By Devon Maresco
The landscape for facilities after COVID-19 is going to be much different from what many businesses are used to. It’s the next step in the evolution of the workplace, and it’s important to keep pace with the demands and expectations that accompany it. This includes from a facilities maintenance standpoint. Now, as companies seek to staff their facilities with the best team to optimize and maintain them, it’s worth looking at the roles of these individuals, starting with the facilities maintenance manager.
What does a facilities maintenance manager do?
The easiest way to understand the important role of a facilities maintenance manager is to look at this position from a responsibility standpoint. It’s as easy as breaking down the job title itself.
Facilities maintenance managers actually fall under the IFMA-recognized umbrella of “facility managers,” which covers six defined areas of focus: Technology, Health & Safety, Recruitment & Training, Environment, Social Housing & Support, and Maintenance. As the name implies, a facilities maintenance manager oversees the execution of core facilities maintenance and upkeep tasks. This generally includes:
- Creates the strategy and systems for broad facility maintenance
- Ensures that the building meets health and safety standards and regulations
- Installs a preventive maintenance system to keep facilities running
- Manages maintenance team, including craftspeople and tradespeople
- Coordinates with external vendors for all out-of-house services
In the same way the marketing manager oversees marketing operations or the finance manager keeps the accounting department running, a facilities maintenance manager focuses on the building’s needs and the means to meet them.
How to become a facility maintenance manager
There are a few ways to become a facility maintenance manager, and each track has its own pros and cons.
- Institutional education. This path involves formal education for something in the realm of facility maintenance or upkeep. From there, it’s important to pursue facility management certification, such as an FMP, SFP, or CFM.
- On-the-job experience. A professional might take on facility-related job duties over time until they’re inadvertently saddled with the role at a growing company. Eventually, they grow into the position and become the departmental authority in time.
- Lateral movement. An employee may develop an inclination for facility maintenance while in another role or at another company, then leverage tenure or experience into a facility management career track, eventually climbing to the management level.
While each of these options represents a viable path to a facilities maintenance management position, they’re entirely circumstantial. Larger companies with more robust maintenance needs will likely prefer someone with formal training or long-term experience. Smaller companies offer more opportunities to “fall into the role” and learn on-the-go.
How much do facilities maintenance managers make?
While it depends on the size and organizational structure of the company, most facilities maintenance managers fall in the realm of upper (or senior) management. As such, the role tends to come with generous compensation.
According to data from PayScale, the average salary for a facility maintenance manager in the United States is $74,409, skewing as high as $82,000 for experienced professionals. For those hired directly into a facilities maintenance manager position, expect the salary to start lower, at between $46,000 and $54,000. These figures also represent a growth in income over other job titles on the road to becoming a facilities maintenance manager. For example, the average salary of a maintenance supervisor is around $43,000.
It’s also important to consider future salary growth at this position, both in terms of demand and career track. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the outlook for administrative service management professionals is growing faster than average, at 6% annually. Typically, in-demand fields drive competitive wages, which could mean better salaries in the near-term. There’s also upward mobility for facilities maintenance managers. The next step up? Some variation of director of facilities, which could net a salary of as high as $123,000.
A good facilities maintenance manager is vital
As the world adapts to life after the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are reassessing the role of facilities in their operational plan. It’s becoming critical to not only utilize facilities the right way, but to treat them like the asset they are. That means proactive and attentive maintenance.
Facilities maintenance managers have the arduous task of observing and addressing the full range of complex systems that keep a building operational. The good news is that they’re in a position to oversee a team of in-house or contracted technicians to help them. It’s a career that’s demanding and complex, but rewarding and fulfilling. And, it’s one companies big and small are beginning to appreciate more as demands and expectations for the workplace change.
Keep reading: What is a Facility Maintenance Manager’s Scope of Work?