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I am 17 years old and was wondering if carpentry would suit me as a career. I was wondering what the pay is like and what to expect.
 

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I am 17 years old and was wondering if carpentry would suit me as a career. I was wondering what the pay is like and what to expect.
Kudos on taking the bull by the horn at 17 and reaching out to test the waters and look for guidance... :thumbsup:

Carpentry is a wide open field full of sub-trades... think of it like this... it's like a doctor... there's all sorts of them and each one has their specialty, education (real world and school) requirements, years of dedication to become an expert in the field, trial and error and the eventual realization of a better life... It's no different in our field for the most part...

So the question you need to ask yourself is... what are you willing to do to get there? Everyone has to start somewhere so once you decide on a path/sub-trade (i.e. - framing, remodeling, home building, etc.) get in contact with a local company who is hiring... the biggest thing a lot of guys look for is a good attitude, teachability, willingness to learn and ask questions, and to do what you've done here to an extent... take the bull by the horn and get it done...

One of the biggest things that will help you along the way at a young age is learning NOW that it's not what you make, it's what you save... get in the habit NOW no matter what income you have coming in, a portion goes into saving for the future (and forget that you have it)... I don't care if it's $25... it's the habit that matters, you can always increase the amount... at your age, you could literally save only $100/month, with 8% return and you'll retire a millionaire (and that assumes you never increase the amount you're saving... what that translates into during life is freedom...

This site is an excellent tool to access multiple trades with varying degrees of experience, employees and employers, all willing to share... take advantage of that...

Best of luck... 8^)
 

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Thanks kap, i do have a passion for wood working and am currently building a chicken coop i just framed the wall for my first time! I was just wondering on how to get started, do i go to a trade school to have something under my belt before working for a company?
 

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Depending on what's in your area, trade school is an option. A year or two of that, and you'll have a great base of knowledge to build on. You'll make a little more initially at your first job, but not by much. The value you demonstrate after a while is what'll get you a raise.

The alternative is just finding a good tradesman to work under and learn from. Be patient. Understand that you're not going to learn everything all at once. As someone else mentioned, folks hire young people based on attitude and work ethic. Understand that you aren't going to make a ton of money until you start your own business, and even then, some make bank and some don't.
 

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Summer is coming you might want to pick up a job as a carpenters helper to see if it’s something you would like to get into.....Keep track of how much time it takes to do different tasks that will help you down the road when you need to bid jobs.

Best of luck whatever your choices!
 

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I was trying to find some trade schools around but they seem to be pretty expensive, and that’s what I wonder if I should just start off as an apprentice!
 

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Something to consider is the huge shortage of trade workers and the current generation that is reaching retirement age, which will leave an even larger shortfall.

Skilled trades workers can earn a premium and that will likely only go up as fewer and fewer new workers enter the trades.

You could spend four years and a ridiculous amount of money to get a college degree, with no guarantee it will land you in the workforce with a decent paying job. Or you could spend that time learning a trade, earning a decent wage the entire time.

If you apply yourself, and really try and learn a trade, and can follow instructions and spend a work day without constantly being on your phone, it should be pretty easy to make good money right from the start.
 

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If you work for someone you will range from 1.5 times minimum wage to union rate. You will have to look closely at benefits to get a real idea how you are ending up.

Going union would give you he most predictable look at what a career in the trades could look like.

If you get a nice business set up for yourself you could make 60-100k working as one man show with some subs. If you learn the skill of making money off of some crews you could double or triple those numbers. It is harder than it might seem to scale up though.

If I had to recommend a trade from a career stand point it would be to consider becoming an electrician.
 

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I was trying to find some trade schools around but they seem to be pretty expensive, and that’s what I wonder if I should just start off as an apprentice!
There is no substitute for on the job experience. A good attitude is essential to making good money. Even with that, finding the right situations to work in is insanely important. The money will come, don't chase it right off the bat. Working alongside someone who knows the trade, and the business, is worth more dollars in the long run. There will come a time when you know your ready to move on from a situation. Waiting too long to move on is just as bad as not waiting long enough.
 

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No one ever tells the young guys they need to have thick skin.

Dude, you need to have thick skin. Chances are your balls will be busted everyday, all day. If you show even an inkling that it bothers you, they will be busted harder. Bust back, not in a mean way. The best crew I ever had working for me we could all talk about each other in ways that I wouldn't dream of talking to most people. We had a rhythm that was fantastic. We flowed all day because everyone knew where each other stood.

No butts were ever hurt about who had to do what. It just was and looking back on it now, I realize those were some of the greatest working days I can remember. Watching a good carpentry crew in sync with each other is a thing of beauty.

Pay happens if you're good. I always made better money than my friends who went to college and am about on par with most of them now except I was earning money while they were spending it. Just don't get butt hurt, it is a totem pole and you will be low guy to start out. People will not tell you what you want to hear, they will tell you what you need to hear. If you can deal with that, you'll probably do alright.
 

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My suggestion would be to stay out of residential or light commercial construction. Get into industrial or institutional work. The residential and light commercial guys do not get paid as much, don't have many (if any) benefits, safety is poor, etc. The money is on the big jobs working for the big outfits.

If residential or light commercial is your passion, then you need to be self employed and run your own show if you want to do well.

If you look presentable, are in reasonable physical shape, have reliable transportation and are drug free, you should have no problem getting an opportunity. The trades are starving for new young blood.
 

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I started as a carpenter's helper for a good, clean general contractor. Wouldn't have it any other way.
I got to meet and work with every other trade and learn how my job interacted with theirs.

Most importantly, I learned that the most important things were to simply show up every single day(on time) and listen and work. That's it. Don't make a big deal out of this. If you like it, just keep showing up on time and doing what you're told, to the best of your ability.
Within a couple years you'll have figured out if it's for you.
17 is impossibly young. You'll find out just how young it is when you're a little older. You've got a huge leg up on your peers if you're considering getting into the trades.
I know we don't really like to talk about exact wages on here, because every market is different, but if you can demonstrate that you can show up on time and work hard for a couple months, you'll be making well beyond minimum wage. If you can do that for five years and show that you have an interest in making this a career, you'll be making much better money than other people in your age group. On top of that, you'll be doing it without the burden of student debt, and WITH the knowledge of how to repair a distressed property, which can really make you some money.

Good luck, man!
 

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I started as a carpenter's helper for a good, clean general contractor. Wouldn't have it any other way.
I got to meet and work with every other trade and learn how my job interacted with theirs.

Most importantly, I learned that the most important things were to simply show up every single day(on time) and listen and work. That's it. Don't make a big deal out of this. If you like it, just keep showing up on time and doing what you're told, to the best of your ability.
Within a couple years you'll have figured out if it's for you.
17 is impossibly young. You'll find out just how young it is when you're a little older. You've got a huge leg up on your peers if you're considering getting into the trades.
I know we don't really like to talk about exact wages on here, because every market is different, but if you can demonstrate that you can show up on time and work hard for a couple months, you'll be making well beyond minimum wage. If you can do that for five years and show that you have an interest in making this a career, you'll be making much better money than other people in your age group. On top of that, you'll be doing it without the burden of student debt, and WITH the knowledge of how to repair a distressed property, which can really make you some money.

Good luck, man!


You'll make much better money than others in your age group until you hit about 40 and then those same people will be making more than you unless you start your own gig. Generally speaking of course.


Mike.
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If some holy grail 17 year old were to actually listen to those older than him and capitalize on his youth like we all should have done more of, he could be absolutely set by 40.

Work hard, buy a ****ty house in an up and coming neighborhood before you're 25. Buy a second before you're 40.
It's what i should have done, but i didn't listen. Now I'm a parent and it takes me twice as long to make a dollar. All decisions must be brought before what might as well be a congressional committee for the amount of time and brain work that goes into it.

At 17, I was like, "whoa, so you're saying you'll let me sleep under the staircase in your cool apartment in the city, for only $500 a month!? Hell yeah!"
 

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If some holy grail 17 year old were to actually listen to those older than him and capitalize on his youth like we all should have done more of, he could be absolutely set by 40.

Work hard, buy a ****ty house in an up and coming neighborhood before you're 25. Buy a second before you're 40.
It's what i should have done, but i didn't listen. Now I'm a parent and it takes me twice as long to make a dollar. All decisions must be brought before what might as well be a congressional committee for the amount of time and brain work that goes into it.

At 17, I was like, "whoa, so you're saying you'll let me sleep under the staircase in your cool apartment in the city, for only $500 a month!? Hell yeah!"
Me and a couple buddies lost our ass on the second house we all bought together. When I say lost our ass we built WAY too nice of a house for 3 bachelors, paid the mortgage for 3 years and sold it for what we had in it. We took 75k from the first house we bought and remodeled and sold, put it into the second house and instead of selling the second one as soon as it was done - probably doubling our investment the bottom fell out of the market. And we basically lost our initial investment.

So it's not a gimme if you're not frugal. I wish I would have been much more frugal when I was single, I would have had myself much better setup than I am now. I'd be sitting in a 5k said ft air conditioned shop instead of a 2400 sq ft hot as **** shop.

But yeah, having the skills to be able to know what a house needs beforehand, and being able to do the cosmetic stuff gives you a huge leg up early. I don't make what some of my buddies who went to college make but I'm not that far off of them either. The biggest difference is they still owe money from college 15 years later and I got paid the entire time they were paying money. If we would have been more wise and listened to my old man, we would have crushed our friends who went to school money-wise.

I would strongly encourage anyone at 17 to get into the trades. At this point it seems crazy not to.
 

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You'll make much better money than others in your age group until you hit about 40 and then those same people will be making more than you unless you start your own gig. Generally speaking of course.


Mike.
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More like 30.

At 23 I was basically at the top of the pay scale...which isn't very high. Had a company vehicle, gas card, flexible hours etc. But I know it wouldn't get better than that because I replaced a guy who worked at the company for 23 years and was making the same money. So I started my own company.

Now I know a lot of guys sh!t on college here but I went to university, mostly at night while working full time and managed to pay my way through all but my first year.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

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A good attitude and work ethic are the only 2 things I look for in someone your age, or anyone starting out. I can teach a skill, but I can't teach you to show up early every day and have a good attitude when doing something no one wants to do.

Pay is there if you can find the right company. I know plenty of carpenters making $30+ an hour, and they don't have the stress of running a business. Like said above, it takes time to get there. I'd start you at $15/hr, but expect to get that back out of you. Show that you can learn quickly, and you'll be making more. You have to put time in learning the skills. The pay will grow along with your knowledge.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
 
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