Tradespeople expect Covid-19 to cost them £18,039 on average

Covid-19 will cost tradespeople £18,039 each on average in lost earnings – but small business owners in the trade remain confident about their recovery, new research reveals.

A survey of 259 self-employed tradespeople and small construction business owners, by small business insurance provider Simply Business, reveals that tradespeople have already lost out on £14,722 on average – with a year of lockdowns and restrictions taking its toll.

The survey comes as the latest figures reveal the construction industry is playing a key role in the UK’s recovery – as the fastest-growing sector of the UK’s Covid-hit economy, with a 1.4% rise in the last month alone.

A level of optimism remains among tradespeople

Despite the financial hit, many tradespeople retain a sense of optimism for the future. The vaccine rollout has boosted confidence – with two fifths (40%) saying that the rollout has made them more confident about levels of work picking up. Around one third (33%) also say the government’s roadmap out of lockdown has given them sufficient reassurance to plan the future of their business, and two fifths (38%) even remain optimistic about life after lockdown.

Overall, 80% of self-employed tradespeople plan to continue or restart their current business, and one in 10 (8%) will remain self-employed but intend to start a new business – showing the clear resilience among the trade.

How tradespeople have spent their time in lockdown

Tradespeople have also made the most of free time in lockdown, spending more time with family where they can (63%), resting (37%), and generally focusing on themselves (31%).

What’s more, many have taken the opportunity to boost future earning potential – learning new skills (8%), and adopting new technologies to help with business operations (6%).

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business comments: “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the self-employed, and that’s no different for tradespeople – who have already lost £14,722 each on average as a result of the pandemic.

“While that is a huge collective loss to the economy, we should more importantly recognise the impact such a financial hit will have had on so many individual lives, families, and futures.

“However, it is encouraging to see that – despite the challenges of the last year – tradespeople and the construction industry as a whole remain resilient. Construction is the fastest growing sector in the UK, and what’s more our survey reveals that many tradespeople up and down the country are optimistic about their futures.

“Tradespeople will play a key role in the rebuilding of our economy and communities, and their resilience in the face of such challenges should give us all confidence that we’re on the right tracks to recovery.”