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Going Down the Drain: Birmingham Most Expensive City to Hire a Plumber

Press Release   •   Apr 15, 2014 23:00 BST

- Plumbers in Birmingham are the most expensive to hire in the UK and twice as much as in London
- On average, Bristol is the most expensive city in the UK to hire a tradesman
- The research marks the launch of Post Office and Channel 4’s live ’24 Hour Property Challenge’ , which launches this week

Birmingham is the most expensive city in the UK to hire a plumber, according to figures* released today by Post Office Financial Services.

On average, people in Birmingham should expect to pay £250 to have a simple plumbing job completed, twice as much as in London where plumbers on average quoted £117.

The finding comes from a Post Office study which explored the cost of hiring four different types of professional tradesmen (electricians, plumbers, plasterers and tilers) and how their quotes varied from city to city. Each was tasked with quoting for a typical home renovation or maintenance job for a fictional 1970’s, ‘two up two down’, semi-detached house with a garden.

The challenges were: to replace a standard radiator for a heated towel rack; tiling an average sized bathroom (11’ x 8’); plastering a double bedroom (14' x 12'); and wiring in a bedroom ceiling light.

Bristol is the most expensive city overall to hire professional tradesman, having to pay on average £1,138 to have these four simple jobs completed on their homes - over double the amount quoted in Belfast at £557, the lowest in the UK.

Tradesmen in neighbouring cities also quoted vastly different prices too, despite being less than an hour’s drive away from each other. Savvy shoppers in the West Midlands area for example, will find that booking professional help in the Leicester area rather than Birmingham will save them a huge £408 for all four jobs, providing they are prepared to fork out the estimated £14*** fuel costs for the workman to travel the two hour round trip on the M69/M6.

Surprisingly, London is not the most expensive city to hire a tradesman. The capital ranks only slightly above average, placing it 8th out of 12 cities surveyed, beating Newcastle upon Tyne, Brighton, Birmingham and Bristol in price. The difference in cost is likely to feel even greater to those in the latter regions as Londoners earn 29% more per week than those in the North East and 26% more than the West Midlands.**

Electricians proved to be the most flexible in their pricing, with quotes across the UK ranging from £33 in Cardiff and £140 in Bristol, a whopping £107 difference.

City

Overall Average

Belfast

£557

Leicester

£622

Norwich

£663

Leeds

£710

Cardiff

£819

Manchester

£864

Glasgow

£919

London

£963

Newcastle upon Tyne

£998

Brighton

£1,008

Birmingham

£1,030

Bristol

£1,138

The research marks the launch of Post Office and Channel 4’s live ’24 Hour Property Challenge’, which airs this week and will see three people have their home related challenges solved by expert, Amanda Lamb.

Nick Kennett, Director of Financial Services at Post Office said: “We found it really interesting to see the huge disparity in cost of hiring professional tradesmen across the UK. There are obviously lots of factors at play with how much a tradesman charges and why, but the findings do put a spotlight on the financial challenges homeowners in different parts of the country face when repairing or renovating their properties.

We at Post Office understand these financial pressures and offer clear, transparent and market leading products to help you solve any property challenge you may have and wherever you are in the country.”

5 Money Saving Tips for Home Renovation from Post Office Financial Services

  1. When getting your quote from a tradesman, get a price for the whole job, rather than asking for a day or hourly rate.
  2. Negotiate your payments before starting to work together and don’t agree to pay up front. If it’s a large job, a good rule of thumb is to pay one third after the first seven working days, a further third half way through the work and the rest once it’s completed and you’re happy.
  3. If you can, hire people who have been recommended to you by friends or family, or use a registered tradesman from the likes of The Guild of Master Craftsman. During your selection process, do remember to ask to see examples of their previous work to ensure it’s up to your standard.
  4. Try to source materials and parts yourself, as tradesman can often introduce mark-ups.
  5. Check their work throughout the job so you can feedback during the process rather than at the end which could potentially create additional work, and incur more costs.

Ends

* Quotes taken from 144 traders across the UK

**AA Mileage/Expenses calculator, Birmingham – Leicester, April 14

For more information, please contact:

Carmel McCarthy, Post Office Press Office
Tel: 020 7250 2268
Mob: 07717 294529
Email: carmel.mccarthy@postoffice.co.uk
Twitter
: @postofficenews


1 Research conducted by One Poll on behalf of the Post Office. 2,000 online interviews were conducted in January 2014.

About Post Office

Post Office Limited has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of many communities across the country. The Post Office has made a commitment to no more branch closure programmes. It provides around 170 different services and products spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards. Post Office also offers Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

It serves around 20 million customers a week and half of all small businesses. 93% of the total population live within one mile of a post office and 99.7% within three miles. For many rural communities the post office is the only retail outlet. Post offices remain highly valued and trusted and are the focal point for many communities. For more information, visit www.postoffice.co.uk

City

Average cost of Tilers

Norwich

£173

Belfast

£230

Cardiff

£288

Leeds

£290

Leicester

£300

Manchester

£350

Birmingham

£410

Newcastle upon Tyne

£413

London

£413

Glasgow

£449

Bristol

£460

Brighton

£477

City

Average cost of Plasterers

Leicester

£207

Belfast

£227

Leeds

£287

Birmingham

£327

Norwich

£353

London

£353

Manchester

£357

Glasgow

£361

Brighton

£383

Cardiff

£421

Newcastle upon Tyne

£430

Bristol

£435

City

Average cost of Plumbers

Belfast

£60

Glasgow

£74

Cardiff

£77

Leicester

£78

Leeds

£83

Norwich

£89

Newcastle upon Tyne

£95

Brighton

£103

Bristol

£103

Manchester

£110

London

£117

Birmingham

£250

City

Average cost of Electricians

Cardiff

£33

Glasgow

£35

Leicester

£37

Belfast

£40

Birmingham

£43

Brighton

£45

Manchester

£47

Norwich

£48

Leeds

£50

Newcastle upon Tyne

£60

London

£80

Bristol

£140

About the Post Office

The Post Office (Post Office Limited) has an unrivalled national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of communities in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. The Post Office has made a commitment to maintaining its network of branches at its current size and reach. It provides around 170 different products and services spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards; Government services; telephony; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

The Post Office serves over 17 million customers a week and a third of small businesses. Some 99.7% of the total population live within three miles of a post office and over 97% live with one mile of a post office. For many rural communities, the post office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices branches remain highly valued and trusted, and are the focal point of many communities. For more information, visit http://www.postoffice.co.uk/.

Please note the Press Office team can only deal with enquiries from the media.  Unfortunately they do not have access to customer information so can not help with customer enquiries.

If you have an enquiry regarding any Post Office product or service please visit postoffice.co.uk or call 0845Local call rates apply. Call costs may vary depending on your service provider. Calls may be monitored or recorded for training and compliance purposes. 611 2970.