General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings.
What they do
General maintenance and repair workers paint, repair flooring, and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems.
They typically do the following:
- Maintain and repair machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings
- Fix or replace faulty electrical switches, outlets, and circuit breakers
- Inspect and diagnose problems and figure out the best way to correct them
- Perform routine preventive maintenance to ensure that machines continue to run smoothly
- Assemble and set up machinery or equipment
- Plan repair work using blueprints or diagrams
- Do general cleaning and upkeep of buildings and properties
- Order supplies from catalogs and storerooms
- Meet with clients to estimate repairs and costs
- Keep detailed records of their work
General maintenance and repair workers are hired for maintenance and repair tasks that are not complex enough to need the specialized training of a licensed tradesperson, such as a plumber or electrician.
These workers are also responsible for recognizing when a job is above their skill level and requires the expertise of an electrician; a carpenter; a heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanic or installer; or a plumber, pipefitter, or steamfitter.
General maintenance and repair workers may fix or paint roofs, windows, doors, floors, woodwork, walls, and other parts of buildings.
They also maintain and repair specialized equipment and machinery in cafeterias, laundries, hospitals, stores, offices, and factories.
General maintenance and repair workers get supplies and parts from distributors or storerooms to fix problems. They use common hand and power tools, such as screwdrivers, saws, drills, wrenches, and hammers to fix, replace, or repair equipment and parts of buildings.
General maintenance and repair workers often carry out many different tasks in a single day at any number of locations. They may work inside a single building, such as a hotel or hospital, or be responsible for the maintenance of many buildings, such as those in an apartment complex or on a college campus.
General maintenance and repair workers may have to stand for long periods or lift heavy objects. These workers may work in uncomfortably hot or cold environments, in uncomfortable or cramped positions, or on ladders. The work involves a lot of walking, climbing, and reaching.
How to become a General Maintenance and Repair Worker
Jobs in this field typically do not require any formal education beyond high school. General maintenance and repair workers often learn their skills on the job. They start by doing simple tasks and watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers.
Many maintenance and repair workers learn some basic skills in high school shop or technical education classes, postsecondary trade or vocational schools, or community colleges.
Courses in mechanical drawing, electricity, woodworking, blueprint reading, mathematics, and computers are useful. Maintenance and repair workers often do work that involves electrical, plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning systems or painting and roofing tasks. Workers need a good working knowledge of many repair and maintenance tasks.
Practical training, available at many adult education centers and community colleges, is another option for workers to learn tasks such as drywall repair and basic plumbing.
General maintenance and repair workers usually start by watching and learning from skilled maintenance workers. They begin by doing simple tasks, such as fixing leaky faucets and replacing lightbulbs. After gaining experience, general maintenance and repair workers move on to more difficult tasks, such as overhauling machinery or building walls.
Some general maintenance and repair workers learn their skills by assisting other types of repair or construction workers, including machinery repairers, carpenters, or electricians.
Licensing requirements vary by state and locality. For more complex tasks, workers may need to be licensed in a particular specialty, such as electrical or plumbing work.
The median annual wage for general maintenance and repair workers was $39,080 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,140.
Employment of general maintenance and repair workers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Employment may rise as increasing home prices and sales drive demand for remodeling and maintenance work. In addition, maintenance and repair workers will continue to be needed to upgrade and renovate older homes.
Similar Job Titles
Building Maintenance Mechanic, Building Mechanic, Equipment Engineering Technician, Facilities Manager, Maintenance Engineer, Maintenance Man, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance Supervisor, Maintenance Technician, Maintenance Worker
Pipefitter and Steamfitter, Plumber, Motorboat Mechanic and Service Technician, Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Stationary Engineer and Boiler Operator
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- BOMI International
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
- Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
- Service Employees International Union
- The International Maintenance Institute
- United Steelworkers
Magazines and Publications
- Director of Maintenance Magazine
- Valve Magazine
- Aviation Maintenance Magazine
- Fleet Maintenance Magazine
It takes a broad set of skills and knowledge to maintain buildings, including the ability to troubleshoot mechanical problems when they come up. General maintenance and repair workers employ those skills to fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They may repair roofs and floors, paint woodwork and walls, and fix other parts of buildings. When a more complicated problem arises, these workers also determine when it’s time to call in an electrician or plumber. General maintenance and repair workers may have to stand for long periods or lift heavy objects, work in very hot or cold environments, in cramped positions, or on ladders. They are employed in many locations, including office buildings, hospitals, stores, and factories. Most general maintenance workers work full time, including evenings or weekends, and may be on call for emergency repairs. They have a high risk of electrical shocks, falls, and cuts. Many in this field start out with simple tasks, observing and learning from skilled maintenance workers… then move on to more difficult tasks, such as overhauling machinery or constructing walls. High school shop classes and technical education are helpful.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOne Stop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org