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rcroane Tue May 02, 2023 1:00 pm

Hi folks,

Any plumbers out there? I recently had an electric water heater installed by an independent plumber. Great reviews and I'm very pleased with the work. Admittedly, I didn't shop the job.

I'm curious how plumbers typically price. their jobs. Is it by the job or parts plus labor? I'm aware that plumbers (like car mechanics) put a markup on parts. When I got the estimate from the plumber, I asked him to share the price of the water heater with me. He said he was providing a total price for the job and I didn't press him on it. I now know the retail price of the heater he installed and based on that, the hourly labor charge would rival some high priced lawyers.

Like I said, I'm happy with the job he did....just trying to get an education. Thanks.

Abscate Tue May 02, 2023 1:34 pm

Water heaters and garbage disposals are gold and can bring in $200 an hour in labor. For certain you are paying that if Iím playing with black water at all

I got a small auger from Harbir fright which paid for itself every week during Covid

Everything priced by job

rcroane Tue May 02, 2023 2:02 pm

Abscate wrote: Water heaters and garbage disposals are gold and can bring in $200 an hour in labor. For certain you are paying that if Iím playing with black water at all

I got a small auger from Harbir fright which paid for itself every week during Covid

Everything priced by job

Thank goodness I can handle a garbage disposal install by myself.

skills@eurocarsplus Tue May 02, 2023 2:12 pm

A good friend of mine is a plumber

typically he has a 'show up rate' of 150 then a hourly rate of 135. so, if he pulls in and fixes something in about an hour it's 150+135+material and taxes

don't forget, he had to drive to the supply house to pick up the water heater (unless they delivered it to the site) so, you're getting charged for that.

the other thing in this post covid world is just getting someone to show up. you're paying a premium for lack of people willing to work.

busdaddy Tue May 02, 2023 2:28 pm

I too have a plumber friend, your job may have been easy, but there's many more that are buried deep in some closet or crawlspace, some of his stories would curl your toes. And you have to have all possible fittings and equipment on board the truck to adapt to systems from multiple eras, how many trips to the hardware store would it take you to handle a surprise curveball?

And Plumbers are in the same club as garbage pickup people, how bad do you want that nastiness gone and how fast?, they can pretty well name their price.

cbeck Tue May 02, 2023 2:34 pm

Not a plumber. 50% or close to on parts mark up. $65 service call. 1 hour minimum at $144. We can do time and materials, or bid the job. If bidding, it will be high enough we won't loose in a worst case scenario. Then there is the go away, we don't want to work on your junk price. And last there is the o hell no, we ain't touching that.
P.S. if it was easy, everybody would do it.

vwracerdave Tue May 02, 2023 3:30 pm

You can look at Lowes or Home depot to see what a water heater cost. He paid wholesale but will sell it to you at retail. As a quick estimate expect to pay about the same in labor as you paid for the heater itself. Instillation will also depend on city building codes. If the old heater is 15-20 years old he may have to upgrade the installation to meet code requirements.


Quick guess 40 gallon water heater $500 (retail price) + $500 labor = $1000

outcaststudios Tue May 02, 2023 5:05 pm

depends on the type of work, but ,regular plumbers charge between $120-300 an hour for stuff like youre describing. i do combustion engineering/consulting for plumbers for industrial furnaces, and the usual rate for that is about $400 an hour. really great engineers will charge $600 an hour. the plumbers who do the piping charge about $350 an hour plus parts,tax etc.

Glenn Tue May 02, 2023 5:27 pm


Cusser Tue May 02, 2023 6:00 pm

I replaced my 50-gallon electric water heater about 2017 (was leaking through its core). I chose Home Depot for the replacement because the relief valve was on the top, and Lowes and Ace Hardware WHs had them on the side, so the HD unit made for an easier installation.

I did the R&R by myself. Just last month I replaced its sacrificial anode, and cleaned out sediment.

Just last week I changed out the anode on my 40-gallon propane-fueled WH at my place up north. For both anodes, I had to se my 1/2" electric impact wrench and 1 1/16" impact socket to loosen the anode. The WH up north is 20 years old (well water, my well) but its anode was in much better shape than the Phoenix one (city water).

I understand that having a plumber install a new WH can be over $1000....

cdennisg Tue May 02, 2023 8:33 pm

Reminds me of the old saying "why are plumbers and lawyers so expensive? Because they're worth it."

Not so sure about lawyers

wheel607 Tue May 02, 2023 9:43 pm

I am lucky, (I GUESS), I change out my own crap, been doing it all my life. Except that now Home Depot and Lowes are the only places you can get Hot Water heaters. And, now you can only get ONE variety, a very small shelf space, with the stores only stocking two or three. I asked the clerk, an older , like myself gentleman why they didnt stock more and he said because NOBODY buys them. They all just call up a service, (plumber) pay $1200 and be done with it. I guess its another thing we have lost.

LAGrunthaner Wed May 03, 2023 2:41 am

I love this.

Glenn wrote:

far rider Wed May 03, 2023 4:03 am

Count on it getting more expensive as fewer people take up the trades in general. Young people would be wise to pursue any of the trades nowadays.

Bonesberg55 Wed May 03, 2023 4:51 am

I have hated plumbing all of my life but I refuse to pay someone else to do it. I'm slow & I usually end up making multiple trips to the hardware store but its a first-class job when done.

Cusser Wed May 03, 2023 6:50 am

wheel607 wrote: I am lucky, (I GUESS), I change out my own crap, been doing it all my life. Except that now Home Depot and Lowes are the only places you can get Hot Water heaters.
Similar in my area, when I needed a WH in 2017. At least then Ace hardware also had them, don't know about nowadays. No True Value near me. So very little choice these days.

jinx758 Wed May 03, 2023 7:01 am

Another saying in the industry :
If you're gonna be a plumber it's best to be on the supply side.

A member of the wife's church had to call one out due to a toilet backing up. 6mos earlier her nephew snaked the utility room & kitchen drain. The true cause was a separated main drain out in the backyard, rather common in Texas cuz of shifting ground.
It took two guys digging for 2days and $1600 after $189 camera probe.
If it was under the slab it could've easily cost $18K.

Plumbing supply houses usually carry a better selection of water heaters & supplies - Hughes & Ferguson are big around here. The counter help is usually first class for questions compared to the attitude encountered at the big box stores.

Hiring a licensed plumber SHOULD ensure resolution of problems, work meeting or exceeding code, & a warranty.

Sometimes hiring "Chuck-in-a-truck" can back fire & price shouldn't be the only consideration.

Best to all ... stay safe

jinx

skills@eurocarsplus Wed May 03, 2023 7:35 am

busdaddy wrote: I too have a plumber friend, your job may have been easy, but there's many more that are buried deep in some closet or crawlspace, some of his stories would curl your toes.

My buddy hates trailers. Calls jobs like that 'shit pay'

He also hates the underground bunker we have here that feeds the whole farm. For lack of a better description, it's basically a concrete septic tank that houses the mechanicals and feeds the house and 4 barns

As someone mentioned above about younger people getting into the trades...

this is older, but still holds true:

https://www.multivu.com/players/English/62136-nati...bd5ce0.pdf

basically, the average age of tradesmen is 55. It's pretty scary to think how schools pulled all of the shop classes and sold kids on the idea that college is the only way....

yet, many who have gone are either buried in debt or hate their desk job. at least in the trades, every day is something new.

Crazy thing is, once my friends got thru their apprenticeship period (we all went to the same tech school, and time served in school was credited towards getting their licenses) these guys were making 60-70k/year.... 20 years ago

Sadly, I was the only fool who took automotive in my circle of friends. I really wish I took HVAC

Abscate Wed May 03, 2023 7:48 am

I enjoy working iron pipe and getting the angles and lengths right so it ends up in the right place. For water, though, PEX is absolutely the way.

chrisflstf Wed May 03, 2023 8:01 am

Tankless water heaters. Way better than tank type



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