In many circles, a porter goes by the name of janitor or building cleaner. The porter job title encompasses those as well as other activities involved in the care of buildings and grounds and the occupants thereof. With porters being employed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, school campuses, offices, condominiums, vacation resorts and apartments, the porter job description likely will vary from industry to industry. The below porter job description explains the duties, skills, and knowledge needed to become a porter.
Job Overview: What Does a Porter Professional Do?
Porters function as groundskeepers, building cleaners and maintenance workers. In these roles, they handle brooms, mops, sweepers, cleaning supplies, bulbs and handheld tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches. Performing the job duties requires the physical ability to endure several hours of walking and other body movements and handle the tools and equipment of the porter trade.
Porter Job Duties
- Remove trash and litter from rooms, offices, common areas, kitchens, restrooms, grounds and receptacles.
- Replace light bulbs, air filters, blinds, shades and other items as directed.
- Prepare rooms occupancy for new residents and guests.
- Repair doors, windows, shower heads, sink fixtures and curtain rods.
- Stock and organize cleaning and maintenance supply rooms and closets.
- Vacuum and sweep floors and carpets.
- Inspect areas for unsafe conditions, unlocked doors in restricted areas, and potential security breaches on the grounds.
- Report breaches, hazards, incidents observed, and broken items to supervisors or management.
- Hand brochures, maps, and other literature to incoming guests or residents.
- Assist guests, patients, residents and others with finding rooms or places on property, carrying luggage or other effects and obtaining other services.
Porter Job Essential Skills
Organizational Skills. For porters or others to find supplies, porters need to organize supply rooms by type of supplies and date of receiving the supplies. The latter ensures that cleaning agents or other items do not become outdated. Moreover, a good managing of time and prioritizing of tasks such as preparing rooms for guests, residents or meetings are also part of good organizational skills.
Mechanical Skills. To undertake property maintenance and upkeep, porters need a basic understanding of certain tools and how to select and install the correct light bulbs or air filters. Mechanical skills also include knowledge of air conditioning, heating, and other systems on the grounds.
Customer Service Skills. Porters must exercise courtesy and patience in answering guest, resident and customer questions. Often, these inquiries arise while the porter performs cleaning and maintenance.
Physical Skills. The porter job description involves constant walking. Porters need the strength to lift trash bags with several pounds of trash, boxes of supplies for rooms and trash cans. Also, other physical skills include hand coordination and the ability to push and pull buckets. Moreover, with outside work comes the need for porters to withstand sometimes uncomfortable or extreme heat or cold weather conditions.
Becoming a Job Porter Professional
The job porter job description involves considerable manual labor and basic tasks such as cleaning; assisting residents, guests or patients; and simple maintenance. As such, becoming a porter requires primarily experience in related job settings. Education factors are also important on the path of becoming a porter, with relevant classes covering at least introductory topics in tasks performed by porters.
Qualifications & Training
Porters do not receive formal education or training or classes beyond high school. However, organizations such as the Building Service Contractors Associations, the International Sanitary Supply Association and the IEHA (formerly the International Executive Housekeepers Association) certify janitors. Therefore, such recognition can make applicants more appealing to employers.
Depending on the specific employer, a porter can get hired without a high school diploma. Some employers may require or prefer high school graduates. However, companies themselves will provide most of the training for porters. The topics of training include the property layout, the amenities, equipment and company policies and practices. New porters may work under the tutelage of a more experienced one.
Applicants likely will need prior related work experience. Such jobs may include working with grounds keeping crews, landscapers, housekeeping, or contractors as helpers. Prior work in a particular setting may be necessary or helpful in becoming a porter with certain employers. For example, to land positions with some employers, porters should bring experience in commercial or institutional settings.
This may prove especially the case with candidates for porter jobs on college campuses, hospitals, industrial plants and large office buildings. Applicants may need landscaping experience to work at condominiums, resorts, apartment complexes and other places where the employer emphasizes curb appeal. Porters in hospitals may need prior experience in medical settings to be able to assist patients.
A mix of full-time and part-time positions populates the porter occupation. In many settings, porters may have evening and night shifts. In fact, several establishments advertise night porter positions. Night time porters are needed especially to monitor buildings for unlocked rooms or windows and the presence of unauthorized persons. During evening and night shifts, porters can also clean relatively free of crowds or others.
Early morning work also forms part of the porter job description. During the morning hours, porters in hotels may help prepare rooms for check-in by guests. In other places, these workers clean dining halls, classrooms or convention areas in predawn periods for use by incoming occupants.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a rise of 10 percent in the employment of “Janitors and Building Cleaners” in the United States through 2026. This translates to 236,500 openings in the field. In 2016, the occupation drew 2,384,600 workers. Also, it seems the healthcare field is expected to generate many additional jobs for porters.
Opportunities for employment may continue to abound among owners and developers of condominium complexes, two significant employers of porters. According to IBIS World, revenues from apartment and condominium construction grew by nearly 7 percent annually between 2012 and 2017. The market research site expects continued growth, but at slower rates, as people opt to increase their purchase of single-family homes.
For public universities and property owned by nonprofits or government agencies, budget priorities and available funds may determine the number of available positions for porters. Working as a porter can lead to jobs as an automobile or large appliance mechanic, automobile or other service advisor and supervisor of janitors or porters. Moreover, with a combination of work and education or other training, porters may eventually become property managers.
Finally, porters may find adequate job opportunities across the board, especially among healthcare providers and apartment and condominium owners and developers. The occupation overall has a significant number of participants, extending well over two million. Those who seek porter jobs must have the awareness that the porter job description includes physical skills, a mechanical mind, and attention to customer service and curb appeal.