Building and trades experience v-shaped recovery

UK tradespeople maintain optimism despite pandemic uncertainty

Benjamin Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, explains why the trade sectors are reigniting after COVID

Confidence in short-term workloads has maintained British tradespeople’s own personal optimism despite the economic havoc triggered by the pandemic. A survey of over 1,300 tradespeople conducted by Travis Perkins, found half of the respondents believe their workloads will increase over the next two months.

The lockdown saw small and medium-sized businesses struggle during the months of April and May. Many enterprises that could not adapt to the lockdown relied on the government’s initiatives to help them weather the storm. Whilst sales dropped off, new data from Powered Now shows that businesses in the trades are now experiencing a V-shaped recovery, post-lockdown.

Based on the sales figures of 1079 SMEs, which includes Plumbers, Electricians, Handymen, Gas Engineers and many more, trade sectors are seeing that sales figures are returning to pre-lockdown levels. Aligned with the most recent PMI Construction Index data, output in the construction sector during the month of July was over double that recorded in the month of May.

2019 vs. 2020

January 2019 – £6.3m
 January 2020 – £6m

February 2019 – £5.7m
 February 2020 – £6.8m

March 2019 – £6.6m
 March 2020 – £7.3m

April 2019 – £6.2m
 April 2020 – £3.4m

May 2019 – £6.4m 
May 2020 – £4.7m

June 2019 – £5.9m
 June 2020 – £6.3m

Benjamin Dyer, CEO of Powered Now – a mobile-based billing, invoicing and quotation application which specialises in trades – has provided his insights as to why the trades are recovering so quickly.

Legislation breathing life

“Legislation and regulation is strangely helping the market recover. Any business involved in mandatory checks or maintenance is seeing a huge rebound. Heating engineers are carrying out landlord gas safety checks at vast rates. It’s not surprising, these are legally required checks.”

Not just a one-off

“The Chancellors announcements have really breathed life into the property market. The Stamp Duty holiday has woken the industry back up, which has given a welcome boost to trades companies.

Secondly with supply chains now beginning to recover existing projects, many of which are now over time and budget, can be completed. The answer to this has been in many cases to simply throw more resource at it.”

Stamp Duty holiday prolonging bounce back

“We are not seeing any signs of of the bounce-back slowing down, in fact we are predicting it to continue into the Spring of 2021. The slowdown has created a huge project backlog, many of these projects were agreed before the pandemic.

As we move into Autumn the traditional indoor jobs always take priority, this is especially true for heating and plumbing firms as well as electricians, painters and decorators. With the Stamp Duty holiday coming to an end in March we are also predicting a huge homeowner panic to get houses up to scratch for sale.”

A happy ending to 2020

“We are cautiously optimistic for the reasons stated here, however the threat of a second wave is always around the corner. We believe this second wave anxiety is actually helping to drive the market.

Housebuilding took a real hit during the pandemic, however with larger demand than available properties we are hearing that delayed projects are finally coming back.”

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