Feeling Overcharged for sink/faucet install - what do you think?

kellyengSeptember 4, 2011

We just remodeled our laundry room and the last thing to complete was installing the sink and faucet. We built the house four years ago and never had the sink installed however we do have the the copper line stub outs and drain/P-trap.

I already had the sink and faucet ready to go. The plumber said that the copper line stub-outs were too short and he would have to cut into the drywall to give him more room to work - he acted like this was going to be a big deal. He gave me a price, I thought it was high but I think my anxiousness to finish clouded my judgement so I said do it.

The whole thing took him no longer than 2 hours from start to finish. I know he had to do some cutting, sweating, and a P-trap adjustment.

This is the cost breakdown:

Angle stops: $189.18

Sink Install: $316.46

Faucet Install: $316.46

Total: $822.10

In retrospect, I would never have paid that much - at least not before getting a couple of estimates.

I think I'll end up calling the company and ask if there may have been a pricing error but I want to do some research first before I decide how aggressive my approach will be.

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GreenDesigns

Even accounting for a high labor market, $800 is outrageous. $300 would be high for that job where I'm located. If you had posted on the front end, we could have talked you through DIYing. With the rough in already done, it's not a big job at all, even if cutting into drywall had to be done.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 9:00PM
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birdgardner

Doesn't make any sense. Angle stops are about $6 ea. I could see a 100% mark up, but, 1500%? You pay for the plumber's travel time, labor time, and materials. Where I live, they charge 125-150 an hour. Which is why I learned to DIY. Anyway, in my expensive area, which is still less than NYC, say, I would expect to pay no more than $350 for this.

The sink and faucet installs are the same price, maybe a duplication? The invoice ought to have starting and stopping times, and travel times, and a price per hour.

If the company does not give you satisfaction, then report them to your state's Consumer Affairs department.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 10:13PM
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Billl

"He gave me a price, I thought it was high but I think my anxiousness to finish clouded my judgement so I said do it. "

So, you agreed to the price, let him do the work, and now you want to complain to the company? It is completely unfair to negotiate rates after the job is done. If you didn't want to pay that much, you should have shopped around.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 3:27PM
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davidro1

"He gave me a price, I thought it was high but I think my anxiousness to finish clouded my judgement so I said do it. "

I read this as an evasive statement. What was the number he gave you? After I read an answer for this question I will have other questions. I have not written that I agree with any of the previous posts.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:44PM
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aidan_m

The price he quoted you initially was $800, RIGHT?

So what's your problem?

Opening up walls is always an unknown. To get a firm price quote, up front, for a small plumbing job which involves opening up walls is always going to be high.

That being said, any professional plumber had better be using the right tools: hole saws, keyhole saw, etc, not a hammer.

You get what you pay for.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 5:37PM
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kellyeng

OP here.

Turns out there was a $200 discrepancy. Still high but I'm grateful that they had the integrity to admit their mistake.

So yes, I was overcharged and that was my problem.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 8:52PM
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peteinsonj

Here in NJ that would be about right. Where are you located?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:49PM
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master_plumber_mike

As a plumbing contractor that charges by the job and not by the hour, I feel that the plumbing contractor that you called was justified in charging what they did for the work performed. If you did not feel comfortable with the price, you can always pay the dispatch fee or travel charge and get another quote. That is why we give the price prior to any work being performed. I don't have a problem with someone calling to check on the prices after the job is completed. People make mistakes. We check every work order that is turned, in case a mistake was made, and call the customer if there was a mistake. I do have a problem when someone calls and wants the amount reduced after agreeing to a price. Residential plumbing service is a very expensive business to be in. Most people equate what a plumber charges to what they make, which is apples to oranges. Simply the fact of billing, on average, 5 hours in an 8 hour day, due to the fact of lost time between jobs, restocking the vehicles, etc., increases the cost per hour billed dramatically. That is why McDonald's, your florist, most auto repair shops, even your doctors and dentists don't charge by the hour. You pay the equivalent hourly rate of about $200 per hour when you order anything from McDonald's. You don't need a license and continuing education to work at McDonald's. If they charged time and material, they wouldn't sell a cheeseburger. Plumbing service, when performed by a trained, licensed journeyman plumbing technician, is a bargain when compared to the per hour charges you pay for many everyday products and services. Remember, THE PLUMBER PROTECTS THE HEALTH OF THE NATION.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 9:16AM
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jakethewonderdog

Uh... Mike, I don't mind paying people for what they know and paying people a reasonable wage... but let's not overplay it.

To begin with, I'm shocked sometimes by the lack of knowledge of some tradesmen. I can have a quick casual discussion with an HVAC person, for example, and know pretty quickly if they know what they are doing or not-- and often times they don't.

I get the overhead expenses - really-- but too often that's an excuse for inefficient scheduling, bad inventory management, etc.

I understand what you are saying about being billed by the hour at McDonald's and yet McDonald's has been remarkably efficient about trimming costs and providing value for the money - a customer walking away from McDonald's never feels like he/she was just taken to the cleaners.

What's more, there are plenty of opportunities for food-borne illnesses from the farm to the food tray... so as sad as it is, the McDonald's worker "protects the health of the nation" as well.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:49AM
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