A question we get often here at Botanical Plumbing is “how much should I be paying a plumber?” Professional plumbers take on a variety of jobs, and there is just as much variety in pricing as well. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know when getting a quote from a plumber.

How much does it cost to run a plumbing company?

First up, let’s look at what factors influence the cost of plumbing services from a business perspective. There are significant overhead costs involved in running a plumbing business, although many people are unaware of this.

  • A regular plumbing van carries around $45k worth of equipment and materials.
  • Minimum insurance coverage for a plumbing company is $10m.
  • A professional plumber has to maintain several licences (contractors, occupational, gas and more) and their renewal fees.

How much does a plumber cost on average?

Different plumbing businesses have different approaches to pricing. Most charge a call-out fee and an hourly rate to cover the duration it takes to finish the job. However, some plumbers also offer flat rate fees. Let’s look at what different components and types of pricing mean.

Hourly rates

The average hourly rate for a professional plumber is $100-150 per hour + GST. However, the exact rate they charge may vary based on the plumber’s experience, quality of work and materials.

Call-out fees

In addition, many plumbers charge a call-out fee that usually covers travel to and from the job, as well as the cost of the first 15-30 minutes of work. At night, on weekends or holidays, most plumbers will charge a higher emergency callout fee.

Flat rate (fixed pricing) vs. do-and-charge

There are two main approaches to pricing for plumbers: do-and-charge (charging for time and materials spent) and flat rate fees.

Flat rate fees are a hotly debated topic in plumbing. A flat rate means that all work is undertaken for a fixed price – even the job takes more or less time or materials than expected. Some plumbing companies have decided to offer flat rate payments as some clients may feel more comfortable knowing the full price upfront.

On the face of it, flat rate fees seem to bring peace of mind – but it’s not quite that simple. Sometimes a job will turn out more complicated than expected, which is a risk the plumber has to take. To cover themselves for this risk, many companies will include a so-called “risk margin” in their flat-rate prices. This is why flat-rate prices may, in reality, end up costing more than an hourly rate.

Vice versa, with do-and-charge the customer takes the risk, but only pays for work that is actually carried out.

Our pricing approach

So, which one should you go with – flat rates fees or hourly rates? At the end of the day, it’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with. However, we encourage you to do your research, so you know what you’re paying for.

At Botanical Plumbing, we understand our clients might prefer one way of pricing or another. That’s why we’re happy to offer pricing under either arrangement.

  • We provide fixed prices for any small jobs – this is where we take the risk, but you’ll know exactly how much it will cost at the end.
  • Alternatively, we can charge per hour – this is where we do the work and charge for time and materials spent. As the customer, you take the risk, but you’ll only pay for work done.

Watch out for pricing traps

As in any trade or industry, there may be the odd person out there trying to take advantage of others. If someone is offering incredibly low prices, there’s usually a reason for it. It’s best to do your research and know what things to look out for.

  • Some companies advertise “no call-out fees”, but be wary, because they’ll typically have a much higher hourly rate or minimum charge.
  • Some companies have an extremely low call-out fee (<$50) but will not discuss pricing over the phone – they’re just trying to get their foot in the door with you.

Questions you should be asking when hiring a plumber

“How much does a plumber cost” is a relevant question to be asking yourself. Not only to know how much you’ll be spending but also to know what will be included and what quality of work to expect.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when hiring a plumber:

  • Are they licensed (what is their QBCC licence number)?
  • Are they covered by insurance?
  • Do they charge a call-out fee?
  • Do quotes include materials?

We hope this article has helped clarify how much you should be paying for a plumber. Are you looking for a transparent quote for plumbing work? At Botanical Plumbing, we take pride in our quality workmanship and honesty. Contact our team today to find out more about our plumbing services.