What is carpentry price work? is it better than day rate?

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In this article, we will be looking at what carpentry price work is, when it is offered, and whether it is better than other forms of payment.

Carpenters and other workers in the construction industry, can be paid in several different ways. The most common are:

  • Hourly rate
  • Day rate
  • Salary
  • Price work

For people who are employed full time by a company, they will usually be on an hourly rate, or a salary, although the latter is less common. This is mainly because overtime can vary. It will depend on the amount of work available, as well as things like rushing to meet a deadline.

carpentry price work

This results in periods where there is lots of overtime available, and other periods where there isn’t any. Therefore, it is easier to pay workers on an hourly rate.

Carpenters who work for themselves, in other people’s homes, will usually charge a day rate or a fixed price. Working for a fixed amount could be considered as a form of price work. However, it is not what people are usually referring to when they mention price work.

Price work is usually a method of payment for sub-contractors, working on larger projects. This can include things like, new builds, refurbishments, large commercial jobs, and anything else that would be considered construction.

This type of worker, may also be hired on an hourly rate. The way they are paid will usually depend on budget, deadlines, and the general state of the industry.

If there is lots of work available for carpenters, offering price work can be an attractive proposition. Essentially, it means the more work you complete, the more you get paid.

Why price work is a popular option

Price work is often used by companies when they have a lot of work on. It is much more common when the economy and construction industry are strong. These are times when there is an abundance of work available, and companies are busier with more projects.

These are also times when trades people are very busy too. As a result, hourly rates are higher, there is usually plenty of overtime available, and price work is also much more common.

It basically boils down to supply and demand. Companies have lots of work that needs completing, and subcontractors have lots of work to choose from. This means that competitive payment methods like price work become more common.

This type of payment structure usually provides a win-win situation for all parties. When workers are paid on price, they are incentivised to work faster. The more jobs they complete the more they earn.

For example, let’s say a carpenter can hang 4 doors per day, working for 8 hours, and is paid £25 per hour. This means they are essentially being paid £200 to hang 4 doors in one day.

On price work, they could be offered £50 per door. As a result, they may work harder and potentially extend their hours to earn more. So as an example, they might work 10 hours and finish 6 doors.

In this hypothetical example, the company is still paying £50 per door in both scenarios. However, the carpenter is able to earn £300 by working slightly longer and harder. This is a 50% increase in their daily income.

Obviously, this is just an example. But it gives you an idea of how lucrative price work can be for a carpenter, or any other trade for that matter.

Example of carpentry price work

If a carpenter is hired on price work, this will usually mean most, if not all the jobs they complete will be assigned a fixed price.

The price will be competitive when compared with the standard hourly rate. This will mean, if the carpenter puts in extra effort and time, they can usually exceed their normal daily pay.

Below are a few examples of jobs and how they would be priced:

  • Hanging a door – Priced per door
  • Fitting door furniture – Priced per door
  • Fitting a kitchen – price for full kitchen, or potentially separate units, worktops etc
  • Architrave – Price per set (both sides of a door)
  • Skirting boards – Price per meter
  • Studwork – Price per meter / per room / per house
  • Fitting door casings – Priced per door
  • Noggins – price per noggin (could be included in studwork price)
  • Joists – priced per joist
  • Wall plates – Priced per meter
  • Roof timbers – Price per rafter / roof truss
  • Etc

Obviously, there are many other carpentry jobs not included in this list. However, this gives a rough idea of how the jobs would be priced. The actual price per job would vary by employer, as well as being based on the specifics of the job.

In most cases, the prices will make it relatively easy for an average carpenter to hit their usual day rate. Whilst giving the potential to exceed it (sometimes significantly) with some extra effort.


Carpentry price work can be very lucrative. However, it is not always available. If work in the construction industry is quiet, and the supply of carpenters is high, this will mean price work is far less likely. At the same time, hourly rates will probably be lower, and overtime will dry up.

This is usually in line with the overall economy. When the economy isn’t doing as well, construction usually takes a hit and work slows down.

However, when the economy is booming, the construction industry follows suit. When this happens, price work is much more common, and you should aim to capitalise on these periods, as they won’t last forever

As the saying goes, “make hay while the sun shines”.

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