Plumbers lose 120 working hours a year when buying products in-person  

Plumbers are losing hundreds of working hours each year by having to delay jobs to go shopping for work-related goods, new research has revealed. 

The study by specialist online retailer, ElectricalDirect, asked tradespeople how much time they spend doing work-related shopping, including driving to stores, parking, browsing and paying.

On average, people spend almost two and a half hours a week on such tasks, which equates to nearly 10 hours a week and over 115 hours a year.

  • Almost two in five (38%) tradespeople find it frustrating having to shop when they could be working
  • On average, tradespeople spend nearly two and a half hours a week shopping for work purposes

Plumbers spend two and a half hours a week, which equates to 120 hours a year – the same as 15 eight-hour working days of time.

Carpenters spend the most time shopping in-person (2.9 hours a week), followed by electricians. Electricians spend just over two and a half hours a week on such tasks, which equates to at least 10 hours a month and upwards of 125 hours a year.

The trades that spend the most and least amount of time shopping for their business are:

#

Trade

Average weekly shopping hours

Average annual shopping hours

Annual hours as days

1

Carpenter

2.9

137

17

2

Electrician

2.6

126

16

3

Plasterer

2.6

123

15

4

Builder

2.5

120

15

5

Plumber

2.5

120

15

6

Building surveyor

2.5

118

15

7

Painter and decorator

2.2

106

13

8

Joiner

2.1

103

13

9

Bricklayer

2.1

103

13

10

Landscaper

2.0

94

12

Based on a typical hourly rate of £47.50, this means that electricians are potentially losing £123.50 a week by not being able to use this time to work. Over a month, this adds up to £494, or a staggering £5,928 a year.

Many electricians are missing out on even greater sums. One in ten (10%) spend five hours or more shopping for materialstools or equipment every week, adding up to at least 240 hours a year – the equivalent of 10 whole days.

If workers shopped online and used the time saved on jobs instead, workers could possibly earn an extra £11,400 a year.

Unsurprisingly, this causes a lot of frustration, and over half (51%) of electricians say they resent the fact that they have to spend time shopping when they could be working.

Besides plasterers (55%), electricians are the most likely tradespeople to find offline shopping annoying.

The ten things electricians find most annoying about shopping in stores are:

1. Having to spend time shopping when you could be working – 51%

2. Having to queue – 31%

3. Having to drive to and from the shop – 30%

4. Having to find somewhere to park – 29%

5. Limited shop opening hours – 24%

6. The shop not having exactly what you need – 24%

7. The shop not having enough of what you need – 24%

8. Prices are often better online – 20%

9. Poor customer service – 13%

10. There is less choice compared to online – 11%

Other annoyances include the tiredness from shopping (10%), cluttered shop floors (10%) and pushy salespeople (5%).

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at ElectricalDirect, said: “It’s clear that many UK electricians find it frustrating when they have to sacrifice working hours to go shopping. When you look at the earnings they’re potentially losing out on, this isn’t surprising.

“Shopping online can address many of the major grievances, and at ElectricalDirect we offer top trade brands, at competitive prices, with several delivery options and late order cut-off, providing lightning quick delivery.”

To see how much extra tradespeople could potentially earn if they spent less time in shops and switched to online shopping, visit: https://www.electricaldirect.co.uk/blog/cost-of-shopping