Becoming a Building Superintendent: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a building superintendent career? Get real job duties, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a building superintendent is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Building Superintendent Career

A building superintendent manages a commercial or residential property on-site, meaning they must maintain and rent the property to tenants. Check out these pros and cons of a career as a building superintendent before making a decision.

Pros of Being a Building Superintendent
Can be community-building and highly interactive with people*
Projected 12% employment growth between 2012-2022*
Relative independence in daily activities throughout grounds**

Cons of Being a Building Superintendent
Large amount of time spent investing in property (over 40 hours)*
Relationships with tenants (businesses or residents) may be stressful or adversarial*
Must manage multiple workers and external forces (emergencies, regulations)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net

Career Information

Building superintendents, also called on-site property or real estate association managers, plan and direct residential or commercial properties. According to O*Net, a website of the U.S. Employment Training Administration, building superintendents must coordinate with workers concerning the maintenance of the property, while simultaneously interacting and communicating with tenants over property issues or rental payments (

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most on-site managers answer to owners or superior managers who manage the building ( However, as an on-site manager, you are the visible professional on the grounds, helping tenants, coordinating workers on where and what to do, visiting tenants about rent or lease violations and sometimes showing spaces to potential tenants. This occurs while they have an active cellphone, walkie-talkie or pager that alerts them to emergencies or requests on the grounds. In an office, the on-site manager will organize budgets, financial plans, record daily activities and project what tasks need to be completed by certain dates.

Job Prospects and Salary

The BLS analyzed all property managers in a 2012-2022 projection, meaning that on-site managers and building superintendents may not be accurately represented. Overall, the BLS stated that building superintendents should witness an employment growth rate of 12% between 2012 and 2022. This rise is partially due to the rising population of people who desire to live in apartment or condominium dwellings. Using data from May 2014, the BLS also found that the average annual salary for a property manager is calculated at $65,880. Again, this figure may not be completely accurate since it may include senior managers.

Career Skills and Requirements

According to O*Net, a building superintendent must monitor and inspect the grounds of the property regularly or direct work crews to monitor and maintain the grounds. A building superintendent must also listen to tenant concerns or needs so a mutual negotiation can occur. Clerical and administrative skills are also needed so a building superintendent can have organized paperwork and database systems concerning tenants, accounting and legal files.

Education and Training Requirements

The BLS states that building superintendent and on-site managers are typically hired or promoted due to previous experience as maintainers. Unlike other property managers where a bachelor degree may be required, a building superintendent needs to work their way through from entry-level positions to managerial levels. The BLS also says that experience with building engineering or mitigating problems with tenants

What do Employers Look for?

If you are being hired by a property owner, most job postings either ask you to live on-site or at least be available to quickly answer emergency calls everyday. Some recent job postings as of March 2012 include:

  • A Dayton, Ohio, storage company needs an on-site manager to live near multiple, private storage units. They must help rent and protect storage units on the grounds to customers and meet their customer service requests. They must maintain the grounds and secure each storage unit from theft or damage.
  • A San Diego, California, residential apartment manager must manage 100 apartments. They must coordinate work staff and be available for after hour emergency issues.
  • A Houston, Texas, residential property manager is needed to monitor the grounds and lease payments. Some responsibilities include showing the apartments and preparing financial statements while dictating grounds and maintenance orders to staff.

How to Stand Out in the Field?

The BLS states that on-site property managers are a bit limited to what they manage. If an owner only owns 50 apartments, then the on-site manager can only work with the 50 apartments. Therefore, investing the most of your time building a community, great customer service and an ample grounds environment is very important to senior managers or corporate owners.

The BLS also recommends that you jump at the chance to expand your role as an on-site manager. For example, many property corporations might provide formal training sessions for workers to attend. Attending those sessions shows your want to expand your horizons and your investment with the corporation.

Other Fields to Consider

If you are considering alternative careers, you may want to consider a career as a real estate broker. This career, according to the BLS, is for individuals who want to sell properties to individual buyers. Similar to the marketing of apartments or office spaces to tenants, a real estate broker wants to market a whole property to potential buyers. Although you help customers purchase property, you do need to be licensed in every state. This licensing requirement vary, but typically you must pass an examination, be trained by a superior for a set amount of time and have your license consistently renewed.

Another field to consider is an administrative manager. The BLS defines an administrative manager as a professional who organizes the professional space of a company, as well as the contracts the company has with clients and vendors. Another name for this job is a facility manager. Since many clerical duties of a building superintendent include communicating with vendors and making sure the business is being kept up to standards, many building superintendents might enjoy the similar functions of this job. However, the BLS provides a number of responsibilities a facility manager may find difficult to manage. Many companies desire facility managers who can environmentally renovate the space for energy-savings or need to manage several renovation projects across an entire office building. The number of large-scale tasks requires excellent time management, but also requires knowing complex labor, safety, health and environmental laws.

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