Have you ever wondered how much the person yelling at workers to lay bricks faster gets paid? Construction foremen play a vital role in ensuring projects run smoothly and get completed on time and budget. But how much does their important job pay? What factors go into determining their salary?
This in-depth guide will give you the insider scoop on construction foreman pay. You’ll learn how much they typically earn, what impacts their wages, how salaries change over a career, and tips to maximize your earning potential.
Whether you’re an aspiring foreman or just curious, you’ll walk away with a clear understanding of [how much does a construction foreman make].
What is a Construction Foreman?
Before diving into the numbers, let’s quickly cover what a construction foreman actually does.
A construction foreman is the supervisor on a building site. They are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day work of contractors and laborers. Their duties include:
- Coordinating the scheduling of subcontractors and delivery of materials
- Ensuring building plans and blueprints are correctly followed
- Monitoring productivity and quality of work
- Managing on-site safety procedures and compliance
- Troubleshooting any issues that arise
- Filling out and submitting daily logs and timesheets
The role requires strong leadership, project management, and people skills. Most employers want candidates with at least 3 years of construction experience. Trade-specific expertise, like electrical or plumbing, is also preferred.
Now that you know what a foreman does, let’s look at how they get paid.
Construction Foreman Salary Range
According to recent data, the average base pay for a construction foreman in the US is $90,026 per year.
That breaks down to approximately $43.33 per hour or $7,502 per month.
Of course, salaries can vary significantly based on location, experience, and other factors. Here is an overview of the typical salary range:
- The bottom 10% of foremen earn less than $70,737 annually
- The 25th percentile wage is $79,929
- Half of all foremen make more than the median salary of $90,026
- The top 75% earn at least $101,811 per year
- The top 90% make $112,540 or higher
Based on the spread of $41,803 between the bottom 10% and top 90% wages, there is ample room for growth in earnings as you gain proficiency and seniority.
Where you work also impacts pay. Wyoming and Washington boast the highest average salaries at around $108,000 annually. Down south in Louisiana, wages dip as low as $72,000.
Among major metro areas, New York City tops the list with an impressive mean salary of $118,118. However, you’ll find the lowest urban pay in Miami, where foremen average just $87,750 per year.
Clearly, your geographic location can determine whether you earn below or above the national mean.
Factors That Influence Salary
What determines where a construction foreman lands within that broad salary range? Here are some of the key factors:
As we’ve seen, salaries in high cost-of-living urban areas like San Francisco or New York City exceed rural and suburban averages by 25% or more. Local labor supply and demand dynamics also impact pay scales.
Seasoned foremen with 5-10+ years in the role tend to earn 10-20% more than newcomers. The most experienced command wages 15-25% above average.
Education and Certifications
Many employers seek foremen with at least an Associate’s degree in construction management or a related field. Certain certifications, like OSHA 30, also boost pay potential.
Large general contractors pay 10-15% more on average versus small contractors. Union shops also offer higher wages than non-union.
Type of Construction
Working on large commercial sites rather than residential homes can translate to 5-15% higher earnings.
Number of Direct Reports
Overseeing multiple work crews and subcontractors reflects greater responsibility, justifying above-average compensation.
Foremen with strong organizational and people management abilities earn their keep by driving productivity and quality.
As you can see, there are several ways to position yourself for higher pay as a foreman. Gaining the right blend of credentials, skills and experience for your desired role is key.
Related and Comparable Jobs
If being a foreman doesn’t seem like quite the right fit, you may want to look at related roles. Here are some comparable construction jobs and their typical salary differences:
- Construction Manager – Manages entire projects rather than daily site operations. Requires more education and experience. Pays $108,431, or 20% more than the average foreman salary.
- Cost Estimator – Assembles budgets and estimates costs for construction projects. More office-oriented. Pays $71,297, or 21% less than a foreman.
- Civil Engineer – Designs public infrastructure like roads, pipelines, bridges. Requires an engineering degree. Pays $96,641, or 7% more than foremen.
- Construction Superintendent – Coordinate scheduling, oversee quality, manage foremen. Pays $111,574, or 24% more than foremen.
- Project Manager – Lead project teams, create plans, manage timelines and budgets. Require more soft skills. Pay $99,727, or 11% more than foremen.
So you can see, foremen occupy an interesting middle ground between managers and individual contributors in construction. With the right combination of education and experience, they can progress into more advanced leadership roles while earning higher salaries.
How Salary Changes Over a Career
Construction foremen see their earning potential rise steadily over their career. Here’s a typical salary progression:
- Entry Level ($55,000 to $75,000) – At the start, fresh foremen in training roles earn 10-15% less than the median while learning the ropes.
- Early Career ($70,000 to $95,000) – Within their first 5 years, most are promoted to standard foreman positions and salaries catch up to national averages.
- Mid-Career ($90,000 to $120,000) – After 5+ years, foremen who demonstrate strong leadership and skills typically earn 20-30% above average as senior foremen.
- Late Career ($100,000 to $140,000) – The most experienced foremen working for top firms or running large projects can earn 40-50% more than the median salary.
- Maximum ($$140,000+) – Foremen who move into executive construction management roles at the director or VP level reach peak earning potential.
With each step up, seasoned foremen gain 5-15% in pay while taking on larger projects and more responsibility. The highest salaries go to those managing multiple job sites or entire portfolios.
Other Compensation Elements
In addition to base salary, construction foremen can earn extra pay through things like bonuses, overtime, and profit sharing.
- Bonuses – Many foremen receive annual bonuses of 5-15% for meeting safety, schedule, budget or other performance goals.
- Overtime – Foremen often work 50+ hours a week during crunch times. Overtime kicked in after 40 hours at 1.5x regular pay.
- Commissions/Profit Sharing – Some companies offer incentives based on profitability or production levels.
- Vehicle Allowances – Foremen requiring trucks or vehicles can receive an extra $400-800 a month for their use.
- Paid Leave – Most get 2-3 weeks of PTO plus sick time and holidays (around 10 days).
- Insurance – Health, dental, disability and life insurance help offset out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Retirement Savings – 401K matching contributions range from 3-6% of wages.
Factor in monetary perks and total compensation can exceed base pay by 10-25% in some cases.
Job Outlook for Construction Foremen
Recent statistics paint a very bright picture for job seekers looking to become construction foremen:
- The number of jobs is projected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.
- Over that period, an additional 23,200 openings are expected.
- Strong construction demand driven by increases in housing starts, infrastructure investment, renovation activity, etc. is fueling hiring.
Overall, new foremen should have ample job opportunities across both residential and commercial building segments in the years ahead.
Tips for Advancing Your Career and Pay
Looking for ways to maximize your earnings potential as a construction foreman? Here are some smart moves:
- Obtain an OSHA 30 certification to showcase your safety expertise.
- Pursue associate or bachelor’s degree in construction management to expand your leadership capabilities.
- Gain experience with both residential and commercial projects.
- Volunteer to take on “stretch” assignments outside your comfort zone.
- Seek formal project management training to develop new skills.
- Ask about lateral rotation opportunities at your company to broaden your experience.
- Network internally to get on the radar of executives when senior roles open up.
- Demonstrate technical expertise in high demand trades like electrical and plumbing.
- Mentor and develop less experienced foremen to build management skills.
Making strategic career decisions, rather than just waiting for promotions, will pay off literally.
FAQs on Construction Foreman Pay
If you’re weighing a career as a construction foreman, you probably still have lots of questions about the pay, responsibilities and lifestyle. Here are answers to some frequent ones:
How much overtime do foremen work? Most foremen work 45-55 hours a week on average. 60+ hour weeks are also common during peak activity periods.
Can you earn 6 figures as a foreman? Yes, it is possible with extensive experience managing large, complex construction projects. But very few exceed $100k.
Do foremen get paid salary or hourly? Most are paid a fixed annual or monthly salary. Some may earn hourly wages with overtime.
How much travel is required as a foreman? Most foremen work on local job sites that they can commute to. Senior roles may involve 20%+ travel to multiple locations.
What is the career path after foreman? With sufficient experience, foremen can advance to superintendent, project manager, director and executive construction leadership roles.
Is being a foreman physically demanding? Yes, foremen need physical stamina to be on construction sites all day. The job involves lots of walking, climbing, lifting, etc.
What soft skills are most important for foremen? Communication, leadership, relationship building, problem solving and organization/planning skills.
I hope this overview has helped answer your questions around [how much does a construction foreman make] and given you a clearer picture of their career opportunities and earning potential. Construction foremen play a critical role in executing projects safely, on time and on budget. Understanding their pay and career paths can help you make more informed decisions if this profession interests you.