Property Managers Shouldn’t Direct Janitors

Cleaning: CP

A reader writes: "I am a Property Manager responsible for everything from keeping tenants happy to the HVAC system operating to the cleaning service outcomes. Although the janitor may be paid by their company, they work for me. Do you agree with my outlook?”

No, I don’t.

That’s the short answer. Here’s a longer one.

1. Although you have responsibility for keeping the building operational and safe, you cannot do this alone and have to bring in other competent services to do what they do best.

2. You need to focus on what you do best which is managing these various groups while interacting with tenants, guests and the contracted staff.

3. You indicated that you do not have time for endless meetings and I wholeheartedly agree, none of us do. You do need to focus on how to manage meetings better, which may include scheduling, setting an agenda, staying on track and knowing how to prioritize. An example is that you need to have the cleaning service communicate with you daily on any offices locked, minor security concerns or plumbing issues. If you have that information every morning you will be better prepared to respond to complaints (why wasn’t my office cleaned last night?) as well as be on top of minor issues before they get out of hand.

4. I highly recommend you avoid giving directions to the cleaning staff on how to do their job since this can create liability issues for you and your company. I know of a situation where a manager would direct the crew on how to clean the floor, what products to use, mopping methods, etc. When I told her that she was now responsible for any slip/falls due to her taking ownership, she wisely backed off.

5. As to custodial staff, I recommend you deal with the onsite supervisor and his/her bosses rather than directing their staff. None of us need more than one direct report telling us what to do.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or