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Which trade earns the most – and where?

2-minute read

Sam Bromley

4 February 2022

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Builders had the highest annual turnover among self-employed UK tradespeople in 2021, according to new research from Simply Business.

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Our data shows that builders had an average turnover of £103,891, but the amount builders can make very much depends on where they live.

The research also reveals the UK regions where tradespeople made the most in 2021, with London coming top – just about.

Which tradespeople made the most turnover in 2021?

Top three trades by turnover graphic

The top three trades in terms of turnover earned in 2021 were builders, dry liners and groundworkers.

TradeAverage turnover in 2021
Builder£103,891
Dry liner£96,314
Groundworker£88,589
Glazier£81,969
Flooring contractor£81,855
Plumber£74,171
Joiner£71,733
Roofer£67,761
Electrician£64,006
Bathroom, bedroom, kitchen fitters£62,611

However, turnover doesn’t equal profit. Tradespeople all over the country suffered supply chain problems throughout 2021, leading to rising costs and project delays. Inevitably this eats into profit and cash flow, causing continued uncertainty.

These challenges look set to continue in 2022, following the outbreak of the Omicron coronavirus variant worldwide at the end of 2021 and further delays at UK ports.

Last year tradespeople told us that they expect total coronavirus-related losses to reach £18,039 on average. But despite that, they were confident about recovery, with 80 per cent of business owners expecting to continue or restart their existing business.

Where did tradespeople earn the most in 2021?

Top three regions by turnover graphic

The top regions in terms of turnover for tradespeople were London, East Anglia and South Central England.

But again, location can make a big difference to overall profit. While London is top, its recent expansion of its ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) might affect the pockets of tradespeople who regularly drive for work, for example.

More cities will be introducing low emission zones throughout 2022.

RegionAverage tradesperson turnover in 2021
London£79,599
East Anglia£78,644
South Central England£74,551
South East England£73,456
Northern Ireland£71,169
The Midlands£67,064
Scotland£65,978
North West England£65,762
North East England£63,833
South West England£62,599
Wales£60,123

In which towns did builders make the most in turnover?

With location making a big difference in average turnover and ultimately profit, we can also reveal the places in which builders (the top earning trade) made the most in turnover.

Cities and towns in Wales were among the best and worst places in terms of turnover for builders, with Cardiff ranking second and Newport and Swansea being the bottom two.

Top 10 towns by turnover for builders

TownAverage builder turnover in 2021
Uxbridge£164,706
Cardiff£151,087
Edgware£140,725
Ashford£140,228
Feltham£134,633
Dartford£132,407
Gloucester£128,822
Edinburgh£125,476
Northampton£123,485
Dagenham£122,012

Bottom 5 towns by turnover for builders

TownAverage builder turnover in 2021
Luton£67,105
Walsall£65,000
Hounslow£64,873
Newport£63,235
Swansea£55,894

How we calculated the data

We’ve looked at tradespeople who completed our quote form and requested a quote in 2021, only taking into account trades with more than 3,000 submitted quotes. The turnover is the average across the quotes submitted. For the towns, we’ve included towns that had more than 100 submitted quotes for builders’ insurance.

We ran this data on 4 Feburary 2022 and it was correct at time of publishing.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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