Cabinet Shop Pay Expectations - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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Question Cabinet Shop Pay Expectations

I've been into woodworking for 5 years and finally got my first gig at a nice cabinet shop. They're starting me out at $12 an hour and said it'd definitely increase within or after the first 90 days (should've gotten that in writing). They have plans for me to work with their CNC routers, but right now I've been in assembly and delivery, which has been fun when I get to assemble pieces and, I think, is a wise move to actually see what hiccups I could cause in the CNC end of the business for the assemblers. I have suspicions though, that I'll be working in whatever spots they're missing people. One delivery guy quit this week and the CNC operator they had before left for a bigger company with better pay. This may be premature of me, but I've been shafted a lot before where I end up doing 3 jobs for the price of one for other companies. It's probably just normal, but I'd like to see if any of you with experience in the cabinet business have any suggestions or advice on getting better pay or what pay is the norm for a cabinet shop CNC guy. Right now I just do my best, don't bitch and try to make life easier for those around me.

Cheers.
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 07:03 AM
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You get the most pay by performing the best job. Good work ethics always show through even on a beginner.

It has been my experience that those employees who think they have always gotten the short stick will continue to get the short stick until they improve the way that they approach their job.

George
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 08:32 AM
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Pay is something that would vary widely around the country. Just starting out without any previous professional experience would be somewhere around what local businesses are paying for stocking store shelves. From your description I suspect the business is struggling to make ends meet so you could expect raises few and far between.
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post #4 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorn495 View Post
I've been into woodworking for 5 years and finally got my first gig at a nice cabinet shop. They're starting me out at $12 an hour and said it'd definitely increase within or after the first 90 days (should've gotten that in writing). They have plans for me to work with their CNC routers, but right now I've been in assembly and delivery, which has been fun when I get to assemble pieces and, I think, is a wise move to actually see what hiccups I could cause in the CNC end of the business for the assemblers. I have suspicions though, that I'll be working in whatever spots they're missing people. One delivery guy quit this week and the CNC operator they had before left for a bigger company with better pay. This may be premature of me, but I've been shafted a lot before where I end up doing 3 jobs for the price of one for other companies. It's probably just normal, but I'd like to see if any of you with experience in the cabinet business have any suggestions or advice on getting better pay or what pay is the norm for a cabinet shop CNC guy. Right now I just do my best, don't bitch and try to make life easier for those around me.

Cheers.
Please explain?

You get paid to work, you can accomplish so much work in a given time, don't follow how you can end up 'doing 3 jobs for the price of one"...
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 09:50 AM
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I retired from the Nissan factory here in middle TN. and spent most of my time in the stamping department. I drove an overhead crane carrying dies that weighted up to 30 tons, I could drive a forklift, metal finish, press operator, welding, and a host of other jobs. In other words, I could go to any job in my department and work. For me, I liked it because I don't like doing the same thing day after day. Let me say that most everyone could do a lot of jobs and everyone made the same.

PS- So work harder and try to stand out and be number one. Most important have a good attitude.

Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #6 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 10:34 AM
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Big Picture advice

Look around this place and see who they have hired. If it's a family business, there may be little room for advancement IF you want to stay there. If you think you may have a future there, then here's my advice. Come in early, leave late, be as helpful to the other employees as possible, look for things that are not in your direct line of work that need improvement, organization or fixin', and most of all... make your boss look good.

If you do that, raises will come sooner rather than later, and you will be given more responsible jobs and move ahead. Keep your appearance neat and tidy, cover your tatoos, and don't goof off unless it's in a group setting where all are having fun. Business are there to turn a profit, not to entertain their employees. Being more efficient means turning more profit, so anything you can do in that regard will be rewarded.

If this is not a place with a future for you, then still keep on your toes and do a good job, because if you want a reference for your next job, they will write a good one. If you want to have fun and goof off, do it on your own time. You can crack a joke, everyone likes a good laugh, but stay within common sense behavior. I worked in one building for 30 years and wore about 5 different hats, meaning I did 5 totally different jobs. I excelled at them all not because I was so talented, but because I worked hard, and made myself valuable including making my boss look good. There are some that would say that I did have a lot of talent, but that's a relative thing when you are mixed in with several hundred of the best in the world. I ended up making more in one year than my immediate supervisor, which he was not all that happy to point out.

Keep in mind no one owes you anything, be humble but aggressive when it comes to doing your job. It will pay off.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #7 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorn495 View Post
I've been into woodworking for 5 years and finally got my first gig at a nice cabinet shop. They're starting me out at $12 an hour and said it'd definitely increase within or after the first 90 days (should've gotten that in writing). They have plans for me to work with their CNC routers, but right now I've been in assembly and delivery, which has been fun when I get to assemble pieces and, I think, is a wise move to actually see what hiccups I could cause in the CNC end of the business for the assemblers. I have suspicions though, that I'll be working in whatever spots they're missing people. One delivery guy quit this week and the CNC operator they had before left for a bigger company with better pay. This may be premature of me, but I've been shafted a lot before where I end up doing 3 jobs for the price of one for other companies. It's probably just normal, but I'd like to see if any of you with experience in the cabinet business have any suggestions or advice on getting better pay or what pay is the norm for a cabinet shop CNC guy. Right now I just do my best, don't bitch and try to make life easier for those around me.

Cheers.
Are you programming the CNC or just running parts?
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Look around this place and see who they have hired. If it's a family business, there may be little room for advancement IF you want to stay there. If you think you may have a future there, then here's my advice. Come in early, leave late, be as helpful to the other employees as possible, look for things that are not in your direct line of work that need improvement, organization or fixin', and most of all... make your boss look good.

If you do that, raises will come sooner rather than later, and you will be given more responsible jobs and move ahead. Keep your appearance neat and tidy, cover your tatoos, and don't goof off unless it's in a group setting where all are having fun. Business are there to turn a profit, not to entertain their employees. Being more efficient means turning more profit, so anything you can do in that regard will be rewarded.

If this is not a place with a future for you, then still keep on your toes and do a good job, because if you want a reference for your next job, they will write a good one. If you want to have fun and goof off, do it on your own time. You can crack a joke, everyone likes a good laugh, but stay within common sense behavior. I worked in one building for 30 years and wore about 5 different hats, meaning I did 5 totally different jobs. I excelled at them all not because I was so talented, but because I worked hard, and made myself valuable including making my boss look good. There are some that would say that I did have a lot of talent, but that's a relative thing when you are mixed in with several hundred of the best in the world. I ended up making more in one year than my immediate supervisor, which he was not all that happy to point out. <img src="http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/images/WoodworkingTalk_2016/smilies/tango_face_plain.png" border="0" alt="" title="Serious" class="inlineimg" />

Keep in mind no one owes you anything, be humble but aggressive when it comes to doing your job. It will pay off. <img src="http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/images/smilies/wink.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Wink" class="inlineimg" />
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 12:01 PM
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From my own experience dont plan on retiring early. The timber business never has and never will be well paid but it can be very satisfying and beats working in a store or food business hollow.

Measure twice, Cut once, Then force it to fit with a big hammer.
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 03:47 PM
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From my own experience dont plan on retiring early. The timber business never has and never will be well paid but it can be very satisfying and beats working in a store or food business hollow.
I made pretty good at woodworking, but I never did make a lot in cabinets though. In my shop everyone did everything, no one did just one thing. I didn't have to tell my people to do this or that, they saw what needed done and did it.

If you stay in woodworking, chances are you will do many different things other than just cabinets in your career, at least that is the way it was in my career.

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post #11 of 17 Old 02-24-2018, 04:39 PM
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It's a living. Anything past that depends on how you set yourself up..

Cabinet shops lock you into their needs. It's basically production. You'll have to excel on your own to pass those limits....

Last edited by Rebelwork; 02-24-2018 at 04:43 PM.
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-25-2018, 09:09 AM
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I have worked for the same company for 16 years. If i got paid for every job i did individually like you insinuated. I would be extremely wealthy.

Your best approach is to make your employer the most money possible. Work very hard, learn every job you can and then if you are working for a good company, with smart leadership, the raises will come.

Bad, bad idea to approach a new job with wanting to not "overwork" or overperform. Time will tell whether your job will adequately compensate but yoo have to do your job first.


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post #13 of 17 Old 02-25-2018, 11:02 AM
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I don't know that I ever had a job where I had just one skill I was expected to use. It has always paid off for me, except in a union shop. No, thinking about it, even in the two of those I worked at I still had more than one responsibility, although I did quit one because the union cost me a better position. Part of working at any job should be to want to learn more, and the easiest way to do that is to be available and happy to do anything they need you to do. I've found that when you do that and your motivation is to do the best you can for the company, it'll work out for you in the long run because you have made yourself valuable to them.
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-25-2018, 11:08 AM
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I don't know that I ever had a job where I had just one skill I was expected to use. It has always paid off for me, except in a union shop. No, thinking about it, even in the two of those I worked at I still had more than one responsibility, although I did quit one because the union cost me a better position. Part of working at any job should be to want to learn more, and the easiest way to do that is to be available and happy to do anything they need you to do. I've found that when you do that and your motivation is to do the best you can for the company, it'll work out for you in the long run because you have made yourself valuable to them.
How did the union cost you a better position?

You should always want to learn more. At some point within a shop there are limits..

Cabinet shops never taught me to build furniture, I had to learn that in my own shop.....

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post #15 of 17 Old 02-26-2018, 08:45 AM
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How did the union cost you a better position?
A job went up for bid on the board, after a month, when no one else had bid for it, I put in my bid. The company gave me the job...the union made them take it away because I had not worked there 3 months yet, which was a union rule. As I recall, I had been there about 9 weeks. It was a better job with more advancement possibilities and higher pay.
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post #16 of 17 Old 02-26-2018, 09:51 AM
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I think you ought to reassess at the 90 day mark, and keep an eye open for the next step up the pay scale.

$12/hour doesn't seem like a sustainable salary over the long term. FWIW, my daughter had a summer job at a distribution center (warehouse) for a large brick-n-mortar/online retailer. Her job was to pull and scan merchandise for shipment for online orders. She made $13.50/hour after about a day's worth of training.
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post #17 of 17 Old 02-26-2018, 08:22 PM
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I think you ought to reassess at the 90 day mark, and keep an eye open for the next step up the pay scale.

$12/hour doesn't seem like a sustainable salary over the long term. FWIW, my daughter had a summer job at a distribution center (warehouse) for a large brick-n-mortar/online retailer. Her job was to pull and scan merchandise for shipment for online orders. She made $13.50/hour after about a day's worth of training.
Depends on the worker...Depends on the job..

I've looked for an apprentice for four years now. I've had three. One had commercial cabinet experience but after awhile wanted to do things his way and got demoted.Second lasted a day and moved elsewere. Third had 27 years as a commercial cabinet maker but couldn't make anything without wood putty. I think they got started at $15-17 an hour. If a guy can work, ask the questions one expects to be asked and enjoys woodworking I can use him/her...

Last edited by Rebelwork; 02-26-2018 at 08:32 PM.
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