Tradesmen’s Pay Rate in the UK: Factors, Affects and Changes

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Whether you are renovating your home or need something fixed around the house, you will probably hire a tradesperson that is fit for the task. With that said, you will need to consider both their qualifications and their cost for completing the required work. Since these conditions vary from one tradesperson to the next, it is essential to know your options.

You might need a simple handyman job like repairing a leaking pipe or painting a room, or you might be planning more extensive work such as building a new kitchen or an extension for your garden. The rates that you will pay for these jobs differ due to their complexity or scope of work, and will also fluctuate from one tradesperson to the next depending on individual circumstances.

Since you will be choosing from a pool of available contractors, you should be familiar with how their rates are affected by specific factors to know what the corresponding rates are in the market. We have provided a full list of factors that can affect tradesmen’s pay rates in the UK so you can develop an understanding of what to expect and ensure you don’t overpay for their services.

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Tradesmen Rates In The UK

Each tradesman will charge their own price depending on the services they offer. They will usually charge hourly rates for smaller jobs and day rates for more extensive ones, but the prices fluctuate, nonetheless, by type of service.

That being said, trade day rates in the UK, on average, can go as low as £90 for window cleaning or gardening, and as high as £280 for electricians or builders. Hourly rates can also vary from £8 to £60, depending on the type of job. Depending on different factors, however, the minimum and maximum rates vary based on location, experience and other circumstances.

Cost Factors For Pay Rates

Location

Due to the difference in living costs between locations in the UK, the rates for tradesmen’s services will vary depending on where you live. You should therefore consider the local prices before you determine the appropriate cost of the housework.

If you live in London, you can expect daily rates to be around £30-£80 higher on average than if you live in the northern part of the UK. The same applies for hourly rates, which will be around £2 to £5 more costly.

For example, a plumber in London is expected to charge £180 to £280 per day (or £42 to £65 per hour), while a plumber in Manchester will likely charge £150 to £200 per day (or £40 to £60 per hour). The differences, however, still depend on the type of job and are not so clear-cut or large for every trade.

Qualifications

When it comes to trade and construction jobs, there are certain qualifications that tradesmen can obtain that accordingly push their rates up.

According to the National Careers Service, one is qualified for a trade job if they have taken part in an apprenticeship, if they train on the job, or if they have relevant experience. However, there are courses that people can take for learning a specific trade that not only fill the requirements but also provide superior qualifications.

The course that tradesmen usually take (and is primarily recognized by the National Careers Service) is an NVQ college course at levels two and three. To get intermediate or advanced qualifications, they need at least 5 GCSEs ranging from A* to D (or grade 9 to 3).

Experience

Another factor that is a testament to a tradesperson’s skills apart from qualifications is their experience. A tradesperson with more experience is likely to charge more for their services.

You will usually find out if a tradesperson has a lot of experience through recommendations, reviews, and testimonials from past clients. For specific trades which involve visual components, such as carpentry or decorating, they may be able to show you pictures that will give you an idea about the kind of work that you can expect. 

Experience is also among the first things on everyone’s checklist when it comes to hiring a tradesperson since it builds trust and comfort that the finished product will meet their expectations. This is also why people find tradesmen through recommendations, and why these specific tradesmen can charge more based on their conceived trustworthiness. 

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Job Complexity

Experience especially comes in handy when it comes to more complex jobs. Certain jobs will require very specific knowledge or a niche set of skills, and tradesmen will likely charge higher rates in these circumstances.

If a tradesperson has the skills to complete a more complex job, they have either had specialized training or have acquired the specific skills through experience with unique or extensive jobs. This will not be a suitable job for someone in training or someone with more limited experience, so these people will likely be smaller in number. This leads us to the next factor you should consider.

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Demand

The demand for certain types of tradesmen, meaning how many people want to hire them, will directly affect how much they charge. If there is a high demand for electricians, for instance, then electricians will likely charge more.

The said demand can also be relatively big because of a small supply, or in other words, because there are only a few people that can do a specific job. In the case of unique or more complex jobs that we discussed before, this will allow the tradesmen in demand to charge higher rates for their services.

Demand will vary from place to place, meaning that it is an additional reason for price differences in different locations.

Type of Employment

Rates can also vary from one tradesman to another depending on whether they are self-employed or work for a company. Large companies will typically have higher rates than self-employed professionals.

Companies usually have testimonials and reviews to back them up, and they also offer guarantees with the job. Part of the rate you pay also goes toward the company, not just to the contractor, which means you pay an additional portion. An individual contractor can only charge the part they receive, which means they are free to set the price themselves.

Final Words

If you are thinking of hiring a tradesman in the UK, it is important to take into account the following factors that can affect tradesmen’s rates: 

  • Location
  • Qualifications
  • Experience
  • Job Complexity
  • Demand
  • Type of Employment

When agreeing on a price make sure you are properly informed of the local rates at the time of your search so you can get a fair price for the desired service.

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