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Thread: How do plumbers decide on what to charge?

  1. #16
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoellerpump
    Just curious, what do you guys charge to change out a sump pump? Old pump is in the pit already and you guys have to switch it out with a new pump, what is the average cost?

    $135 for a M53
    $85 for labor to switch out
    $16 for the check valve
    N/C for nylon ties for strapping wire
    N/C for disposal of old one


    $220-$250 installed dictated by time of day/weekend charges


    The one I did yesterday was $210 installed with no check valve replacement BUT I'm set to install a battery back up after christmas on this same job for around $250-$300 labor
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  2. #17

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    The biggest reason I charge no more than what I do is because I'm trying to build a business. Fortunately I don't have calls from people who are distressed and can not pay. Those are very rare for me. Like I said, $50 per hour is the LEAST I'll go for. I have been on a few jobs that I made $150 per hour. Since I have been privy to Roto-Rooter's price list I now have some kind of idea of what to charge for various jobs which is extremely helpful. Just knowing what to charge makes me feel better about charging the going rate. For me, it's prices I'm not used to paying and the kind of money I'm not used to making. I'm exceedingly happy to be able to afford a few nice things now and still only work a couple of days a week on average. Where I moved there are ALOT of new expensive vacation homes going up. I've talked to several of the contractors but so far I've not been able to get any of them to put me to work unless I want to start out at $10-12 per hour... I'm better off working for myself with a job here and there and make in a day what I'd be making in a week working for those guys.... as for the sump pump question (similar to a water heater swap out to me)... depending on how hard it is to get it in and out and whether I have to pick up and deliver the water heater I start at $200 and go up from there... plus the cost of materials with a very small mark up to cover supplies.
    Last edited by Randyj; 12-19-2006 at 12:36 PM.

  3. #18
    Plumbing Contractor srdenny's Avatar
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    Default Change out a pump

    "Just curious, what do you guys charge to change out a sump pump? Old pump is in the pit already and you guys have to switch it out with a new pump, what is the average cost?"
    I just changed out a Zoeller M-98 the other day. Replaced it with a M-137. Old one drowned in mud which got into the sump due to lack of care taken by the owner's contractors. Total bill was $630.00. $380.00 for the pump and $250.00 for 2 hours work: two trips to site, run to pick up pump, electrical box was in difficult to access location.
    Last edited by srdenny; 12-19-2006 at 01:24 PM.

  4. #19

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    That sounds pretty much in the ball game of what a serious pluming company would charge. Smaller guys who usually drop off business cards at the local home town hardware store would probably do it much cheaper. The going rate around town for guys in the repair business runs $60-75 per hour. Big time service companies get $120 per hour and for parts not normally stocked they get $55 add on to go get the parts at the local hardware store.

  5. #20
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Not everybodys hour is the same.
    Some get more done than others in the same hour, so saying you charge by the hour doesn't really say much.

    Some people charge an amount for the first 30 minutes on the job, which to the customer may sound like an "hourly" quote. It's not.
    Almost nothing in plumbing can be done in the first 30 minutes.
    You will wind up paying more than the "come on" price.

    For most of our work, we like to charge by the job.
    That way, no matter who works on your project, you wind up paying the same. It also means if two people show up, there isn't so much math to keep track of.
    There are books that show the average time it should take. Those are nice, a standard of averages.
    Not that everyone has the average job. But many do.

    Some of the things we do in the Seattle area are are very well priced.
    We include in the price, many things that are considered extras.
    One West Seattle shop charges to take away the old toilet. So when the job is done, there's the old toilet setting in your front yard ready to use as a planter. If you want them to take it, you get hit with a nice add on.
    When we do our installs, the toilet winds up in our truck, and off it goes.
    We also include the wax, closet bolts and the supply tube. It's not Extra, Extra, Extra.
    Of course the best part, is being part of a Busines that was nominated for the Better Business Bureau's 2006 Business of the Year Award.


    Love Plumbing & Remodel.
    Also Angie's List Honor Roll every year.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-09-2012 at 10:17 AM.

  6. #21
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default rates

    That puts me right between the run of the mill service guys and the big boys.

  7. #22
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Sump pump charges

    I charge about 300 bucks for a zoeller sump pump installed

    with a check valve....


    Somethiing else I do at every house I go to is plaster my business sticker
    on the WATER HEATER, WATER CONDITIONER, GARBAGE DISPOSAL,
    METER BOX and FURNACE....

    I have been doing this little trick since the late 70s and it pays off very well indeed....

    the HOUSE is my customer cause you dont know how long those
    pesky humans are gong to infest the place before they.
    Die, move, divorce, or simply forget who you are...

    so my birght yellow sticker reminds them who to call.....

    I have probably 200,000 of them out there.

    If you are going to build up your business, go makeup a
    nice eye catching sticker with everything you do on it...

    and a telephone number you plan on keping for a long time..


    got a call back today for a 75 gallon gas heater we installed in 92
    becasue of my sticker...

    the sticker keeps paying for itself over and over...

  8. #23

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    Very glad you guys are on this pricing subject. I'd love to have some type of guidelines just so I can make money and not over price the job. Anyone who is willing to send me any kind of pricing or labor guide PLEASE DO!

  9. #24
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Some get more done than others in the same hour

    I'll be the first to admit......I am slow.


    I've only had 3 callbacks this year......as many connections I make that is good.

    I always double and triple check my work.....it's a given because you don't make money coming back twice.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  10. #25
    DIY Senior Member Cal's Avatar
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    Also depends on your location. I know I've bored you all with this before but here in the Washington D.C. Metro area a customer knows that a good service tech , whatever trade is most likely $120-$200 an hour.

    Again , our cost of living is pretty high !

    We have some BIG BOYS in the area that will charge $150 for a 30 minute service call . NO THANKS , I gotta sleep at night . We do most jobs on a set price, so the customer knows up front . However I am still leary of flat rate pricing ,,,,,,, Around here it is BIG MONEY , but those companies seem to be losing all their customer base.

    I'm starting to do work for children of my customers ,,,,, that feels good.

    Rather have 5 more good customers from a referll then an extra $50 from a flat rate sheet.

    I'm with you Terry ,,,,,,, The BBB is GOOD !

    Cal

  11. #26
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking hell has no fury like a ladies scorn...

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie
    All depends Mark, cause with the plumber who came to my house and plastered them here and there, hot water tank, when he moved the gas line, I used a black marker and covered it all in. In the event something happened to me, I did not want my kids calling this guy back, so he can make a fool out of them, too.

    I saw his truck the other day, in a parking lot, and had wicked thoughts while looking at his tires. His day will come, what goes around comes around. But, any sticker of his is long gone. And, I made a book up for the kids who to call for what...I made a note for them never to call this man.

    well, yours is a special situation...

    I have NEVER had an issue with my stickers.......

    and if ever I did , that tells me VOLUMES about the customer
    and what a problem that are going to be...



    you might want to call the BBB and ANGIES LIST
    just for meanness and spite

    and of course you can tell everyone in a 5 mile radous what a

    butthole he was.....

    file a complaint somewhere...


    call the fellow from a pay booth and make a bogus appointment
    for lots of $$ work to some vacant field 30 miles away....LOL

  12. #27
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you can get a copy of PM magazine, Dec 2006, Volume 24, Number 10, ( I don't see a web address to view it online, although they may have one), read Randall Hilton's article on why the amount that Joe Blow charges may be the wrong amount for your services. It details why you can't just call a competitor to see what his prices are and then charge the same thing.

  13. #28
    Rancher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie
    Let me clean your pipes if you are not happy with my work, and had put his arm around my waist.
    Ya should have told him his pipe wrench wasn't big enough, and wasn't Ridgid the perfered plumber's brand name and why did he have a cheap chinese lookalike.

    Rancher

  14. #29
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Cookie,
    Sorry to hear of your plumber problems in the Mid West.
    We would never want to see anyone treated that way.
    I have a strict policy on how the workers should treat customers.
    The fellow in your town needs to be clued in.

    It's alway poor practice to go into someones home and not be business like.

    The homeowner should always be made to feel safe in their own home.
    The worker needs to get in there, do the work and leave.
    It's that simple.
    Last edited by Terry; 12-20-2006 at 11:09 AM.

  15. #30

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    Well, Terry, I had talked with the people who sued him, and found out that in 3 other occassions he also approached their young daughters, all 18. I asked why on earth they did not do something more than that, and was told they just wanted rid of him and their money back, and he did not hurt the girls just made advances. Wow. Just made advances. Amazes me.

    Now, I refuse to let someone in the house unless I got my neighbor here with me. That's the way it is.

    In all my complaints I mentioned the other law suits, I mentioned the so-called only advances to warn others. They gave their consent, in writing for me to do so, and I did it.

    Plus, I got a really nasty looking Pitbull, who already as learned some of my commands. She is sweet to me, but, alittle testy with others around me. God, I wish he would ring my door bell, lol.
    Last edited by Cookie; 01-07-2007 at 12:08 AM.

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