Growth Trends for Related Jobs

The Duties and Responsibilities of a Head Houseman

careertrend article image

Hotels and resorts in the United States and abroad use the term head houseman to describe male staff who perform similar duties to a building superintendent or maintenance supervisor. Sometimes the title Head Houseman describes a hotel house detective, especially in larger, pricier hotels. The term also applies to the house manager or the lead bouncer in a bar or casino. Even more confusing, medical interns in Great Britain use the term as their job title. Consequently, different types of houseman duties vary from hands-on maintenance to solving possible crimes to protecting bar patrons and staff.

Job Description

The head houseman at a hotel or resort performs the heavy lifting. Your hotel houseman checklist might include making simple repairs of equipment and furnishings that do not require licensed professionals. The head houseman scrubs walls and floors, and also takes responsibility for banquet halls and auditoriums, atriums and balconies.

Due to seasonal demands, duties as a head houseman at a hotel will vary from month to month. You may shovel snow one month and hang from scaffolding to wash or paint the outside of the building the following month. Spring break season might have you performing a lot more repairs and heavy cleaning due to college student antics. After the busy season ends and the slow days return, you might catch up on all the repairs and major cleaning. When hotel guests report any concerns, the houseman troubleshoots on the spot and addresses the problem immediately, whether it's a malfunctioning air conditioner, a ceiling light in need of replacement or a soiled carpet.

Sometimes the term head houseman refers to the hotel detective. This member of the security staff serves almost the same function as a police detective. The house detective deters crime by his or her presence, when possible. When that fails, however, the houseman investigates each situation in hopes of solving the issue without risking anyone's reputation, especially the hotel's. Only when it's certain a guest or staff member committed a crime will the houseman decide whether to take the appropriate action.

The lead bouncer in a bar and the head of the house in a casino also use the title of head houseman. The class of the establishment determines whether this particular employee looks professional and athletic or large and intimidating. Military or martial arts training and crowd control experience gives you an edge at hiring time.

Contrary to portrayal in movies and tabloids, bouncers do not spend all their time tossing people from the establishment by the seat of their pants. Many bouncers act as doormen, checking IDs before allowing patrons to enter the club. They do their best to de-escalate issues between patrons.

In the United Kingdom, you will hear the term head houseman when you visit a hospital or clinic. The title Head Houseman refers to a junior-level medical professional. In the U.S. and Canada, you would hold the title of intern instead. Medical housemen work rotations rather than the standard eight-hour shifts, often remaining awake for 48 to 72 hours at a time with little more than a cat nap and lots of very strong hospital coffee.

Education Requirements

Except for medical housemen, little more than a high school diploma will open doors. Military service puts you at the top of the list for security-related houseman duties, while police training helps you score higher if you wish to become a house detective. Hotel housemen serving as maintenance supervisors get the majority of their training on the job.

Attend medical school and choose an internship in Great Britain if you wish to be a houseman in an overseas hospital or clinic. Due to the highly competitive nature of medical practice in the UK, expect to spend a great deal of time taking tests, attending training and obtaining the necessary certifications and licenses. Upon receiving your medical degree, register as soon as possible with the General Medical Council if you wish to practice medicine in the UK.


If you wish to be a medical houseman, begin the application process while still in medical school. No other publicly funded health service cares for as many patients as the National Health Service. Doctors in the United Kingdom serve more than 2 million patients every three days, making your internship a highly valuable career-building experience. About 1.4 million people work for the NHS, making it the eighth-largest employer in the world as of May 2018.

Years of Experience and Salary

Expect to receive $34,773 as a head houseman in the UK, or £26,614, which equates to € 29,895. That figure falls well below the $79,480 median wage for practitioners who diagnose and treat patients in the U.S. Once you complete your internships and residency, however, you stand to make well over $208,000 per year or more as you gain experience.

If serving as a house detective holds more appeal, you can expect a median salary of $33,260 per year in a casino hotel – more than $6,000 more per year than a standard security guard. While you would make close to $30,000 more per year as a police detective, investigative agent or special agent, serving as a houseman in a casino hotel would not usually require as much physical conditioning and risk.

Head housemen performing maintenance duties in hotels can expect a median wage of $37,670 per year, or $18.11 per hour, and do not need any prior experience in related fields. Vocational training while still in high school or military service after graduation will make you a much more valuable employee and allow you to ask for higher wages right away.

Job Growth Trend

Head housemen serving as hotel maintenance supervisors can expect 8 percent job growth, while house detectives will enjoy 11 percent growth in their job sector. Casino housemen and bouncers will see 6 percent growth between 2016 and 2026. Medical housemen have seen a little over 7 percent employment growth between 2015 and 2018.


Smith has been a student, independent contractor, entrepreneur, car salesperson, beauty consultant, and a water treatment salesperson. All of those career changes had their benefits and drawbacks. Smith believes in experiential learning as key to success in the work world, so don't be afraid to try something new that does not match your official qualifications. Smith urges business owners and job seekers alike to dig deep and discover what motivates you to give your best.

Photo Credits