Hourly Rates for Tradesmen & Construction Workers

Hourly Rates for Tradesmen

Hi folks,
today I want to talk about hourly rates for tradesmen and construction workers in Ireland.   This article may be of interest to both customers and tradesmen.  Our users often ask us what is a fair hourly rate to be paying tradesmen as some of the rates quoted seem at first glance to be very high. I did some research and I came across the Registered Employment Agreement that was agreed between the Construction Industry Federation and a number of the unions.

These are rates that are payable by an employer to craftsmen, apprentices and construction operatives who are working as employees. These rates became effective on February 4th 2011. Rates for craftsmen are listed at €17.21 per hour. There are also a number of additional rates for mileage, subsistence and reference to lost earnings due to inclement weather.  These rates paid to employees should not be confused with what a company or self employed tradesman would charge a customer. You can see the list of hourly rates on page 18 of the First Schedule of the agreement here

Experts say that for self employed rates you would need to multiply an employee’s salary by a factor of 2.5 in order to maintain the same standard of living. There is a nice article on Businessknowhow.com that explains in more detail the reasons behind this thinking.  You can see the article here

In that case a self employed tradesman would be charging 17.21 x 2.5 = €43 per hour but the charge would be higher per hour if it was less than a days work as you would have to account for . If the tradesman is registered for VAT, it would work out at €43 + 13.5% = €48.80 per hour. Some tradesmen (the same as any other profession) can command a premium if they are highly specialised or carry out a higher standard of work than would be the norm.   So as you can see when tradesmen charge prices like these they are not so high afterall.

If you are a customer keep in mind that it is better to get a price for the job rather than a price per hour so at least you’ll know how much exactly it is going to cost and you can compare prices more accurately. If you must pay by the hour be sure to set out any limitations you have in terms of funds available and time expected. Be sure also to consult with the tradesman and to review the work daily. The time taken should not be open ended. Bare in mind that some tradesmen will not work for an hourly rate and will prefer to work for a price.

I hope this helps some of you who were wondering about hourly rates for tradesmen, whether you are a customer or a tradesman. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Oliver Dempsey
June 14th 2014

Here are some other articles that you might be interested in below:-

4 Tips for Hiring a Tradesman
Building Insurance Podcast – What to Look out for
Home Renovation Tax Incentive Scheme (HRI)
Building Materials – Who should buy them, Customer or Tradesman?
Will Stricter Building Regulations Improve Building Standards in Ireland?
Using Escrow to safeguard your building project
Do I need planning permission?
Certifying my building or renovation
Construction Contracts, why are they needed?
Attic Conversion Prices in Dublin
House Extension Prices in Dublin
Conservatory and Sunroom prices
Top 10 tips to building your home
House extensions – 12 tips to extending your home

About Oliver Dempsey

Owner and Managing Director at Tradesmen.ie and contributor to the Tradesmen.ie Blog DISCLAIMER: All content provided in my articles is for informational purposes only. The information contained in these articles has been obtained from research carried out by myself through online and offline sources and through other writers and contributors who provide me with content. While I am responsible for the final editing of each article and I do my best to verify the information, I do not make representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information. Therefore you must not rely on the information contained in any of these articles and always make sure to seek the advice of a suitably qualified expert before embarking on any project.
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  • Jackie Prendergast

    Just for the record, all Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) were declared unconstitutional and ceased to have statutory effect in 2013. These rates are unenforceable for anyone employed after that so in reality the reference to rates and the multiplier used here is pretty redundant. Is €400 a day or thereabouts a reasonable rate? I think it very much depends on the job being done and the quality of the tradesman.

  • tradesmen1

    Hi Jackie,
    thanks for your reply, it just goes to show that it is a complex subject. I suppose the important thing for tradesmen is to realise is that charging €20 per hour as a self employed person could end up providing them with a smaller income than if they had a full time job with a basic wage. Having said that there may not always be any choice if the alternative is unemployment without employment benefit. Thankfully we are seeing an upturn at present in the building industry which hopefully will provide a decent income for tradesmen while at the same time providing good value for the consumer as well.
    Oliver Dempsey

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    Jackie Prendergast

    Just for the record, all Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) were declared unconstitutional and ceased to have statutory effect in 2013. These rates are unenforceable for anyone employed after that so in reality the reference to rates and the multiplier used here is pretty redundant. Is €400 a day or thereabouts a reasonable rate? I think it very much depends on the job being done and the quality of the tradesman.
    6:05 a.m., Wednesday Sept. 10

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  • tradesmen1

    Hi folks, I recently received an email in
    response the above blog from Gregory Whelan, a Sales and Marketing consultant based
    in Dublin and
    who previously worked in Project & Property Management. He had some very good points to make and with
    his permission I have attached a copy of his email below, hope you find it
    useful. Many Thanks to Gregory for
    sharing this information with us.



    Gregory Whelan, May 4th 2015
    “I worked in California from 1985 to 2009 when for family
    reasons I returned home. I am sure there are many folks who just can’t get
    their head around paying tradesmen 45-65 euros per hour, but in some cases it
    would save them money. California
    contractors / builders/ handymen/women, yes handywomen can charge up to 70
    dollars per hour and get it. Up to 2009 a licenced building contractor must
    enter into a contract with a home owner if the project is priced over 600
    dollars, stating the starting date, finishing date and what the job/project
    entails. Unlicensed contractors / builders can charge too, as long as they
    inform the home owner or client that they do not hold a contractor’s licence,
    as that was my understanding of it back then.

    Most of my projects were time and material
    cost plus contracts, and as a registered building contractor I always had to
    write a contract regardless of the cost of the project. It might seem that the
    contractor can’t lose but the clients were always entitled to see and view
    materials, labour, sub-contractors, venders, suppliers costs. With some
    projects it was the only way to go, as the client and or home owner/s may not
    have known the full details or extent of the project.



  • Ian Mac Mathuna

    Hi guys, I recently have gone out self employed painter and decorator Im curently doing work for a property developer and a builder. Im not registered for vat. They pay for paint and materials and my fuel cost. I charger €175 a day labour is this low or the norm?? How do i figure out what i can charge a builder from a regular person that wants their house painted? I figure i should be charging the builder alot more than i am?

  • tradesmen1

    Hi Ian, thanks for your message. There is more activity in the
    building industry these days and rates have certainly improved which is
    very welcome for tradesmen. We wouldn’t be able to comment on
    individual rates. The best way to find out how your rate compares is to
    ask other tradesmen in your industry. You could also look out for
    painting jobs that are advertised and see what rates they are prepared
    to offer.

    I hope this helps
    Oliver Dempsey