39% of Brits consider plumbing the most valued trade

Howe Tools has discovered that 39% of Brits consider plumbing to be the most valued trade, after conducting a survey on discounts to trade work.

The power tools supplier asked people around the UK about the discounts they expect on trade work carried out by friends and family and what they deem as the most useful trade.

While 41% of people said electricians are the most helpful tradespeople to have as a friend or family member, plumbers came in second, with 39%. This could be because these trades are some of the most expensive to pay for and are two of the highest paying trades available.

In total, 81% of people expect discounts on work done by friends in a trade, revealing that ‘mates rates’ are a standard expectation when work is carried out, and suggests a pressure for tradespeople to provide discounts on a regular basis.

Nearly half, 43%, of people claimed they’d be annoyed if they didn’t receive a discount from a friend in a trade.


Residents from Sheffield came out on top when it comes to expected mates rates, with 36% of people surveyed wanting discounts.

London followed with 34% wanting discounts, and Glasgow was in third at 32%.

In comparison, Belfast and Edinburgh were the best cities for tradespeople to be paid in full. Only 1 in 5 friends and family asked for mates rates, making them the lowest in the UK.

Manchester came in at fourth overall, with 31% wanting mates rates.

The overall average expectation of mates rates was a 25% discount off trade work.


People between 16-24 expected the highest discount, at 33%, while those over 55 expected a lower discount at 20% off. This correlation between age and discount expectations could be due to younger people having less money for trades work – Millennials are the most reliant on mates rates, with 13% suggesting they are not able to pay full price for it.


Howe Tools said the data reveals that income does not correlate with requiring a discount, as 44% of people earning over £55,000 would delay work without a discount, compared to only 24% of those earning under £15,000.

This suggested lower earners feel less comfortable asking for mates rates and would rather pay full price for the work they have done.