Seemingly vast numbers of people have used part of their extra time in self-isolation to catch up on house maintenance, renovation projects and home decorating. DIY projects are great to start but there always comes a point where your minimal skills no longer suffice and you need some skilled workers from various trades to jump in and help.
Having not had access to many trades for weeks on end means that now lockdown rules are beginning to ease and services are resuming, there is going to be a massive surge in demand for skilled labourers and tradespeople. This is great news for those working in these fields, and even for those who are not. Now is an ideal time to learn a trade as the demand for labourers is going to be around for a while.
- Trades in Demand
- Getting Started in a Trade
- Where Do I Find Clients?
- Where to Find Reliable Tradespeople
- More Useful Reading
The list is such a lengthy one it’s impossible to include all trades in demand! But these are many of the main skilled workers and services that homeowners will be desperate for post-lockdown:
- Painter and Decorator
- Plasterer and Renderer
- Removal Service
- Tree Surgeon
So, if you’re thinking about a new career, it could be time to consider training in one of these areas.
There is an ever-increasing demand for skilled labourers in the UK as older generations are retiring and many young people are opting for office work. Tradespeople are crucial to the running and upkeep of our country and there are almost always high levels of employment in these industries.
Apprenticeships are an ideal starting place. You gain a recognised qualification whilst also gaining practical experience that will help you step straight into work afterwards. Use the gov.uk apprenticeship search to start looking. You have to be 16 or over to participate in an apprenticeship and they vary in length depending on the trade and employer, but are usually between 1 and 4 years.
There are plenty of training courses available that you can apply for online. They range in length, cost, and depth of study depending on what your needs are.
Trade Training offers a range of accredited courses which offers hands on training and one on one tuition. From one week courses to diploma levels you have a range of options depending on what you may need for particular job and work requirements.
TradesCourses is one of the largest training portals for the building and construction industries. They help you gain nationally recognised qualifications including NVQs, ACS, and City and Guilds. Payment options are also available to help you spread the cost and are able to start straight away.
University Technical Colleges (UTCs)
UTCs are Government-funded schools with a STEM-based focus and are another option to consider when thinking of training in one of the trades. They provide you with sought after technical qualifications that can assist you in a job search or setting up your own business.
With social distancing set to be prevalent for a long while to come, some college courses may be postponed. However, others are running smaller class sizes – which means you’ll benefit from more one-to-one tuition time. Find your local UTC here.
Finding clients and contracts is the first hurdle when you find yourself newly qualified and ready to work.
Get the word out about your services – speak to friends and neighbours who you could complete a job for, or any other their connections. Even if you start doing small jobs for people word-of-mouth recommendations can help you grow a larger client base.
Advertise your services – things like setting up a website, having business cards available, and using public spaces to post adverts will help publicise your services and skills. Try our article about advertising online and offline to make the most of your marketing options.
In the current very budget-conscious world it can be hard to find clients but you can check out our article here to learn more about how to go about it. Or, if you’re considering setting up your own business, we’ve written about whether freelancing is for you and how to get started here.
Whether you’ve just qualified in your trade and want to advertise your services, or you’re looking for someone to help improve your home, try these websites.
Reliable Online Sources for Tradespeople
TrustMark is the non-profit Government Endorsed Quality Scheme which covers work a consumer chooses to have carried out in their home. TrustMark vets all businesses to ensure they meet required standards. All traders must show commitment to good trading practices and make sure they are technically competent.
Checkatrade with over 1 million monthly users, you search from over 38,000 recommended, vetted, and monitored tradespeople. Easy to use for finding reliable tradespeople, there is also an advice centre tradespeople can use for business ideas and guidance.
MyBuilder allows you to post a job and the relevant tradespeople can then express their interest in the job. You can then review the interested suppliers by viewing their profiles, previous work, and feedback.
Buy With Confidence – All businesses found through Buy With Confidence have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards. If they’ll be working in your home they’ll also be subject to having a criminal record check.
What to Watch Out For
- Really low quotes. Always shop around for quotes to make sure you’ve found the best option for you. However, be sceptical of quotes significantly lower than the majority as they’re likely from rogue traders undercutting the market to appeal to customers.
- Overly glowing reviews. Read through as many reviews as you can, not just one or two, before hiring someone as this will give you the best overall impression of them. Be wary though of extremely glowing reviews as they’re probably fake. You can expect a real review to be more balanced.
- Cold callers. Tradespeople shouldn’t be contacting you offering work – this is an immediate warning sign. 52% of people have had someone turn up unannounced at their door, so make sure that you’re the one to initiate the process.
The Tradesman Saver blog is a great resource for those working in these fields. It includes articles about trade insurance, best business practices, running the administrative side of your business, and how to land your first contract after newly qualifying.