How Much Does a Concrete Finisher Make? With Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 13 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Concrete finishers, also known as concrete labourers, are skilled professionals who work with concrete to ensure that it's smooth and properly finished when it dries. If you enjoy working with your hands, then the job of a concrete finisher may be a viable career choice for you. Finding out how much a concrete finisher makes can help you decide whether or not you want to pursue this career. In this article, we examine how much does a concrete finisher make, explain what do concrete finishers do, detail the required skills for concrete finishers and provide steps on how to become one.

How much does a concrete finisher make?

If you want to start a career as a concrete finisher, you might be interested to know how much does a concrete finisher make. The average base salary for a concrete finisher is $3,742 per month. There are several factors that can affect how much a concrete finisher makes such as skill level and years of experience. A more experienced concrete finisher may charge clients a higher price for their services compared to a less experienced concrete finisher.

Since most concrete finishers charge per project and not per hour, your salary may also be influenced by how efficient you are. The faster you are able to complete a concrete finishing project, the higher your effective hourly earnings will be. This is especially so if you work as an independent contractor or intend to start your own concrete finishing business.

Related: How to Write an Entry-Level Construction Resume in 6 Steps

Related careers to concrete finishers

If you're looking for a job in the construction industry, there are many career options available for you to choose from. Here are some related careers to concrete finishers that you can also consider:

  • Carpenter: $2,876 per month

  • Labourer: $2,148 per month

  • Construction labourer: $2,165 per month

  • Installer: $2,415 per month

  • Equipment operator: $2,705 per month

  • Painter: $2,504 per month

Related: Job Description for Construction Workers: Duties and Skills

What do concrete finishers do?

A concrete finisher is a construction labourer who primarily works with wet concrete and smoothens it out to create a smooth surface on the concrete when it dries. They work on all sorts of surfaces, including roads, floors, pavements and curbs. The job scope of a concrete finisher may also involve creating concrete blocks that they can then use for other construction activities. In addition, concrete finishers may also work with specialist equipment and power tools to complete their jobs.

Some of the roles and duties of a concrete finisher include:

  • mixing and pouring wet concrete for construction purposes

  • properly setting and aligning concrete moulds, also known as forms

  • using various workman tools to smoothen out wet concrete surfaces

  • polishing concrete surfaces to level them

  • restoring concrete surfaces when they have been damaged

  • curing concrete surfaces using hardening and sealing chemicals

Related: How To Become a Certified Welder (With Steps You Can Use)

What are some required skills for concrete finishers?

If you intend to pursue a career as a concrete finisher, here are some of the required skills for concrete finishers to take note of:

Physical fitness

Concrete finishers typically work 40 hours per week or more at a construction site. Their jobs typically involve manual labour and they usually continue working regardless of how hot the weather may be. Being in good physical shape can ensure that your body is able to withstand the long hours of labour under hot weather. Proper physical conditioning can also enable your body to endure the physical exertion that comes as part of a concrete finisher's job.

Dexterity

Since concrete finishers spend most of their time working with their hands, it's essential that they are highly dexterous. A high level of dexterity can help them control power tools and equipment to finish the concrete work. This enables them to be more accurate in their work. In addition, being dexterous can also help them complete their tasks more efficiently.

Technical skills

Working as a concrete finisher is a very physical job so there's a greater focus on technical skills. Technical skills such as a good understanding of how concrete works can enable one to perform their job with greater efficiency. At the same time, a good concrete finisher can also read and understand technical drawings such as construction plans and building instructions with ease. This skill enables them to complete their job accurately and make as few mistakes as possible.

Related: What Are Technical Skills?

Problem-solving

Every construction site or project that you work on has unique features and characteristics. Thus, concrete finishers often face a new challenge with finding the best way to perform a job in each new construction site. Having strong problem-solving skills can enable one to quickly determine the best way to approach each new construction job and achieve a desirable end result for the client.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills Examples (With Steps to Develop Them)

How to become a concrete finisher

Here are some steps that you can take to start your career as a concrete finisher:

1. Pursue the relevant education

There are no formal educational requirements to become a concrete finisher since the role of a concrete finisher is typically considered a blue-collar job. Nonetheless, pursuing a Higher Nitec certification at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) can help to increase your chances of getting a traineeship or an apprenticeship. The School of Engineering at ITE offers various full-time courses for aspiring concrete finishers. Some of the fields of study that may be relevant if you want to pursue a career as a concrete finisher include:

  • Civil and structural engineering design

  • Electrical engineering

  • Integrated mechanical and electrical design

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Landscape management and design

  • Precision engineering

If you're unsure about whether you want to pursue a career in this industry for the long term, you may want to start working as a concrete finisher immediately after completing your secondary education. You can then pursue higher education or relevant certifications in the future if you decide that you want to work in the construction industry in the long run. Some organisations that offer vocational courses suitable for concrete finishers to get professional qualifications are:

  • Singapore Engineering and Construction

  • American Concrete Institute - Singapore Chapter

  • Singapore Concrete Institute

Related: Comparing Blue-Collar vs. White-Collar Jobs: An Overview

2. Get an apprenticeship

There are no formal training courses for concrete finishers and most new concrete finishers train on the job during an apprenticeship. Most apprenticeships last between one to two years but there's no fixed time period. You can get an apprenticeship as a concrete finisher by approaching construction firms that specialise in concrete works. They may require you to serve a bond with them upon completing your apprenticeship in exchange for the training that they have provided you with.

Related: What Does a Mason Do? Definition, Job Scope and Skills

3. Apply for concrete finisher jobs or work as an independent contractor

Once you're a fully-trained concrete finisher, you can apply for concrete finisher jobs. The most common employers for concrete finishers are construction firms. The construction firm that you apprenticed at may offer you a job as a concrete finisher once your apprenticeship is over.

Alternatively, you can also work as an independent contractor or start your own construction firm specialising in concrete finishing and concrete works. Starting your own construction firm may be easier when you have already amassed several years of experience working under the guidance of a senior or with other concrete finishers. A high level of familiarity with concrete and its role in construction projects can put you in a better position to complete jobs on your own as an independent contractor or business owner too.

Related: Permanent Employee vs. Contract Employees: Main Differences

4. Register with the Building and Construction Authority

If you decide to start your own construction firm, it's necessary to register with the Building and Construction Authority before you can work as a concrete finisher. Depending on the specific type of concrete that you intend to work with, the specialist registration requirements may differ. Some registrations require you to obtain additional specialist certifications. For example, to register for precast concrete works, applicants can first obtain either the Specialist Builder Precast Concrete Work Licence SB(PC) or the Specialist Builder In-situ Post-Tensioning Work Licence SB(PT).

Related: What Does a Mechatronics Engineer Do? Definition and How To Become

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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