Have you ever wondered how there could be such big differences in costs for plumbing services?
Generally, the cost to hire a plumber is broken down into the call-out fee, the labour charge, large equipment costs (eg. Water jetter) and then materials. The labour charge is usually costed in either half-hourly or hourly blocks. The correct pricing for a small maintenance job in Sydney is $50-$90 call-out fee and $90-$140 per hour or part thereof. These two costs will generally balance each other out, for example, if the call-out rate is lower, the labour costs will be higher and vice versa.
Call-out fees are a necessary charge to keep a plumber in business. These fees cover basic administrative and running costs for the business, as well as time and fuel incurred to travel to your property.
Beware of a bargain! If a plumber is not charging you a call-out fee, he or she may not be properly licenced and/or insured to carry out your plumbing job. How does this affect you? If something were to go wrong with the job and the plumber is at fault, you will NOT be able to claim damages against the plumber, AND your house or building insurance will be VOID. Please also refer to the post entitled “Check your plumber’s contractor licence” for more information on unlicensed plumbing contractors.
Another good reason to be wary of tradie bargains is the concern of inferior materials and dodgy workmanship. We have unfortunately come across this all the time at our client’s properties. Inferior materials and poor workmanship can result in damage to your property when the problem gets worse. And who wants to have to pay again to get another plumber out when you have already paid for the problem to be “fixed”?
It pays to pay for quality!
So how do you find a good plumber at the right price?
- For larger jobs, such as renovations, sewer replacements and roofing work, get a minimum of three quotes. Don’t immediately go for the cheapest quote! Do your research. Is the plumber properly licenced and insured? Can you see some examples of his or her work (in the case of kitchen and bathroom renovations)? What materials have they included in the quote? How experienced is the plumber?
- Use someone local and ask around your friends and family for recommendations.
- Beware of companies offering to unblock drains for $99, or companies that are unable to quote over the phone. It is almost guaranteed you will not be happy with the final bill!