How much should a plumber cost?
There have been many articles written about the cost of trades, and most recently Radio 2GB’s Ray Hadley unleashed on ‘reprehensible’ plumbers for ripping off an elderly woman.
This is, unfortunately, a situation which we seem to hear more and more of. There are so many trades popping up on Google all the time, offering varying degrees of promise.
Free quotes! No call-out fee! Free gas inspection with your job!
So how do you know if you are engaging a licensed trade that will do the right thing by you?
And how do you know if you are being ripped off, or is the cost is right on?
In this blog, we aim to break down some of the myths around plumbing costs, give you a basic understanding of how your next plumbing job may be structured, and how you can possibly make it a little easier on your wallet.
Why can’t you give me a price over the phone?
Unlike many businesses which can provide an instant price, plumbing can be a completely variable ball game.
The location of the job, ease of access to the affected area, the age of the current plumbing, number of staff required and of course the actual type of plumbing required are all things to be considered.
While a ballpark figure can be provided, a more definitive (fixed) price should be provided only after a site inspection. This is to protect both the customer and the plumber.
What is fixed pricing?
Fixed pricing is about giving you an up-front figure for your job, providing peace of mind and transparency for the task ahead.
Some plumbing companies will offer this pricing structure for some of the more general plumbing jobs such as changing tap washers, water heater installation etc.
Fixed pricing is structured to cover many things such as the hourly rate (which will differ depending on the level and qualification of your plumber or trades-person) materials, travel, insurances and more.
Some companies will charge a call-out fee; others will charge a one-hour minimum fee – these are usually built into the fixed price (beware the ‘free call-out’ offer!).
Lime Plumbing’s fixed pricing structure provides three categories – Regular, Difficult and, Loyalty for our repeat customers.
In some cases, your plumber may prefer to quote an hourly rate due to the type and length of work involved. This may be because there are unknown factors involved, meaning it may take longer or could be more difficult than expected.
Qualified, licensed plumbers will charge between $100 – $150 per hour depending on their level of experience (i.e. you’ll pay much higher for a Master Plumber than an apprentice plumber).
Sounds like great money right? Plumbers, after all, are meant to be some of the richest trades around.
That would probably be true if we didn’t have to pay wages, superannuation, insurances, travel, tax and more out of that hourly wage. Most qualified plumbers have spent five or more years working as apprentices and attending on-going training to be able to apply for and maintain their license.
But I can get it cheaper somewhere else
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.
In other words, the lowest price is not always the best.
We quite often have customers say to us that we are not the cheapest, and we don’t want to be. We want to be known for the quality, expertise and the long-lasting results that we bring to a job.
On the flip side – if you get a quote from your intended plumber that is too good to be true, research them before accepting. Ask for and check the license number, research the internet for reviews and make sure they are the real deal with ASIC.
Good plumbers will also only use products with the WaterMark certification scheme to ensure quality, long lasting materials in your home.
The trade price and warranty that plumbers can get with their materials are far more beneficial than the cheap Aldi tap you’ve been able to score, so think twice before going out and purchasing your materials.
Emergency vs non-emergency
In the case of the situation we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the elderly lady in question panicked because a tap washer was leaking.
We will always determine the urgency of the job over the phone before taking action, and always give options so that you can make the best decision for your job and your wallet.