This is our 2014 report. To view the current report please click here.

Much is said in Australia about how much tradies earn.

Some people seem to think that tradies are the best paid workers in the country!

Here at Trade Risk we are privileged to see the personal income figures of thousands of tradespeople every year.

These figures span a wide range of different trades from all corners of Australia.

Each year we use the figures to create our annual ‘How much do tradies really earn’ report.

The Top 10 earning trades

So which are the top earning trades this year?

Average Income by Trade 2014

This table gives a more detailed rundown of each trade, as well as a comparison to last year.


There was little change in the rankings at the top, with boilermakers, electricians and plumbers all remaining unchanged in the top three positions.

Brickies jumped into the top 5 at the expense of tilers, who dropped down three positions.

In terms of dollar figures, most trades enjoyed an increase in average income.

The strongest performers here were cabinetmakers, bricklayers and painters who all increased by around 10%.

As with last year there were a small number of trades that could have featured in the top ten, however the number of entries were considered too low to be statistically accurate.

These included riggers, refrigeration mechanics and stonemasons.

Comparison to the national average

Our figures show that the average income for a tradie is $70,500. That’s up from $68,900 in the previous year.

The national average income in Australia, according to the ABS, is $76,800.

It’s important to remember that our figures include tradies who are predominantly sole traders and subcontractors, whereas the national average from the ABS will include all sorts of outrageously paid people.

For that reason, just because the tradie average is below the national average, it does not mean that a typical tradie earns less than a typical non-tradie.

Overall income bands

Another interesting metric to look at is how many tradies fall into the different income bands.

Average Tradie Income Bands 2014

As with last year we found that the largest group, making up around 40% of tradies, sits in the $50k to $75k range.

The good news is that the lowest range, up to $50k income, shrunk from 31% to 27%.

The $50k to $75k range expanded slightly from 39% to 40%, and the $75k to $100k range expanded strongly from 24% to 27%.

Ultimately this means that more tradies are earning $50k+ and $75k+ than last year, which is a good thing.

A lucky (or should that be hard working) 5% of tradies made it into six figures.

Keep in mind that these numbers relate to personal income, or basically the profit of the business.

If you still have $100k after paying all of your business expenses you’re doing pretty well!


If you want to earn more than the national average, then the trades you want to be involved in are boiler making, electrical or plumbing.

Although the other trades in the top ten have average incomes lower than the national average, it’s important to point out that plenty of those tradies are still doing very well for themselves.

For example although carpenters have an average income lower than the national average, our figures included plenty of chippies with incomes over $100k.

By the same token, the figures also included dozens of electricians and plumbers with income below the national average.

The takeaway here is that although some trades do have higher incomes on average, any tradie can earn a top income if they work hard enough and smart enough.

Want to see the previous report? Average Tradie Incomes 2013.

Important information about the figures

When looking at these figures it’s important to get some background on where they’ve come from.

The typical tradesman client of Trade Risk is a subcontractor or sole trader, often working on their own or with just a few staff.

Whilst there will be some clients running large teams and earning very strong six figure incomes, these are certainly not the norm.

It’s also important to note that the figures are based on personal income declared for income protection. So the figures are based on profit, not turnover.

Some tradies may say they ‘earn’ $100k, but if their business expenses are $25k a year then the figure we take is $75k.

We don’t claim that our figures are 100% accurate and reflect every tradesman across every industry.

But what we can say is that the figures have come from over 1,000 tradies from all states and territories, and based on the figures from last year they appear to be very consistent.