Deciding whether to go self-employed is one of the biggest questions service professionals ask themselves. There are obvious pro’s and con’s, however many have made the transition in the UK, which has seen a steady rise in the number of self-employed people since 2001. In fact self-employed professionals now account for more than 15% of the UK’s workforce*.
This is why we decided to find out whether self-employed professionals get paid more than their employed counterparts.
The research we conducted took a few months to collect, and relied on more than 20,000 of our service professionals, across 11 of our biggest categories, filling out a financial questionnaire on what their salary was last year before tax. We compared all 20,000 salaries with the average salary for that profession according to the latest pre-tax data from the Office of National Statistics**.
Once we received all of the results, one thing held firm across every category: self-employed people earn significantly more. In fact, on average self-employed service professionals earn 103% more, or twice as much.
The sectors which we researched were: plumbers, electricians, personal trainers, builders, landscape gardeners, counsellors, cleaners, painter and decorators, photographers, private tutors and carpenters.
According to our findings, the profession which experiences the biggest increase in earnings when going self-employed is landscape gardening, with providers earning 198.9% more on average – almost four times as much. They are followed closely by carpenters, who’s salaries can increase by 185% when they become self-employed, on average.
Builders also see a significant increase in earnings when working for themselves, with the average salary going up by around £47,120 a year. On top of this, counsellor’s salaries increase from £23,754 a year to £45,111, an increase of almost 90%.
Here is a full list of the percentage increase in earnings for each sector we looked at:
- Gardener – 198.9%
- Carpenter – 185.3%
- Builder – 181.3%
- Personal Trainers – 91.8%
- Counsellors – 90.4%
- Photographer – 78.2%
- Cleaner – 76.6%
- Electrician – 59.1%
- Painter/decorator – 57.4%
- Plumbers – 50.5%
- Private tutor – 39.2%
We also asked 5,000 of our self-employed professionals a few questions on their lifestyle since they started up on their own.
More than half (53%) said they work more hours as a self-employed pro, two thirds (65%) answered they feel more stressed and more than three quarters (77%) said they have more job satisfaction now they’re self-employed.
Kai Feller, Bark.com co-founder, said,
“At Bark we work with thousands of self-employed sole traders, and thought it would be interesting to see how much they earn a year, compared to their employed counterparts. The survey took a good couple of months, but was well worth the wait, because the results speak for themselves – being self-employed results in a much higher income. We were expecting them to earn more, but almost double on average is a huge increase.
“That being said being self-employed comes with a lot more work, responsibility and pressure more often than not, it’s definitely not a career choice to be taken lightly.”