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New Journeyman- What is a fair salary to ask for

1504 Views 35 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  sparky1998
Long time reader, first time poster. Been in the trade for just shy of 6 years, and after recently having my first child I decided I really needed to get my life together. Finished 3 years of school in 6 months studied hard and passed my NH J-man exam last week with a 92! Have been pretty independent for awhile now and know my way around a job site. Have a good amount of experience in residential, commercial and industrial sects. I am planning on speaking with my boss this week about a raise and am wondering what you guys think is a good general range i should be requesting. I have been looking through a lot of job postings on CL and other listing sites and from what I can gather a respectable new journeyman rate is somewhere in the $30-$35/hr range, does this seem accurate to you guys or am I getting ahead of myself? I wouldn't consider myself a greenhorn by any means and feel very comfortable taking on any responsibility that could be given to me. I work for a small company and we do almost anything (except PV, i have 0 experience there and I'd like to get into it a bit). Any light you can shed(no pun intended!) would be greatly appreciated. Also as a slightly sub question, if y'all have any tips on what I can do to excel in my new position and would like to share i would love to hear them! Thanks in advance!
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Google is your friend.

A good salary is what you are willing to work for or perhaps more importantly what you can live on. Don't forget "live on" means slowly increasing your standard of living, taking vacations, etc. It is more then just paying your bills.

Cheers
John
 

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Sorry the "rate" is a worthless number. Reading CL is like reading a toilet bowl. You should know better.
You do not mention how long with you boss. Nor do you mention if your noticeably taking charge or assisting those that are. Do you have EVERY TOOL that the company says you need? Do they supply the PPE? Health insurance is a BIG deal today and you have a kid.
Are you there EVERY DAY 10 minutes early? Welling to stay over to finish the project?
BIG one here do you require a lot of management? I was always the guy where the boss would pull them aside and say "Make this go away"

Ultimately you are worth what ever your boss says you are. Just like buying a home, it is worth what someone will pay. Not necessarily what you ask.
In my career only twice have I shown up in the bosses office to ask for a raise. Carrying my resignation letter with me. Once I wanted a 6% and got 9%, the other time I used the letter.
And suffered for it for a while. You are not in a position to just walk away. I was asked back but they pissed me off and I ended up going around them and starting my own company.

Last thing, what has happened to others when asking for a raise. Is it culture to have to do this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hi all thanks for your responses. I am sorry I should have given more details.
-I have been with my employer for a bit under 4 years, currently I make $22 an hour which i don't feel is sufficient. Using those numbers I am realistically looking for a minimum of a 62% raise which is one of the reasons that brought me to make this post.
-I agree that your only worth what the Boss says you are, and although I honesty don't think it will come to that as he is a very fair and understanding guy, younger and with a new family of his own
-I receive almost no benefits except paid holidays (and he paid me for a week when my baby was born)
-i have every tool that i would ever need, he supplies power tools (aside from personal impact gun) even though i do have them and would obviously use them if that were a factor.
-we operate out of probably the second largest city in NH although that isnt saying much
- i am 30 minutes early everyday (past 6 months 2 hours early to study lol) and i have done 14 hour shifts on occasion to finish long drive jobs
-I supply PPE except for harness and arc flash which is seldom used
-As i said earlier I am able to work very independently although i do call him somewhat frequently out of respect because alot of times it isnt my responsibility to make certain decisions as far as how things are handled and since i don't usually have all of the details on how the job was bid or exactly what the extent of the scope of the work is I wouldn't want to be giving his time away and this is one of the points that I will be addressing when I speak with him in that if he wishes I am prepared to be responsible for making these decisions.
 

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-I have been with my employer for a bit under 4 years, currently I make $22 an hour which i don't feel is sufficient. Using those numbers I am realistically looking for a minimum of a 62% raise which is one of the reasons that brought me to make this post.
-I receive almost no benefits except paid holidays (and he paid me for a week when my baby was born)
And I or either of the other 2 employees have never been turned down a raise but they have been small and infrequent..maybe 3) x $1
Don't fixate on the hourly wages alone, that's a bad habit to get into - it gives you a distorted view of your pay. Look at the total value of your pay and your benefits, especially health care and retirement benefits. Look into what your IBEW local's scale and benefits is so you have an idea what the top of the market pays.

It's safe to say $22/hr with no benefits is very low for a licensed journeyman with commercial and industrial experience. You should be able to get a lot more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Don't fixate on the hourly wages alone, that's a bad habit to get into - it gives you a distorted view of your pay. Look at the total value of your pay and your benefits, especially health care and retirement benefits. Look into what your IBEW local's scale and benefits is so you have an idea what the top of the market pays.

It's safe to say $22/hr with no benefits is very low for a licensed journeyman with commercial and industrial experience. You should be able to get a lot more.
Thats really interesting, I did a little googling and found this site that lists scales + benefits packages. Seems there is only one that serves NH (490) and that site indicates approx. $32 base + $20 benefits. Obviously that doesn't mean that I should be demanding $52/hr but it is certainly a good picture of what things could be. Are you a Union member? I have heard that when working with a union you basically get assigned one task and you just do that forever, like if your the wire pull guy, somebody else runs the conduit and then you come behind them and pull wire and when that pulls done you just move on to the next. Is that true or just a rumor? Also I have heard that union can provide consistent pay but not always top pay. Obviously for me that wouldn't be a factor at this point anyway 😂 but interested to know what people think.
 

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At one point in my life I was the construction/service manager (small branch in trouble). I had a tech that I believed was underpaid. My boss said we just can't afford to give a raise. I asked my boss to lunch.

At lunch I brought this subject up and asked what kind of mortgage payment does he think Brian (the service tech) should be able to afford working here? What should he be able to afford in power, cable, car, insurance, etc etc etc. Added it all up and allowed for taxes and showed how much of a bind we are putting him in.

I closed with the argument that we expect him to be respond whenever we call for a ridiculous low wage, we want him to be happy in front of the customer, to talk good about the company and we really can't afford to NOT give him a raise.

Brian got a raise, just not the one I wanted for him, but he was appeased (for the time being).
 
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Thats really interesting, I did a little googling and found this site that lists scales + benefits packages. Seems there is only one that serves NH (490) and that site indicates approx. $32 base + $20 benefits. Obviously that doesn't mean that I should be demanding $52/hr but it is certainly a good picture of what things could be. Are you a Union member? I have heard that when working with a union you basically get assigned one task and you just do that forever, like if your the wire pull guy, somebody else runs the conduit and then you come behind them and pull wire and when that pulls done you just move on to the next. Is that true or just a rumor? Also I have heard that union can provide consistent pay but not always top pay. Obviously for me that wouldn't be a factor at this point anyway 😂 but interested to know what people think.
If the going rate is 52 a hour why shouldn’t you get it ? Don’t sell yourself short kid. All those things are just routers as well. And we get the top pay your making 22$ a hour I make 80 a hour total package. Also in perspective my wife just had a c section baby and with the surgery and all the prenatal appointments and 4 nights in the hospital I was out 1500$ and my 3 kids are
Covered as well
 

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Where I live, the union scale and my wages were always 5-$10 different. I was content with what I got paid or I went looking for something new.

I suggest that you make an appointment with him and kindly remind him of your new status's.
When I had my company with employees I hated to be cornered in the field. I generally responded poorly when that happened.
After reading your response to the posts. I believe you are underpaid and the boss needs a reminder.

Some employers realize that their people are the most important tool that they have.
Some forget, and some you need to put behind you. Start looking and talking discretely to some other companies. When I was young I knew 10-20 others in the trade that worked for other companies. A few phone calls on a weekend would get me all the information I needed.

Can be a tough decision, with a family you need to make it carefully.

An old journey man once told me, the cream always rises to the top. Which was on my first day on a chip plant construction job. 6 months later I was 3rd in command of the project.
 

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Where I live, the union scale and my wages were always 5-$10 different. I was content with what I got paid or I went looking for something new.

I suggest that you make an appointment with him and kindly remind him of your new status's.
When I had my company with employees I hated to be cornered in the field. I generally responded poorly when that happened.
After reading your response to the posts. I believe you are underpaid and the boss needs a reminder.

Some employers realize that their people are the most important tool that they have.
Some forget, and some you need to put behind you. Start looking and talking discretely to some other companies. When I was young I knew 10-20 others in the trade that worked for other companies. A few phone calls on a weekend would get me all the information I needed.

Can be a tough decision, with a family you need to make it carefully.

An old journey man once told me, the cream always rises to the top. Which was on my first day on a chip plant construction job. 6 months later I was 3rd in command of the project.
Yes of course. I was planning on saying something along the lines of "[Boss] do you have if you have some time this afternoon or whenever is convenient for you, I would like to sit down and have a conversation about my new license and what that means for me and us as a company" again my employer is a very down to earth approachable person we have a very good relationship and I know that he has a lot of respect for me and mine as well as the other employees.

I am very grateful for all of your responses and this thread is exactly what I was looking for in that it is giving me a lot of things to consider when having this discussion with him. Many of them I have already considered but appreciate the reinforcement. Things like health insurance, 401k etc I have already brought up and he is open to them. With me being so close to having my license, him with his second baby on the way and a big remodel project that he was kind of forced to do at a not so convenient time has made me not push the subject too hard. But again this is about me not him, and at the end of the day I am most concerned about my two girls at home and (myself to a lesser extent😅) . So with that said the time has come for me to sort of put my foot down (for lack of a better phrase).
 

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ooof!! I may be a victim of that paradox more often then id like to admit! I feel like its my time, I have put in a lot of hard work and I didnt do it for fun...
Yes, but you can be polite and matter of fact or threatening and a jerk.

Watch out for hearing what you expect to hear instead of hearing what is actually being said.

Watch out for thinking he understands the nuances that go along with what you said, assuming he understands the sentiment can lead to miscommunication.

Might be a good idea when it's all finished writing down what was agreed upon.
 
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Yes, but you can be polite and matter of fact or threatening and a jerk.

Watch out for hearing what you expect to hear instead of hearing what is actually being said.

Watch out for thinking he understands the nuances that go along with what you said, assuming he understands the sentiment can lead to miscommunication.

Might be a good idea when it's all finished writing down what was agreed upon.
Great advice, thank you for the reminder.
 

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Thats really interesting, I did a little googling and found this site that lists scales + benefits packages. Seems there is only one that serves NH (490) and that site indicates approx. $32 base + $20 benefits. Obviously that doesn't mean that I should be demanding $52/hr but it is certainly a good picture of what things could be. Are you a Union member?
I am not. Keep in mind depending on where you are, it might be easy to get in, it might be impossible without a relative, friend, or favor. Usually if you look around, you'll find that the better paying non-union shops can match the union wage, but don't match the benefits. Keep in mind that like the electrical code, the scale is a minimum, some are paid over scale. [/quote]

I have heard that when working with a union you basically get assigned one task and you just do that forever, like if your the wire pull guy, somebody else runs the conduit and then you come behind them and pull wire and when that pulls done you just move on to the next. Is that true or just a rumor?
There was a time when the local here worked that way but that was a long time ago. But just due to the jobs that union shops are competitive on, there does tend to be a lot of reading prints, running pipe, and pulling wire.

Also I have heard that union can provide consistent pay but not always top pay. Obviously for me that wouldn't be a factor at this point anyway 😂 but interested to know what people think.
Where I am and most places, that is backwards. So much of the union shops' work is big new commercial and institutional construction. Outside of government buildings, hospitals, and universities, they don't get much. They haven't been getting much of the distribution center (aka warehouse) work. So around here union electrical work for most means some time laid off or travelling in the winter, even in good times. In bad times, it can go longer. Smaller shops can keep busy with smaller jobs, renovations, tenant improvements, and keep a more even stream of work coming.

In this area, these days, there are a lot of former union journeyman electricians. They got in, they did the apprenticeship, and they did it for a while, then go non-union. They take the pay cut and benefits cut - usually a pretty big cut. Some guys love spending the winter laid off, collecting unemployment, plowing snow and doing side work here and there under the table, catching up on their video games and day drinking. Others like travelling and sleeping in fleabag motels, living on pizza and fast food and spending their evenings watching and betting on sports in dive bars. But a lot of guys, once they have a wife and kids, that's not going to work, and then they are a former union journeyman working steadily, year round, for less than they used to make.
 
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