How Much Do Contractors Make?

Written by Kacie Goff

If you’re endeavoring to earn a contractor’s license, you probably have some idea that you can make at least decent money with your new credential. And that’s definitely the case, although the amount you can expect to earn depends on your location, your expertise level, and your trade. Still, though, we can talk in broad strokes. So how much do contractors make?

To give you the clearest idea possible, let’s look at three different trades and their average salaries. 

How much do general contractors make?

When it comes to contracting salaries, general contractors can expect to stay in or near the top tier. As the face of the construction project, you take on more risk and responsibility than a lot of other tradesmen. And, fortunately, you can protect your business from this risk by taking out general liability insurance.

Estimates about average contracting salaries vary, but it’s fairly safe to assume you’ll make at least $44,000, even when you’re first starting out. As you gain more experience, you can expect to earn more as a GC.

Reputable sources put average general contracting salaries in the $70,000 to $95,000+ range once you’re established. With some experience, you’ll probably be able to charge upwards of $500 a day and expect about $90,000 as an annual general contractor salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that construction managers, a role you can easily take on as a GC, earn over $95,000 a year

What’s an average electrician salary?

The amount you can expect for your annual electrician salary depends on your trade level. As you’d probably expect, master electrician salary numbers are higher than the average journeyman electrician salary. 

The BLS says that, on the whole, the median electrician salary is just over $56,000, or $27 an hour. The average journeyman electrician salary is about $49,500, while the average master electrician salary is $55,000 to $75,000, depending on the state.  

What’s an average plumber salary?

The BLS reported that plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earn an average of just over $55,000 per year, or a little more than $26.50 an hour. And that lines up with findings from U.S. News & World Report, which puts the average plumber salary at just under $54,000. 

But Indeed says that number is closer to the average journeyman plumber salary. They say the average base salary for journeyman plumbers are just shy of $27. As a master plumber with at least five years of experience, you might be able to pull as much as six figures annually. 

Getting your license to earn these salaries

When you’re angling for the best contracting salaries possible, you need to take the necessary steps to get and maintain licensure in your state. Usually, this means filling out an application, paying the relevant fee, and completing the required pre-license education. Then, you’ll need to complete your continuing education and your renewal application in a timely manner to maintain your license. 


If you do, your salary should only increase through the years as you gain more experience. How much do contractors make? The sky’s the limit.