When a drain gets clogged, a toilet backs up or a pipe breaks, it’s time to make a call to the plumber—a call many people have come to dread. Naturally they need their problem solved—it’s the bill they could do without. According to HomeAdvisor, the average plumbing service call is about $300, but depending on the severity of the problem and the time and tools it takes to fix it, that cost can easily double or triple. What makes plumbing so expensive?
Admittedly, it’s not cheap to hire a plumber, but his rates aren’t arbitrary. So perhaps a better way to phrase the question would be, “What am I paying for when I hire a plumber?”
You’re Paying for Years of Training and a Diverse Skill Set
Like any other trade, learning to become a plumber costs time and money. After graduating high school or earning a GED, an aspiring plumber must attend a community college or vocational school for approximately four years. The plumber must also serve as an apprentice for 4-5 years at reduced pay before finally becoming licensed as a journeyman, then work another two years before taking the exam to become a master plumber himself. Here in the State of Delaware, the entire process to become a master plumber takes a minimum of seven years. All that time and training, plus any specialty skills the plumber has learned, are incorporated into the rate.
You’re Paying for the Cost of House Calls
By definition, a plumber has to come to where you are—and that means transportation costs. The plumber or plumbing company must pay for fuel, a truck fully stocked with parts, and for the ongoing care and maintenance of that truck. In addition, the plumber must purchase and renew multiple licenses in order to make house calls in his coverage area—a separate license for each town or city, one for each county, and one for the state. Finally, he must carry business insurance, an umbrella policy, auto insurance, and workman's comp insurance, not just to be compliant with the laws, but also for the protection of the homeowners he visits. The plumber’s rate takes all these expenses into account.
You’re Paying for the Required Tools and Equipment
A plumber has to keep a wide range of tools and gear on hand in order to deal with all sorts of problems and issues. Those tools don’t come cheaply to him, not to mention they frequently wear out and must be replaced. Your service fee goes to help offset those costs.
You’re Paying for the Cost of Emergency Service
Many plumbing issues don’t happen during business hours. In emergency situations, the problem must be fixed immediately to prevent further damage. Quite often, a plumber gets an urgent evening call after putting in a full day of work. Plumbing companies sometimes charge a higher premium in those cases to incentivize their plumbers and compensate them fairly for the extra effort. Other companies don’t charge extra for after-hours service, but they do absorb the extra cost in the form of higher rates all around.
Ultimately, your plumber is responsible for protecting the health and safety of your home and family—and these are things upon which we can’t really put a price. Plumbing services may not come cheap, but considering that the plumbers’ quick action could save you thousands of dollars more in costly damage repairs, it’s still money well spent. Budget Rooter goes to great lengths to make sure every project is quoted and billed fairly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Palady, RMP is the President and co-owner of Budget Rooter Plumbing & Drain Cleaning. This family owned plumbing company has been serving their customers for more than 25 years, and makes customer service and quality of work their priority.
Jeff started working in the field at the age of fifteen under the tutelage of his father, who owned a Philadelphia-based plumbing and drain cleaning company. At the age of eighteen, Jeff and his mother decided to open their own shop in their home state of Delaware. For the first few years, Jeff was Budget Rooter’s only field technician, and was often out on calls until late at night while going to school to earn his Master’s License. As Budget Rooter grew, Jeff trained new technicians, researched and purchased the best equipment, and today he manages the operations of the company.
Known for being dedicated to Budget Rooter, Jeff is one of the first to arrive in the morning and is usually the last to leave. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys fishing, modifying his truck, and spending time with his wife and two sons.