5 Richest Carpenters of All Time

by Team Tradify, May 5, 2022

Timber magicians, or carpenters as they’re more formally known, are in an often-underestimated trade. Firstly, carpenters are a dab hand at creating art that is both aesthetic and functional. Secondly, it can be an extremely well-paid profession

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To prove our point, we’ve found a list of carpenters who have turned their trade into a gold mine – and what you need to do to build your wealth as a carpenter.

1. Heinz-Georg Baus

picture of Heinz-Georg Baus
Heinz-Georg Baus started as a carpenter, opening his first store in a carpentry workshop owned by his parents. Today, he’s better known as the founder of German home-improvement retail chain, Bauhaus AG. 

According to Forbes, the private, family-owned company has more than 260 stores and 23,000 employees in 19 European countries. Bauhaus AG is worth US$3.8 billion, entering the Forbes Billionaires list at #403.

2. James Smith

Richest Carpenters of All Time_James Smith

In 2011, James Smith was unemployed and struggling to find work. Scrolling through Pinterest, he noticed a lot of people were pining over simple yet stylish wooden furniture. With his rent due, James bought a $40 skill saw, some stain and wood – and built a coffee table in his garage.

He sold the table on Facebook, and soon orders started pouring in. Now James is the co-founder of James and James, a company that makes custom, handcrafted furniture. James and James is now worth US$1.2 million, which goes to show what determination and a photo app can do.

3. Qunpei Tsering

picture of Qunpei Tsering

Qunpei Tsering grew up in Tibet with serf-herder parents who struggled to put food on the table. At the age of 18, he decided to earn his living as a carpenter, with 150 yuan (the equivalent of $63 then) for materials.

In the 1980s, Tsering went into the construction business with a dozen other villagers. According to Tsering, “They were so motivated that they sometimes carried the materials on their backs to save time and money.” Slowly, the business grew from building houses to highways to a conglomerate.

Now 61 years old, Tsering operates 12 companies in his native Xigaze prefecture and is listed as Tibet’s first billionaire. He has pledged to put most of his wealth back into his region, employing 1600 mostly local people.

4. Zhong Shanshan

picture of Zhong Shanshan

Zhong Shanshan dropped out of school during China’s revolution and worked as a carpenter for 10 years to help support his family. Today, Zhong is considered ‘the richest Chinese person in the world’, worth $75.5 billion thanks to his bottled water company and biological pharmacy enterprise. Zhong also failed his college entrance exam twice but showed that hard work and dedication can pay off.

5. Honourable mention: Harrison Ford

picture of Harrison Ford as Han Solo

Before piloting the Millennial Falcon, Harrison Ford was an out-of-work actor and decided to become a self-taught professional carpenter. The story goes that Harrison was working as a joiner, expanding Francis Ford Coppola’s office when George Lucas walked in to talk about Star Wars. 

6. Get rich as a carpenter

Though some of these money moguls didn’t stay in the carpentry trade, it’s a skill that’s set them up for life and no doubt had a big influence on the success of their various business ventures. Wherever you are on your business journey, here’s what you need to know to grow your carpentry business

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7. Grow your business

We’re pretty confident that if Tradify was available years ago, these rich listers would have jumped on it to help grow their wealth in the carpentry industry. If you’re finding yourself bogged down by paperwork, Tradify helps you save time so you can focus on the tasks that will take your business to the next level.

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