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BIG Bill

January 12th, 2014 at 06:48 am

We got the plumber bill yesterday...

$305!!!

That is so ridiculous.

The materials cost $5. He charged us $300 in labor.

Which the job should have only taken less than an hour. He just had to replace one elbow in our bathroom. But he soldered the top of it first then when he did the bottom the heat melted the top one and he had to cut it off and start all over again. Which ended up making the job 2 hours.

The second time it took less than 20 minutes probably to do it. But in between he tried other things to see if he could save it before he started over which ate up time.

I dont think we should really be charged for his mistake. But even if he are, is $150 really the going rate per hour? That is crazy! I want to be a plumber, they make more than doctors!

I have talked to a couple people, and they agree it sounds outrageous. Maybe he is price gouging because I am a female? Who knows.

I have the money but I am going back and forth if I should call him and ask him about the bill and see if I can get it lowered, or if I should just suck it up and pay and be done with it.

I dont want to make him an enemy because I may need him again someday, and he works with Father in Law on occasion.

But geez!

What would you do?

9 Responses to “BIG Bill”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    That is a tough one. Mistakes happen, his time is valuable, maybe not $150 an hour, but he still spent that time there and likely not on purpose. If you feel strong enough to make the call, you could at least inquire as to how the bill was figured, how much was labor, how much was parts. It would be clear on what his hourly rate is for future calls.

    You could also ask for a discount. Maybe indicate you don't have the full amount, but would he take $X if you send the check today. I always think bills that don't seem right are worth inquiring about. Worse case, you pay the full amount and decide if he is really worth calling in the future.

  2. Looking Forward Says:

    I agree with CCF - I would call. He might also charge drive time?
    Next time you talk to a contractor you'll know to ask for the rate in advance.

  3. klarose Says:

    I think I will call. the $300 was only for the labor.

    I usually get estimates, but FIL set the appointment up and didnt ask for a estimate because he has worked with him before... Bad idea.

    I think I will just ask how he came up with that number, because it boggles my mind that he would actually make $150 an hour.

  4. starfishy Says:

    wow, $150/hour seems very steep. was he there on a weekend or at night? i think my plumbers are $75, but they charge double on off-hours, which is, of course, when all of my plumbing/heating problems occur. ugh. i would definitely ask for an explanation. maybe the skill he used was specialty or something? is he the only game in town? i would consider calling other plumbers in the area for hourly rates now and then you'll be prepared for future needs. good luck!

  5. the deacon Says:


    Where I live (suburban Chicago), there is a flat fee of $80-90 for the call. Then the bill is in 15 increments. I might ask if the work could be discounted. If not, I'd avoid using him in the future and just opt for someone else.

  6. rob62521 Says:

    Our plumber has an automatic $80 fee just to walk in the door. And I agree with you...better to not tick him off in case you ever need him in an emergency.

  7. PatientSaver Says:

    There are tons of plumbers available. I would talk to him about it and question the charge. I'm a single female and I'm quite sure many contractors have taken advantage of my relative lack of knowledge about a given repair to inflate the price. Look, he should be worried about losing you as a customer. It works both ways. That is a ton of money for a very simple little thing.

  8. Xtreme Thunder Says:

    Depending what the price break down is, it really isn't all that far off, but a little on the higher end, I'd admit. Plumbers usually charge by the hour, no partial hours; 15 mins to do the job, they charge you an hour. Last year we paid $75/ hour for a plumber, but we were 3rd call, meaning it wasn't that much of an emergency and we were 3rd call every day, only if he got through the first or second call of the day. It took him 3 days to get to the house. Emergency calls he said were almost double that. Some charge a usage fee for their equipment, on top of their hourly labor rate, plus any driving time, limited access to the repair area and parts of course. It wouldn't hurt to ask for an itemized receipt and/or question a charge that was their mistake. Indeed, knowing plumbing and electrical work could be a very lucrative side job, but be willing to lay in, crawl in and access repairs that nobody else would want to work in! I know I've thought about it!

  9. klarose Says:

    We had to wait on his list for 3 days with no water, before he came to our house. So it wasnt like an emergency that he dropped everything and had to run to us. He also wasnt in a crawl space, or doing icky work. He was just sitting on our bathroom floor.

    I tried to call him his morning, but no answer. I will try again later.

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