Mates’ rates cost UK electricians over £650 a year

UK electricians are losing hundreds of pounds every year to mates’ rates, but many feel unable to say no when friends or family ask for discounts, according to new research.

The study, conducted by ElectricalDirect asked electricians for their opinions on mates’ rates, as well as how often they get asked and the typical discounts they offer.

On average, each worker gets asked to reduce their quotes five times a year, with only 1% of respondents saying they never get requests.

Electricians tend to offer a generous 40% saving, but many knock off even more. Three in five (30%) do jobs for friends and family at less than half their usual rate.

Based on the average day rate, an electrician loses over £125 a day by offering the typical level of discount, which works out at £657 a year.

Despite the significant financial hit, almost a quarter (23%) feel they are unable to say no when they get asked for mates’ rates. A similar number (26%) say they think their friends and family just assume they will get a discount, or even get the job done for free (23%).

More than one in seven (15%) electricians think that it is disrespectful when people ask them for lower quotes.

Interestingly, female electricians are asked for discounts far more often than male ones. One in nine (11%) women are asked at least 10 times a year, compared to just 3% of men. However, men tend to lose more money as they offer larger discounts on average (43% vs 33%).

Region is also a factor, with workers in some areas of the UK having to face more frequent requests than others. Electricians in the South East of England are asked for mates’ rates most frequently, followed by Wales and Scotland.

In contrast, customers in Yorkshire and the Humber are the least likely to try to haggle the price down.

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at ElectricalDirect, says: “Mates’ rates have always been part of the industry, and while it’s usually harmless to do little jobs on the cheap for friends and family, the amount of money lost can start to add up over time.

“Our research found that many electricians understandably find it hard to say no when their loved ones ask for discounts, but it’s important to ensure you don’t leave yourself short or lose paid work as a result.”

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