Given their role in every stage of the construction process, many carpenters choose to go into business for themselves, giving them the freedom to work on various projects and job sites.

If you’re considering carving out a carpentry career, you need to know much carpenters make. According to our survey of 1,000 small business owners, carpenters make between $25,000 and $75,000 annually.

Nationally, they can make up to $81,000 on average.

Average Carpenter Salary1



Below, we’ll look at the benchmarks of a carpenter’s salary and revenue.

How much do carpenters make per day?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 942,900 carpenters in the United States in 2020. Among those, one in four (26%) carpenters was self-employed.2 In 2021, the average pay for the job was $55,19 per year, which translates to $26.53 per hour. The top 10% of carpenters earned more than $80,9403— nearly 30% more than the U.S. median salary.4 Whether you work for a company or go into business alone, carpentry provides a sturdy source of income.

Where do carpenters make the most money?

The three states with the highest average salaries for carpenters are:5

  • Hawaii: $79,200 per year
  • New Jersey: $71,550 per year
  • Alaska: $68,180 per year

The following states boast the highest employment numbers for carpenters. If you’re looking to start a carpentry business, your services may be especially in demand here:6

  • Idaho: 9,120 carpenters
  • Hawaii: 5,670 carpenters
  • South Dakota: 4,270 carpenters
  • Wyoming: 2,580 carpenters
  • Vermont: 2,730 carpenters

How much revenue can carpenters make?

Most carpenters in our survey told us they made between $50,000 to over $200,000 in gross revenue in 2021. All respondents expected their gross revenue to increase in 2022, with over half expecting an increase of 25% to 50%.

The majority of the carpenters had one or two employees, although about one-third ran their business as a solo operation. Almost all told us that their earning power had significantly or moderately increased since starting their business.

Many felt optimistic about 2022, which makes sense given the recent boom in the construction industry. Carpenters are listed as one of the top five in-demand residential construction jobs in 2022, with demand doubling since the beginning of last year.7

What does a carpenter do?

At their core, carpenters are builders and craftspeople. They can specialize in certain types of work, such as large commercial projects, offices or residential homes. Carpenters can build custom wooden structures, but they can also install flooring or drywall or repair damaged fixtures and frameworks. They may work with tools as small as a level or as large as a crane.

Often, carpenters work with other construction professionals to review blueprints and bring clients’ dreams to life. Many carpenters who go into business for themselves enjoy the freedom to choose the projects they work on and ensure the final product represents their skills and creativity. As one carpenter told us, “I enjoy having control of the quality I produce without being watched over or told to take shortcuts.”

How to increase your salary as a carpenter

Do you want to make your carpentry business event more profitable? Try these tips.

Get certified

The journeyman carpenter certification is the first certification every aspiring carpenter must complete before becoming a carpenter. However, additional carpentry certifications may boost your credibility with clients, enabling you to charge higher rates. These include:

  • Certified Lead Carpenter Credential – Offered by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, this certification allows carpenters to oversee larger projects, often with higher rates.
  • LEED Green Associate – Offered by the U.S. Green Building Council, this certification tells clients that you’re up to speed on sustainable building practices. Clients interested in being certified as a green building will be more willing to pay more for a LEED-certified carpenter.

Reputation and networking

While you may run your carpentry business on your own, it’s not uncommon for general contractors, construction firms, interior decorators, and other professionals to hire them. By networking with other businesses, you can grow your referral network and the number of jobs you get hired for, reducing your marketing costs and making your business more profitable.

Also, as your business grows and you take on more projects, positive word of mouth from your clients will buoy your success — empowering you to charge higher rates.

Choose your industry carefully

The type of carpentry work you do can significantly impact your salary as a carpenter. For example, nonresidential building construction pays over $10,000 more per year, on average, than residential construction. Check out this breakdown of the median income by industry from the BLS:8

  • Nonresidential building construction: $62,060 per year
  • Building finishing: $57,390 per year
  • Foundation, structure, and building exteriors: $54,900 per year
  • Residential building construction: $51,880 per year

How much does it cost to run a carpenter business?

From licensing to equipment, plenty of costs go into running a carpentry business. You’ll want to factor the following into your business budget:

  • Business equipment – A basic set of carpentry tools will cost a few hundred dollars. As your business grows, you’ll expand your toolset to have backups on hand, specialty tools, and professional hardware.
  • Certifications and licensing costs – In addition to your carpentry certification, many states require carpenters to meet licensing requirements before taking on certain types or sizes of projects. You may also have to cover business licensing and registration fees.
  • Marketing costs – Networking will get you far as a carpenter, but putting some effort into marketing will go even further toward getting you more clients and higher-paying clients. Start with a business website, business cards, and flyers, or consider branding your truck.
  • Business insurance – As a carpenter, you know how things can go sideways on a gig. Make sure you protect your business with general liability insurance and your tools with Business Equipment Protection. Look for business insurance that works when you do. Thimble offers policies by the hour, day, or month.

Sharpen your salary skills

Carpenters can boost their earnings by working on nonresidential projects, partnering with other contractors and professionals, and building positive word of mouth. When clients are happy with your work, they’re happy to refer you to others.

But first, you’ll need to build their trust. Show them you’re a pro with Carpenters Insurance from Thimble. You can get your free quote in just 60 seconds and download your Certificate of Insurance right then and there.


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpenters.
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpenters.
  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpenters.
  4. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020.
  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpenters.
  6. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpenters.
  7. Construction Dive. A new report identifies the highest rated construction jobs.
  8. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Carpenters.