Career Development

What Does a Porter Do?

Find out what a porter does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a porter.

A porter is a person who moves goods from one location to another. They are often responsible for loading and unloading trucks, moving luggage between planes or trains, and delivering supplies to businesses or warehouses.

Porters may work directly for a company that uses their services on a regular basis, such as a shipping company or airline. In this case, they may be assigned specific duties based on the needs of their employer at any given time. However, many also work independently as contractors, offering their services to companies that need help with short-term projects or special events.

Porter Job Duties

Porter responsibilities can include a wide range:

  • Packaging and shipping finished products to customers
  • Delivering packages to customers at their homes or businesses, making sure they are signed for upon delivery
  • Preparing reports on deliveries and shipments, identifying problems or delays, and making recommendations for improvement
  • Communicating with customers about shipment details and delivery schedules
  • Accepting incoming shipments of merchandise from vendors and storing items in inventory until they are sold
  • Operating forklifts or other heavy equipment to unload trucks or warehouse shelves
  • Collecting and processing shipping information such as addresses and phone numbers
  • Coordinating with shipping companies and brokers to schedule deliveries
  • Maintaining records of inventory levels and other data to ensure efficient use of storage space and materials

Porter Salary & Outlook

The salary of a porter can vary depending on their level of experience, the size of the company they work for, and the location of the job. Some porters may also receive benefits, such as health insurance or 401k contributions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $34,500 ($16.59/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of porters is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

The need to move goods and materials around their facilities will lead some employers to continue to use porters. In addition, the need to improve workplace safety by reducing the amount of heavy lifting will encourage some employers to hire porters to do this work.

Porter Job Requirements

There are a few requirements that are common among porters, which may include:

Education: A high school diploma is not a requirement for a porter job, but some employers may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Training & Experience: Most companies will provide on-the-job training for new porters. This training will teach them how to clean the facility, use the equipment and complete other tasks. The training will also familiarize them with the facility’s safety procedures and any special requirements.

Some porters may receive additional training to learn how to use specialized equipment. For example, a porter working in a hospital may need to learn how to use a wheelchair to transport patients.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to become a porter, but they can make you a more competitive applicant when applying for jobs.

Porter Skills

Porters need the following skills in order to be successful:

Inventory management: Inventory management is the ability to track and organize the materials and products a company has on hand. This skill is important for porters because they often handle and store inventory. Having a good understanding of inventory tracking systems and how to keep records of the products you handle can help you complete your duties efficiently.

Communication: Communication is another skill that porters use in their daily work. They often communicate with hotel guests, other staff members and visitors. They also need to communicate with each other to share information and complete tasks. For example, a porter might need to tell a bellhop where to store a guest’s luggage.

Customer service: Customer service skills are an important part of the job for a porter. You may be the first person a guest sees when they enter a building, so it’s important to be friendly and welcoming. Porter duties often include checking in guests, directing them to their rooms and answering questions about the building.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify issues and find solutions. As a porter, you may be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of an entire floor or area of a building. This means you may need to find solutions to issues like overflowing trash cans or spills on the floor. Being able to identify and solve these issues can help you maintain a clean environment.

Organization: Portering requires a high level of organization to ensure the smooth operation of the hotel. You may be responsible for keeping track of guest information, room numbers and other important details. Being able to organize your tasks and responsibilities can help you complete your work efficiently.

Porter Work Environment

Porters typically work in the hospitality industry, at hotels, resorts, or spas. They may also work in the healthcare industry, at hospitals or nursing homes. Porters typically work full time, and their hours may include early mornings, late nights, weekends, and holidays. Some porters may work part time or on an as-needed basis. Porters typically work in shifts, and their schedules may change from week to week or month to month. Porters may be required to work overtime, on call, or on a rotating schedule. Porters typically work in a fast-paced environment and must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. They must be able to lift heavy objects, such as luggage or laundry bags, and must be able to stand for long periods of time.

Porter Trends

Here are three trends influencing how porters work. Porters will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of the Online Shopping Economy

The online shopping economy is growing rapidly, and this is having a significant impact on the shipping industry. As more and more people shop online, demand for shipping services will continue to increase.

Porters who are able to adapt to this trend will be in high demand, as they will be needed to help handle the increased volume of packages that need to be shipped. In order to be successful in this field, porters will need to be familiar with the latest technologies and methods for shipping packages.

More Automation in Shipping

As automation becomes more prevalent in shipping, porters will need to learn new skills in order to stay competitive.

One of the most important skills that porters will need to learn is how to operate automated systems. This includes learning how to use software that automates tasks such as tracking shipments, preparing labels, and packing boxes. Additionally, porters will need to be familiar with other automated systems, such as those used for sorting and routing packages.

A Greater Focus on Customer Service

As businesses focus more on customer service, porters will need to develop skills that allow them to provide excellent service.

This means that porters will need to be able to understand what customers want and how to meet their needs. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with customers and work well as part of a team.

How to Become a Porter

There are many different paths you can take when planning your career as a porter. You could specialize in a certain area, such as airport or hospital porters, or you could become a generalist and work in a variety of settings. You could also move up the ladder and become a supervisor or manager.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to keep learning and developing new skills. Take advantage of training opportunities offered by your employer, and attend workshops and conferences related to your field. Network with other professionals in your industry, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.

Related: How to Write a Porter Resume

Advancement Prospects

Porters can advance to become lead porters, head porters, or concierges. With experience, porters can also move into other positions in the hospitality industry, such as front desk clerk, reservations agent, or guest services representative. Some porters may eventually open their own businesses.

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