What is the difference between custodial services and janitorial services?

Business owners should consider carefully what type of service they need to keep their building in good order: janitor or custodian? The difference is bigger than most people think.

What is a janitorial service?

A janitorial services is typically employed to clean a commercial establishment, with most of the work done involving the interior spaces of the building, although some outdoor sweeping and window-cleaning falls into their job description as well. More specifically, janitors are responsible for cleaning bathrooms, mopping/vacuuming floors, keeping surfaces, tables, and employee work areas clean. Janitors also empty the trash and perform general cleaning tasks too numerous to list. Cleaning is their primary responsibility.

What is a custodial service?

By contrast, custodians do a great deal of cleaning as well, but also are responsible for minor repairs and more of the building’s exterior. In some cases, they look after the entirety of a commercial property. They are also more heavily involved with building maintenance, security, and grounds-keeping than janitors typically are. Custodians may also enlist other vendors to assist with specific services while janitors do everything themselves.

The differences between them

While an unfortunate tendency exists to use these terms interchangeably, it should be obvious from the above descriptions that janitorial and custodial services perform different functions for a business. For those that already have maintenance agreements or their own staff for building repairs and outdoor work, it often does not make sense to hire a more costly custodial service when all the business needs is a janitor to take care of the cleaning and closely associated duties.