Top Navigation

$400.00 a Day. The Cost of Hiring a Finish or Trim Carpenter

finish trim carpenter

Finish carpenter installing a three-piece crown molding in a large room. Expensive.

[This post is part of our Hiring a Finish Carpenter Tips series.]

If you’ve ever had a finish carpenter quote a crown molding, wainscoting, or some other molding installation project, the estimate may have left you standing in your living room shocked at the price.

It’s easy to think we are being bamboozled by some unscrupulous contractor.  But that’s not always the case.

Being a self-employed contractor is an unpredictable, imprecise and complicated vocation.  And few of them actually charge enough for their services.

For this post I’d like to shed a little bit of light on an important number that most finish carpenters are unwilling to admit to themselves, let alone admit to you during an estimate.


$400.00 a Day

That’s how much a legitimate, self-employed finish carpenter (or pretty much any other home-improvement tradesman) has to earn each day, five days a week, without fail for an entire year (no vacations or sick days), to make a mere $35,000.00 a year.

I know, I’ve done the math.  The real math, not the fantasy I’m going to be my own boss! business plan kind of math.

And that $400.00 a day does not include a profit for the finish carpenter that will allow them to grown their business — that’s just what it takes to cover business expenses and his or her own salary.   It also does not include the materials needed to complete your project — that’s at least an additional 30% if they use the inexpensive materials like what we use here on The Joy of Moldings.

Larger contractors can use economy of scale to charge less, sometimes, but it’s still an expensive undertaking no matter what.  It’s always been that way.  Moldings worth having take time to install.

Pay Yourself the $400.00 Instead and Impress Your Friends

By learning how to design, install and paint your own moldings, it’s like paying yourself each time you finish a project.  Not to mention you get bragging rights.

Imaging entertaining your stylish friends in your living room, everyone engaged in riveting conversation, when someone stops mid-sentance and says, “That fireplace mantel is fabulous!  Is it new?” And you get to reply in your best, oh, it was nothing, tone, “I’m glad you like it.  I built it myself.”

And The Joy of Moldings is here for you if you need help along the way!

[Return to Hiring a Finish Carpenter Tips or How to Install Moldings series.]

5 Responses to $400.00 a Day. The Cost of Hiring a Finish or Trim Carpenter

  1. Mona September 10, 2012 at 10:34 AM #

    Hi, u guys r amazing! Your work is so beautiful. Thank u very much for being kind and sharing your ‎experience with the world. I live in UAE and Am thinking to get engaged in similar project for our ‎family home. But first I need to collect little more courage for handling the saw and other tools. After ‎which I will surly share my experiment with u guys. ‎
    Bless u.
    Mona 🙂

  2. Ken September 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM #

    You sure sound like you’re ready to take on a project. Just remember that it’s OK to make mistakes. If you don’t like what you’ve made, then just do it over!

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress, Mona.

  3. Everett September 11, 2012 at 4:24 PM #

    Ever since I’ve discovered this site months ago I check in regularly to see updates and get inspiration for my home. I’ve always had a knack for learning new things and exploring uncharted territory and I can credit you guys for giving me the the push here. I’ve been doing my own moldings in my home and what a great feeling it is when people come over and gawk at the moldings and door trim. What feels even greater is when I tell them it was me!! I’ve even got some offers from others to do some work for them. And to think I was just going to go back with that dull lifeless stuff hanging around ceiling in my home….

  4. Ken September 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM #

    That’s what we love to hear Everett!

  5. Ken October 11, 2012 at 2:14 PM #

    I know what you mean, Everett. That satisfying feeling you get from decorating your home with moldings never goes away!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes