When your plumbing starts to act strange, you may dread having to call the plumber to your home.
Not only is it an awkward experience of having a stranger in your home, but you also usually have to pay a high repair bill.
Considering that some plumbing services seem like almost anyone can do them, you may wonder why hiring a plumber can become so expensive.
Like all other trades, you often pay for convenience and expertise when hiring a plumber.
Here are 10 reasons plumbers are so expensive.
Why Are Plumbers So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
There’s a reason you hire plumbers to take care of your plumbing.
You don’t know anything about plumbing.
At most, homeowners know how to clear a clogged drain.
They may even know how to shut off the main water valve.
Everything else associated with plumbing, however, is beyond them.
That’s because it’s not a subject taught during school.
If you want to learn about plumbing, then you need to attend a trade school or educate yourself online.
You can also rip up the floors of your home to understand plumbing on your own.
Most people don’t have the time or inclination to do that.
Instead, they rely on professionals to do the schooling and gain experience on their behalf.
That’s exactly what you pay for when you hire a plumber.
They bring their wealth of knowledge and expertise to every job.
Because your plumbing is an integral part of your home, and life can become miserable when it isn’t working properly, you want to ensure the right person is working on it.
That individual is a plumber.
They’re expensive because they can fix your problem without adding to it.
Another reason plumbers are expensive is that plumbing repairs and replacements often take a lot of time.
No matter what type of payment system they use, plumbers are going to spend some time at your house.
While they’re at your house, they’re unable to make money elsewhere.
To ensure they’re getting the amount of money that they need to make the trip and service worth it, they’ll charge a high rate.
They might have a few services scheduled for the day, but if your particular repair requires a lot of time, then they might end up needing to reschedule the other repairs.
This makes them lose out on money.
To ensure they remain in the green, plumbers charge a high rate.
The longer your particular repair takes, the more expensive the bill is going to be.
Plumbers are expensive if they’re servicing your home for an extended amount of time.
It isn’t only the service that you’re paying for when you hire a plumber.
You’re also paying for the materials they need to fix your plumbing problem.
An example is having your pipes replaced or repaired.
Some homeowners might want the cheapest pipes available.
This will bring down the cost of their plumbing service because it also costs the plumber less money to buy that specific type of material.
However, if a homeowner wants to use the latest material to get the best results out of their plumbing, then they can expect their plumbing service to be expensive.
The plumber has to take on the bulk of the expense of those new pipes on the homeowner’s behalf.
Then the homeowner pays for the materials and the plumber’s labor to install them.
Plumbers buy an assortment of parts and materials that they know will likely see use during a repair.
They buy them beforehand to ensure that they have everything they need to fix the problem at that exact moment.
If they didn’t have the parts on hand, then the homeowner would have to wait even longer for them to solve the problem because the plumber would need to order them and wait for them to arrive at their office.
That’s not convenient and plumbers are aware that the people they’re serving won’t appreciate having to wait a few days or even a few weeks for a part.
In the meantime, the homeowners may be unable to use their plumbing.
To avoid that problem, they buy what they need beforehand to ensure it’s in stock.
That reflects in the cost of hiring a plumber.
It enables them to use the funds to buy more materials to ensure their items remain in stock for the next job.
Plumbers are expensive because you’re paying for their service and the parts they use to fix your plumbing.
4. Payment Model
There are two main ways that a plumber sets their rates.
You can either pay them by the hour or a flat fee.
Both can be expensive, but it’s the plumbers who charge by the hour that can sometimes become extremely expensive.
At first glance, a plumber who charges a flat fee may seem like the more expensive choice.
This might be true depending on the complexity of the job.
If it’s a simple repair, for example, then paying a high flat fee may not seem worth it.
Paying someone who charges by the hour may be a better option if their starting rate is lower than the one who pays a flat fee.
The problem is that plumbing rarely goes according to plan.
Plumbers discover that the problem is usually worse than they originally thought, or while they’re repairing the problem, another problem might arise.
In this case, what started as a simple problem transforms into a complex situation.
If you hired a plumber by the hour, then you might end up paying them far more than you would have if you had hired a plumber who charged a flat rate.
Even worse, if the plumber is unscrupulous, then they might drag their feet a little to extend the time and make you pay more.
The longer the job takes, the more you’ll end up paying.
This might make a simple repair far more expensive than it should be.
Plumbers are expensive based on the type of payment model that they use.
5. Experience Level
There’s no question that when you have a serious repair problem on your hand, you want an experienced plumber to handle it.
Complex problems require complex solutions.
Someone who is just starting in the field may not have the experience they need to come up with that complex solution.
Instead, you need an experienced plumber who can provide you with a series of solutions based on their past experiences.
The problem with hiring an experienced plumber is that they tend to be more expensive than those who are just starting.
Experienced plumbers know that they’re in high demand.
They also know their worth.
They know that you’re more likely to hire someone who specializes in the particular problem you’re facing than someone who has never handled the problem before.
They’re the safest bet.
It’s also why you’ll notice that new plumbers tend to charge slightly lower prices than experienced ones.
They’re in the process of building up their client list and their reputation.
They’re also gaining experience through the jobs.
Because you’re taking a chance on them, new plumbers tend to reward you with discounted prices.
The result is you’re also part of their growth as they learn from the job and make mistakes.
Plumbers are expensive based on their experience level.
Experienced plumbers are more expensive whereas new plumbers are cheaper.
6. Repair Service Or Replace Service
Another factor that can make hiring a plumber expensive or inexpensive is whether you’re seeking a repair service or replacement service.
Repairs tend to be cheaper because they require fewer materials and less labor.
It’s a lot faster and easier to wrap a pipe or remove just one pipe than to replace the entire piping line.
The same goes for a toilet.
It’s easier and cheaper to repair a chain in the toilet’s reservoir than to replace the entire toilet.
At some point, however, all homeowners are going to need to replace some part of their plumbing.
Pipes become old and worn.
They burst and leak water.
When this happens, there’s nothing that the plumber can do but replace the broken pipes.
Replacements are more expensive because it requires more time on the part of the plumber.
It also requires more materials and labor.
A repair may only take an hour or a few hours.
A replacement may take an entire day or a few days.
All the while, the plumber is unable to service other homes.
To make it worth their while, the replacement is going to be more expensive than a repair.
Plumbers are more expensive depending on whether you need a repair or replacement service from them.
The distance between you and the plumber can also impact their pricing.
If you’re on the edge of their service area, then you may face a slightly higher rate than those who are closer.
That’s because the plumber has to spend more time and fuel to reach your location.
To make their lives a little easier, plumbers try and schedule services on an efficient route.
The more efficient their route is, the less costly it is.
If you’re someone who is out of their service area or just on the fringe of it, then you’re costing them more money to come to you.
Since you’re costing them more money, they’re going to charge you more to make up for it.
It’s also going to take more time for them to reach you.
This means they have less time overall.
They may be unable to fit another service into their schedule because of the time it takes to get to your location and leave it.
That will also contribute to how expensive your rate ends up being.
Plumbers are expensive if you live outside of their service area or far away from them.
8. Trade School
Reputable plumbers attend trade school.
This school is similar to college except it’s refined and revolves solely around the profession the student intends to learn.
For plumbing trade school, the students learn everything they need to know to solve problems.
The school puts them through a variety of scenarios and tests them on their practical training and education.
When a plumber leaves the school, they have the education and training they need to start servicing people.
While trade school isn’t as expensive as college, it can be a hefty investment for some people.
They may need to pay off loans for some time.
To offset the cost of trade school, some plumbers fresh out of school will charge a higher amount for their services.
They want to pay back their loans as fast as possible.
Plumbers are also never done with trade school.
As new types of plumbing tools and materials are released, they need to return to school to learn about them.
Because of that, there’s always an existing cost to working as a plumber.
Like doctors or teachers, plumbers must continue their education over the years to ensure they’re able to provide their clients with the best possible services.
This means that they need to make a certain amount of money to allow them to continue their education as time goes by.
That money comes from their rates.
Plumbers are expensive because they need to cover the cost of a trade school.
Those who want to continue providing the best service to their clients will continue to attend trade school long after graduating.
9. Licensing And Certification
When you’re shopping between different plumbers, one of the most important aspects that you should look into is whether they’re licensed and certified.
In many cases, the state in which they’re working requires them to have a license or certification.
This proves that the plumber went through school and received the training they need to provide capable services to their clients.
Without this licensing and certification, it suggests that the plumber may not have gone through trade school.
As such, it’s a risk that the homeowner will need to take if choosing to hire them despite it.
Becoming a licensed and certified plumber isn’t easy.
There’s a lot of paperwork involved that eats up their time.
Often, fees are also associated with it.
Plumbers who do become licensed and certified are more expensive than those who don’t because they’ve gone through a lengthy process.
They know that their services are worth the extra price.
Those who aren’t licensed or certified may offer cheaper prices because they know that they can’t compete with those who are.
Instead, they market themselves for homeowners who are looking for the cheapest rates possible.
The problem is that the service they provide isn’t always the best.
In some cases, the plumber may even leave the homeowner worse off than they were before.
This only further solidifies the high price for licensed and certified plumbers.
They know that most homeowners are willing to pay more for plumbers who have gone through the process of becoming licensed and certified.
Plumbers are expensive if you see that they have a license and certification to operate in your area.
Another important aspect of a plumber which also increases their price is if they have insurance.
An insured plumber is more expensive than an uninsured plumber.
That’s because the plumber has to pay a monthly fee to their insurance company to stay insured.
Being insured means that the plumber has the funds to cover any problems or accidents that might occur while working on your plumbing.
For example, if they slip in some water and injure themselves while in your home, then their insurance will cover their medical costs instead of you.
There are different tiers of insurance just like with private insurance.
Some plumbers pay for the most expensive package to ensure they have coverage for everything.
Others choose the least expensive package to save money.
Their prices will likely differ as a result.
Some plumbers even choose not to pay for insurance at all.
These individuals take on some risk when working on your plumbing.
If they injure themselves, then you may find yourself having to pay for some of their medical treatments.
In most cases, homeowners will choose plumbers who have insurance.
While it costs more to hire them, the peace of mind they receive in return is worth it.
Plumbers are expensive if they take out insurance to cover certain problems.
How To Save Money When Hiring Plumbers
Hiring a plumber is always going to bring on some cost.
Here are a few ways you can make hiring a plumber a little cheaper.
1. Try Basic Plumbing On Your Own
There are a few basic plumbing problems that you can learn and safely do yourself.
Unclogging a drain is relatively easy with the right tool and some guidance from someone who knows how to do it properly.
It can save you a good amount of money if you can handle some basic plumbing problems on your own.
2. Hire Newbies
Although you may feel more confident hiring experienced plumbers, it’s worth it to hire new plumbers for easy jobs.
Even though they’re fresh out of school, they should be able to handle some simple plumbing jobs.
This will save you money and allow them to add to their experience.
3. Hire Flat Rate Plumbers
If you know that your plumbing is going to be a complex job, then you’ll want to hire a plumber who charges at a flat rate.
This way, no matter how long it takes to fix your plumbing, you know exactly how much it’s going to cost you.
Not only does this help you budget for the repair, but it also helps ensure that they’re not taking advantage of you.
Plumbers are expensive because they provide a service that few others can do.
They often have some other costs that add to the overall price of their service.
Learning how to do some basic repairs can help you save money on plumbing costs in the future.