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Get Quotes from Top Carpenters in New York City, NY

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Carpenter in New York City

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that about 10,000 finger amputations are performed in the United States annually, with a majority of these amputations attributed to the improper use of handheld and table-mounted woodworking power tools. Given these figures, it is always in your best interest to retain the services of a good carpenter in New York City to handle any woodwork projects that you may have instead of attempting to tackle them by yourself. By hiring a qualified and well-equipped carpenter, you can be assured that the job will be done professionally and in accordance with your instructions as well as relevant industry safety standards. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in costs associated with shoddy service delivery and work-related injuries. In addition, the home improvement work done by these professional carpenters can increase the total value of your home by up to seven percent.

As such, whether it's to add decorative trimming to the interior and exterior of your home, repair furniture, or perform necessary framing work for new buildings, you should always retain the services of a professional carpenter for the job. You can find professional carpenters near you by asking friends and neighbors or by consulting online directories, and you can determine the suitability of these carpenters for the task at hand by asking the following questions:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in New York City?

Any individual that wishes to perform construction, repair, remodeling, or any other type of home improvement-related work on any residential land, building, or structure in New York City is required to possess a valid Home Improvement Contractor License. This license is issued by the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), and individuals that violate this rule can face civil penalties of up to $500 in fines, as well as other city-imposed sanctions.

Licensing applications can be made online or by scheduling an appointment to file the application in-person at any of the following locations:

DCWP Licensing Center
42 Broadway
New York, NY 10004
NYC Small Business Support Center
90-27 Sutphin Boulevard
4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11435

Appointments can be scheduled via email or by calling (212) 436-0441 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Note that applicants are expected to meet certain requirements, which include providing proof of insurance, paying licensing fees, sitting for a licensing examination, and submitting any necessary documents that may be requested by the DCWP. You can direct carpenter licensing queries to the DCWP by calling either 311 or (212) 639-9675. You can also confirm the licensing status of your preferred carpenter by utilizing this department's Online Services Portal.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in New York City?

Before retaining the services of a carpenter in New York City, it is always a good idea to get estimates for your intended project from up to three different carpenters near you. This is because the specific cost of hiring a carpenter is affected by several factors, such as the nature and scope of your project, the cost of materials for the project, and its labor intensity. Getting multiple estimates can help you determine an average rate for your project and also protect you against possible fraudulent carpenters looking to overcharge you.

A carpenter in New York City earns an annual average wage of $71,050. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in New York City against those of carpenters in the rest of New York State as well as across several other major American cities:

New York City Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
New York State Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Chicago Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Houston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Phoenix Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Philadelphia Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the New York City Building Code for Carpentry Work?

The New York City Building Code was designed to provide the minimum requirements and standards for the regulation of building and construction in the city to protect the health, public safety, and welfare of New Yorkers and their property. Knowledge of this code is an important quality to look out for when hiring carpenters, as it applies to all construction-related work performed in New York City, including carpentry. The provisions of this code for carpentry-related projects include specifying the acceptable quality of materials to be used for these projects as well as the necessary permits and inspections that the project in question may require. Failing to comply with the provisions of the New York City Building Code as it relates to your carpentry project can result in severe city-imposed civil and criminal penalties. You can make inquiries concerning the New York City Building Code, its provisions, and its requirements for your project by contacting the NYC Department of Buildings at (212) 393-2550 or via email.

Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the New York City Code?

Per Section 28-105.1 of the New York City Construction Codes, it is unlawful to carry out building or construction-related activity in the city without first obtaining a permit from the NYC Department of Buildings. Nevertheless, exemptions to this law are made under certain circumstances for some types of carpentry work. These include minor alterations and ordinary repairs like installing new kitchen cabinets, and emergency work like the erection of fences or similar structures to protect members of the public from unsafe conditions.

Building permit applications must be made online via the NYC Department of Buildings' DOB Now: Build platform and applicants can utilize the resources available on this platform to get assistance with submitting these applications. Applicants can obtain either a New Building permit or an Alteration permit. Depending on the scope of the carpentry work involved, the submission of certain forms and documents, such as construction plans prepared by a state-licensed professional engineer or registered architect, may also be required. Note that after it issues the required building permits, the Department of Buildings may also conduct inspections of the carpentry project at various stages to make sure that it is being done in line with the city's building code. You can get more information on the New York City permit issuing and carpentry work inspection process by contacting the Department of Buildings via phone number (212) 566-5000. These types of queries can also be made by contacting any of the Department of Buildings' Borough Offices listed below:

Bronx Borough Office
1932 Arthur Avenue
5th Floor
Bronx, NY 10457
Phone: (718) 960-4720
Brooklyn Borough Office
210 Joralemon Street
8th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 802-3723
Manhattan Borough Office
280 Broadway
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 323-7287
Queens Borough Office
120-55 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11424
Phone: (718) 286-8350
Staten Island Borough Office
Borough Hall
10 Richmond Terrace
2nd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301
Phone: (718) 420-5418

What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?

New York City carpenters offer a wide range of carpentry services, and so you should always make sure that the one you intend to hire has the required skill set for your specific project. Services offered by carpenters in the city include rough carpentry services, which encompass carpentry work that is not typically seen once it is completed and finish carpentry services, which encompass more detailed carpentry work that is usually visible after completion. In some cases, these carpenters may further specialize in specific areas of carpentry like decorative woodworking, new building carpentry work, furniture and cabinet making and repair, and maintenance-related carpentry work. As such, before hiring any carpenter near you, make sure that you confirm the type of carpentry work that this individual specializes in and whether or not the carpenter's level of experience is enough to ensure proper service delivery.

Listed below are average cost estimates for some common carpentry services available in New York City:

Interior trim and molding installation (with mid-grade trim or molding)
$10.62 - $11.93 per linear foot
Carpentry framing (for unfinished home addition framing)
$29.98 - $35.19 per square foot
Carpentry framing (for unfinished new home framing)
$30 - $50
Carpentry repairs
$121.67 - $210.00 per hour (labor only)
Exterior trim installation
$4 - $8 per linear foot
Exterior trim repair
$2.5 - $5 per square foot
Built-in wardrobe and furniture construction
$300 - $350 per hour

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in New York City?

Carpentry is a highly hazardous profession, and in 2020 alone, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded more than 11,900 non-fatal occupational injuries amongst carpenters across the country. As such, the importance of ensuring that any carpenter you high is duly insured cannot be overstated. Working with insured carpenters affords you a measure of protection in the event of work-related injuries or other unforeseen circumstances such as damage to your home and property that may occur whilst your project is ongoing. Licensed contractors in New York City are typically required to meet certain insurance requirements, which include maintaining general liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence, as well as workers' compensation and disability insurance where necessary. You can confirm the insurance status of your intended carpenter by requesting copies of the carpenter's insurance certificates and contacting the issuing insurance providers to confirm their validity. You can also contact the New York City Department of Buildings at (212) 566-5000 to make inquiries related to the mandatory insurance requirements for contractors in the city.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Carpenter in New York City

Ensuring that you hire the right carpenter in New York City is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection dockets more than 2,100 consumer complaints from residents annually concerning a variety of matters, including contractor-related issues like failure to complete jobs and poor workmanship. In 2019, it was reported that a New York contractor had allegedly scammed vulnerable homeowners in the area out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by receiving payment for home repair work and then not completing the job. Likewise, in September 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the NYC Department of Investigation announced the indictment of long-time city contractors for their involvement in a $1,000,000 insurance fraud scheme. You can limit your chances of falling victim to a home improvement scam when looking to hire carpenters near you by considering the following tips:

  • Never rush into any projects. Take your time to understand the exact nature of the carpentry service that you require and compare quotes from several carpenters before selecting the one best suited to your budget
  • Always authenticate the license of any carpenter that you intend to hire. You can do this by using the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection's Online Services Portal or by contacting this department at (212) 639-9675
  • Be wary of unsolicited offers for carpentry services and resist any high-pressure tactics that these individuals may use to try to get you to retain their services. This can include offering one-time deals that must be accepted immediately or claiming to have leftover materials from a previous job that can be used for you at a discounted rate
  • Always request references from any contractor that you intend to hire and reach out to these people to get their opinions on the contractor. You can also use third-party websites like Better Business Bureau and Google Review to get reviews and testimonials on the carpenter
  • Be wary of carpenters that do not have a verifiable local address or contact number, or carpenters with vehicles that have out of state license plates
  • Always confirm the insurance status of your carpenter
  • Make sure that your carpenter pulls any permits that your project may require
  • Never agree to verbal or oral contracts. Insist on written contracts that clearly state the responsibilities of everyone involved in the project as well as the type and quality of materials to be used for the project and an estimated timeline for its completion
  • Never sign any contracts that have blank spaces or ambiguous terms and conditions. Make sure that you read and properly understand any contracts that you are offered before signing them
  • Refuse any requests for complete payments before the completion of the project. Payments should be made according to the degree of progression of the project. It is also advisable to limit any upfront payments that you make to a maximum of 10 - 20% of the project's total cost
  • Avoid cash payments
  • Keep copies of all contracts, receipts, invoices, warranties, and any other relevant documents that relate to your project. These can come in handy if there happens to be a misunderstanding down the line
  • Make sure the finished work is in line with the project contract and has been done to your satisfaction before you make the final payment for the job

Residents of New York City that have fallen victim to a home improvement scam or have any type of contractor-related complaint can file reports on these matters with the city's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection by calling 311. Complaints can also be filed online via the city's NYC311 portal or by submitting two copies of a properly completed consumer complaint form, either by fax to (212) 487-4482 or by mail-in to:

NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection
Consumer Services Division
42 Broadway
9th Floor
New York, NY 10004

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of this department's complaint resolution process, you can take further action by filing a private lawsuit against the carpenter in an appropriate New York City Court. Note that it is always advisable to consult with a qualified attorney near you before taking legal action. You can get referrals to qualified lawyers in New York City by contacting the NYC Bar's Legal Referral Service, either via phone number (212) 626-7373 or online.