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Time is money: 45 days of quoting jobs or doing family favours costs van drivers £14.9 billion a year

Time is money: 45 days of quoting jobs or doing family favours costs van drivers £14.9 billion a year

Pricing up quotes that never result in work and doing favours for friends and family free of charge costs UK van drivers £14.9 billion a year*, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has declared October 27 as “Mates’ Rates Date” to celebrate Britain’s talented tradespeople. The date represents the 45 working days per year, that van drivers spend doing work they can never get paid for, which means that after October 27, tradesmen and women are effectively working for free.

The study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles revealed that 77% van drivers regularly carry out work free of charge – whether it’s fixing a friend’s leaky tap or quoting for house renovation work that they never get contracted to complete.

On average, workers spend four hours a week pricing up quotes for new customers who never book the job in, plus another three hours doing free work for friends or family – equivalent to £4,300 a year*.

Tradesmen and women in London and Northern Ireland are the worst affected, carrying out 10 hours and eight hours of free labour each week, respectively. That’s compared to the south west where van drivers average less than four hours a week on family favours or new quotes.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles understands the pressure these unpaid hours put on the nation’s businesses – especially in a year that has been as uncertain as 2020. That’s why the brand operates Mobile Service Clinics, to help owners service their vehicles, while they’re not in use. Comprehensive service plans also allow vehicle maintenance budgeting and help avoid unexpected bills.

Similarly, extended opening hours at Van Centres help to minimise downtime and allow owners to collect their vans before their shift starts. The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles website also helps van drivers save valuable time, by offering a range of services and access to information at any time of day, including online service booking, a finance calculator and live web chat.

David Hanna, Head of Aftersales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Whether you’re a tradesmen, delivery driver, florist or gardener, your unique skills are highly-sought after. When you add up the amount of time spent pricing up jobs that never come to be, or pulling favours, van drivers are losing out on hours every week without pay – and that’s why we’ve created “Mates’ Rates Date”.

“We understand that time really is money and hope that through our Working With You promise, we’re able to support the unsung heroes with some added convenience that helps them win back the time to do the jobs that boost their bottom line.”

For more details on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ award-winning range of products and services, or to find your nearest Van Centre, please visit

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