Plumber material costs?

jagermeisterFebruary 1, 2012

I hired a plumber to do the plumbing for my master bath remodel. We did a time + materials contract with a 'not to exceed' clause and the final cost ended up being more than the 'not to exceed' amount, but per the contract, the plumber only charged me for the 'not to exceed' amount.

The cost still seemed pretty high so I asked to see the materials list, which he provided. The materials seemed to be priced exorbitantly high. Are large mark ups on materials the norm in the industry? For example, some unit costs:

1.5" pvc 90 - $7.00

2.0" pvc 'Y' - $11.00

2.0" pvc 90 - $6.00

3.5' 1.5" pvc - $10.50

1/2" copper 90 - $5.00

I've done a lot of work with pvc plumbing aquarium systems so I know the cost of it is no where near the plumbers listed cost. There was also PEX and copper used in the project but I'm unfamiliar with what those pieces should cost.

Any insight into this would be helpful. Did my plumber pad the material costs to max out the contract?

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Did you supply the materials?

Did you pick up and deliver the materials?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 9:41AM
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For the TOTAL cost of materials, if those dollars were converted to hours of labor, how much labor time would that buy?

For the parts listed, $39.50 is the total cost. That's about a little bit less than half an hour labor.

If you had supplied ALL the parts yourself, so the contract was supposed to be for LABOR ONLY, but somehow you missed those 5 parts, the plumber would have spent much more than a half hour picking up the parts. And he would have charged you for the materials and the time to get them.

How much labor did the plumber itemize for getting the parts? Would you be willing to pay him his hourly rate for getting parts? Would you pay him by the hour to go BACK to the store for more parts he forget the first time around?

I don't think so.

Materials are expensive, and time consuming to procure. You can't do a job without them. You should already know this, because you claim to have experience.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 11:25AM
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The job was done correctly and you paid the price you agreed to pay..what is the problem?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 1:11PM
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ok. I realize there's a markup on materials for time and labor involved in procuring the materials, however, in the industry I'm familiar with (heavy civil) mark up on materials is generally 10%. That's why I was asking here as I have no experience in residential plumbing and thought that the 200-300% markup seemed steep. But, if that's the norm, then that's the norm.

The total materials cost between pvc, pex, and copper came to $500. I was just listing some examples off the parts list. So now, if there's about $150 retail worth of parts, that's a $350 markup, and the time from when the plumber left the house, went to Home Depot or where ever, and returned was 45 minutes, then yes, I'd much rather pay him his hourly rate to run to Home Depot to get extra parts that I may have forgotten to procure.

There's no doubt that there are different mark ups on materials for different industries, and like I said, I'm unfamiliar with residential plumbing and what I paid is so far off of the 10% I'm used to, so that's why I asked. As long as it's in line with industry standards, I'm fine with it.

Also, the plumber said it was an easy job, between $750 to $950. Of course, I was hoping for $750 and asked if he would do a 'not to exceed' contract of $950, which he did. I was just a little suspicious that the contract was maxed, again why I was asking here. I may be doing projects in the future and just wanted to make sure these numbers were legit so I'll feel comfortable asking the same outfit back if the need arises.

Thanks for your replies.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 5:52PM
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