The Evolution of the Tradesman

Don’t judge a book by its cover, that’s what we were always told growing up wasn’t it? But sadly tradesmen have been labelled as brash, wolf-whistling blokes down the years. 90% of tradesmen say they now feel a victim of the general stereotype of a ‘white van man’, so we conducted our own research on more than 500 UK tradespeople to put an end to this outdated image.

The Results

Our results aimed to expel outdated myths associated with tradesmen, and that they did…

Myth: Tradesmen earn below the national average.

Fact: The average tradesmen actually now earns £32,000 – £5,000 over the national average.

Myth: Tradesmen drag out jobs and want to get paid in cash.

Fact: 43% of tradesmen discarded this myth as completely false with a further third discarding the myth that all builders want to get paid in cash.

Myth: Tradesmen live a poor lifestyle.

Fact: Four in ten of the men polled said the stereotype of a builder starting the day off with a fry-up was dated and three quarters said they don’t know any construction workers who smoke. What’s more, one in twenty labourers even opt for a fruit tea and a healthy 37% just get by on water all day to keep themselves hydrated. The study also revealed that on a tea break, the hot beverage of choice for UK tradesmen is usually a skinny latte as opposed to the instant coffee and regulation builders’ tea of times gone by. When it comes to food, two thirds admit to being on diets so they always opt for healthy lunch choices.

Myth: Tradesmen are scruffy and rude.

Fact: More than 9 in 10 tradesmen keep their van or vehicle clean and tidy most of the time, if not pristine (93%), whilst 46%  insisted that wolf whistling builders is a thing of the past.

Below provides another lowdown of our results.

tradesman infographic

A spokesperson for HSS Hire said:

“Like many industries, things have changed in the construction world – it’s a highly competitive field and many tradesmen, especially if they are self-employed, have to be at the top of their game”.

“Things like a tatty van and being late can really put off customers and the emergence of smartphones has led to a complete shift in how the industry operates, for example half of those polled admit to using their mobile phone to visit trade or DIY websites.”

“This stereotype is clearly insulting UK tradesmen who view claims like down-tooling too early or nipping to the pub on a Friday lunchtime as false and unprofessional.”

When it comes to travel and culture, the destination of choice for the typical tradesman would be somewhere in the UK, although a quarter take regular European city breaks.

The most popular reading material when on site is catching-up with the latest news and current affairs on a smart-phone app (33%) with one in ten preferring to get stuck in to a crime novel on their lunch break.

But the hard graft doesn’t stop for tradesmen when they get home, with 71% claiming they start paperwork and reply to emails as soon as they get in.

A hands-on 15% are happy to bath the kids and 29% load the washing machine.  A third are responsible for making the family dinner (32%) and 17% are in charge of story time.

Nearly four in ten (38%) said it was wrong to assume all builders down tools early and head to the pub on a Friday.

Top 10 stereotypes about tradesmen that are false:

  1. They are cowboys
  2. They all drive white vans
  3. They wolf-whistle
  4. They drag out jobs
  5. They over charge
  6. They start every morning with a fry-up
  7. They drink at least 10 cups of tea a day
  8. They don’t turn up to jobs
  9. They down tools too early
  10. They head off to the pub on a Friday lunchtime

All in all, the results are clear, it’s time to embrace the new image of the tradesman.

To explore our diverse range of tools and equipment follow this link.


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About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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