To attract new blood to this industry, money is often used as a way to tempt people into a career in the fenestration industry. There are though varying rates, depending on what you do, your age, your position within the company etc. There are perks for some, but not perks for all. The debate around what is a fair wage is omnipresent in this country.
But what is a fair wage in this industry? What should we be getting paid? How much do you think you are worth? I’m not talking about those in the highest positions. But of those on the ground, doing the selling to home owners and installation. The ones that literally keep the industry moving.
What is a good day rate?
From a fitting point of view, this is where (in theory) the better the money the better talent you can attract to your business. Especially now, given that the talent pool seems to get shallower every year.
Many fitters are still self employed. A few are employed, but this isn’t the norm. Not yet anyway. For those that are self employed, fitting as much as you can during the working week is vital. Many get paid per item fitted, so from a fitter’s perspective they want the company they are working for to sell as many house fulls of windows and doors as they can!
As a daily average though, what should they be coming out with? I know that geography, which part of the country they are living in, is going to have an influence. What should it be though? £100 per day? £150? £200? It’s worth remembering if they are self employed that they will have to take off tax, fuel, van running costs etc. £150 per day can easily be whittled down to £100 when you take all of that into account. In a five day working week is £500 enough? Considering the work involved, I think that’s on the low side. If you’re down south, where living costs are higher than where I live in Wakefield, £500 per week probably is going to get you very far.
What about sales staff? Those who go into people’s homes and try to convince them to spend their hard earned cash with them. It’s nowhere near as physically difficult as the installations side, but it is mentally draining. You work unsociable hours, spend hours in front of screens. A wage isn’t always known either. Those who are employed are most likely on a low basic wage which then has to be topped up with commissions. Security to some degree, but not ideal if you’re going through a dry patch.
Sales people’s wages are calculated on a yearly basis? So what is a good wage for a sales person selling to the general public in the residential sector? £25k per year? £30k? £35k? More? My guess is the average lies somewhere around the £30k mark. That’s £2500 a month, £625 per week. The average yearly wage in the UK is £27,195 for some perspective.
Do I think these amounts are enough? Probably not. Do I believe that we should be doing something to raise wages? Yes. But we’re at a tipping point right now in the industry, and I don’t think we can afford it.
Pay is on the low side
Generally I think fitters, sales people, reps for fabricators etc are underpaid to some degree. I think fitters and sales people suffer the worst. I’m not saying they are badly paid, but I reckon there is room to push things north.
Problem is, we’re in a period in our industry right now that is struggling with major price increases coming in from every direction. Certain demographics appear to be slowing their spending on new windows and doors. Uncertainty around Brexit. It’s not the time to be raising wages as it would be home owners who would have to pay for it and they are particularly sensitive to price increases right now.
Long term though our industry is going to have to raise it’s pay if we are to attract the talent we already desperately need to fill the many gaps that are forming. We will never attract the right people if the pay isn’t good enough, it’s as simple as that. It’s OK for people to be passionate about fenestration, be skilled, be very good at what they do. But if they’re not getting in wages what they believe to be worth then they are going to go elsewhere.
I would love to hear from you on this subject. Are you a fitter and think you should be paid more? Are you being paid the right amount? Are you in sales but believe you are worth more than what you are getting already? You can leave comments anonymously via the section below if you wish, but all thoughts and feedback on this are welcome.