Who is In Charge of Cleaning up the Mess?

Domestic services managers make sure that large residences such as hospitals, universities and colleges, residential homes, schools and hotels are clean and well maintained. The title of the job varies depending on where it takes place. They are known as housekeepers in the hotel industry and domestic bursars in university halls of residence. The duties are very similar, despite the different titles. Domestic services managers must understand the equipment and techniques that are used to do the cleaning, even though they don’t do it themselves. They are responsible for the materials and equipment used, and must keep up to date with new technology.

Hospitals Need Organized Cleanliness
Many domestic services managers work in hospitals and organize teams of workers who keep the inside of the building clean and in good condition. For obvious reasons, hygiene and the control of pests are important factors in hospitals. Other duties may include:

  • organizing laundry services
  • arranging repairs
  • organizing and maintaining furnishings and interior decorations
  • allocating living accommodation in hospitals to medical and nursing staff
  • high risk cleaning, for example operating rooms.

Cleanliness Demands Time
Domestic services managers organize work rotas, and train, supervise and check the work of the domestic staff. They are usually responsible for taking on new staff, so need to be confident in personnel and industrial relations.  A lot of time is spent on administration and managing budgets. Domestic services managers often work within a tight budget, and have to find the most cost-effective way of organizing staff and providing an efficient service. Managers sometimes live in their place of work, so they can be on call at all times.

Personal Qualities and Skills
You must be up to the physically demanding aspects of the job. Much of the day is spent walking around, monitoring work and training staff. You need to have good organization, planning and management skills. And you must be capable of dealing with sudden crises calmly and efficiently. It is also important to be a good team builder. You need to win the confidence of the staff; many of whom are low paid. You must keep the staff motivated and make sure that they understand the need for high standards. You need good communication skills. You need IT skills for administration and good financial skills to manage budgets. You should have a good knowledge of equipment and health and safety issues and a willingness to keep up to date with changes in technology.

Pay and Opportunities
Salaries for domestic services managers vary, depending on the type and size of operation they work for. The pay rates shown are approximate. Salaries are in the range of $20,000 – 25,000 a year, rising to around $30,000. Higher earners can make around 37,000 a year, and up to 58,000 for senior appointments. The basic working week for domestic service managers is around 50 hours. However, long hours, shift, weekend and public holiday work is common. Domestic services managers work throughout the world in hotels, hospitals, universities and colleges, residential homes and schools. In some places, a general manager fulfills the duties of domestic services manager and catering manager.

Adult Opportunities
It is illegal for any organization to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits. Some entrants have relevant skills and abilities gained in the hotel industry, for example, in room service or as an attendant or receptionist. If you are working in the industry or have gained relevant skills, you can attend college part-time to study for qualifications such as a Bachelor or Master degree in Hospitality Management.

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