Wondering if my wage is fair - 11 yrs in Carpentry

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Posted by: from Cambridge
6/19/2013 at 6:15:20 PM

I've been a non union carpenter building wine cellers in and around Toronto for 11 years now and I'm just wondering if anyone can tell me if I'm doing ok or I'm getting hosed!

I do 70% fine woodworking, cabinetry, trim work, framing, door hanging and hardware from scratch, (everything). The rest of my time is spent framing, insulating, drywalling, painting and tiling. Basically we rip a room apart and rebuild it to a masterpiece or show piece for the rich.

I'm currently getting mid to high 20's an hour. I was made to incorporate just over a year ago so now I charge hourly plus hst, and wsib. I don't get kilometers, gas, phone or anything tact on. I pay all my expences and myself from the hourly rate, even all my own taxes and incorporated taxes.

I was told if I wanted to be an employee they'd drop me to 14 per hour after taxes. I know I can't live off that with two kids.

Am I just whining here or do I need to do something?

Thanks to anyone who can give me advice!

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Lorenzo from Super 7 Group Inc in Sharon
Date/Time6/19/2013 at 7:11:32 PM

Sounds about right my friend. The only problem is you don't have an employer and your pension contribution is minimal. If you're as good as you say you are give me a call. We're always looking for great carpenters to join our team.

Super Seven Group

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Date/Time6/19/2013 at 7:55:33 PM


If you are working a full 8 hour day/40 hour week, I'd say you're in the ballpark or maybe a little low. You should be in the thirty-five dollar range, judging from your experience and trade skills. I charge $45/hour but some of my projects are half days or days without work.

The key is that you have to make a living and as a company, you have to make a profit. Charging a respectful fee is not a bad thing, provided the quality and credibility are there.



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Victor from B & L Services in St Albert
Date/Time6/19/2013 at 8:54:56 PM

I'm in Edmonton, Alberta. Finishing carpenters with their GST and WCB are billing out at $45.00/hour.

That's for basic baseboards and casins, and hanging doors. High-end stuff climbs into the high 50's per hour.


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Date/Time6/20/2013 at 5:34:21 AM

If you actually have the skills to make high end wine cellars from scratch and by hand, your getting hosed. Sounds like your working for a less than ideal company, if they forced you to be incorporated. For one you didn't need to go through the expense of incorporation when self employed would do the same thing. Your company just passed on their costs of WSIB, EI, CPP, Taxes, etc. to you.

They are also lying about $14 an hour as an employee. I pay more than that for people with way less experiance. I'd start looking for a company that deserves your talents.

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Chris in Cambridge
Date/Time6/20/2013 at 6:55:17 AM

Thank you to those who replied, it has me thinking about new choices and has helped me with what I need to do!

Thanks again.

Wondering if my wage is fair - 11 yrs in Carpentry
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Date/Time6/20/2013 at 12:27:25 PM

You need to charge $35-40+ an hour. I pay 9.1% wsib alone. If you are charging $25 an hour after expenses you are really making about $16-17. We know what our expenses are to the job daily. Your expenses are probably 25-30 % of sales. Also we calculate a percentage for PROFIT.

Get a handle on knowing your operating costs. Most small contractors don't have a clue, that's why they work for cash, no wsib, source deductions, revenue Canada HST, Liability Insurance.

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Date/Time6/20/2013 at 5:17:09 PM

I do pretty much what you do only in a lower end area North of Toronto. I would say you should be making way more as a corporation.

My experience is that it is tough to find skills like yours for $14 as an employee. Thats almost labour rate. Union labourers make more than that. Just my experience and opinion.

All the best to you.

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Date/Time6/26/2013 at 6:56:55 PM

Call me......I'm looking for a guy like you.

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Date/Time8/26/2013 at 10:00:53 AM guys in Ontario are getting hosed. We get at least $35-50/hr. here if you are your own general contractor. I have to pay my subs at least $25/hr. Work is competitive though all the easterners move out here to get better wages. LOL

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Mat in Mississauga
Date/Time1/13/2014 at 12:41:33 AM

Hello Chris,

I am GC. I pay my guys minimum $25 an hour. Some slightly skilled and with better speed and creativity get an average of $30. This is all in GTA and suburbs.

We are starting a major project in Cambridge in April and might need local carpenters help. We can also use your services in Toronto for our ongoing work. We do a lot of custom built homes. If you want to give us a try and as good as you say we will be able to give you much better compensation then what you presently get.

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Marie in Markham
Date/Time4/8/2016 at 8:36:09 AM

Are you looking for work Chris? I own a millwork Shop. Call me 416.358.4996


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