Last Updated Oct 12, 2017 · Written by Craig Gibson
A plumber is one of those tradies who are essential to so many aspects of your home. It could be routine maintenance, a major reno project or an emergency that just cannot wait.
But how much will it all cost?
While the price of plumbing does depend on a few factors, such as where you live, it is possible to estimate the cost. This article outlines what you can expect to pay for a plumber, as well as what jobs they can help you with.
A plumber is an integral tradie on any major bathroom reno. © Caroline Springs Splashbacks
Plumbing is integral to every home, so chances are you’ll need to call in a plumber from time to time.
Plumbers carry out a range of tasks including:
Other more specialised plumbing jobs may require your plumber to have additional training and possibly even an additional condition on their licence. These jobs include:
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Changing taps and washers are some of the most common jobs for a plumber. © Shaw Flow Plumbing
In short, yes. Together with other essential trades like builders, electricians and gasfitters; plumbers need to be licensed to advertise their services and carry out any work in your home. This applies countrywide.
It is also worth distinguishing between a licensed plumbing contractor, who are qualified to manage and supervise larger plumbing projects. They will generally supervise plumbers who hold a tradesperson certificate, and their work must be inspected by a plumbing contractor. For most home plumbing jobs a standard plumbing license is all that's required. If you need work on any gas item done, make sure the plumber also has a valid endorsement or licence for gasfitting.
Plumbers are also obliged to provide you with a "compliance certificate". This basically confirms that the work has been done to the required specifications and standards.
You may also come across some plumbers who advertise themselves as Master Plumbers.
Only a licensed plumber can legally carry out any work on the plumbing system in your home
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They are members of a state-based Master Plumbers Association, who have access to the latest industry advice and expertise so they can maintain high standards and deliver a superior service to you. The Master Plumbers' Association of Queensland (MPAQ) for example, cautions against opting for the cheapest quote, “We recommend that you obtain at least three estimates of work to be performed to compare prices. You selection may be based on locality and reputation.”
Should you hire them? They might be better informed than other plumbers, but they have the same licence as other plumbers.
Read: What trades do you need for a bathroom renovation?
Always use a licensed plumber, no matter how small the job. © Hans on Plumbing Services
When it comes time to hire a plumber you need to make sure they are right for your job. Some questions to ask them include:
No matter the size of your plumbing job, always request a fully itemised quote including the cost of all materials used.
#hiptip: Get at least three quotes before you commit to hiring anyone, so you can compare price and level of service
So how much will a plumber cost you?
Plumbers usually charge a call-out fee, which is what you pay to have them visit your property. After that, they are likely to charge by the hour until the job is done.
A call-out fee can cost anything from $60 to $100, with hourly rates anywhere from $100 - $150 depending on the plumber. The fee your plumber charges will depend on where you live and may vary according to the plumber’s skill level. For example, a Master Plumber is likely to charge more for their services. Your plumber may have fixed rates for services such as unblocking drains and installing water systems.
Some plumbers may also offer a 24-hour emergency plumbing service, since many plumbing problems occur outside the 9 to 5 window! The cost of this varies, with some plumbers charging their usual hourly rates, though most will charge extra for call-outs at odd hours.
Depending on where you live, expect to pay in the region of:
Remember to allow extra budget for other work, such as tiling, rendering or painting after your plumbing job is complete.
When comparing quotes, ensure you understand what the quote includes and excludes. Some quotes will include the materials supplied and used, while others won’t.
Sometimes, the plumber may need to carry out more extensive work than was first anticipated. This will usually incur another charge, so be sure to ask your plumber before they begin.
Understand that if you leave the plumber waiting, you are also likely to be charged for that time. Above all, know that the cheapest quote isn’t necessarily the best. So take the time to review each plumber’s quote and choose the one that suits your budget and requirements.
Get a sense how much your project will cost by getting quotes from licensed plumbers where you live. This will enable you to get a sense of what market rates currently are.
* All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.