REVEALED: The cost of setting up a plumbing business

REVEALED: The cost of setting up a plumbing business

Joinery businesses are among the cheapest trade companies to set up in the UK, averaging nearly £2,500 less than other sectors, new research has revealed.

With over 40% of construction firms expected to make redundancies due to COVID-19, tradespeople may be considering going self-employed. IronmongeryDirect has identified the most cost-effective sectors in which to do so.

The study added up the typical costs people pay when entering the UK’s four most popular trades (joinery, building, electrical, plumbing), with everything from insurance to marketing.

Joiners pay the least, with the average set-up fee totalling £6,642. With the typical daily rate for joiners around £150, these initial costs could be repaid within nine, five-day weeks.

Despite being the most expensive businesses to set up, plumbers can expect to earn back their investment quickest, as they are able to charge the highest daily rates. Averaging nearly £350 a day, the £9,124 start-up cost could be repaid within six working weeks.

The set-up costs are:
Joinery – £6,642 (repaid in nine weeks at £150 a day)
Building – £6,791 (nine weeks at £160 a day)
Electrical – £6,873 (six weeks at £245 a day)
Plumbing – £9,124 (six weeks at £347.50 a day)

One of the most significant outgoings is accreditation. New plumbing companies pay the most in this department. Some expenses, however, are necessary across all sectors – such as insurance, marketing, company registration and van hire.

Marketing is another significant outlay, but an important one nonetheless. Paying out for business cards, flyers, logo design and a new website usually costs at least £600. However, such costs will pay for themselves if they lead to a surge in new clients.

Finally, there’s the crucial cost of equipment. A tradesperson may have accumulated tools during their career, but if they are new to the industry, there are tools they will need before taking on work.

Trade tips
Andy Porter, a self-employed carpenter from Southampton, has given his three top tips for people looking to set up their own trade business:
1 Look at local adverts and see what similar trades are doing (e.g. services, pricing)
2 Get quote and invoice terms and conditions in place early and make sure they are watertight
3 Make sure you have plenty of money saved up as cash flow is incredibly important

Marco Verdonkschot, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect and ElectricalDirect, said: “Many tradespeople will aim to run their own businesses one day, so it’s useful to get an idea of how much it would cost to do so. While these sums can appear quite daunting, most of the expenses will directly improve your service or help you win more work, so are worth the investment in the long run.

“Owning your own business can be incredibly satisfying, so to help those who are considering going it alone, we’ve compiled a list of tips on how to do so effectively.”

For more advice from tradespeople who have set up their own business, visit

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