Nearly half of UK tradespeople (46 per cent) say their workload has increased since lockdown loosened in June 2020, according to new research by Direct Line.

Those reporting an uptake in business have seen their workloads soar by an average of 29 per cent, and this has fuelled optimism that tradespeople will emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever before. Nearly six in ten (55 per cent) say they’re feeling positive about their business and trade prospects and more than a quarter feel neutral (28 per cent).

Builders have been by far the busiest tradespeople since lockdown loosened, with nearly half (49 per cent) reporting an upsurge in work. They were followed by plumbers (16 per cent), electricians (13 per cent) and carpenters (10 per cent).

Over half of tradespeople (52 per cent) say that the uplift in business has been due to people attempting DIY jobs and repairs during the strictest lockdown months and making a hash of it. This was worst in London, where two thirds (66 per cent) said they’d had to fix dodgy DIY.

Other reasons cited for the increase were extra wear and tear due to people spending more time at home (37 per cent) and people having more time to deal with home callouts because they’re in the home more frequently (39 per cent).

Overall, tradespeople have been busiest in London, where 54 per cent reported an increase in their workload. This was followed by Wales, where half (50 per cent) said they’d got a lot busier since lockdown loosened and the south, where 47 per cent said they’d seen an uplift in work.

To take advantage of the opportunities, tradespeople are taking bold decisions. Nearly three in ten (27 per cent) say they’re adjusting their pricing to become more competitive, while a quarter are investing in new tools and equipment to help them work effectively. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) are bringing on more staff or an apprentice to help them manage their increased workloads.

Despite many investing in new tools, only a third of tradespeople (34 per cent) have specific insurance in place to protect their essential equipment. Of those who don’t have or plan to take out this insurance, more than one in three (35 per cent) say they don’t think it’s necessary.

Jonny McHugh, SME Business Manager at Direct Line, said: “As lockdown loosens, there are clearly outstanding opportunities for tradespeople to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. Already, many are reporting an increase in their workload and are making investments in new tools and equipment to ensure they capitalise on opportunities.

“But with tool theft a growing problem, it’s important that tradespeople take out insurance to protect their essential equipment. The effect of losing vital tools can be devastating, preventing jobs from being carried out and hitting tradespeople hard in the pocket. This could stop them from capitalising on the new landscape.

“At Direct Line, we know essential tools aren’t just objects but are vital to tradespeople’s livelihoods. When it comes to getting tradespeople back to business quickly, we’re on it”.

Direct Line’s new Tools Essentials offering will help tradespeople get back to work quickly by helping them to replace their essential tools within 24 hours, with an upfront faster payment of up to £1,500, subject to a few checks. Tools Essentials is available to all customers who have a valid tools claim and policy with Direct Line – Business. Claims can be reported between 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays, policy limits and exclusions apply.

Direct Line – Business offers tradespeople a wide range of cover options which can be tailored to meet their specific insurance needs, with the option to cover tools 24/7, with all the benefits of purchasing direct rather than through a broker.

For more information on Tools Essentials please visit:

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