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Average Tradesperson Loses Out on Over £1,400 a Year Working at ‘Mates Rates’

Average Tradesperson Loses Out on Over £1,400 A Year by Working at ‘Mates Rates’
13 December 2023

A survey of tradespeople in the UK shows that they lose an average of over £1,400 a year doing work for free, or at reduced rates, for friends and relatives.

500 UK tradespeople were interviewed in August 2023 and revealed that they were asked to do favours for friends and family regularly, with 62 per cent saying they were asked to do free labour.

In the research commissioned by Direct Line Insurance, almost three-quarters of tradespeople (73 per cent) said that they have been asked to work at reduced rates by friends and family. 41 per cent of those tradespeople said that these requests are frequent.

This equates to an individual loss of over £1,400, more than the average cost of a Premiere League season ticket. With the latest Office for National Statistics data showing that over 886,900 people work in specialised construction activities in the UK, this workforce could lose out on over £1.2 billion every year because of “mates rates” and working for free.

Many also feel obliged to take on the work and worry about the consequences of declining. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents said that their relationships with friends and family have been negatively impacted by saying no to requests. One in 10 also felt pressure to prioritise work for their family and friends over other customers.

Stacey McKane, SME Product Manager at Direct Line Business Insurance said: “We appreciate that times are hard, and it is tempting to ask friends and family who work in the trades to do work for free or at a reduced price. However, it is important to remember that reduced rates and free work have a knock-on impact on the tradesperson.

“It can be difficult for tradespeople to say no to friends and family so the cost of favours can quickly add up, £1,404 is, on average, almost two weeks salary for someone working in the construction industry so the financial impact can be quite significant.

Kev Crane, known as the singing plumber, added: “I don’t mind too much doing special rates for friends and family these days but when I first started out, every penny counted.

“Tradespeople are often all too willing to help but they need to feel comfortable saying ‘no’ to this type of work. Saying ‘no’ isn’t easy for everyone and it can feel like a lot of pressure to turn a friend or family member down because you’re too busy or aren’t in a place to do cheaper or free work.

“If you’re doing the asking, do think very carefully first”.

Picture: a photograph of a person wearing a toolbelt, protective eyewear and a hard hat using a drill. Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 13 December 2023


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