CABINETMAKERS: what is appropriate pay for an assistant?
I've been working for a cabinetmaker for over a year, during which time we've become very friendly. Mostly because of gas prices, but also because I just think it's time, I'd like to ask for a pay increase. But first I'd like to know what typical hourly pay is.
I joint and plane the rough stock, do all the sanding and apply the occasional finish. I assist in glue-ups, do all the veneering when there's veneering to do, change knives, and generally help out in any way I can. I was semi-skilled when I started and am now very competent in the areas I mentioned above. I live in the outer ex-urban area of NYC. I'm his only assistant, and we're on very good terms with each other.
I've hardly worked for him this year because I'm working on my own house, but am helping out recently b/c he got a big kitchen job. My beginning pay was $10 an hour, on the books, and it hasn't changed. That means that after gas and income taxes, I'm making about $6 and hour. A builder friend thinks my pay is ridiculously low, saying he could grab anyone off the street and would have to pay them almost $15.
I don't know if it's relevant, but I'm 50 years old and, while it's work I generally like, I've also got two kids at home and lots of other responsibilities. (My husband makes the real money in the family.)
What do you think the going rate is for someone who does the work I do? I have no idea.