Manufacturing companies, facilities, apartments, etc. see a lot of production and traffic on a daily basis, sometimes 24/7. All of those elements need attention from time to time. They could break down, slow production to a halt, and affect the bottom line. Luckily, the maintenance man is usually there to make sure that doesn't happen.
Senior maintenance personnel such as maintenance technicians, maintenance managers, and senior maintenance workers all depend on the maintenance man for machinery upkeep and general repairs.
Since it doesn't require extensive qualifications, it's a widely popular job. However, anyone looking for work as a maintenance man should know the types of maintenance work out there, and the various responsibilities that come with the job.
In this article, I'll explain in detail what a maintenance man does in 2021, how much they make in a year, and how to be successful at the maintenance job.
Let's jump right in.
What is a Maintenance Man? [Job Overview]
A maintenance man is someone who repairs, cleans, and maintains minor equipment, buildings, and facilities.
Also called a serviceman, repairman, handyman, or fixer, the maintenance man is responsible for minor upkeep. They are generally assigned to tasks that are too minor for maintenance technicians or maintenance engineers.
There are several types of maintenance men, including the odd-job man who is basically a jack of all trades, or a dedicated repairer/mender, who works specifically on equipment repair.
They could also have jobs based on their specific training. Plumbers, electricians, car-mechanics/auto-mechanics, and real estate sanitation workers are examples of such specific maintenance personnel.
While they could be employed in any maintenance capacity, here is a brief overview of their most common responsibilities:
- Cleaning and repairing basic fixtures in houses, production facilities, or apartment complexes
- Repairing basic utility delivery systems such as power lines, plumbing, and gas pipes
- Replacing parts in machines and basic equipment
- Installing new household amenities such as heating and cooling systems
- Scraping, painting, and polishing walls, windows, and doors
- Assisting senior maintenance personnel in general maintenance
Additionally, a maintenance man may be employed as a general troubleshooter under a maintenance manager. In this position, they may be responsible for diagnosing performance-lags, and similar issues in equipment.
Some tech-forward companies are now equipping their maintenance workers with advanced diagnosis, repair, data-logging, and reporting tools. These allow workers to spend less time, in performing more complicated tasks.
It's important to note that the term 'maintenance man' is more of a traditional job title, than a definition of who the person doing the job is. It's similar to the maintenance worker job description. And, it's not limited by gender, as there are countless female maintenance staff operating in various capacities.
If you're interested in learning more via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.
Primary Responsibilities of a Maintenance Man in 2021
Any prospective maintenance worker can literally find hundreds of jobs in their realm of expertise, around the country.
However, all that job diversity can sometimes confuse a job seeker. If someone is looking to make or a career as a maintenance man, they should at least know the basic professional areas in which they can find work.
Therefore, here are the five main job areas for today's maintenance man.
Mechanical assistants are repairmen and junior technicians who work under senior mechanics to perform basic repairs on machinery, household systems, and cars.
These workers primarily work in manufacturing companies, major housing units, automobile workshops, tech firms, and basically any commercial or official establishment that requires their services
In this role, their responsibilities include:
- Basic repair and upkeep of minor machinery and equipment
- Replacing peripherals and machinery housing units
- Working with automobile mechanics to repair specific car parts
- Creating daily work logs and submitting them on a weekly or monthly basis to mana
Experienced mechanical assistants may be hired as mechanics or junior technicians, depending on their individual work history.
This is the most common form of property maintenance for a basic worker in the US.
The term 'maintenance guy' comes from the traditional employment of such workers in apartment buildings, large housing units, and offices.
Basically, all the repair and upkeep that goes on in the building, from keeping the electrical systems running, to ensuring that heating and cooling systems are working fine.
Working in a building maintenance capacity means:
- Painting walls and ceilings, and refreshing paint once it starts to chip
- Repairing dents and breaks on doors, door frames, drywall, banisters, etc.
- Replacing frayed wiring, old switches, and breaker units
- Installing new pipes, holders, and wall fittings
Sanitation workers are also included in the maintenance man realm if they are employed by the building authority and not by the city. In the former case, they would work as exterior and interior cleaners, while also removing minor blockages from waste disposal and plumbing systems.
Emergency Maintenance and Repairs
Basic maintenance workers are usually first responders in an emergency malfunction or equipment breakage.
Depending on their seniority or the specifics of their position, they may begin the repair process themselves, or refer the issue to an engineer or technician.
To perform emergency maintenance and repairs, a maintenance man has to:
- Confirm availability via phone/radio or refer to a technician
- Respond directly and examine the faulty elements
- Perform either permanent repairs or temporary ones in case of major repair needs
Emergency maintenance may also involve major machinery slowing down or coming to a stop due to a minor part suddenly coming out of place. In this case, maintenance men are often the ones to perform the repair and get the machine running again.
Soft Skills for a Maintenance Man in 2021
Being successful as a maintenance man requires a broad set of skills, including some necessary soft skills.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for modern maintenance men:
- Strong Technical Acumen: Surprisingly, most junior maintenance personnel learn about their jobs either during vocational training or extensive work experience. This is due to the ability to understand technical work without being educated or instructed on it. This is an extremely valuable ability for any maintenance man.
- Stamina and General Health: This can sometimes be a very demanding profession in terms of manual effort required. To succeed here, maintenance men need to have excellent stamina and no preexisting health conditions that would cause a hindrance in a maintenance task and their careers.
- Collaboration and Teamwork: Maintenance personnel often work in teams and unless they are the sole position in a facility, junior workers are almost always dispatched in groups consisting of several workers and a supervisor. To be effective in situations like this, maintenance men need to have an innate collaborative team spirit.
Additionally, they should have at least some affinity for technology or the usage of high-tech tools in the workplace.
Typical Qualifications of a Maintenance Man
Almost all repairman jobs require at least a high school diploma to be considered bona fide.
Generally, a maintenance man should have the following qualifications:
- High school diploma with credentials from an engineering certification authority
- Intermediate diploma from an accredited technical institute
- Basic diploma with extensive technical experience in a relevant capacity
Furthermore, a modern man should have a working knowledge of computer systems and software that could aid in maintenance work.
Maintenance Man Salary and Perks
This can vary based on a candidate's individual qualifications and work experience, as well as the company's salary offer.
Additionally, different employers offer compensation based on the individual work experience of the candidate, as well as their technical abilities.
How to Become an Ideal Maintenance Man
Because it's the easiest of the maintenance-related jobs, many job seekers look to get employed as maintenance personnel.
There's always tons of work available and almost every major always has openings for these positions. However, the job situation has currently taken a hit due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting social-distancing protocols.
A lot of full-time maintenance professionals are now taking up part-time work in less populated settings.
Still, maintenance needs haven't gone away, which is keeping workers employed in most of their usual jobs.
To succeed, any prospective maintenance man should or continue learning via online courses and try to gain as much knowledge about their area of expertise as they can. The continued learning will help them upskill themselves and move to better, more rewarding positions sooner.
Josh is a partner at Maintenance Manager HQ.