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What Is the Difference Between Custodial and Janitorial Services?

Keeping your office or commercial property clean and well-maintained not only helps your business make a good impression with potential clients and employees, but also ensures the overall health and well-being of your staff members. Custodial and janitorial services help to create an efficient working environment wherein employees can achieve their highest levels of productivity and success. As such, maintaining a clean commercial or business space makes for a suitable environment to conduct regular office work, hold meetings, and pitch to clients.

Many business owners look to professional custodial or janitorial companies for office cleaning and maintenance. Indeed, there are a wide range of services available from these professional outfits, and while there is a fair amount of overlap between janitors and custodians, there are distinctions between these positions as well. First, let’s talk about the similarities. Primarily, janitors and custodians are hired either as permanent employees or part-time employees by the management of a company. Likewise, many companies decide to contract this work to professional janitorial and custodial organizations who act as the employer for cleaners, custodians, and janitors. Out-serviced cleaning reduces the burden on your company’s managers, as cleaning staff are paid, scheduled, and disciplined by the cleaning company.

Still, while we can see there are some similarities between janitors and custodians, there are several differences as well. In many instances, people incorrectly use the terms “janitor” and “custodian” interchangeably, despite significant differences between janitorial and custodial services. Simply put, janitorial services usually refer to those jobs which are more basic cleaning or maintenance jobs; whereas custodial services refer to those positions where an individual has control over the cleaning and maintenance of a property. The distinction is subtle but important.

Janitors and janitorial service companies are focused on keeping a business or workplace clean. The service contract with a janitorial organization will likely include an extensive list of indoor and outdoor clean-up activities, along with some maintenance duties. Cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming floors, washing windows, cleaning tables and desks, and emptying recycling and trash are just a few of the tasks you might expect a janitor to do.

Alternatively, custodial services may include but are not limited to these basic cleaning tasks. Instead, custodians may also provide light or heavy maintenance, as well as facilities management. Regular repairs, equipment replacement, emergency maintenance, and other higher level tasks would fall under the category of a custodian. In addition, custodial services may also include heavy cleaning, painting, replacement of light-fixtures, plumbing maintenance, and other activities which ensure the smooth operation of facilities in your offices.

So while you can see that custodial and janitorial services are similar, you really need an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each of these professionals before you’re ready to hire a custodian or janitor for your business.

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