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What's a fair wage for an apprentice?

 
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Hi all,

I am preparing to build a passive solar straw bale home and shop this summer. While I will have some help in the evenings and on the weekends, the rest will be done by my two hands...minus the concrete and plumbing.

I am considering taking on an apprentice....someone with limited to no construction knowledge or experience... someone who otherwise is good with their hands, ambitious, and most importantly....wants to learn how to use tools and build using both conventional and unconventional methods.

Stud framing, post and beam, standing seam roofing, steel fabrication, reclaimed and new materials, cedar siding, earthen plasters, earthen floors, cob, natural finishes, principles of passive solar, etc, etc will be some of the facets to this project. This will all be done with an array of tools...from the most basic to a variety of modern power tools.

As much as I would appreciate having the help, I am genuinely interested in helping someone who is keen to learn. So, this could be a great experience for someone. What is a fair wage to pay though?

Thanks. Before we know it, the flowers will be popping and birds chirping. Spring's coming!

rusty
 
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Rusty Bowman wrote:What is a fair wage to pay though?


rusty




That kind of thing in this area pays anywhere from $12 to about $15 starting.
 
pollinator
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Rusty Bowman wrote:Hi all,

Hope I'm posting in the right area. I used to peruse and post here but the format has changed to something very different than what I am used to. I find it confusing. But, maybe that's just my age creeping in.🤔

Any way, I am preparing to build a passive solar straw bale home and shop this summer. While I will have some help in the evenings and on the weekends, the rest will be done by my two hands...minus the concrete and plumbing.

I am considering taking on an apprentice....someone with limited to no construction knowledge or experience... someone who otherwise is good with their hands, ambitious, and most importantly....wants to learn how to use tools and build using both conventional and unconventional methods.

Stud framing, post and beam, standing seam roofing, steel fabrication, reclaimed and new materials, cedar siding, earthen plasters, earthen floors, cob, natural finishes, principles of passive solar, etc, etc will be some of the facets to this project. This will all be done with an array of tools...from the most basic to a variety of modern power tools.

As much as I would appreciate having the help, I am genuinely interested in helping someone who is keen to learn. So, this could be a great experience for someone. What is a fair wage to pay though?

Thanks. Before we know it, the flowers will be popping and birds chirping. Spring's coming!

rusty



Some factors to consider:

Are you prepared to provide housing and food for this apprentice?

If so what would the living situation be?

Is your location remote, or near a town or city?

What is your previous experience with this type of construction?
 
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If it is a true apprentice.... you are spending time teaching, providing meals, and room, probably anywhere from a couple of hundred a month to minimum  wage.  Do check with your  Department of Labor.  You may need supporting documentation . Of course, much depends upon how many hours of active involvement you expect each week.  If the individual is working 40 or more and supplying their own R & B and you really want a hired hand, the price can climb.
 
Rusty Bowman
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Thanks for the replies, everyone!
 
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Minimum wage does not buy a living but it could be fair if you provide a place to stay and some basics.

I have seen a lot of people abuse these situations and claim they are offering a "learning experience" or "apprenticeship". A couple of things I see that repeat themselves.

A real apprenticeship is teaching someone a life trade that is marketable, someone doing ______ for the fist time is not teaching anyone anything, they are still figuring it out themselves. Doing manual labor on someones property is not learning marketable skills, it is labor. These situations usually the low paid of free labor leaves in a few days.
Now if you have a rocking organic farm with years of fine tuned growing and building experience with a crew of friendly young people to socialize with you can offer some value and people will stay. If you have a piece of secluded land a shack with a colmen stove you better be paying someone for their time or they will not stay long.

Then you have the issue of insurance, if someone brakes their back and sues you for everything you own ?

Just a couple of thoughts.
 
Rusty Bowman
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Christopher Westmore wrote:Minimum wage does not buy a living but it could be fair if you provide a place to stay and some basics.

I have seen a lot of people abuse these situations and claim they are offering a "learning experience" or "apprenticeship". A couple of things I see that repeat themselves.

A real apprenticeship is teaching someone a life trade that is marketable, someone doing ______ for the fist time is not teaching anyone anything, they are still figuring it out themselves. Doing manual labor on someones property is not learning marketable skills, it is labor. These situations usually the low paid of free labor leaves in a few days.
Now if you have a rocking organic farm with years of fine tuned growing and building experience with a crew of friendly young people to socialize with you can offer some value and people will stay. If you have a piece of secluded land a shack with a colmen stove you better be paying someone for their time or they will not stay long.

Then you have the issue of insurance, if someone brakes their back and sues you for everything you own ?

Just a couple of thoughts.




Point taken. I think.

This wouldn't be my first rodeo....

My plan would be to find someone that lived locally....someone who has seen or is generally familiar with my work....and wants to learn how they too can craft something similar.

My wife is an insurance agent so I haven't many worries on that front.

I was primarily interested in what a fair wage would be for someone to be my assistant in return to learn a variety of skills...to get first-hand experience under my tutelage. I'm not looking for someone to simply slave away.  The first responder, Trace, mentioned $12-$15. Sounds like a reasonable place to start to me.

Thanks.

 
Christopher Westmore
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I live in a rural area general labor goes for $15 an hr, McDonalds pays $13-$15. If you pay less then McDonalds you will probably get what you pay for. People will not work for less because they think your work is awesome, that's not how labor works or thinks.

What you are offering is an entry level construction job, you will need someone sharp enough to read a tape measure and use power tools without hurting themselves. I would say a fair wage/going rate would be what construction labor goes for in your area.

 
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As long as you're complying with local laws regarding wage & hour and conditions of work, I think start at what you think you can afford to pay and see how it works out.  When I have hired employees for office positions, I find that starting someone part time (say 3 days a week) at a higher hourly wage is better than trying to hire fulltime at a low wage.  For one thing, if you starting from 0 employees, you may not immediately have 40 hours of work ready to assign and manage.

With regard to the learning aspect, this could be attractive to the right person, and for the right person could be an incentive for them to stick around even if higher paying jobs are available; working conditions and working environment really do matter, as does the sense that a job is not a "dead end"

Be careful with how you structure any training, though.  Training that is needed for the person to do work for you IS work for them, and needs to be paid work hours.  Basically, if you are getting any benefit out of training them, then you pay them for the time spent in the training.
 
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