Research and reports
New research from Simply Business reveals that the ongoing shortages in supplies and skills have caused UK self-employed tradespeople to lose out on £3.5 billion in total.
We spoke to 250 tradespeople across the country. Of those we surveyed, 83 per cent said that they've experienced rising costs for materials, making it the most common challenge that tradespeople are facing.
What's more, 70 per cent of tradespeople have had to turn down work in the last three months, causing a hit to their finances.
The squeeze on supplies and skills is leading to a drop in earnings for tradespeople, because they’re paying more for materials and are having to turn down work:
Daniel Baldwin, a builder from Basingstoke who works across the South East, warns of a recession due to the shortages: “There is a massive gap in the skilled trades industry in construction. With massive price hikes on materials work is slowing down. This country will be in recession in the next 12 months.”
Two thirds of tradespeople said that increased costs and shortages are delaying their post-pandemic recovery, with 70 per cent of tradespeople thinking that it will take over a year for the sector to overcome these challenges.
58 per cent of businesses have previously told us that it would take more than 18 months to recover from the pandemic, so tradespeople will be hoping to see this squeeze end sooner rather than later.
Indeed, there is still optimism – nearly half of tradespeople said that they’re more hopeful about the coming months.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, comments: “Thankfully, we’ve seen huge waves of resilience among the small business community throughout the pandemic, and it’s encouraging to see over half of tradespeople remain optimistic despite the bleak outlook."
60 per cent of tradespeople think timber is the most difficult material to get hold of.
And when it comes to the reasons for the rising costs and shortages:
A huge 87 per cent of tradespeople have been forced to delay projects:
We’ve also heard individual stories about these problems. One tradesperson said that the price of timber increased by £5,000 between leaving the depot and arriving at the yard. That tradesperson said that the costs are inevitably passed down to them, and then unfortunately to the consumer: “I would like clients to understand that a price rise is only due to high materials cost”.
Another tradesperson said that they had to let some of their employees go because of the impact of supply shortages, and another still said that they’ve been forced to effectively shelve their business and turn to freelancing.
What do you think about rising costs and shortages? Let us know in the comments below.
Sam has more than 10 years of experience in writing for financial services. He specialises in illuminating complicated topics, from IR35 to ISAs, and identifying emerging trends that audiences want to know about. Sam spent five years at Simply Business, where he was Senior Copywriter.
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