Fair Plumbing Pricing and Practices

What’s fair when it comes to your plumber’s prices? If you’re expecting an hourly rate, it pays to find out just when the clock starts and ends.

If you’re like many consumers, you may not have thought about the fact that your plumbers’ expenses start before they get to your home. Most contractors start charging for their time from the minute they set out for your home. So it makes a lot of sense to choose a plumber near you, or one who has a large fleet of trucks servicing the area. They’ll usually try to send the crew that’s closest to you. That’s why most companies charge a flat service charge and then an hourly rate after that. There may be a minimum charge for an hour of work, even if the project takes only 15 minutes.

Keep in mind, too, that your plumbers have vehicle expenses and overhead, and the parts they may need have probably gone up considerably if it’s many years since you last had work done. So it often happens that what strikes you as “fair” may be quite a bit less than the plumber really must charge to keep his business profitable. But don’t hesitate to ask your contractor to explain his rates. An honorable contractor is always willing to reveal his fee schedule and give you time to compare pricing with other plumbing businesses.

But be aware that comparing only hourly rates can be a poor way to select a plumber. The cheapest rate can be more costly in the long run, if you are hiring an inexperienced person who takes longer to do the repair, or an unreliable person who doesn’t show up at the appointed time. Or even worse, hire someone who does such a poor job that you have to pay to have the job over by someone who knows what they’re doing. A reputable plumber will always endeavor to get the job fixed right. Their reputation and your good will is important to them, so they will be more than willing to guarantee their work and make sure your problem is taken care of right.

With Plumbing Services “You get what you pay for”

It’s almost always true that you get what you pay for – so don’t shop price alone. Put it to a test. Pick a brand name digital camera or other high-tech item and do a search on the model number looking for the cheapest price. Then check the vendor’s reputation here: www.resellerratings.com. Almost without exception, if you want honesty, integrity, quality service, and professional workmanship, you will have to pay for it. After all, it costs the contractor more to do a top job.

When you compare contractors, then, consider the business’ reputation as well as price. You may be far ahead in the long run, even with a contractor who’s rates seem on the high side. How then to select a plumber? Ask your neighbors for their recommendation, or you can ask the contractor for references from two or three of their customers. You can also check with your Better Business Bureau who can tell you if there have been serious complaints against a certain company.

Never, ever, hire someone who comes to your door claiming they’re “in the neighborhood” and there is some problem you and all your neighbors need to have fixed … this, sad-to-say, is a common set-up for scam operators. As with any contractor, make sure the business is established in the area and not some fly-by-night operator.

1-800-PLUMBING® licensees are independent contractors whose policies and rates will vary across the country. While we don’t tell them how to run their businesses, we endeavor to license the best contractor we can find in each area. The reputation of 1-800-PLUMBING is very important to us. If you should have a bad experience with any of our licensees, please contact us (link) and let us know. If there is no 1-800-PLUMBING licensee in your area yet, we’d love to have you refer a plumber who has given you excellent service.

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