Revealed: the UK trades spending the most and least on tools each year 

  • On average, tradespeople spend £1,110 per year on the purchase and maintenance of tools
  • Caretakers, electricians and plasterers spend the most
  • One in seven (13%) workers use damaged tools because they can’t afford replacements

Tradespeople spend over £1,000 on tools each year, on average, but the cost-of-living crisis is dramatically changing their buying habits, according to new research.

The study, conducted by ElectricalDirect, a specialist retailer of electrical products, asked tradespeople about their outgoings on tools, maintenance and repairs, and found that the average total is £1,110 a year.

However, this figure should be even higher, as almost a fifth of workers (19%) say they need to purchase new tools but can’t afford to do so because of the current financial climate.

The amount spent on such costs varies significantly by trade. Caretakers and maintenance workers spend the most (£1,753 per year), followed by electricians (£1,546) and plasterers (£1,502).

The trades that spend the most and least on tools each year, on average, are: 

#TradeAverage annual spend on tools
1Caretaker/maintenance£1,753
2Electrician£1,546
3Plasterer£1,502
4Builder£1,318
5Joiner£1,247
6Roofer£1,212
7Building Surveyor£1,022
8Bricklayer£964
9Landscaper£948
10Carpenter£804
11Plumber£769
12Painter Decorator£755
13Locksmith£608
14Window Fabricator£514
15Scaffolder£367

Almost a quarter of these costs (22%) are spent on maintenance and repairs (£246), but the research suggests that an increasing number of tradespeople are tackling these jobs themselves to reduce outgoings.

Compared to before the cost-of-living crisis, around one in six (16%) are now more likely to repair their own tools, rather than paying to get them fixed. Scaffolders are most likely to fix their own kit, with a third (33%) doing it themselves.

Furthermore, more than a quarter of tradespeople (27%) now keep their tools for longer to avoid paying for new ones, and one in seven (13%) even continue using damaged tools because they can’t afford replacements.

Other cost cutting measures include reducing usage of power tools to lower fuel costs (30%), and buying second-hand equipment instead of new (42%).

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at ElectricalDirect, said: “The cost-of-living crisis has affected tradespeople in many ways, and workers have had to adjust long-standing habits in order to reduce bills.

“However, it’s important that people don’t take any potentially dangerous risks, and using damaged or partially repaired tools can lead to major problems. There are many far safer ways to cut day-to-day outgoings, and that’s why we’ve partnered with experts to share practical advice.”

For expert advice on how tradespeople can reduce their business costs, visit: https://www.electricaldirect.co.uk/blog/10-ways-tradespeople-can-reduce-their-day-to-day-business-costs 

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