Over four fifths of tradespeople fear for the future of the industry
A new nationwide study of tradespeople has revealed that more than four fifths are worried about the future of the industry (85%) and 29% are considering getting a second job so that they can get by.
Nearly half of tradespeople forced to increase their prices last year
Following a year of rising costs across the UK which has seen inflation hit 11.1%, more than two fifths (43%) of tradespeople have been forced to put their prices up substantially. This comes despite them also seeing increased demand for their services.
Many customers have asked for discounted work and more than a third of tradespeople have agreed to this (35%), with less experienced workers under 34 years old, much likelier to make concessions (47%) compared to those that are older (27%).
Price rises won’t be going away in 2023 and 85% are pessimistic about the thought of the next 12 months. Almost half are worried about the rising cost of materials (45%) and a further 41% think that the majority of customers won’t be able to afford to use tradespeople. Somewhat worryingly, over a fifth think they will lose customers due to the increases (22%).
BestHeating spoke with Jordan Baldwin, an independent joiner from Bradford who shared his experience over the past year: “2022 was a tumultuous time for the industry, and despite being inundated with work from customers, I have noticed a lot more are shocked by the quotes provided to them and asked for deals to do multiple bits of work. The price of materials has shot through the roof which means profits are lower, in some places timber is as much as 50% more which I have largely taken out of my earnings rather than put it all on the consumer.”
Almost a third of surveyed tradespeople considering extra employment opportunities
To get through the expected shortfalls and lower profits, 29% think they will have to get a second job, either by training in another discipline to expand their services (16%), or by moving industry altogether (13%). Some of the jobs mentioned include delivering parcels or working in a factory in their spare time.
Jordan commented: “Every other trade I speak to is experiencing the same uncertainty right now and I don’t envisage this changing throughout this year. I have been quite lucky and taken on contracts and projects with larger construction companies although this means that I will be doing fewer independent projects, and others haven’t been so lucky. Some are working extra hours or more days to ensure they can make ends meet but I think unless circumstances change, more tradespeople will look to change careers because it’s a worrying time.”
Marek Kokocki, product manager at BestHeating, stated: “Tradespeople are integral to society, whether it’s plumbers fixing heating issues or electricians rewiring a house, so it is upsetting to see so many fearing for their future. “Despite being in extremely high demand last year, the majority have massive worries due to the costs which they are generally eating up themselves to keep customers happy. It’s important that we continue to utilise the services of tradespeople and use their knowledge to keep our homes safe, in working order and heated.”
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With a background in sports journalism, John counts content writing amongst his key passions. He’s always peppering our Advice Centre feed with reasoned and researched home heating tips, and providing expert solutions to the questions you want answering. Fine football and music connoisseur. In his own head, at least.