Study Reveals Average Spend On Tools By UK Tradespeople

New research has revealed that UK tradespeople spend an average of £864 on tools each year. The study, conducted by ElectricalDirect, asked tradespeople about their outgoings on tools, maintenance and repairs, and found that 33% of tradespeople can’t afford the new tools they need.

Furthermore, 15% keep their tools for longer than they used to, and 16% are now more likely to repair their own equipment. Worryingly, 13% are even using damaged tools as they can’t afford replacements.

Across all trades, workers spend £1,110 on tools each year.

  • Due to the cost of living crisis, 33% of tradespeople can’t afford the new tools they need
  • 13% use damaged tools because they can’t afford replacements

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: 

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


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