Most successful cities for tradespeople

New research from has revealed the best places in the UK to start a trade, with Leicester, Bristol and Sheffield topping the charts as the most successful cities for tradespeople.

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

But a new investigation by reveals that some cities have a better chance of thriving. And this could help tradespeople overcome the confusion and overwhelming decisions they must consider when starting up a new business.

The research analysed data on the trade industry using expert sites such as Thomson Local and Company Check to unveil the UK’s best and worst cities for trade start-ups.

Best locations for success
For anyone looking to start a trade business, the Midlands is a promising option. Leicester, Nottingham and Birmingham are all within the top six areas based on business success rate.

In particular, Leicester is revealed as the city with the highest rate of success with carpenters, gardeners and painter and decorators all particularly successful here. According to the data, less than 10% of all trades based in the city fail, on average.

The UK’s capital emerges as the trade start-up hub and most competitive region. There are 7649 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 (1457), 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.       

Location Average Trade Survival Rate Number of Competing Businesses Most Successful Trades

(100% rate of success)

Leicester 90.40% 1657 Carpenter, Landscape Gardener, General gardener, Painter and decorator
Bristol 89.90% 2212 Double glazing installer, Carpenter, Landscape gardener, General gardener
Sheffield 88.20% 2947 Roofer, Landscape gardener, Gardener, Painter and decorator


Financial considerations for traders
When making a plan for a new trade business, financial considerations including income rates, van insurance and running costs should 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 – that’s more than 2.6 times less than electricians at £184.24.

Van insurance varies by trade, even between similar work – landscape gardeners pay £1424 a year on average (the highest insurance cost), while other gardeners pay only £1392. 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 £1064 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.

The full list of trade start-ups and regions can be found here.

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