This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Cleaners clean offices, industrial or public buildings, carparks, aircraft or private homes.
Cleaners usually earn
$16-$17 per hour
Cleaners who supervise others usually earn
$17-$28 per hour
Source: Trade Me, 'Trade Me Jobs Salary Guide', 2016
Pay for cleaners varies depending on experience, employer, and the type of cleaning work they do.
- Cleaners usually start out on minimum wage.
- Those with one to two years' experience may earn up to $17 per hour.
- Those working in supervisory positions can earn between $17 and $28 per hour.
Self-employed cleaners may earn between $16 and $35 an hour.
Source: Trade Me, 'Trade Me Jobs Salary Guide', 2016.
- PAYE.net.nz website – use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Cleaners may do some or all of the following:
- sweep, vacuum, mop and polish floors
- dust and polish furniture and fittings
- clean all surfaces and some appliances
- ensure toilet and cleaning supplies are well-stocked
- perform household tasks at private homes such as washing dishes, ironing and making beds
- invoice clients and keep accounts.
Skills and knowledge
Cleaners need to have:
- good cleaning skills, including knowledge of housekeeping and cleaning methods
- knowledge of different cleaning equipment and products, including how products affect different surfaces
- an awareness of health and safety practices.
Self-employed cleaners need to have small business skills.
- irregular hours that often include mornings, evenings and weekends, and may be on call
- in office buildings, department stores, factories, schools, hotels/motels, hospitals or homes
- in conditions that may be dirty, or dangerous if they specialise in toxic cleaning.
What's the job really like?
How do you cope with high expectations and limited time to do each job?
“You have to get your bearings in each workplace, and you really need a routine. When it comes down to it, you have to be fast, efficient and thorough. It helps you to be consistent with your work and pay attention to detail and quality.”
Is it difficult work?
“It's a good job, but have a good think before you get into it. There is so much to consider, because it can be hard on your body – it’s not just emptying bins. When you first start, you can get a sore back because you are constantly bending, but then your body gets used to it. I can clean 150 stairs now, but I found it hard at first.
“If I do a repetitive job for a long period, I always do some kind of stretching afterwards.”
What do you like about your job?
“I like how it keeps me fit and I like meeting people. I have met teachers, office people, kids and parents, and they are all really friendly.”
There are no specific entry requirements to become a cleaner as you gain skills on the job.
However, you are likely to need a driver's licence and your own transport. You may be required to pass a police check, security clearance or regular drug tests.
Skills are gained on the job under the supervision of a senior cleaner. Cleaners may attend seminars on cleaning products or techniques, and can be assessed for a National Certificate in Cleaning while working.
NCEA Level 1 in maths and English is recommended for those who run their own cleaning business.
Cleaners need to be:
- honest and reliable
- quick and efficient, with an eye for detail
- able to follow instructions
- able to work independently.
Cleaners need to be reasonably fit, healthy and energetic, as their work can be physically demanding, and they spend much of their time on their feet. They must not be allergic to cleaning chemicals.
Find out more about training
- email@example.com - www.careerforce.org.nz - 0800 277 486
What are the chances of getting a job?
Cleaner vacancies arise regularly as many cleaners move into other work that is less physical or has more regular hours.
However, competition for positions can be high. The number of people approaching hospitals and commercial cleaning businesses for work outstrips the number of positions available.
Chances best for experienced cleaners
Chances of finding work as a cleaner are best if you have:
- experience working for a commercial cleaning business
- good references
- health and safety or cleaning qualifications.
Chances are also better if you are self-employed or run your own cleaning franchise.
Ageing workforce may increase demand
The average age of cleaners is 45, so more opportunities may arise over coming years as these cleaners leave to do less physical work.
Most cleaners work for commercial cleaning businesses
Most cleaners work in commercial cleaning (cleaning business premises), but about 1,300 are employed on contract to clean people's houses.
Cleaners may work for:
- cleaning firms, which range from small businesses to large companies
- hospitals, schools and institutes
- householders, as domestic cleaners.
Cleaners may also go into business, either on their own, or as part of a cleaning franchise.
- Bradley, G, 'Robots Cleaning up at Auckland Airport', 23 July 2015, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
- Lord, S, 'Caught in the Act', Autumn 2016, (www.franchise.co.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Jobs Online Monthly Report – March 2016', 18 April 2016, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Shadwell, T, 'The Grisly Job Someone's Got to Do: Trauma Cleaners Share their Trade Secrets', 12 September 2015, (www.stuff.co.nz).
- Sykes, C, 'Franchisees' Tips for Success: Crest Commercial Cleaning', 24 April 2015, (www.nzherald.co.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Cleaners may progress to become team leaders or managers, or set up their own cleaning businesses.
Cleaners may specialise in a certain role such as:
- Commercial or Industrial Cleaner
- Commercial or industrial cleaners clean shops, offices, hospitals or factories.
- Domestic or House Cleaners
- Domestic or house cleaners clean people's homes.
- Toxic Site Cleaners
- Toxic site cleaners clean up hazardous sites. For example, they may clean up chemical residue and toxins from buildings that have been used to create methamphetamine (P).
- Trauma Cleaners
- Trauma cleaners clean up after crime scenes or other serious incidents.
Last updated 9 June 2017