Carpenters work in homes, multiunit buildings, commercial spaces and offices to build, repair, install, uninstall or update furniture, shelves, decks, gazebos, doors, windows and stairs. They can also paint and stain wood and haul away removed items. Client may already have the wood, hardware and other materials needed for a job, or they may request that the carpenter make recommendations or provide everything. Several factors affect the cost of carpentry services.
Hourly and set rates
Some woodworkers charge an hourly rate for repair work, custom furniture (plus material costs) and installations. Hourly rates may be affected by the carpenter’s location. For example, in cities and areas with a higher cost of living, carpenters will typically charge a higher hourly rate. A company’s reputation, experience and other specifics can also affect hourly rates. Some carpenters have set rates for jobs they frequently complete because they can confidently predict the cost of time, labor and materials. Here are a couple examples of hourly versus set rates:
Michael’s Custom Interiors in Feura Bush, New York: $60 per hour for labor, plus the cost of materials
- TJ Wilson Carpentry in Riverside, New Jersey: $175 to hang a door slab in an existing frame
The cost of custom furniture is often based on a shop’s hourly rate plus the cost of materials for the project. Here are some examples of custom furniture projects and their costs from Michael’s Custom Interiors:
Standalone bookshelf: $600
- 3x7 feet, painted with a crown molding top and detailed bottom
Mission-style, solid oak coffee table: $800
- 10 hours labor at $60 per and $200 in lumber, stain and finish
- Double king custom bed: $6,500 — this bed, featured on the Today Show, has six built-in stairs and three kick-to-open drawers and was built to accommodate two people and eight dogs. Materials contributed significantly to the high cost.
Trim work refers to any type of finishing carpentry that gives a polished look to newly completed projects. It also can help update an existing space. Examples of trim include baseboards, door frames, mantels, window frames, molding and other ornamental woodwork. Some carpenters charge a set price for trim work. They frequently base quotes for trim work on the estimated cost per linear foot of work to be done. That cost is affected by the materials to be used, intricacy of the work to be done, amount of time and effort required and other factors. TJ Wilson Carpentry’s pricing for trim work starts at $5 per linear foot.
The cost of custom cabinets depends on the cabinet material, desired number and size of cabinets, type of cabinet hardware, and level of customization. Carpenters often quote cabinet work based on the linear feet of work to be done. For example, TJ Wilson Carpentry charges $200 and up per linear foot for custom cabinet work.
The cost of the materials directly affects the cost of a carpentry project. Clients may already own the wood, purchase it in preparation for the project or request that the carpenter acquire it on their behalf. Using hard-to-find or more expensive woods such as teak, walnut or mahogany increases the overall cost of the job.
Carpenters required to travel to a job site may charge a fee to cover their travel time and transportation expenses. Many carpenters have woodworking shops and unless there is a need for installation, customers can save money by dropping off or picking up furniture items themselves.
- Never pay more than 50 percent upfront for services—that will help ensure that your workers return to finish the job. Also, do not pay the full 100 percent until you’re satisfied with the services.