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Irish Tradesmen: Home Improvement Outlook For 2019

Irish Tradesmen: Home Improvement Outlook For 2019

As the Ireland’s leading marketplace for tradesmen and home improvement services, each year we collate a lot of data on the sector - with over 80,000 home improvement and repair jobs posted for our members in 2018 alone.  We’ve decided to put some of this information to use for the benefit of Irish trade professionals by publishing our ‘Irish Tradesmen: Outlook for 2019’ report.

So what can Irish tradesmen and builders expect from 2019?

A growing economy will continue to deliver growth in home improvement and repair jobs for the sector as whole. That’s the good news. However, we also explore the effects of Brexit on the trade - the elephant in the room with the potential to cause problems of mammoth proportions for all.

Our Tradesmen Outlook Report 2019 also profiles trending Home improvement and repair jobs for 2018 - in addition to some predictions as to what will be popular in 2019. Valuable information for all trade professionals.

Our section on consumer behaviours concentrates on the continued rise of the internet as the main source for home owners in hiring trade professionals, while our section on ‘Tradesmen Costs’ covers off potential increases in business costs for all Tradesmen throughout 2019.

We hope you find it useful,

Ted Laverty


Onlinetradesmen Group


*This report was compiled by OnlineTradesmen.ie from statistics gathered over a 11 month period on its service from over 80,000 home improvement and repair jobs posted throughout 2018. All forward looking statements are predictions only and should not be considered as statements of fact by the reader.


The Economy for Tradesmen


2018 – Boom time

Back in September the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) forecast GDP growth in the Irish economy of 8.9 per cent for 2018. That officially makes us the fastest growing economy in the EU for 2018, with strong consumer spending, falling unemployment and increasing disposable incomes. Throw in increased investment in construction space and we have enjoyed a near perfect situation in the sector.


2019 – That ‘Brexit’ word again

Near perfect. We won’t sugar coat it here - Brexit, with or without a deal, will have negative effects on the Irish economy 2019 and with it on the strength of the home improvement sector.

Even with a Brexit deal in place, the ESRI is forecasting reduced levels of growth in the economy of just 4.5 per cent, a slowdown in growth of 50% from 2018. That in itself is still respectable and will likely support a sustainable home improvement services sector. However, if the looming threat of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit materialises – all growth bets are off.

A ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause a seismic shock to the Irish economy. In this scenario home owners disposable incomes would contract and a number of agencies are predicting the loss of up to 50,000 jobs across Ireland. Added to this, the cost of building materials would increase with the Department of Housing having already written to developers across the country to inform of this eventuality.

A ‘No Deal’ Brexit is bleak prospect for the entire Island of Ireland – let’s hope it doesn’t happen and the politicians across the water can get a deal in place in time.


Did you know?  

The Onlinetradesmen service can help trade professionals across all trades to minimise the impact of any economic shocks. Our job leads service will connect you with a brand new customer base for the work you want to complete. Request a call back from our membership team today here.


The End of the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme (HRI)


RevenueimagesFor the last number of years the Home improvement sector has been buoyed by the Government’s HRI scheme – giving home owners the opportunity to claim 13.5% back as a tax credit on the cost of many home improvement projects (including painting and decorating, plastering, plumbing, tiling, extensions and garden landscaping among others).

Unfortunately the Government of the day has decided not to extend the HRI scheme into 2019. According to the Marketing Institute of Ireland, the HRI scheme was availed of by 12,179 contractors and tradesmen during its lifetime, supporting more than 30,000 tradesmen jobs.

It is practical to assume to that untimely end of the HRI scheme will have an adverse effect on the industry – reducing home owners spending power and restricting affordability for mid-size/larger projects. The net effect will be a 13.5% increase in project costs for the average home owner which will likely reduce overall spend within the sector. Only continued stellar growth in the Irish Economy or a new government scheme could effectively counteract this outcome, with no plans announced for the latter to date.


Home Improvement Trends for Tradesmen

The first 6 months of 2018 saw a nationwide increase of just 1.2% in planning permissions granted compared to 2017. This represents negligible year-on-year growth, however it does not take into account the increase in volume for extensions below the planning threshold that we have seen on our service.

Home Improvement Projects


Outside of general maintenance / repair jobs (see below), there has also been a steady increase in home improvement and renovation jobs throughout 2018.

The most significant increases have been in the area of Bathroom refurbishments, kitchen refits, boiler and stove installations jobs nationwide. The overall volume of Painting and decorating jobs on our service is also noteworthy. These statistics point to a trend of consumers spending on mid-size renovation jobs, with an average value circa €9,000.

For the sector as a whole the cumulative effects of Brexit and the end of the HRI scheme will undoubtedly reduce the overall volume of these projects in 2019. However, at Onlinetradesmen we expect to continue job growth in these areas due to our strong market position and the overall growth of online (see below).

Home Maintenance and Repair Jobs

OnlinetradesmenRepai...In 2018 we have seen a strong increase in repair and maintenance jobs on the OnlineTradesmen service across a range of trades. Demand for plumbers and electricians continue to increase by over 30% year-on-year, with Handymen and property maintenance also showing strong growth. New sections such as power washing and chimney sweeps have also featured throughout 2018.

2109 will continue this trend – albeit with a threat to the average revenue per job due to economic uncertainty and the HRI scheme (see above)  

Did you know?  

As a Member of Onlinetradesmen you can request business support to help you decide whether to enter new trades, employ more staff or apply for finance. Request a call back from our membership team today here

Consumer Behaviour – Home Improvements

The surge of online & ratings for Tradesmen


According to Google, web searches by home owners seeking Tradesmen continue to increase year-on-year. This is no surprise as online giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon among others continue to spend Trillions of Euros to promote the use of the web over traditional word of mouth recommendations.

In additional to this general increase in search throughout 2018, the rapid adoption of online ratings services by consumers as part of their hiring process has been impressive. The growth of ratings services from companies such as TripAdvisor, TrustPilot and even Google Ratings are becoming part of our daily routine when making decisions on who to hire.

2019 – Maximising the Online Opportunity

Some trade professionals continue to view online as secondary to word of mouth as a source of work. In terms of current workloads this may be true but, given the economic uncertainty for Ireland in 2019 and the rise of online, relying solely on this channel as a source of work is both risky and unnecessary.

We predict that having a strong web presence with verified consumer ratings will become even more important for Tradesmen and Builders in 2019. Consumers will more demanding that Tradesmen and Home services businesses can be found on Google, have been independently verified and are providing relevant content for their target audiences. Failing to achieve these core requirements will effectively turn consumers off and result in lost revenue for these Tradesmen.

Given the delayed / long tale nature of search engines such as Google and Bing in listing new websites, it is important that Tradesmen who are not online yet consider getting themselves there today. For those that are already there it is important to ensure the quality and targeting of their content is correct to deliver as strong a Google ranking as possible.

While having a social media presence on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is also important, a distinction should be made between such a social media presence and having a professional business website. According to the IEDR (Irish Domain Registrar) consumers are 71% more likely to purchase from a business that has a dedicated website.


Did you know?  

Members of Onlinetradesmen automatically get a 5 page business website for their business along with online ratings. No technical experience required! Request a call back from our membership team today here


Business Costs for Tradesmen

trade_emptypocket2018 has seen significant cost increases for tradesmen across the board. The price of Petrol / diesel and business insurance continue to soar almost unchecked, while Ireland in general is getting more expensive as a country to do business in.

Unfortunately we cannot accurately predict how overall business costs will behave a year out, but Brexit alone has the potential to increase costs for many business staples.  As per the above the department of housing has already calculated a significant increase in the price of building materials as a result of Brexit.

While remaining untouched by budget 2019, the price of Petrol and Diesel has increased significantly in 2018. At the beginning of 2018 the pump price of Diesel was around the €1.30 mark per litre, at the date of publication in November 2018 it stands at around €1.41 per litre. That’s an increase of 8.5% the Diesel pump price in less than 12 months.

2019 will undoubtedly deliver pricing fluctuations across many staples of the trade as the country adopts to Brexit. Potential trade wars between the US and, well, everybody else may also have an impact. While Tradesmen cannot avoid these costs, it is prudent to take action to try to minimise any adverse impact to your business. This can be done by accessing Fuel cards, group discount schemes for insurance, building materials and other business costs.


Did you know?  

Members of Onlinetradesmen can avail of group discounts such as Fuels cards (3c off per litre), Insurance, Tools and More. Request a call back from our membership team today here

Report Summary

The prevailing economic climate in 2018 has created a vibrant and profitable for many trade professional across Ireland. However, in our opinion 2019 has the potential to bring significant change to the home improvement sector as whole affecting all that work within it.

While some of the economic threats may not fully materialise, Intangibles such as Brexit and the end of the HRI scheme will undoubtedly impact on consumer sentiment and the affordability of mid-large home improvement projects.

In our opinion it would be prudent for trade professionals across the board take note of the current trends outlined in this report when considering the year ahead*. There are significant opportunities for Tradesmen to Brexit-proof their businesses, with the internet alone providing huge potential to expand on existing customer bases. Group discount schemes such as the ones on offer from OnlineTradesmen also provide a tangible way to address and control business cost.

While potentially a somewhat more challenging 12 months awaits for irish trade professionals, those who harness the opportunities available can maintain profitable and sustainable businesses for the year ahead.


*This report was compiled by OnlineTradesmen.ie from statistics gathered over a 11 month period on its service from over 80,000 home improvement and repair jobs posted throughout 2018. All forward looking statements are predictions only and should not be considered as statements of fact by the reader.



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