How Much Does Plumber Cost in 2021? 55 Statistics & Facts

It doesn’t matter how handy we are - there are some jobs for which we simply need to call in the experts. And when it comes to high consequence home maintenance in the case of plumbing, professional plumbers are indispensable.

From small jobs such as faucet installation to the diagnosis and repair of leaky pipes, a small misstep in your plumbing can leave spirits, and whole homes, seriously dampened.

And if you have downstairs neighbors, you can be sure they'll be grateful for a professional job on your plumbing, too!

Professional plumbers don’t come cheap. You’re paying for years of training, high quality craftsmanship and often a guarantee on work done for if things do go wrong.

And whilst professional plumbing can be expensive, it’s worth every cent for the peace of mind you get in your pipes.

For many people, calling out a plumber comes with anxiety - how much is it going to cost, and how do you know you’re not getting ripped off?

So here’s everything you need to know about plumbing costs - including the kitchen sink!

Pipe Dreams: Plumber Cost Stats & Facts 2021

The only way to get the best deal on your professional plumbing work is to know the cost and value of the task at hand. Here’s everything you should know about the cost of a plumber in 2021.

Plumbing Hourly Costs

For unusual demands or bespoke contracted work, plumbers can be hired by the hour. Hourly rates vary considerably across plumbers, so let’s take a look at how much you can expect to pay.

  • The hourly rate of master plumbers: cost between $75 and $125
  • Apprentice plumbers come at a discount: earn around $14 per hour
  • But an apprentice plumber is usually employed by a master, and won’t be paid directly for work by whoever has commissioned the work.
  • And journeyman plumbers: those who aren’t yet masters but have completed an apprenticeship - earn around $24 an hour
  • Residential plumbers: average $70 an hour whilst commercial plumbers average a higher rate of $80 per hour

Plumbing Flat Rate Costs

For common plumbing problems, many plumbers offer a flat rate, fixed cost for repair. This benefits plumbers because they don’t have to generate bespoke quotes for similar recurring problems, and customers benefit from the peace of mind of a fixed fee.

  • Cost of clogged drainpipe: ranges from $75 to $250
  • Cost for leaky pipe: can be fixed for between $150 and $700
  • This wide range accounts for the varying complexity of your plumbing system.
  • Cost of Toilet repairs: range from $150 to $300
  • Cost of unclogging a garbage disposal: ranges between $160 and $685
  • Cost of Water mains repair: comes in at a hefty $400 to $2,000. Usually, more than one apartment will share the cost of these works.
  • Septic tank repair cost: can be as little as $300, but as much as $2,500 for bigger jobs
  • Well pump repair cost: can range from $350 to $1,350
  • Off-grid living can be expensive when it comes to plumbing repairs!
  • Boiler repairs for your home water system: range between $250 to $800
  • Across the board, the average repair ranges from $125 to $450.
  • Comparing flat rate repair costs will help you find the best deal amongst your local plumbers.

Plumbing Emergency Plumbing Costs And Additional Fees

Sprung a leak? Things don’t always go to plan, and when it’s raining cats and dogs indoors, it’s time to call the emergency plumber! This is when things get expensive, and these surprise costs can sink even the most liquid amongst us. Here’s everything you need to know about emergency plumbing costs!

  • For weekends and emergency call-outs, most plumbers charge either double or triple time.
  • That means the hourly rate can increase to over $300! Schedule work for weekdays to keep costs down.
  • Even weekday evenings command an increased fee - usually, plumbers charge time and a half for weekday evening callouts.
  • Many plumbers charge for travel beyond a certain radius - typically ten miles.
  • If a plumber needs to travel further, or go out for spare parts whilst on a job, they’ll typically charge $1-2 per mile.
  • You may also need a plumbing permit for some tasks in certain districts. This can cost between $30 and $50.

Plumbing The Law of Averages

Let’s start with the average cost of a plumber. These ballpark figures should act as a guide for how much you’ll be paying the plumber.

  • The average cost of a low-end plumber is $125.
  • The average mid-range job will cost around $280.
  • For bigger jobs, the average cost is $350.
  • Small jobs can include the repair of individual fixtures, such as faucets or toilets.
  • These small jobs can cost as little as $75 from a reputable plumber.
  • Big jobs such as bathroom fittings and major repairs can cost between $350 and $800.
  • The average hourly rate of a plumber range is $100 an hour.
  • Hourly rates tend to range from $45 to $150 for top-end plumbers.
  • And most plumbers have a flat-rate call-out fee on top of their hourly rate.
  • Call-out fees range from $50 to $200, with the average being around $100.
  • The total cost of your plumber? The call-out fee, plus the hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours the plumber worked.
  • And then you’ll be paying for parts on top of that. No wonder it adds up!

Plumbing Cost of Fixtures

Sometimes it’s hard to predict how much a plumber will cost, such as in the case of repairs where a diagnosis of the problem has to occur before any work can begin. But in the case of fixtures, it’s easy to know the total cost before you begin. Here are some average costs of installing fixtures in your home.

  • It’s standard in the plumbing industry to offer fixed costs for the installation of certain fixtures.
  • The average faucet installation will cost between $120 and $300.
  • Whilst a toilet installation will cost around $350.
  • The average cost for installing a sump pump is $1,259.
  • A garbage disposal installation will cost between $600 and $850.
  • Water heater installation will range from $600 to $1,800.
  • Shower installation can cost $1,000 and $8,000 for prefabricated showers.
  • And custom walk-in showers will leave you upward of $3,500 out of pocket!
  • Walk-in tubs can cost between $700 and $3,000 for installation - but often manufacturers will include installation in the price.
  • Water purification systems can be installed for between $750 and $2,675.
  • And replacing pipes in your home can cost between $2,280 and $5,120, on average.
  • Sometimes plumbers will charge a flat fee “fixture rate” for installations as well.
  • That means you’ll save money by hiring one plumber for all your installations.
  • Contemporary fixtures such as smart showers are more expensive to install.
  • Modern fixtures often have bluetooth and wireless capabilities, requiring more electronics expertise and commanding a higher rate.
  • Faucets, showers, and water filters can often be installed with a few household tools - don’t be afraid of DIY!

A DIY Guide

Doing it yourself can be rewarding, not to mention benefiting your wallet. Calling a plumber out for small jobs can result in disproportionate fees, so here are a few things you could try to fix yourself.

  • Clogged drains can often be freed with boiling water or vinegar to dissolve anything stuck.
  • Fixing leaky faucets - often it’s as simple as a turn of a screw.
  • Replacing a showerhead can often be done without any expertise!
  • More challenging tasks such as replacing pipes or repairing white goods are best left to the professionals!
  • Check your building codes to see what you can and can’t do. For example, water heater replacement might require a licensed plumber.

Key Questions About Plumbers

Why Are Plumbers Expensive?

From high call-out fees to costly hourly rates, plumbers don’t come cheap. The cost of a plumber can often catch us off-guard, and even a quick fix can break the bank. But what many people fail to realise is that plumbers are highly skilled and have spent thousands of hours in training to become adept at their craft.

Plumbers typically invest years in learning the trade, working as apprentices before graduating to the status of master plumber. And because plumbers are often responding to emergencies, their rates are often inflated because they’re always on call.

How Do I Find A Cheaper Plumber?

Paying through the nose for your plumber hurts. But whilst avoiding rock bottom prices to ensure you employ a quality tradesperson is important, there are some tips and tricks for finding the best deal on a local plumber.

Small firms, sole traders and mom and pop outfits tend to offer more competitive prices than large-scale plumbing corporations. That’s because corporate plumbers are often working on commission - this inflates their prices as they’re handing part of the fee over to the company they work for.

And whilst you might discover a plumber through their radio or TV ads, avoiding these high-profile outfits can save you a fortune. Prolific advertisement costs money, and that cost is passed on to the customer. Rather, ask family and friends for word-of-mouth recommendations to find a local plumber you can trust.

How Do I Know I Can Trust My Plumber?

Speaking of trust, when it comes to employing a plumber you want to have peace of mind about the work they’re doing. After all, poor quality workmanship can become exceptionally costly as a hidden leak can cause deep-rooted damage.

Whilst word-of-mouth recommendations are invaluable, they shouldn’t be the whole basis for employing a plumber. After all, people often recommend friends or family members who might not do the best job after all. There’s a thriving world of online recommendations offering an objective take on every plumber’s profile!

You should also assess a plumber’s qualifications and insurance - plumbers should be able to prove that they possess all the local licensing. Employing an unlicensed plumber leaves you open to shoddy workmanship.

Do Plumbers Take Cash Or Credit?

When you get the initial quote, ask your plumber how they like to be paid. Many tradespeople prefer to be paid in cash and traditionally this trade has been notorious for tax avoidance. So long as you get a receipt there’s no need for you to inquire about the tax affairs of your plumber, and you can pay cash, credit, or check - whichever they prefer!

Can I Get A Free Estimate from Plumbers?

Gathering a range of quotes allows you to compare the prices of different local plumbers. Many plumbers encourage you to do this and offer free estimates, but for some jobs such as complicated installations or emergency repairs, it might not be impossible due to urgency or the labor-intensive process to give you a free quote.

If a plumber does charge for the preparation of a quote it will be done either hourly or at a flat rate, and usually refunded when the work is undertaken and paid for.

What Should I Know Before Calling Out The Plumber?

Plumbers are specialists and they’ll know your pipes better than you do. When we deal with professional tradespeople, it often feels like we’re not even speaking the same language! Before you call the plumber, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with a few key plumbing terms.

For example, knowing where the stopcock is in your house is crucial. The first thing the plumber will need to do is turn the water off in your home, enabling them to release pipes and faucet fittings. The stopcock is essentially the master key to your whole home’s plumbing - and every homeowner should know where to locate it in case of a leak.

Final Thoughts...

Plumbing is a bit of a dark art. From under-sink tinkering to playing with pipes hidden in our walls it’s often hard to estimate how a plumbing problem will hit our wallets.

Understanding the way plumbers charge can help to alleviate that anxiety and assist in budgeting for plumbing. Combining call-out fees and hourly rates provides a simple calculus for costs, whilst flat-rate for fixtures and repairs remove the guesswork.

And once you understand how mileage and out-of-hours call-outs affect the cost of plumbing repairs, you’ll be on your way to finding a good deal.

Emergency plumbing repairs can be sink or swim for your home but plumbing doesn’t have to break the bank. With these tips and facts, you don’t have to give up on the pipe dream of affordable plumbing.

Sources

  • How Much Does A Plumber Cost? Retrieved from HomeGuide
  • Plumbing Repair Cost Guide. Retrieved from HomeServe
  • 21 Handy Plumbing Statistics We All Need to Know in 2021. Retrieved from ComfyLiving
  • Plumbing Statistics 2019. Retrieved from Statistics Database

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