safety aspects such as checking fire alarms and extinguishers.
There are also mobile caretakers who support estate caretakers, by taking on larger jobs. They normally work in teams and travel to areas in a van. Their work might involve doing things like getting rid of graffiti in public areas.
In schools, caretakers often live near to, or even in, the school grounds. They have to make sure that the building, its contents and the external areas are safe and secure. This means locking and unlocking the building and entrance gates each day. They also test fire alarms and make sure that fire extinguishers are regularly maintained. Caretakers move equipment between classrooms, arrange rooms for meetings and make sure that storerooms are secure.
Caretakers look after the heating systems, carry out general handyperson duties and do minor repairs. Some caretakers have to monitor spending on essential stores, materials and equipment. They might also have some general cleaning and tidying duties. Some school caretakers supervise cleaning staff or, in large schools, assistant caretakers.
Caretakers in other types of buildings have similar kinds of duties.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Monitor building security and safety by performing such tasks as locking doors after operating hours and checking electrical appliance use to ensure that hazards are not created.
- Service, clean, or supply restrooms.
- Gather and empty trash.
- Clean building floors by sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, or vacuuming.
- Follow procedures for the use of chemical cleaners and power equipment to prevent damage to floors and fixtures.
- Mix water and detergents or acids in containers to prepare cleaning solutions, according to specifications.
- Strip, seal, finish, and polish floors.
- Notify managers concerning the need for major repairs or additions to building operating systems.
- Requisition supplies or equipment needed for cleaning and maintenance duties.
- Clean windows, glass partitions, or mirrors, using soapy water or other cleaners, sponges, or squeegees.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Interests - Caretaker
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
In this job, you'll come into contact with a lot of people, so you will need to be good at dealing with people. You'll also have to work on your own without supervision. You'll have a wide range of tasks to do, most of which will be very practical.
If working in a school you will need to child friendly and extra vigilant about safety. You also need to be kept up to date with machinery, equipment etc. Also, you'll have to be well organised and practical - not afraid of getting your hands dirty.
You'll spend a lot of time on your feet in this job and might have to work outdoors as well as indoors. It's important that you are fit and in good health.
This is the kind of job that will suit you if you are flexible and enjoy variety.
Entry Requirements - Caretaker
Pay & Salary - Caretaker
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 30k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.