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What time period elapses between pay raises in Carpentry?

Not just construction carpentry, also woodcraft. #construction #woodwork #carpentry #woodcraft #building


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Peter’s Answer

Hey Levi!

First, I think it's great that you are looking to get into the trades. As the previous commenter mentioned, pay raises don't necessarily come in regular intervals in the trades, outside of union jobs. I helped manage a residential remodeling company for a while, and there are some things I learned while I was in the industry. Outside of union jobs you will find, in general, the greatest determining factor in how much you make is the quality and repeatability of what you produce. Other things that generally impact your ability to ask for better pay are going to be timeliness, ability to work on a team, interpersonal communication, how you work with clients, and whether or not you are able to lead a team.

My best advice is to start developing your skills now. Enroll in wood shop classes. Help your friends, family, and neighbors build things...fences, birdhouses, mailboxes....anything that helps you hone your skills. From there, you can learn a lot from trade journals, forums, and YouTube. Get good at geometry, and develop a general understanding of static and dynamic loads. Having a developed set of skills before you enter the market is going to give you a leg up and allow you to move up the pay scales faster. Also, be ready to work as a grunt for a couple of years. This is totally normal. Just know that almost nobody starts at the top. It takes a number of years to really hone your abilities to the point where you can ask for top dollar. I woodwork as a hobby, and I can tell you that I have messed up more than a few prjects on my journey to acquire new techniques, but I get great satisfaction out of learning new ways of doing things.

If you would like to make money building fine furniture and other household items, learn hand joinery first before you move on to doing everything on machines. You won't regret having a strong understanding of how a joint is made and what makes a strong joint vs a weak one.

Regardless of what you do, just remember that there is no replacement for hard work and determination. You will come up against roadblocks and other setbacks. Just stick with it. The difference between success and failure is often whether or not you give up.

Good luck!

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Linda’s Answer

Thanks for your inquiry about pay raises in Carpentry, which is a very important trade. I, personally, do not know if there are overall specific time periods between pay raises in the industry. Some items relating to carpentry you may want to consider are: commercial vs. residential, specific area (such as cabinetmaker) vs. general construction, union vs. non-union, large company vs. small company, etc. Unions typically negotiate scheduled pay raises. Some outside factors may influence pay raises are economy, cost of building materials, demand for construction. Hope that helps you. Best wishes in whichever route you take.

Linda recommends the following next steps:

Contact your local union to get information about apprentice training.

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