Updated Day Rates and Wages For Tradespeople

Welcome to Job Prices – the #1 site for home improvement prices in the United Kingdom.

We have created dozens of insightful price guides that you can find here.

We also decided to go a step further and conduct research into how much tradespeople earn, either as a salary or as a self-employed person.

Keep reading and discover how much plumbers, sparkies, roofers and other tradespeople get paid.

[Update 2022: We’ve updated this page to reflect the recent changes in day rates and wages for those in the home improvement and construction sectors but due to increased demand and a shortage of skilled labour, the figures may rise further in the coming months.)

How Can This Data Be Used?

While the information below is insightful, it’s also handy if you are budgeting for a home improvement project,

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.
  • A look at salespeople in the trade and home improvement industries.

Day Rates For the Self Employed

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

Double Glazing Installer£130£200
Tiler (walls and floors)£145£200
Landscape Gardener£125£200
General Gardener£90£150
Painter and Decorator£120£180
General Builder£150£250

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 less time.

Also, where you live has a considerable impact on the cost of labour. Tradespeople in the north of the UK earn 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 where possible:

Plumber’s Earnings:

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

Plumbers WagesSourceInfo
£34381 paReedUpdated April 2022
£32350 paTradeskills4UUpdated 2020
£28362 paTotal JobsUpdated March 2017 and based on sample of 154 jobs

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 seemed accurate when we last checked:

Electrician's WagesSourceInfo
£37176 paReedChecked April 2022
£33.495 paTradeSkills4UUpdated 2020
£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 £45,000 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 (Checked April 2022)
£22800 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014
£27000 paTradeskills4UUpdated 2020

Window Fitter’s Pay:

Again, we see a huge difference between the data supplied by Total Jobs and This is Money but more recent entries appear more accurate.

A realistic wage in the south of the UK is probably closer to £42,000, based on our experience.

Fitter's WagesSourceInfo
£44500 paReedChecked April 2022
£39100 paTotal JobsUpdated in 2021 and based on a sample size of 28 jobs
£52500 paTotal JobsBased on limited sample of 18 jobs (2021)
£20853 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Plasterer’s Wages:

Below is data for plasterer’s wages:

Plasterer's WagesSourceInfo
£34224 paReedChecked April 2022
£25406 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 94 jobs (2021)
£28770 paTradeSkills4UUpdated 2020
£22370 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Carpenter’s Pay:

Carpenters’ wages in 2014 and 2015 seemed a little low, we expected them to be a few thousand higher pa. The more recent figures appear more accurate.

Carpenter's WagesSourceInfo
£36302 paReedChecked April 2022
£28480 paTradeSkills4UUpdated 2020
£25000 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 124 jobs in 2015
£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 much more than soft landscaping:

Landscape GardenersSourceInfo
£24400 paReedChecked April 2022
£27000 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 90 jobs (2021)
£21600 paGlassdoorUpdated 2021 and based on 174 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
£31489 paReedChecked April 2022
£23724 paTotal JobsBased on sample of 54 jobs (2021)
£25600 paTradeSkills4UUpdated 2020
£22351 paThis is MoneyUpdated December 2014

Update For 2022

With the cost of living crisis, fuel cost rises and a shortage of skilled labour in many sectors, wages are rising at their fastest rate in decades and our analysis only confirms this.

We are also seeing this reflected in the cost of home improvement projects which have skyrocketed since 2020.

Try This Salary Checker

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

What About Sales People?

Sales staff are most commonly seen in the double glazing, conservatory, roofline and extensions/conversions sectors.

Here is a quote from a former double-glazing salesman:

In the mid 1990’s I was on £40,000 pa commission only. As a manager my overtime gained me another £10k or so. I would say the top managers with the best team could be on £100,000 but it would be one or two, certainly not the norm. Maximum commission in my day was 17.5% for a self generated sale. 10% for company generated. This reduced the further through the discount structure you went. 20% discount would equate to halving your commission.

Things haven’t changed too much since the 1990’s as the average commission rate is now around 15-17.5% or 10% if the lead was generated by the company.

In most cases, the salesperson will also get a target based bonus.

This is calculated monthly, not on the number of sales but on the total value of those sales for that month. We know that some firms hold on to the bonus and pay it out twice per year, but only if the salesperson is still working for the firm. This is a great way for them to retain staff.

Some experienced and successful sales staff can earn over £100,000 per year but the average is probably closer to £50,000.

Poorly trained staff, those that aren’t pushy enough or those that aren’t given any decent leads could earn less than the UK average wage.

Not all sales staff are on commission-only terms.

Some are employed with a basic rate of income and a significantly reduced commission rate as a top-up. This type of employment is usually accepted by less successful sales staff or those still learning the ropes.

Further reading about double glazing sales staff can be found on the Pistonheads forum and also the Money Saving Expert.

Don’t Forget VAT

VAT is a tax that is applied to most purchases of goods and materials in the UK.

If you are using our price guides on this site to calculate the going rate for a home improvement project, then don’t forget to add VAT to the cost, unless otherwise stated.

Not all businesses charge this tax though. We have created a very handy guide that explains how to legally avoid paying VAT.

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