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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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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Date/Time11/16/2017 at 1:57:15 PM

Minimum of 50 an hour if you do high end work.

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Date/Time12/30/2019 at 8:42:53 PM

They should have blatantly just said they have no respect for you, offering $20 / hr!!!!!

$40-$50 as an employee minimum...but it does depend on your resume.

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Date/Time1/21/2020 at 2:53:11 AM

If your showing up with all your own tools and car and being left on your own don't take anything less than 45 an hour. I know guys Getting 25 to hang rock and that job you can basically do it intoxicated and stoned if. Minimal brain power compared to finish carpentry and built ins. Don't settle

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Date/Time5/2/2020 at 10:08:56 AM

I do flat rates based on $40/hr one man - $75 depending on job and then $30-40/hr for a helper, but I'm a business so overhead eats up some. You have to be flexible to get work, sub contract work pays less then working direct...any guy that charges less than $40 is undercutting his skills IMHO

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Date/Time5/10/2020 at 10:49:11 PM

I do agree with other 20 is low..

If you are going in as a sub or employee, you are expected to have a much lower wage than you would go direct to clients. There are lots of overhead in businesses. Especially you are asking for people to take a chance with you.. Photo and references are only give you extra chance of getting hired, it doesn't proof the work is actually yourself or not.. Bosses won't know until you are hired..

However the question is are you "barking at the right tree". I think there is a chance that you are applying for a job may not needed a high end finish carpentry.

Not ever renovation company could use a high end finish carpentry and their finish carpentry may not able to support high end guys..

So that could be a reason you are getting low offer

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