What to charge/hourly rates for a high-end finish carpenter?

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Posted by: from Toronto
10/6/2015 at 4:39:59 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm a highly-experienced carpenter who lives for this trade. I have specialized in high-end finish carpentry for 8 years, and thrive on detail, doing things properly, and my work shows it. Custom built-ins and renos are my bread and butter, but I love doing full gut jobs and making homes incredible. My portfolio speaks for itself.

I was recently pitching working for a larger, high-end company in Toronto and was given the response that "20 dollars an hour is a decent wage. People are lucky to get paycheques." Is this really what we are supposed to be expecting? My work is top-notch.

Reaching out to my fellow carpenters for their input.

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Bill from Angelbuilds in Sherwood Park
Date/Time10/6/2015 at 5:12:15 PM

I charge $40 hr and seems to be no problem.

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Date/Time10/6/2015 at 5:14:26 PM

Hi Matthew,

At DNA Contracting Ltd we have a finishing carpenter that is very skilled in the craft of finishing, I find it hard to believe that they would only pay you $20 per hour for that type of work!! We normally charge $30-$35 per hour in Vancouver BC and I'm sure pricing shouldn't be that much of a difference.

Hope this can help you with your situation!!

DNA Contracting Ltd.


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Date/Time10/6/2015 at 7:49:55 PM

Hi Mathew,

We charge to our customers 35 to 55 per hour depending on the complexity of the finish millwork.

Sounds like they are offering you a position for 20 however will probably billet you out at 35.

If they are paying you 20 it's actually costing them another 8 to 10 dollars, WSIB, CPP, EI.



Ajax, ON

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Date/Time10/6/2015 at 8:12:34 PM

I don't suspect your work is great but it all depends the size of the company. The type of clients and your liciencing credentials these will base your pay and as personally don't know your work cannot commit on your hourly wage.

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Date/Time10/20/2015 at 1:13:52 AM

$30 is reasonable for a well experienced fella for sure, but if you guys are only billing out $45-50 as a company you are surely short changing yourselves and will shortly fall victim to the CRA. our rates on vancouver island are min $75.77 an hour, lots of costs and overhead to cover.

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Date/Time2/13/2016 at 6:18:03 PM

Wow, I'm moving to vancouver Island!!!...Base rate for general contractors is to pay $30 for employee, little more for a sub but $40 is Max. And we have to bill out $70 min. and up to make it worthwhile.

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Date/Time3/1/2016 at 7:01:47 PM

I charge 30 to 35 p/h funny is I have hard time to find work perhaps because I am new in Ottawa?? Or because of the abundance of Jack's low ball do it all???

Bottom line is 20 is really low for Toronto standards.

Good luck!

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Peter in Calgary
Date/Time10/11/2016 at 11:39:03 AM

Yes, I agree with the other comments. $20 is too low.

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Date/Time1/26/2017 at 12:41:56 AM

Southern Alberta

Little late posting this, but I work by piece or by $ square ft. Been years since i worked by the hour. When I have to to do small jobs hard to calculate, so i guessimate the hours needed and add a continguency on and give a complete price. A rate of $45/hr for yourself and $20/hr for your helper is reasonable especially if your providing the tools etc. You may as well start a contracting business of your own and set your own rates. Especially if your a top-notch finisher.

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