Updated Day Rates and Wages For Tradespeople

Use the day rates below when calculating how much a home improvement project will cost.

We have also provided information about wages for employed tradespeople for comparison.

This page contains the following information:

  • Day rates for self-employed construction workers
  • An explanation of the difference between a day rate and a wage
  • Updated annual wages for employed construction workers on PAYE

Day Rates For the Self Employed

The difference in value is because day rates vary depending on location and experience:

TradeLowHigh
Plumber£150£270
Electrician£150£280
Roofer£150£220
Double Glazing Installer£120£180
Plasterer£130£170
Carpenter£130£170
Tiler (walls and floors)£140£200
Landscape Gardener£110£180
General Gardener£90£150
Painter and Decorator£120£180
General Builder£150£240
Labourers/Trainees£75£110

Read This First

When calculating the “day rate” for labour, do consider that some tradespeople work in a team of two.

This is usually an experienced and qualified tradesperson along with a labourer/trainee.

However, there are occasions when two fully qualified people will work together, this costs more per day, but the work should be completed in fewer days.

Also, where you live has a considerable impact on the cost of labour. Tradespeople in the north of the UK earn much less than those living in London.

Don’t Forget

The day rate for labour usually includes the wages of the tradesperson and the running of a van or vehicle for that day. The rate doesn’t include any other major overheads, materials or profits a larger company would be looking to make.

The day rates in our table above are a good starting point when trying to calculate how much a project will cost.

Is a “Day Rate” the Same as a Wage?

While we don’t want to use this website to defend high labour fees, we do understand why tradespeople charge the amount they do.

We also understand why some homeowners feel they are being ripped off.

One should remember that even small “one man” type traders have overheads.

Vans, training, insurance, tools and access equipment such as scaffold towers can cost many thousands of pounds. Also, the self-employed, unlike employed persons, do not earn when they are off work sick or on holiday, so they have to charge more per-day when they are at work to compensate for this.

So no, a day rate for the self-employed cannot be fairly compared to a wage that is paid to an employed person.

A tradesperson’s day rate will always be higher than an employed person’s wage, assuming they work in the same sector.

Average Wages/Earnings For Tradespeople (employed persons)

The section below provides details of average wages for employed people in the construction industry.

We have gathered the data from reliable sources and have also cited them:

Plumber’s Earnings:

Below is our guide to plumber’s earnings, both sources cite roughly the same amount:

Plumbers WagesSourceInfo
£28362 paTotal JobsUpdated March 2017 and based on sample of 154 jobs
£27330 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

For Electricians:

According to our two sources, electricians earn roughly the same as plumbers.

The data from Total Jobs is based on 340 job vacancies on their website, so seems accurate:

Electrician's WagesSourceInfo
£29000 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 340 jobs
£30345 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Roofers Earnings:

The difference between the two wages cited below is stark.

We know several experienced employed roofers in the south of the UK that earn around £40,000 pa so the lower figure suggested below appears to be an error. It’s similar to what a semi-experienced labourer would earn in this sector:

Roofer's WagesSourceInfo
£37500 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 152 jobs
£22800 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Window Fitter’s Pay:

Again, we see a huge difference between the data supplied by Total Jobs and This is Money.

A realistic wage in the south of the UK is probably closer to £30,000, based on our experience.

Fitter's WagesSourceInfo
£52500 paTotal JobsBased on limited sample of 18 jobs
£20853 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Plasterer’s Wages:

Below is data for plasterer’s wages:

Plasterer's WagesSourceInfo
£25406 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 94 jobs
£22370 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Carpenter’s Pay:

Carpenters wages seem a little low, we expected them to be a few thousand higher pa.

Carpenter's WagesSourceInfo
£25000 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 124 jobs
£24817 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Landscape Gardener’s Wages:

General landscape gardening is not always a well paid job for employed persons.

We do know from experience that those who become specialists can earn considerably more than those who do general landscaping.

Also, hard landscaping (patios, decking, fences, retaining walls etc) tends to pay more than soft landscaping:

Landscape GardenersSourceInfo
£27000 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 90 jobs
£18010 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Painters and Decorator’s Pay

Wages in this sector were suppressed for several years due to the influx of unskilled labour from Eastern Europe, but earnings have now started to increase and this is reflected in the data below:

Painters and DecoratorsSourceInfo
£23724 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 54 jobs
£22351 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Average Wages by Sector (Updated for 2017)

Figures released by the Office For National Statistics in 2017 revealed several interesting insights.

Highlights include train drivers earning more than architects and the average wage in the UK now being £27200.

The data is based on 21.5million jobs.

You can read a write up on the Daily Mail website or go straight to the raw data at the ONS

Try This Salary Checker

Total Jobs have created a helpful Salary Checker that you can try here.

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