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The most successful cities for tradespeople revealed


Leicester, Bristol and Sheffield are the most successful UK cities for tradespeople, according to new research by Confused.com

Leicester is named the best city for trade businesses, with the top survival rate in the country. Gardeners, painters and decorators are all particularly successful in the city, with less than 10% of all trades based in the city failing, on average.

According to the data, three in four (77%) trades businesses across the UK survive beyond two years, on average. 

The UK’s capital emerged as the most competitive region. There are 7,649 trade businesses in London, 141% higher than the average UK city, with an average survival rate of 84.1%.

Meanwhile, Cardiff has the fewest number of competing trade businesses in the UK (1,457), suggesting it could be one of the best cities for a start-up. In particular, roofing and double glazing installation business are thriving, with a 100% two-year survival rate in the Welsh capital.       

The study also revealed that the most secure trade professions are electricians and double-glazing installation businesses – both of which have an average survival rate of 89% after two years.

Electricians also receive the highest day rate of £215. While electricians require a relatively steep van insurance policy of £1,183, the high rates mean they also have the largest profit margins – approximately £181 a day.

Double-glazing installers, meanwhile, might share the same survival rate as electricians, but a £150 day rate means their margins are much lower at only £119 a day.

Starting a roofing business could be a risk, as the trade has the lowest survival rate (78%). However, more than three in four businesses make it past the two-year mark. Roofing businesses in Sheffield, Nottingham and Cardiff all have the best chance of thriving, with a 100% survival rate.

When making a plan for a new trade business, financial considerations including income rates, van insurance and running costs should all be factored in. The research shows that electricians charge the highest daily rate at £215 on average, followed closely by plumbers at £210. Gardeners have the lowest running costs of all trades at just £56.15 – more than 2.6 times less than electricians at £184.24.

Van insurance varies by trade, even between similar work – landscape gardeners pay £1,424 a year on average (the highest insurance cost), while other gardeners pay only £1,392. Trades with the cheapest van insurance include painter and decorators (£870) and double-glazing installers (£889), while contractors sit just under the median cost, paying £1,064 a year.

Builders have the highest public liability insurance at £278 a year, higher than plumbers (£217) and carpenters (£126). Electricians pay the least at only £81, contributing to their high profit margins.

Across all trades, the average cost of marketing, which includes running a two-week bus stop advert, a one-off local newspaper advert and a radio advert over one to two months, would be £26.71 each day on top of running costs.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, comments: “Starting a business comes with a lot of risk and pressure. And our investigation shows that the success of a business could come down to the location.

“But where is best? To clear this confusion we’ve highlighted the cities in the UK with the best rate of success for different trades, and perhaps where to avoid.”

Confused.com analysed data on the trade industry using sites such as Thomson Local and Company Check.

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