How to find labourers

The best ways to find labourers

There are a number of ways to find labourers and workers for your business. As the world has become more ‘digital’ there are some new online ways to find labourers, as well as the more established and traditional ways. So what’s the best way to find labourers these days? Here are some of the options available to you, with some pros and cons for each.

Find labourers outside the builder merchants

There are places across the UK, like outside the builder merchants. Labourers and construction workers can gather here in the morning looking for work. If you need to find a labourer, you can swing by and hire the guys you like the look of, there and then. Pros – no cost to hire and you can pick someone up immediately that day. Cons – you don’t know who you are hiring, are they legal, are they any good? They are unlikely to have a CV or references. Also, there will be competition for the best labourers. If you get there late you won’t have the pick of the crop. You have to check their eligibility to work in the UK (or potentially face a big fine). Then you have to negotiate a rate with them, set-up a contract and manage all the calculations and payments. Or you pay them cash, potentially in breach of the law.

Find labourers ‘down the pub’

This is probably the most established methods to find labourers. Using the traditional social network. Whether it is someone you know from the pub, or a mate or a mate, or your neighbour. If you ask around enough, you may well find the people you need. Pros - no cost to hire and you can get recommendations from people you know. Cons – if you fall out with them it can be awkward. It is not always nice having people you know working for you. You may not have a big choice and people may not be available when you need them. You have to negotiate a rate with them, set-up a contract and manage all the calculations and payments. Or you pay them cash, in breach of the law.

Use a job board to find labourer

Post a job on a job board like or Gumtree to find labourers and you will get a list of labourers replying. You should get a good choice of people. You get to review their CVs to find the best labourer for the job. Pros – wide choice of people. The ability to look at CVs to see their skills and experience. Pick the best person for the job. Cons – you have to pay up front (usually about £60 - £80) and may not find anyone. You have to call past employers to get references. If they don’t work out after a few days, you have to pay for another job advert to find a replacement. You have to negotiate a rate with them. Then set-up a contract and manage all the calculations and payments. Or you pay them cash in breach of the law.

Use an Agency

Speak to an agency and they will find a labourer for you and send them over when you need them.  They have a team of people in an office or shop, on phones ringing around and a back-office of finance people taking care of the payments. Pros – least work for you, the agency does all the sifting CVs and sends a labourer over for you (who they have available). They take care of negotiate a rate with the labourer. They check ‘right to work’, set-up a contract and manage all the calculations and payments. So you can be happy you are compliant and secure. Any problems they will send a replacement. Cons – They add about 40% to 50% hidden mark-up to your labourer’s day rate.

Online labourers platform

Online platforms like Grafter provide you with an alternative online / app way to hire people. The whole finding and hiring process is managed on the app. See our page here for an example of how it works. Pros – there is no up-front fee like job boards. Only pay for the time the labourer works for you. You get a choice of labourers to choose from, all of them have the same format of CVs so you can compare like-for-like. Reviews and ratings from past employers are shown without having to call them. All the contract, payment calculations are taken care of for you (including CIS). They are ID and Tax status checked in case they need to be tracked down. The costs are much lower than agencies. For example Grafter only charges 10% open platform fee, not the ~50% of traditional agencies. Cons – as the platforms are self-service there is a bit more work to manage the process yourself than using an agency. For more information on how Grafter can help you find labourers visits our dedicated client page here