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A new piece of research by one of the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, Volkswagen, has found that van drivers routinely work for free on behalf of friends and family, with their generosity effectively meaning they carry out a combined £14.9 billion of pro bono work each year.

And This is to say nothing of the four hours a week van drivers regularly spend pricing work that is never performed. The losses caused by this element of a tradesman's work are significant, working out at an average of £4,300 a year.

Celebrate the generosity of mates rates

The German automotive giant has calculated that all this free work is equivalent to working for nothing for 45 days each year. As such, it decided to name October 27 as “Mates’ Rates Day” as the time from this date until the end of the year represents the 45 working days that the nation’s van insurance customers annually work for nothing. All in all, the Volkswagen study found that nearly eight in ten van drivers regularly carry out unpaid work – at an average of three hours of free work a week.

Furthermore, the study found that van drivers in London and Northern Ireland were the most generous when it came to offering their services for free to friends and family, with drivers from these regions spending an average of eight to ten hours working for free each week.

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