Carrying out both technical and general maintenance on a regular basis requires a team of skilled employees working as a team. And while engineers and senior technicians are an important part of operations, the job requires someone on the ground to assist with the repair work from start to finish. That is exactly what a maintenance assistant job description entails.
The modern maintenance assistant is a vital part of a company's routine maintenance and repair work process.
However, a maintenance assistant job description can come with a lot of different responsibilities, and it pays to know the full set of maintenance duties that a modern assistant has to perform.
In this article, I'll provide a maintenance assistant job summary, what requirements come with the job title, and the benefits that come with the job.
Let's jump right in.
Maintenance Assistant Job Description [A 2020 Overview]
Simply put, a maintenance assistant is someone who ensures good operating conditions and sanitation in a facility.
They work directly under maintenance managers to troubleshoot and perform immediate repairs on minor malfunctions, while also ensuring clean working conditions for the rest of the maintenance crew.
Also called a junior maintenance supervisor, a maintenance assistant performs tasks such as routine clean-ups, checking and repairing electrical wiring, completing work orders, etc.
The 'Assistant' aspect of the job applies to several common areas such as building maintenance, minor electrical repairs, recordkeeping of maintenance supplies, and facility cleaning as per the general maintenance program.
Here is a brief overview of their responsibilities:
- Perform general maintenance on minor equipment and machinery
- Maintain sanitation (mopping and sweeping) in high-traffic areas (restrooms and parking lots)
- Keep electrical amenities such as HVAC systems, light bulbs, and computers in good condition
- Keep an inventory of cleaning supplies and relay usage information during staff meetings
- Ensure fellow maintenance workers observe the office building safety procedures
- Move and relocate equipment as directed
Furthermore, a maintenance assistant may be required to perform more technical tasks, based on their area of expertise and past experience.
Most maintenance assistants also function as project assistants and on-call sanitation workers.
Prime Responsibilities in a Maintenance Assistant Job Description
Maintenance assistant jobs have become considerably easier due to power tools for cleaning and general repair work.
Today, maintenance assistants also utilize software such as modern maintenance and time management software such as CMMS software to keep track of current and added tasks.
However, before they delve into other areas of maintenance, assistants have to work in some basic maintenance capacities.
Here are the three prime responsibilities of today's maintenance assistants.
With so much equipment at hand, companies have a lot of minor repairs to take care of. Maintenance assistants are the personnel responsible for the basic upkeep of machinery.
From repairing carpentry and appliances to ensuring safety codes are observed, they perform a variety of basic maintenance around the office.
Additionally, they perform some extent of preventative maintenance, making sure basic equipment runs for a longer period of time without fault.
This type of maintenance procedure is usually scheduled, as per the demands of the equipment.
To perform general repairs, an assistant has to:
- Dismantle and diagnose faults in appliances
- Perform cleaning procedures in various locations around the facility
- Maintain indoor and outdoor sanitation as per building codes
- Ensure that the fire safety equipment is functional
- Paint and buff damaged walls, dividers, equipment casings, etc.
In short, a maintenance assistant performs all the fundamental duties that maintenance technicians are not required for.
Assist with Emergency Equipment Repair
Maintenance assistants and technicians often work together to respond to random equipment failure.
Also called emergency maintenance, this type of maintenance requires assistants to work directly under technicians to help with repairs.
To assist with emergency repairs, an assistant has to:
- Follow the senior technician's instructions and handle equipment accordingly
- Open, deconstruct, and realign equipment
- Assist in moving and physically relocating parts and machinery as directed
- Operate power tools and vehicles such as forklifts to assist in moving heavy equipment
Modern equipment performance tracking software has replaced the need to manually check how a machine is performing over time. However, the software still needs to be observed manually, which is where assistants come in.
Schedule Facility Maintenance Intervals
Most companies have a maintenance schedule that's developed according to the needs of the facility.
These needs are determined by tracking foot traffic and appliance usage throughout the company.
To schedule maintenance intervals, an assistant has to:
- Keep records of how many repairs the various appliances have needed over a period of time
- Maintain an inventory of repair tools and supplies
- Coordinate with senior technicians and engineers to develop new maintenance schedules
- See which areas of the facility require additional cleaning
Well-planned general maintenance intervals minimize the costs of minor repairs and maintain a sanitary working environment for everyone at the company.
Soft Skills for Maintenance Assistants in 2020
Aside from basic problem-solving skills, modern maintenance assistants need an additional range of soft skills to be better at their jobs.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for modern maintenance assistants:
- High-level Understanding of Technical Terms: Building safety codes, instruction manuals, and other technical literature usually involve technical jargon which assistants need to understand in order to optimally perform those tasks.
- Good Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Assistants often work in teams, with other skilled personnel. Good communication and interpersonal skills help team members understand each other's requirements and collaborate towards their goals.
- Willingness to Work in a High-Functioning Capacity: General maintenance is a strenuous and sometimes hectic job that requires assistants and workers to work throughout their hours. Any assistant applying for this job should be willing to work throughout their shifts, without slowing down.
- Good Physical Conditioning and Stamina: While assistants have to take care of minor repairs and such, the majority of their responsibilities require physical exertion. The ideal assistant should be in adequate physical shape with no medical conditions that would prevent them from functioning well.
In addition to these, an assistant in 2021 should be in the know about tech, with working knowledge of CMMS systems and tools.
Typical Qualifications of a Maintenance Assistant
Any form of professional maintenance work usually requires a high school diploma, as well as a degree of field experience.
The maintenance assistant's job is no different.
Generally, maintenance assistants should have the following qualifications:
- High school diploma or GED with an apprenticeship
- A vocational certificate with work experience in a relevant field
- A combination of an undergraduate degree and an advanced diploma
- Intra-graduate work experience with a valid certificate
Additionally, a modern Assistant should have a driver's license and working knowledge of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
There are multiple maintenance career advancement courses available online.
Taking some of these courses will upskill current assistants while preparing them to move up in their careers, or apply to more advanced job postings such as preventive maintenance management.
Maintenance Assistant Salary and Perks
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a current maintenance assistant in the US is $33,103, per year.
This can vary based on a candidate's individual qualifications, experience, and the company's salary packages.
In terms of benefits, it varies from company to company. However, the standard benefits such as paid time off, and health, life, dental, and occupational injury insurance are constant.
How to Become an Ideal Maintenance Assistant
Like more advanced technical positions, basic maintenance work is changing with technology such as advanced sanitation tools and self-diagnosing machinery.
Assistants are utilizing software to create work logs, coordinate maintenance efforts, maintain asset records, and keep time on tasks.
These software systems help assistants maintain ideal time management and know exactly how to develop the perfect maintenance schedules.
Needless to say, any working maintenance assistant has to achieve some level of understanding of these systems before applying to tech-forward companies.
Candidates who are currently looking for a maintenance assistant's position should also focus on vocational courses and advanced apprenticeships.
It may be a basic position at the start, but maintenance work provides several opportunities for advancing careers. An assistant who's starting out now can become a maintenance engineer or supervisor with sufficient qualifications.
In light of this, it's vital for current assistants to make an effort to continue learning for the best career trajectory.
Josh is a partner at Maintenance Manager HQ.