A nationwide study of tradespeople has revealed the vast majority are pessimistic about the future of the trade, with one in ten thinking about quitting over the next 12 months.
The research, by designer radiator specialist BestHeating, highlighted the challenges the trade faces heading into 2024.
Of the 2,000 polled, 85% stated they were pessimistic about the future of their trade.
It found many were considering a change in career due to job uncertainty and financial pressures of being self-employed.
Further highlighting the concern within the industry, the survey found 16% are thinking of taking a second job within the trade and 1:7 looking into a second job outside of the industry.
The report revealed tradespeople have had to lower prices to keep work, with more than one in three (35%) discounting prices for customers.
It found Bristol is the city that has done this most, where 64% of workers have cut their prices to appease clients.
With homeowners trying to reduce costs of home maintenance, one in six tradespeople has noticed they have been called to fix botched jobs that customers attempted themselves.
The rising cost of materials has also been a concern to tradespeople with more than two in five (44%) concerned about the increasing cost of materials.
Tradespeople with more experience fear this most, with 61% of those 55 and older stating this, compared to just 37% of those aged between 18 and 24.
Delays in sourcing materials, throughout 2023, has also led to them losing work or having to cut the quote of a job to appease customers, stated 1:5.
Buying director of BestHeating Marek Kokocki, commented: “It’s worrying to see that so many tradespeople across the UK have major concerns about the industry and are thinking of taking a second job or even changing roles altogether.
“It’s important that the nation continues to support them where possible and hire the correct person for important tasks rather than attempt a botched job that puts their home at risk.
“Businesses that supply materials or products can also play their part by providing better schemes that entice tradespeople to purchase their product with discounts as this has major benefits for their own organisation too.”
It follows the findings of the BiKBBI State of the Nation Installer Survey 2023, which found nearly two thirds (60%) would be tempted to take their skills to another industry.
Chief executive of the BiKBBI Damian Walters added: “These latest statistics are not a surprise sadly and echo our own research findings from 2023 which found that 60% of KBB installers would consider taking their skills into another industry, citing the potential to earn more, better opportunities and less complexity as the main reasons.
“Unfortunately, in times of economic uncertainty, it is usually the self-employed and micro-SMEs that will come under pressure first and it really does become a case of survival of the fittest.
“Whilst the world has indeed been tumultuous over the past four years, the installation sector faired pretty well when so many other industries were in turmoil – so the downturn that is being felt now is going to hurt.”
Damian Walters urged for the industry to unite, as he continued: “We need to work together as an industry to protect and grow the installation community that is critical to every business in the wider KBB sector.
“Relationships are going to be key – retailers should be doing everything in their power to ringfence their existing installer workforce, with a focus on gaining their commitment to continue the relationship.
“This could include pricing reviews (if applicable), reviewing terms of work and also how they integrate installations within their business generally.
“The industry as a whole needs to think about who will be installing their product in five to ten years’ time and, if they are not already doing so, should consider working with the BiKBBI on strengthening their future proposition.”