A guide to pricing your trade
Whatever your trade - whether you’re a builder, electrician, gardener or carpenter - it’s important to understand tradesmen pay rates and all the factors that affect them. Knowing what your clients expect depending on your rates and how considerations such as location, qualifications and experience impact what you can charge will enable you to ensure your pricing and overall salary reflects your value.
Tradesman day rates vs. hourly rates
What is the difference?
Charging a day rate for your trade will mean that you get paid by the day regardless of how many hours you work. If you price your work by the hour, you’ll get paid for the exact number of hours you are on the job.
Pricing a job by the hour can be more expensive for your clients, so day rates tend to be agreed for longer term, larger projects while hourly rates are more often applied to smaller, quicker pieces of work.
What do clients expect you to include in your day rate vs. your hourly rate?
As a day rate tends to be for a bigger job, your client will most likely want you to include the cost of materials alongside the entire cost of the labour you and your employees will be carrying out.
For an hourly rate, as you are pricing for a smaller job your customer will probably only expect you to include the cost of labour and any materials will be an additional cost.
How much do tradesmen make per day vs. per hour?
The amount you make per day or hour will depend on your trade as well as a number of other factors such as location, qualifications and experience.
The following table shows the average day rates vs. hourly rates for a range of tradesmen in 2020. Although tradesmen pricing may shift slightly in 2021, this is a good indicator of what you are likely to earn depending on your trade.
|Trade||Average day rate||Average hourly rate|
|Carpenter||£130 - £170||£8 - £20|
|Electrician||£150 - £280||£30 - £50|
|Painter & Decorator||£120 - £180||£8 - £15|
|Plasterer||£130 - £170||£10 - £15|
|Kitchen Fitter||£125 - £160||£10 - £20|
|Bricklayer||£120 - £170||£8 - £15|
|Tiler||£140 - £200||£12 - £20|
|Builder||£150 - £280||£9 - £35|
|Gardener||£90 - £160||£10 - £30|
|Window Cleaner||£90 - £150||£8 - £15|
What factors impact a tradesman’s salary?
The trade you are in is not the only factor that impacts how much you can charge your clients. There are a number of other elements that you will need to consider when it comes to pricing your work.
The more skilled training qualifications you have in relation to your trade the better! In many cases, not only will you need these to start and develop your career as a tradesman but they will enable you to earn more within your chosen trade. For a comprehensive list of the tradesmen qualifications and training you will need to improve your salary, we recommend City & Guilds or Trades Courses.
While being registered to relevant tradesmen associations and bodies like the FMB or the ECA may not be necessary for you to practice your trade, it will improve the chances of potential clients finding and hiring you as well as give them confidence in the fact that your pricing reflects your ability.
If you are a self-employed tradesman, experience is key. The more experience you have the more reviews and testimonials you will be able to gain - on popular tradesmen review sites like Checkatrade and Ratedpeople - to prove the quality of your work and validate your pricing. Moreover, as you grow goodwill with your clients, you are likely to receive recommendations that will help you build your business and earn more.
If you are a tradesman working within a larger company, the best way to move your way up the career ladder is by gaining experience. The further up you go, the more earning power you have, so growing experience in your trade is key to improving your salary.
Different regions, cities and even suburbs will have varying needs when it comes to trades. For example, there may be less electricians in one area than another and this could make an electrician’s services even more valuable to the people who live there. If there is a higher demand for your trade where you are based then you can raise your prices to reflect this.
Location, location, location! The impact of location on how you can price your trade is huge! Depending on where you work, your services will be valued at more or less in relation to living costs. For example, tradespeople who live in and around London - where living costs are some of the highest in the UK - can expect to earn around £1,000-£5,000 more per year than people in similar roles in other areas.
The below table demonstrates just how much tradesman pay rates for carpenters, electricians and plasterers varied in 2020 depending on location. While pricing may change slightly this year, these figures are a good indicator of how to price your services depending on where you are based:
|Trade||Location||Average hourly rate||Average day rate|
|Carpenter||London||£20 - £25||£160 - £250|
|Manchester||£15 - £20||£150 - £280|
|Birmingham||£15 - £18||£150 - £250|
|Cardiff||£10 - £15||£130 - £240|
|Electrician||London||£32 - £55||£160 - £250|
|Manchester||£30 - £50||£150 - £280|
|Birmingham||£28 - £48||£150 - £250|
|Cardiff||£25 - £45||£140 - £240|
|Plasterers||London||£15 - £25||£160 - £250|
|Manchester||£10 - £15||£130 - £170|
|Birmingham||£10 - £15||£120 - £160|
|Cardiff||£10 - £15||£120 - £160|
If you’d like more information on building a pricing plan for your trade, check out our article on how to price your product or service.
Whether you're a carpenter or a sparkie, it's a good idea to make sure you have the right cover for your business activities. At Superscript, we offer specialist tailorable insurance designed for tradespeople, helping you to get the cover you need at a fair price. Find out more about tradesman insurance with Superscript.