Brighton Pier

New research reveals the top five perfect cities to set up as a tradesperson… and which one is most suited to each trade.

If your current job isn’t working out for you – or paying you enough – you might want to consider a good, old-fashioned trade. These days, tradesmen are in such high demand that their salaries can eclipse that of many office workers’, and despite meaning you’ll probably have to get your hands dirty, the lucre may also be filthy…

But where’s best to set up shop? Well, architectural ironmongery suppliers,, have done the hard work for you, producing a tool for exploring the best UK cities to be a tradesman, based on local trade company competition, advertising costs, and start-up survival rate, among others. With 25 new trade startups opening their doors every day, the success rate, sadly, won’t be 100 per cent, so it’s useful for, say, budding plumbers, to have some prior knowledge before, ahem, taking the plunge(r)…

They started by creating a list of the top twenty cities in the UK by population. For each of these, they found local jobs, courses, hardware stores, the start-up survival rate, other companies, and advertising costs. Once they had complete data, they assigned each a score between 1 and 10. These scores were then included in a calculation that assigned different values to different metrics, based on how valuable they considered them to our final result, and used this valuation and their score to form an overall score out of ten across all metrics. This was then used to rank the locations.

So, which cities are best for which trade/s? These are the top five overall, ranked for different professions:

1. Brighton – best for builders, carpenters, and gardeners, as job availability is quite high across the board, and start-ups tend to survive for more than a year.2. Chester – Chester is the best option for plumbers, with high start-up survival rates, low advertising costs, and a significant number of jobs available per capita.3. Leicester – ideal for gardeners, there are few competing companies in the area, but high start-up survival rate, making it prime turf for new gardening companies.4. Coventry – the top location for electricians, there’s a high number of jobs available in the area, and advertising costs for electricians are low.5. Newcastle upon Tyne – one of the best places to build a construction career, there’s a low amount of competition, with minimal advertising costs.

However, although you might think London is the best place to start, oddly, in contrast to trade-topping Brighton, England’s capital ranked only 14th overall on the list of 20, scoring most highly for construction workers, where it placed 7th.

Electricians wouldn’t fare quite as well in London, however – for whom it placed only 17th, with high advertising costs and a low number of jobs available per capita.

“It’s surprising to see the difference across industries,” said Wayne Lysaght-Mason, managing director at IronmongeryDirect, “The city ranking is significantly different between plumbers and builders, for example. But it looks like Brighton could always use more tradesmen!”

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