What is a Gunsmith’s Average Salary?
Gunsmithing is the building and maintenance of firearms. It requires schooling, caters to a niche market, and can be a profitable trade. As with any profession, salary expectations can vary widely over the course of a professional gunsmith’s career. Expectations can change based on schooling, experience and years in the business, where a gunsmith is working, and the level of local demand for gunsmithing.
How much money does a gunsmith typically make?
An entry-level gunsmith can expect to earn between $20,000 and $25,000 per year, which is fairly standard for people who are just starting out in their careers. Naturally, this salary can increase as the gunsmith gains more experience. The average yearly salary for experienced gunsmiths is between $25,000 and $36,000, and the highest earning gunsmiths can make up to about $55,000 per year. Gunsmiths therefore earn a wide range of salaries.
Where do gunsmiths work?
One salary-related factor to consider is whether to work for an employer or start your own gunsmithing business. A common place for new gunsmiths to get hired is in a gunsmith’s workshop, which may be a combination of retail gun store and gun repair shop. Something to keep in mind is that a gunsmith is often responsible for any breakage or damage to the equipment and tools he is using. In other words, he has to pay his employer for his mistakes, as the employer is the one who owns and maintains the equipment.
Some gunsmiths choose to start their own businesses. Although this may eventually lead to higher earnings, it is much riskier and more difficult than working as an employee. It requires a huge initial investment, since the gunsmith must buy all of the machinery – lathes, drill presses, millers, belt grinders, and other tools – needed to do the job. In addition, a gunsmith in this position may want to consider going to business school, since gunsmithing and all the elements of running a business will be equal concerns. Gunsmiths who are starting their own businesses should keep in mind that it takes a great deal of passion, knowledge, and money to succeed. About 50% of startup businesses in this industry fail within the first three years.
How can a gunsmith increase his or her salary?
There are several ways that gunsmiths can try and increase their salaries. Going back to school is always a good option. Getting additional degrees means gaining experience and credentials. Another option is to become a specialist in a certain area of gunsmithing. For example, an engraver specializes in engraving the metal parts of a gun to make them more personalized, and a stock maker specializes in building, designing, and decorating gun stocks. If you are the only stock specialist in a workshop, customers who are looking for a custom stock will have to go to you.
The most important part of getting to that $55,000 per year salary is building your reputation. Gunsmiths need to advertise their skills and have satisfied customers spread the word. A lot of this depends on local demand. If a gunsmith sets up shop in an area where nobody owns a gun, he is unlikely to see much success. Gunsmithing can be a profitable trade, but it takes passion and a diverse set of skills to succeed.