Upholsterers: Salary Overview
Upholsterers make, fit, install, repair, or replace upholstery for furniture or transportation vehicles.
The main part of their job consists of measuring, cutting, and attaching fabric to furniture but they may also install upholstery inside vehicles or in the interior of boats.
They use hand tools, power tools, but also glue and cement to fit and secure material on frames.
An upholster’s job description also includes inspecting the furniture to determine if repairs are needed, reading work orders, and determining what types of materials are needed.
Sometimes upholsterers are also required to follow building codes and to pick a fabric that is fire resistant and fits with the style of the building.
Most upholsterers work for furniture manufacturers, upholstery shops, and automotive interior repair shops but a few of them also hold jobs in the travel accommodation sector or for aerospace parts and product manufacturers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for upholsters was $34,480 per year or $16.58 per hour.
This means that half the workers in this profession earned less than this amount and half earned more.
Salaries vary based on a wide range of factors, including the upholsters level of experience, education but also based on the industry of employment.
The best-paid 10 percent made more than $52,450 a year while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,860.
As an entry-level worker or an apprentice, your salary will likely be closer to the minimum for this profession and, as you perfect your skills and gain work experience your salary will increase.
The 25th percentile for this profession was $27,240 which means that 75% of upholsterers made more than this amount.
The 75th percentile was $42,360, which means that only the most experienced 25% earned more than this.
Upholsterer Salary by Industry
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest employer for upholsterers, as of May 2018, were furniture and related product manufacturers.
This field paid upholsterers, on average, with $35,770 per year,
Approximately 6,590 upholsters worked in the field of personal household goods repair and maintenance and were paid, on average, with $35,770.
Upholsterers who work in this sector respond to customers’ homes where they repair upholstery.
Almost 2,000 upholsters worked in the field of other furniture related product manufacturing and earned, on average, $36,110 per year, as of May 2018.
Approximately 1,600 upholsterers were employed by motor vehicle parts manufacturers and were paid, on average, with $31,710 a year.
The field of automotive repair and maintenance employed 1,450 upholsterers and paid them, on average, with $33,480 per year.
The highest average annual salary was reported by upholsterers who worked for local governments.
They earned, on average, $74,320 per year, more than double the average for this profession.
However, upholsterers held only about 40 jobs in this field, so we are safe to say that job opportunities for upholsterers at local government agencies don’t occur very often.
Another sector where you may earn a salary higher than the average for this profession the industry of aerospace product and parts manufacturing, a field that hires only about 330 upholsterers.
Those who install upholstery in aircraft were paid, on average, at $55,880 per year.
Companies that provide support activities for air transportation hired approximately 200 upholster as of May 2018 and offered them an average salary of $41,870 per year.
Approximately 120 upholsterers worked in the travel accommodation sector, a field that paid them, on average, with $47,800 per year.
In conclusion, upholsterer salaries vary widely depending on the industry of employment.
Industries that offer higher salaries typically have only a few upholsterers on their payroll and finding employment in a sector such as aerospace manufacturing may require special education and a special set of skills.
However, as an upholsters your total compensation also depends on your level of skills, and if you’re a hard-working person who has good technical skills you can earn much more than the average for this occupation.
* Based on information from the May 2019 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Upholsterers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.