As Brits, we don’t like to talk about money. We’re taught that its unbecoming and rude. Well, bollocks to that. Money makes the world go round, whether we like that fact or not, and as our industry grapples with itself about a skills crisis, it’s perhaps now time to ask ourselves: how much should a fitting team be paid?
A matter of money
Obviously the skills gap is one of the most important things we have to tackle as an industry. We have talked a lot about that of late. We have also talked about the various ways, means and methods of getting young people to take a serious look at the window and door industry. Apprenticeships, working with local schools and colleges, ambassadors from industry going to talk direct to young people. All very worthwhile approaches.
But we need to start talking about money. At the end of the day, that is still a big attraction for anyone looking for any job. And the fact of the matter is that if you’re a good fitter and part of a productive and skilled fitting crew, you can earn some damn good money.
So, naturally, I decided to ask the industry what it thought was a good wage for a fitting team to earn per week. Yes, it was poll time. I have been running one a week for a little while now, and they have all been mostly successful. I know there’s a lot of installers on social media so I hoped that this one would get quite a few votes.
The early voting has been strong with this one…
How much should a window and door fitting team be paid per week? Assume a two-person team on a self-employed basis working for an installation company.— glazingblogger (@glazingblogger) June 26, 2019
We’re not far off 100 votes already, so this time next week this should be the most popular poll I have done so far. The early votes have surprised me a little, in that the bracket with the most votes is £1000-£1500 per crew per week. If you assume that amount is split equally between two people, which isn’t always the case but we’ll roll with it for the sake of this point. That could leave anywhere between £500-£750 per person, then take off tax, van if they run their own, tools etc, and what looks like a decent wage is fairly quickly eaten away.
Personally, I would be choosing the £1500-£2000 bracket, perhaps even £2000+ if you’re working and living in the south of the country where the cost of living if much higher than where I live in Wakefield. So there is a regional thing to consider here as well. £2000+ per team per week up north will get you much more bang for your buck than in the south.
These higher brackets though do mean the installers have to be worth that amount of money. If you’re paying someone £1000+ each per week, you expect a very high level of work and reliability. But therein lies the problem we all have, in that we don’t have that much talent to tap.
Money to be made
We’re in a situation similar to that of bricklayers. They are in short supply too, and we read reports of some brickies coming home with £1000+ per week because they are in short supply and companies are prepared to offer very good money for their services. It feels like we’re now in the same situation in the window industry. For those installers working in windows right now, this is good news. Well, at least for the good ones.
They too can start to command better money for their services. They know good installers are in short supply, they know installers will be poaching from each other to make sure their work being signed up actually gets fitted. They now hold a degree of influence in the money matters now. This generally means that average wages to installers is pushed up as the bar creeps up higher.
What that also means though is that there is money to be made, not only by those already working, but by those looking to make a new career in fenestration installation. Good money is always a good advert for those sitting on the fence trying to decide on what to do next. The prospect of earning £40k-£50k per year fitting windows and doors isn’t a bad prospect at all, and much higher than the £29k yearly national average.
This is what we should be including when we talk to young people thinking about their futures. A career in fenestration can be a rewarding one from a work and life-skills point of view, and helping to hone talents and abilities. But it can also make you a very good living, so long as you’re prepared to put the work in. Obviously you get to those higher wage bands when you have some years under your belt and you can prove you’re good at what you do. But once you’re there, you can very much cash in.
I’ll report back in a weeks time to see what the results of this poll will be. Might be an eyebrow raiser.
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