This is part one of an article outlining average salaries for custodial executives. It is based off Salary Survey results from readers of Facility Cleaning Decisions magazine.

When determining and negotiating salaries, there are a number of factors to consider — experience, education, certifications, skills, the local and national economy, the type of organization and the competitiveness of the local job market. Between U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers and salary comparison websites such as and, custodial executives and their employers can find general averages based on job title that can help provide a benchmark against which to compare their salaries.

But custodial decision makers may not have had industry-specific data to work with when researching the average salaries for various positions in the field — until now. Facility Cleaning Decisions (FCD) magazine sent out a salary survey to readers in 2014. The results, shared here for the first time, provide insight for in-house custodial operations professionals into what their colleagues and peers are earning, and provide further ammunition for those negotiating raises. The information has been broken down by title, facility type and department size.

While many bemoan the less-than-glamorous status of cleaning industry positions, they also approach salary discussions with a healthy dose of realism. Those who have been in the facility cleaning industry long enough to work their way up to executive positions aren’t in it for a fat paycheck or the clout that comes with a high-level job.

But, many custodial management and operations jobs do come with what could be considered livable compensation, with overall salary figures averaging about $70,000 a year. Those in industrial, hospitality, government and commercial positions fared a bit better, landing in the $70,000 to $90,000 range, while those in education, retail and healthcare averaged between $55,000 and $65,000.

These numbers seem like a fair reflection, says Daniel Wagner, vice president of operations for Mantua, Ohio-based Hattie Larlham, a large nonprofit whose revenue is tied to medicaid reimbursement payments and donations — and that dictates what kind of wages and salaries it is able to provide staff.

“I think there’s always room for improvement” when it comes to industry salaries, says Wagner. “But you don’t come into this line of work expecting to make a lot of money.”

That said, some salary statistics vary wildly. For example, the average salary for director of housekeeping was just over $48,000 in the FCD survey and’s average for the same position is around $49,000, but listed the average pay at about $78,000. Likewise, housekeeping managers who responded to the FCD survey averaged just over $45,000 — reflected in Glassdoor’s $44,000 average, but way off from’s average of more than $70,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a salary of $116,000 for operations managers, while Glassdoor lists the salary for director of facilities at $94,000 and director of operations at $103,000. While these specific numbers are higher than what our survey’s average, a closer look at FCD survey results reveals variations based on region, title and supervisory responsibility.

Doug Green, regional environmental services director for seven different Mercy Hospitals in Springfield, Missouri, says pay rates within his organization depend on location and cost of living.

“Titles matter. Even though ‘housekeeping’ and ‘environmental services’ mean the same thing, the latter is the more professional title,” Green says. “We are hygiene specialists. We’re not just cleaners — we’re saving lives and that should be reflected in our compensation.”

Although there are a few outliers, many of the available national salary statistics are largely in line with FCD survey results. In fact, FCD respondents reported higher salaries for director of environmental services ($72,000) than both Glassdoor ($67,132) and ($64,000).

next page of this article:
Why People Become Custodial Executives