Why Are Plumbers So Expensive? (The Answer May Surprise You)

Have you ever wondered why are plumbers so expensive? Read further, the answer may surprise you.

If you have a plumbing problem, then you’ll want to hire a professional. You need someone who you can trust and also someone who is going to get the job done right.


On the flip side, you also want someone who isn’t going to rip you off. The main thing that you need to remember is that if you are in need of plumbing service, you will be in a vulnerable position.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a burst pipe, a burnt-out water heater, or even sludge backing up your shower because you won’t have a ton of leverage when it comes to cost. You can’t do a comparison shop when you have an emergency on your hands and to make things even worse, sometimes a cheap price feels expensive.

Why are Plumbers so Expensive?


A lot of people think that plumbers are expensive and when you are in a vulnerable position, you may feel as though you are unable to argue. That being said, it is vital to know that there are various reasons why plumbers tend to be expensive and when you take them into account, you will soon see that the price you often get quoted, isn’t so much after all.

Plumbers are Always on the Clock

Most calls for a plumber happen during the evening, or at the weekend. While it might seem somewhat unfair to base the price of a service on the time of day, that’s the nature of the supply and demand industry.

Plumbers often have to take calls in the middle of the night, and they have to be in and out of their house on a moment’s notice. Some plumbers will charge you a flat rate depending on the time of day they have to come out, so keep that in mind if you frequently have plumbing issues.

Plumbing Requires Parts

Unless you are calling a plumber to unclog a drain, there’s a high chance that your plumber will need some tools to fix your problem.

This can include fittings, pipes, putty, a set of valves, and more. All of this needs to be factored into your bill.

Experience and Expertise

Plumbing requires technical knowledge, practice, and more. Sure, expenses could be cut, but that would mean that companies need to hire plumbers who have less knowledge.

This isn’t what you want. After all, you want the most skilled technicians coming to your home, and you want professionals who are going to treat your property as if it is their own.


Plumbers often have to go through years and years of training and they also need to undertake licensing exams too. This will teach them the safest way to sort your water heater without putting your family’s safety at risk.

If the cost of hiring a plumber was reduced, then you wouldn’t be able to guarantee that the handyman that is coming to fix your issue is licensed or qualified for the job.

Insurance is Expensive

You don’t want anyone in your property without knowing that they are covered with a good insurance policy. A lot of people would be shocked if they knew how much it costs a business to take out a good policy.

Sure, you could save money by hiring someone who doesn’t have a good level of insurance but if something was to go wrong then you would have a much bigger issue on your hands.

Average Plumbing Costs

The cost of hiring a plumber can range from $175 to $400 for a typical job.

The average cost per hour can range from $45 to $200. This can include jobs such as repairing your faucet, sink, or even bathtub.

Plumbers can charge a flat rate or they can charge a service fee. A service fee tends to be around the $300 mark.

Ultimately, it’s important to understand that the price you pay will depend on the parts you need to complete the job and the amount of labor that is required. The prices you encounter in a larger city will be much higher when compared to a small town.

Cheap Plumbing Jobs

You may be in a state of shock by seeing the numbers above, but it is vital to know that a lot of plumbing services are reasonably priced. A lot of issues are easily resolved, and this means that they will not require hours and hours of labor.

Some of the cheapest issues include unclogging a drain at $200 and fixing a leaking pipe which ranges from $150-$350. New faucets can cost you $150-$350 and the average price for you to get a plumbing inspection done would be $165.

The most expensive plumbing services tend to relate to the installation of big appliances. If you were to have a sewer main installation done, then this would be around $3000.

A shower unit costs $1,200 to $5,500 and if you were to get a bath replaced then this would be between $1000 and $5,500.

Plumbing Costs per Hour

If you want to find out about the plumbing costs per hour, then take a look below.

Apprentice or Handyman

A plumber apprentice is someone who is at the very start of their plumbing career. They do not have the experience to match a journeyman or even a master plumber but they can charge less as they do not need to have a license.

There is a slight risk involved when you hire someone like this. Apprentices, or general handyman charge between $20 and $40 per hour.

If you have a basic task that needs to be done, whether it is unclogging a drain or even stopping a water leak then you can hire an apprentice or even a general handyman to take care of that for you.

Journeyman Plumber

Someone who has a journeyman license will have way more knowledge and experience when compared to an apprentice. A lot of professional plumbers will fall into this category.

You should expect to pay between $45 and $90 for a journeyman plumber, per hour. Plumbers with this level of experience can handle everything apart from the most complex plumbing jobs.

They can install new fixtures, try and figure out why your tankless water heater is not working and they can even put in a new toilet for you.

Master Plumber

Master plumbers tend to have a very high level of education and they also have a lot of experience. This means that they can put up the highest hourly rates.

They are often in a supervisory or an owner role.

A master plumber will charge between $70 and $130 per hour for labor. They will usually be worth this price if you have a very large or complex project.

Common Fees

Most jobs are so common that your plumber will estimate the cost of parts and labor ahead of time. This means that they can set a flat fee.

Jobs like unclogging a toilet or even fixing a faucet can be done with ease and usually come with a flat rate. That being said, there are some jobs which cannot be predicted as easily, and they can affect the fees that a plumber charges.

Factors that are Beyond a Plumber’s Control

Factors that are really beyond a plumber’s control can have a huge impact on the final cost.

Things like outdated piping need to be replaced during the installation due to the condition or even having to connect an old pipe with much more modern materials. Issues like this can increase the parts and the labor cost very quickly.


Another factor that can have a huge impact on the overall hourly rate is how much the plumber needs to pay in union dues. Higher dues tend to equate to a much higher work fee.

As a result, 25% of the hourly cost may be covering the fees if you know that your plumber is a member.

A third factor is a call out fee. Due to travel, there may be a base fee of $50 to $300.

This will cover the cost of gas, equipment, vehicle maintenance, and more. This will be included in the flat rate but there may be an additional fee if you know that your plumber is going to need to travel a long distance.

Lastly, emergency calls where you need the plumber to come in after-hours or even at the weekend can also result in higher fees. At the end of the day, most plumbers do not overcharge.

When you take all of the above into consideration, it’s very easy to see where your money is going, and it is also easy to see how hard they work as professionals. If you want to make sure that the plumber you are hiring is a professional, then make sure that you do your research.

If you want to avoid that then contact us today to get the best service and at the lowest price. You can contact us here to get a free quote.

If you can think of more reasons why are plumbers so expensive, let us know in the comment section.