Landlords looking for reliable tradesmen have scant pricing and rating information to work from – but a new service hopes to make sure building costs don’t go through the roof.

And the research carried out by builder pricing site reveals a massive cost gap between the South East and the rest of the country.

The platform crunched job prices from more than 12,000 tradesmen to build a database of costs.

The study found builders in London and Surrey charged up to £250 an hour – compared to just £10 an hour by some tradesmen.

The highest and lowest prices for different trades were:

  • Builders: Cheapest: £10-per-hour in Nottingham, East Midlands. Most expensive: £250-per-hour in Camberley, Surrey.
  • Electricians: Cheapest: £10-per-hour in Birmingham, West Midlands. Most expensive: £250 in Edgware, London.
  • Plumbers:  Cheapest: £10-per-hour in Blackwood, Caerphilly. Most expensive: £200-per-hour in Addlestone, Surrey.
  • Painter and decorators: Cheapest: £10-per-hour in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Most expensive: £150-per-hour in Brighton, East Sussex.
  • Carpenters: Cheapest: £10-per-hour in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Most expensive: £100 in Islington, London.

“We knew there was a wide disparity in charges between the southeast and the rest of the UK, but we were shocked just how wide that was”, said web site founder Tarquin Purdie.

“The prices show that the market can take a lot in the southeast, whereas rates in parts of the Midlands and north may not have increased for several years. It is certainly something that will make the industry and even government ministers sit up and pay attention.

“We are committed to making sure homeowners and renters alike know the cost of a job before they even approach a plumber or a painter. Not all builders and trades will like it, but we think that the best are only too happy to be honest and up-front on costs.”