How Much Do You Pay a Master Carpenter Per Hour?

Since most master carpenters bid by the job, it can be tricky figuring out how much to offer them per hour. Even so, you can figure out how much hourly pay is appropriate by looking at the average salaries for master carpenters in your area the building sector, as well as by considering the carpenter's union membership and experience.

General Salary Data

According to the icarpentryguide website, because master carpenters have the highest degree of skill, training and expertise in their occupation, they can command higher rates than other carpenters -- so, master carpenters likely will be in the higher percentiles when looking at the range for carpenter salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in the 75th percentile, the hourly rate for a carpenter was £16.80 as of 2010, the equivalent of £35,022 per year. In the 90th percentile, which would hold the top carpenters in the industry, pay was £22.3 hourly, or £46,579 per year.


What you should pay a master carpenter depends in part on the sector. For instance, the BLS indicates that carpenters averaged £17.5 in the scientific research and development services sector in 2010. In the top-paying sector, electric power generation, transmission and distribution, carpenters averaged £19.60.

State Impact

Location plays a major role in a master carpenter's pay. For instance, in the lowest-paying region for 2010, South Dakota, pay was £9.60 per hour. In the top-paying state, Hawaii, by comparison, the hourly rate was over double South Dakota's amount at £20.6. Cost of living usually is reflected in these rates, not the quality or availability of master carpenters.


By the time a carpenter reaches the master carpenter level, they usually qualify for membership in a carpentry union, such as the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. If the master carpenter is a union member, his minimum hourly rate is set by the union.

Bottom Line

The BLS states that in 2010, carpenters in the 75th percentile made 123 per cent of the national average salary for their industry. Those in the 90th percentile made 164 per cent. Most carpenters bid on the total job, so if you do pay by the hour, make sure everything is covered in writing -- for example, whether you pay him for the time it takes to go to the hardware store. The total job amount usually ends up being about the same as an hourly rate would be because most master carpenters have been in the industry long enough to make pretty good estimates of how long a job will take.

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About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website,, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.

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