Why is joinery so expensive – And how you can save on joinery fees

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As with any skilled trade, joinery can be expensive, and the prices can vary widely for different jobs. There is a huge range of jobs a joiner can do and the price you pay will usually depend on the time the work takes, as well as the skill and difficulty involved.

This can range from small jobs like hanging a door, which might cost as little as £50. To much bigger jobs like fitting a kitchen, where you might pay a much higher fee, such as £1500.

If we look at the cost of joinery on an hourly basis, it is not that dissimilar to other skilled trades. If you pay by the hour, you should expect to pay somewhere in the region of £25/hour. This would be similar for an electrician, or a plumber and other professions in and around the construction industry.

Below we have listed 3 of the main reasons joinery work can be expensive.

why is joiner so expensive

1 – Joinery is expensive because it is a highly skilled trade

This is the main reason and the amount of skill any qualified and experienced trades person possesses should not be underestimated.

To become fully qualified a joiner must spend 3 years at college. During this time, they will also be working along side a qualified joiner learning the ropes, on the job. This allows them to tap into another experienced tradespersons skills, as well as learning basic skills and theory in a classroom environment.  

Most apprenticeships will require the trainee to spend 1 day at college and the remaining 4 days on site. At college they will also be required to provide work evidence from the job. This is to prove they are learning a variety of different skills at work.

Following their three years of training, a new joiner will have a good number of skills and should be good at their job. However, a newly qualified joiner is unlikely to have anywhere near the skill of a veteran joiner with decades of experience.

Because of the huge variety of different jobs, and the fact that every job is different, a joiner will always be learning. Every different job will have a different challenge you weren’t expecting, and a good joiner will be able to adapt to suit the situation. This will allow them to solve complex problems they may have never encountered before.

All this skill will mean a good joiner can complete work extremely fast and to a very high standard. Whereas someone less experienced, such as a handyman or keen DIY’er, will take much longer. Also, their work is likely to be lower quality, especially on more complex jobs.

2 – Joiners have a wide variety of expensive tools

Another reason hiring a joiner can be expensive, is the tools that they have access too. Most joiners will have a huge collection of tools, this is often a collection they are constantly building as their career progresses.

Different jobs will require different tools, and in many instances, a new tool will make the job even easier. For this reason, joiners are constantly buying new tools to make their work easier.

For example, a joiner may decide to buy a framing nail gun. This is not a cheap purchase (£500+), but it will make some jobs much faster, such as building studwork, which would usually be fixed by hand, or with screws and a cordless screwdriver. If you are building lots of studwork then a nail gun will be a huge timesaver.

Another example could be a joiner who hangs a lot of doors. Usually, this work would be done by plaining the door by hand and cutting out the hinges with a hammer and chisel. However, if you have a lot of doors to hang, perhaps you want to speed up, and slightly automate the process.

This could be achieved with an electric planer to shape the door, and a router and jig to cut all your hinges into the door and frame. This might be overkill for some joiners, but if your hanging hundreds of doors on a fixed price, then speed can drastically improve your daily income.

Examples of common hand tools

A joiner’s tool kit will consist of a large collection of hand tools. This will include things like:

  • Hammers – claw hammers, pin hammers, framing hammers, lump hammers etc
  • Chisels, including everything they need to keep them sharp such as sharpening stones and oil
  • Screwdrivers – This will be flat, pozi, Philips and a wide range of sizes
  • Planes – block planes and smoothing planes are the most common
  • Levels – This will be everything from a small boat level to a 6ft level
  • Set squares and bevels
  • Various saws for different jobs – hand saws, coping saws, hack saws, tenon saws

And this is just some of the basics, a complete hand tool kit could be worth thousands of pounds.

Examples of common power tools

Whilst hand tools are essential for a joiner, there are many jobs that can be speeded up considerably with power tools. Some common power tools a joiner is likely to own are listed below:

  • Cordless drill/driver – This is really an essential tool, whilst a joiner could work without it, they would struggle
  • SDS drill – Again this is essential
  • Chop saw – As a joiner you are cutting a lot of wood, for most joiners this will be a necessity.
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular/rip saw
  • Table saw
  • Electric plane
  • Sanders – This could include belt sanders, orbital sanders and smaller multi tool sanders
  • Nail guns – This will include both framing and finishing guns
  • Router – A router will be a requirement if you regularly fit kitchen worktops

These are some of the most common, but there are many more power tools that haven’t been mentioned here.

All the above can range in price from £100 – £1000+ and a professional joiner is likely to pay a premium for the highest quality kit. Hand tools can be with a joiner for their whole career, so it is worth paying extra for the best.

Joinery can be expensive due to supply and demand

Supply and demand is just basic economics, if a joiner is in high demand and they have a lot of work, then they can pick and choose the jobs they do. If this is the case, they will often pick jobs that pay higher and involves work they prefer doing. All this means they can comand a higher rate for their service.

If they are a hard worker, they may be available out of work hours and on weekends. However, you should expect to pay a premium for out of hours work. A joiner working on a Sunday, may ask for as much as double their normal rate, and this is understandable, as they will be giving up their free time to work.

The good thing about supply and demand is it can also work the other way. At times of the year when work is quiet, you can get some good deals on joinery work. This is because multiple joiners who are quiet compete for the work.

How to make joinery less expensive and save money

One of the best ways to save money with any trade is to compare quotes and this is no different for joiners.

Just because one joiner is busy and wants to charge a premium, it doesn’t mean that every good local joiner is in the same position.

By comparing local quotes, you can often make some significant savings. This could be the difference between doors hung for £80, or another company who will do the same work for £50. It could be the difference in £1500 for your kitchen fitting and £800.

By far the most reliable way to get local quotes, is doing it online via a comparison site. There are several major advantages to this method, including:

  • Companies know they are competing for the job, and this can result in some major discounts
  • All joiners on the site will be rated and reviewed by previous customers. This means you can check the previous work they have been hired for and see what customers said about them.
  • It’s extremely easy to do, you can post a job and the same day you will start receiving quotes

In the past we have seen savings as high as 50% on joinery work

To get local online joinery quotes and see how much you could save Click Here


Joinery can be expensive, but you must accept that you are hiring someone with a vast amount of experience and knowledge. They also have expensive tools that most people don’t have access too. This means they can command a high price as their craft is hard to replicate on a budget.

However, there are ways you can save. Comparing quotes can actually get you a real bargain if you shop around for the right joiner.

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