Can carpenters make six figures per year?

With any professional trade, the skills you acquire are in demand. As a result, companies will pay a premium for your knowledge and expertise. The base salary for a fully qualified carpenter can be anywhere between £30,000 and £50,000.

This is a general range, and trainees, and less skilled carpenters may be paid slightly less. Whereas extremely high skilled carpenters may earn slightly more.

For a carpenter that is self employed and in high demand, their income could be significantly higher. This could be based on an hourly rate, price work, or pricing their own private jobs.

It is possible for a solo carpenter to earn six figures. However, it would not be easy, and it is certainly not typical. It would also be quite difficult for a carpenter that is employed (working on the books) to make six figures. This is mainly because they will be restrained by an hourly rate and limited hours.

A self-employed carpenter would have more chance of achieving six figures in one year. However, it still wouldn’t be easy and would rely on a consistent stream of high paying work.

can carpenters make six figures

Below we look at how carpenters could potentially make six figures based on how they are hired.

Earning six figures as an employed carpenter

It would be very difficult to earn six figures working as an employee. If you are employed full time for a company, it is likely you will be paid an hourly rate. Based on data collected by, the average hourly rate for an employed carpenter in the UK is £21.73.

For a standard 40-hour week, this would mean you would be earning around £45k per year. This does seem slightly high, and other job sites do report slightly lower numbers. However, there are definitely jobs available in this range for carpentry work.

Obviously, £45k is not even halfway to six figures. So, can a carpenter make six figures working on the books as an employee?

Below are several ways an employed carpenter could boost their income:

  • Overtime – This is often paid at a higher rate, such as time and a half, or if your very lucky double time. However, this is usually working late or on weekends and it isn’t guaranteed work.

    This type of work will often be inconsistent, and it is usually based on the work that is available and whether projects need pushing.

    Also, it would be extremely difficult to maintain this type of workload long term. In theory it is possible. However, it is quite unlikely.

  • Private jobs – Another way to boost income as an employee, is via private work. Again, this would mostly be on a weekend, and it does mean you end up working a lot of hours. The main benefit, is you can potentially earn more from private jobs, if you are picking up good work.

  • Specialist skills and responsibility – Another way you can earn more as an employee, is having specialist skills and experience, that other carpenters don’t have. If a company really needs a skill set that is in short supply, but you can provide it, they are likely to pay a premium. This could mean your hourly rate is considerably higher.

    Also, if you are a trusted worker with good leadership skills, you may be given more responsibility to lead other carpenters, or potentially even running your own jobs.

In reality it would be very difficult for an employed carpenter to earn six figures. It would be tough to get there with overtime and private work.

It is possible with an extremely high skilled specialist carpenter, and some companies will be prepared to pay a premium to hire the absolute best. However, this is not your average carpenter.

Earning six figures as a self-employed carpenter

Working for yourself as a carpenter has several benefits. The main one, is your earning potential is higher. Obviously, this comes with far more responsibility. For example:

  • You need to find your own work
  • You will need to purchase tools and vehicles
  • All your bookkeeping and taxes need taking care of
  • It can be higher stress

There are several ways you can get work if you are self-employed or running your own company as a carpenter. Below you can see some examples, with our opinion on the potential for making six figures.

  • Sub-contracting on an hourly rate – This puts you in a very similar position to an employee. Generally, the hourly rate will be higher. However, this will only be slightly more. Therefore, you would have the same challenges reaching six figures.

  • Sub-contracting on price work – This is work carried out at a fixed price. It can be for individual small jobs, or an entire job. When you are paid this way, it really comes down to the price you are paid and the speed you can do the work.

    There is definitely much more potential for hitting six figures in income when you are paid this way. This is simply because you are paid on results, vs being paid for your time.

  • Private work – Instead of just doing private work on a weekend, many carpenters decide to do this full time. Just like price work as a sub-contractor, this is not constrained by hourly rate.

    The challenge is getting a consistent stream of high quality jobs. However, if you are in high demand, six figures is definitely possible, especially if you are prepared to put in overtime to service more customers.

Employing other carpenters

As you can see, the potential to earn more, increases if you take on more responsibility and work for yourself. This can be increased even further, by taking on more responsibility and becoming an employer, rather than an employee.

In order to do this, you will already need to be well established and you will need to have enough work to sustain employees. However, if you get this right, the earning potential can be very high.

Earning six figures as a carpenter running a company with employees, is definitely possible. However, this does come with more responsibility, more overhead, and more stress in general.

This is certainly not for everyone, but for those who can handle the added pressure, the earning potential can be significantly higher than working as a solo carpenter.


Carpenters can make six figures, but it is not easy. In order to make this kind of money, you will need to be highly skilled and a hard worker. Working as an employee, it is unlikely that you will be earning six figures.

However, self-employed carpenters and those running their own companies are much more likely to hit this level of income. The potential will also increase, if you are able to leverage other peoples labour as an employer.