Over 4/5 tradespeople are worried about 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.

The research by designer radiator specialists BestHeating highlights the pressures that currently face trades and their predictions for the 12 months ahead.

  • A new study has found that almost half of tradespeople are worried about the rising cost of materials
  • Nearly a third are considering getting a second job to survive
  • This comes after 43% say they were forced to increase their prices last year and will do so again in the coming months

Price rises

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.”

Second jobs

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, buying director of BestHeating commented: “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.”