The maintenance department of an asset-centric organization can make or break the operational efficiency. And believe it or not, this massive responsibility of maintaining the upkeep of facilities/assets falls back on just one person – the maintenance director.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot that this job title entails, and it’s impossible to summarize the job description in a few words (especially considering that the demands change from industry to industry).
If you’re curious about what a director of maintenance does, keep reading. In this article, we’ll take you through:
- Who a director of maintenance
- The duties and responsibilities (along with the required skills)
- How to become a director of maintenance
- Average salary in the United States
Let’s jump right in.
Who is a Maintenance Director?
“Maintenance director” is an executive-level (usually full-time) position that’s responsible for overseeing the entire maintenance department of a . In the maintenance management chain of command, these professionals sit at the highest level, controlling, monitoring, and optimizing everything.
Interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip to keep reading.
In some smaller organizations, maintenance directors and maintenance managers share the same job descriptions.
However, traditionally, directors supervise managers, who, in turn, are responsible for managing maintenance supervisors.
Directors are mainly responsible for creating strategies and policies for the maintenance programs of their companies. While this isn’t true for everyone, don’t (usually) directly get involved with the supervision of the maintenance technicians/workers.
However, they are expected to listen to the concerns of their employees and take appropriate actions.
They rely on managers/supervisors to ensure they are implemented by the maintenance staff, and that all the unplanned and preventive maintenance activities are performed accordingly.
At the end of the day, directors are accountable for the performance of the maintenance teams and directly report to the CEO/ owner.
What Does a Maintenance Director Do? [Typical Roles and Responsibilities]
Maintenance and repair work tends to vary significantly from industry to industry.
In organizations with only basic assets such as elevators and HVAC i.e., things don’t have any direct impact on the core business operations, the roles and responsibilities are limited to overseeing building maintenance. Some examples include hotels, , and corporate offices.
On the other hand, in asset-centric companies that rely on special machinery to offer products/services, the job entails a lot more. Manufacturing facilities and amusement/joy parks are good examples of such organizations.
To provide a complete 360-degree view of what maintenance directors do is a list of the typical roles and responsibilities:
- Create and implement maintenance policies for the organization.
- Work with other board members to set budgets for the maintenance operations, recruitment needs, and inventory.
- Oversee the recruitment, selection, and onboarding process of new talent that joins their department.
- Create an effective training program that helps new employees hit the ground running.
- Oversee core operations including facility maintenance, property management, etc., and get reports from managers/supervisors to monitor performance.
- Work with managers and supervisors to create a safe working environment for the technicians.
- Collaborate with managers and supervisors to create preventive maintenance programs. This involves setting up a maintenance schedule (i.e., creating regular intervals for routine maintenance to ensure optimal upkeep).
- Ensure that the work orders approved are aligned with the broader strategic objectives and fall within the allocated budget.
- Analyze reports and take measures to optimize operations if necessary.
- Gather feedback from employees, address their concerns, and take steps to solve their problems.
- Review the performance of their subordinates.
- Report to the CEO or the owner of the and brief them on the performance of their team.
Of course, not every director of maintenance has to deal with everything listed above.
What Skills/Abilities Does a Maintenance Director Need?
Considering all of the above, you don’t have to be a maintenance professional to understand just how critical (and stressful) the job of a director of maintenance really is.
For that reason, these professionals need to have strong technical expertise, coupled with years of management experience – the perfect balance.
To be specific, a maintenance director should have the following skills:
- Facilities Management – this is a prerequisite. A director of maintenance should have ample experience with managing facilities (and their assets). This includes understanding the requirements and challenges of preventative and emergency maintenance operations.
- Safety Management – to create a functional and safe working environment, directors of maintenance should understand international safety regulations (such as OSHA).
- Analytical Skills – maintenance directors have to be comfortable with analyzing data through computerized maintenance management systems and be able to get insights that could help make their maintenance teams more efficient.
- Budgeting – in addition to the above, they should also know how to set budgets and create strategies accordingly.
- Leadership Skills – a director should be able to guide, motivate, and rally the employees under their command to achieve their objectives. As mentioned earlier, they are accountable for their team.
- Communication Skills – last but not least, every director of maintenance should have excellent oral and written communication skills.
Keep in mind that the aforementioned skills are just broad classifications of the general requirements.
The requirements that you see in different job postings may be a bit more specific.
How to Become a Maintenance Director? [Qualifications and Experience]
Becoming a maintenance director is the end-goal for most maintenance professionals.
We’re going to be honest – the journey isn’t exactly easy and there are no shortcuts.
However, by staying consistent, making smart career decisions, and keeping your eyes fixed on the goal, you’ll eventually get there.
With that out of the way, here is a generic roadmap that is relevant according to most maintenance director job descriptions:
- Academic Requirements – a maintenance director should at least have a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (business management, facilities management, engineering, etc.). Some companies also require the candidate to have a master’s degree.
- Maintenance Experience – both maintenance directors and managers should possess at least 5 years of experience with actual maintenance. You can’t become a maintenance director without knowing the ins and outs of the field.
- Managerial Experience – in addition to experience with the technical aspect of the job, you need to have 3-5 years of experience at a managerial/supervision role.
- Additional Credentials – finally, having additional maintenance certifications in relevant areas, such as People Analytics, Maintenance Management, etc. can go a long way in fast-tracking your career.
Additionally, connect with industry peers, attend events and seminars, and build an online presence. That way, recruiters will to notice you.
How Much Do Maintenance Directors Earn? [Latest Figures]
Since maintenance directors have so much on their plates, it makes sense that employers (across all industries) compensate them well for their efforts.
Again, the exact figures vary according to the location, level of experience, and responsibilities.
To give you a concrete idea, are some maintenance director salary estimates gathered from 3 different platforms:
- Glassdoor – according to Glassdoor, maintenance directors earn anywhere from $45,000 to $101,000 per year. The average is $67,000.
- Indeed – the data collected through salary reports on Indeed is a bit unevenly distributed (at least when compared to Glassdoor). According to the website, on average, a facilities maintenance director can earn a little over $61,000 per year (with the range going up to $139,000). Furthermore, they can earn an additional $7,813 in overtime.
- PayScale – as per the data collected on PayScale, maintenance directors can earn up to $73,387 per year in the United States. Additionally, they can earn $5,009 in bonuses and $4,000 profit sharing.
Remember – the figures above are averages across all US cities, industries, and sizes. They will definitely vary from employer to employer.
Wrapping it Up
Tracking performance, guiding subordinates, and looking at the big picture – it’s safe to say that a maintenance director plays a very important role that keeps the ’s operations up and running.
While the exact roles, responsibilities, and duties aren’t set in stone, in every, regardless of their size or industry, the director of maintenance is the one who leads the maintenance operations from the front.
And of course, in order to assume such a difficult set of responsibilities, you need to put in the work, spend some time in the field, gain practical experience, and once you’re done, applying for job openings in your industry.
Josh is a partner at Maintenance Manager HQ.