Plumber billing question

SnailLoverSeptember 27, 2013

Just had a plumber here to fix the toilet. The fill tube broke off the overflow tube, and the whole valve needed to be replaced. He said it was an older style that he didn't have in his van, so he had to run out and get it. He was gone about an hour and then came back and did the job in 1/2 hour. He charged me for the whole 2 hours at $65/hr and $35 for parts.

Is it typical for a plumber to charge the customer for time spent to run out and get parts he doesn't have on hand?

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klem1

$65 per hour? Forgetaboutit,normaly it would be $95 per hour + a trip charge + parts

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 11:39AM
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SnidelyWhiplash

Around here it's $100-$130 for a plumber to walk in the door. The first 45 minutes are included in that charge.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, it's normal. And that's why you should have added another $50 and just bought a whole new toilet if it was so old as to not have readily available parts. Or DIYed the job. That's a truly simple fix.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 5:31PM
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SnailLover

Thanks klem1 and snidely for your replies.

Holly, relax and try to have a better day.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 6:33PM
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snoonyb

" hollysprings" Calm yourself, having more money than good sense pays for my new truck, tools, vacations, hunting and fishing trips.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 10:55PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

There are lots of people who don't have the time, knowledge or interest and do have the money to pay someone else to do tradesman-type jobs. I'm one of them.

Snoonyb, let us know your business name and location, we can make sure no one with good sense bothers you.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 1:46AM
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bus_driver

Back to the original question, no truck exists of sufficient size to hold everything that could possibly be required to repair anything that might be encountered for repair of existing plumbing. And the cost of such inventory would be quite high. Going to get the required parts involves travel expense, not just the time of a person.
I don't think your plumber was gouging.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 7:41AM
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SnailLover

Thank you, bus driver, that's all I wanted to know. I tried to fix the tube myself but the goop didn't hold. I do have the good sense to know when I'm in over my head. As far as replacing the toilet, I plan to when I remodel the bathroom.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 11:02AM
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bus_driver

And remember that a flush beats a full house.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:29AM
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jcalhoun

If it were a difficult job he probably would have charged more.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 4:07AM
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opendoor3333

I have a billing question of my own--a plumber just charged me $375 to replace a pressure reducing valve on the delivery pipe to my house. Of course, that total overrode the $130 he charged just to make the house call. Originally I had wanted him just to detect what appeared to be a small leak in a pipe in the crawlspace. He couldn't find a problem, but suggested a previous plumber, who replaced the delivery pipe, should have automatically replaced the PRV at the same time. Is this normal?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:19AM
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zl700

I went in for my 6 month cleaning at the dentist and one tooth was cracked resulting in a needed crown for another $800
Is that normal?

Get over it folks, if you can't do it pay a professional to get it done right

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 8:59AM
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SnidelyWhiplash

Your plumber could have probably soldered a cap on your cracked tooth, but the charge may have been more than what you paid your dentist.

Having said that, I agree with you but note there are too many unscrupulous tradesmen and contractors who overcharge whenever they can. I think these questions come from that concern. A "professional" is someone who's paid for what they do, that doesn't insure that the work is done right nor that the price is fair - so people ask around to share experiences.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 1:15PM
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SnailLover

zl700, using your analogy, you have the right to ask your peers and others with more dental knowledge if they think the dentist's charge is reasonable. It would be foolish of anyone to blindly pay for services with no point of reference. Besides, the question was already answered politely upthread, if you bothered to read it. Please grind your ax somewhere else.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 3:03PM
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snoonyb

" snidely"

My charges for the repair would have been $35 plus $8 for the part and I would have repeated that 6 or 7 times a day.
Ethics, integrity allow me to pay cash for, eat, sleep well and have "0" repair call backs in 35yrs.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 7:56PM
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galore2112

>Around here it's $100-$130 for a plumber to walk in the door.

I find that extreme. $130/hour. 40 hours/week, 49 weeks (3 weeks vacation). 1960 hours/year -> $254,800/year in revenue for one plumber ?!

The business owners with a few plumbers as their employees must live like kings.

I would NEVER hire a plumber at that rate for a job that isn't absolutely impossible to DIY.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:01PM
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bus_driver

jrldh: Flawed reasoning.
Many hours there is no customer to serve. Many hours are not "sold". Buying and equipping a truck can cost $65,000 to $100,000. Insurance of several kinds is necessary. License fees. Rent for a business premises. Paying a receptionist/bookeeper/billing clerk.
Some even go broke.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:02AM
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Sophie Wheeler

An actual plumber (not a handyman) charging $100 an hour is lucky to take home 40K a year by the time all of the overhead is taken care of. What do you think your doctor is actually making when he charges you $500 an hour? People understand malpractice insurance and student loans have to be paid for, but they don't think that a plumber has similar overhead for similar reasons. They have insane insurance rates like every other trade. And they are required to keep up with new developments and technology, and thus need to have education expenses in that overhead. Have you priced a new work van recently? Do you know the fuel milage something like an E350 gets?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 11:39AM
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