What business to start in 2013: Home improvement
With property owners staying put while the market is in a state of flux, demand for tradespeople will not fall. Could this work for you?
1. Independent shops on the High Street
2. Outsourced security services
3. Knowledge-based products and services
4. Big Data
5. The ‘internet of things'
6. Emerging technologies
7. Premium products
8. Lean start-ups
9. Freelancing and contracting
10. Home improvement
11. Digital healthcare
12. IT security
With the housing market flat as a pancake, people are less willing to buy and sell their homes with the same rapidity as they did in the years either side of the millennium. But estate agents' loss is the Do It Yourself industry's gain, as many speculators have opted to sit on their asset and dress it up as best they can.
Instead of buying a bigger house, people are converting loft spaces, landscaping gardens and knocking down walls to create the feel of a better property on existing footprints of land.
Pimlico Plumbers, which targets high-end customers, had its two best-ever months in its record last quarter of 2012, better than ever before in its 33-year history. Furthermore, it expects annual sales for the full year to May to leap by more than £1m.
The government, seeing the benefits of home extensions from the point of view of a growing population, has reduced barriers so that, for example, homeowners can carry out conversions and extensions without seeking permission from the local council.
The benefits to start-ups are clear: more demand for landscape gardeners, kitchen-fitters, plasterers, plumbers and builders of every description means a mini-boom in home improvement is taking place. If you have skills, now could be a great time to go it alone.