Plumbing can get expensive – especially in older California homes built before 1970, where the plumbing pipes can be so corroded that a full plumbing re-pipe is necessary, or when the main sewer line needs to be completely replaced or repaired.
Sometimes, an expensive plumbing bill simply can’t be avoided. In this post, you’re going to get some advice on how to ensure you’re getting the best possible price from your plumber, no matter the service!
Why can plumbing be so expensive?
Plumbing has been around for literally thousands of years. There is evidence of extensive urban city planning – including an intricate plumbing and sewage system – as early as 2600 BCE in the Indus River Valley by the Harappan Civilization.
As one of the world’s oldest and arguably most vital professions, plumbing isn’t cheap.
Plumbing is a very specialized job, and the industry is tightly regulated by the state. Plumbing professionals must be licensed before they can open up their own shop or even work on your plumbing problem – you don’t want just anyone poking around inside of those pipes!
Plus, plumbers aren’t going to work for free. Plumbers provide an essential and valuable service, and they deserve to be compensated fairly for their time and expertise.
What are the most expensive plumbing problems?
In plumbing, there are hundreds of different potential problems that each have their own assigned costs associated with them ranging from under $100 to $5,000 and beyond. So, how can you tell whether or not a plumbing job is going to be extensive?
Here are five factors plumbers need to consider when quoting a job:
- Labor: For a plumber to complete a job, it’s going to take a lot of labor. The more complicated the job, the longer it’s going to take. For example, a single-family home with one bathroom will be cheaper than a three-bedroom apartment with multiple bathrooms and high water usage appliances like washing machines or dishwashers.
- Parts: Sometimes, plumbers need to entirely replace certain features in your home’s plumbing system. We don’t usually have control over what our vendors charge us for these parts, so we’re forced to put that cost onto our customers. This simply can’t be avoided.
- Location: Location is everything – even in plumbing! If your home or apartment is located near a major sewer line, electrical line, or anything else important to urban city planning and development, then the job becomes riskier and therefore more expensive.
- Extensiveness: Some plumbing problems are simply more extensive than others. A small leaky faucet might only require a part, some labor, and maybe $50 in total. A full re-pipe of an entire home, on the other hand, can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
- Time: Lastly, plumbers have to take into account how much time a job is going to take. If they have a few jobs lined up in your area, they might have to give priority to the job that will take less time so they can get paid and go home.
Is it rude to ask for a discount from a plumber?
No! It is never rude to ask for a discount. While it is true that some plumbers may take offense to customers who ask for a discount, any professional plumber will know that it’s simply a part of doing business.
Actually, the same can be said for any industry or type of business.
Just like plumbing, haggling has been around for thousands of years and it’s probably not going anywhere any time soon. If your plumber takes offense to you asking for a discount, or whether or not there are any specials/coupons available, then that’s a sign you should run for the hills!
How can I ask for a plumber discount?
Now, let’s get into the best ways you can ask a plumber for a discount on your service. There are many things you need to take into consideration, including the job itself, the plumber’s schedule, and more.
Here are five tips for asking for a plumbing discount:
Step 1: Check the plumber’s website for discounts or coupons.
Any professional, serious plumber will have a website. If you’re looking for a discount, the best place to start is by checking the plumber’s website. Oftentimes, plumbers will have discounts or coupons available on their site, just like we do on our Specials and Deals page.
If your plumber’s website doesn’t have a pricing section, then, first of all, look for a different plumber! You should have a general sense of what they will charge you before they even arrive at your house.
Secondly, make sure you check their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Plumbers will usually post any specials they might be running on those platforms.
Finally, subscribe to their newsletter. Professional companies will send out a newsletter every time they release a new special.
Here at Western Rooter, we even offer a 10% discount just for subscribing to our newsletter – so that’s something to think about right there!
Step 2: Ask the plumber directly if they are running any specials this month.
If you’ve checked the plumber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and newsletters and can’t find any coupons or specials, then you should ask them over the phone or in-person whether or not they’re running specials this month.
Most plumbing companies either have constant specials, or monthly specials.
For example, Western Rooter & Plumbing always offers a free sewer video camera inspection on all sewer line cleaning services, which is a great way to stay on top of your sewer line maintenance.
Step 3: Research the service and price and compare it to another plumber’s quote.
If you’re not sure you’re being quoted correctly, or if you’re simply not happy with the price, research other plumbers in your area.
You can do this by asking friends and family for referrals, or you can even go directly to your local Chamber of Commerce. The chamber is a great resource to find out which businesses are located in your neighborhood as well as what they specialize in.
If you don’t want to talk with your Chamber of Commerce, do a quick Google search for the service you require and ask around at other plumbing companies. Get a few quotes, compare the business’ reviews with other companies, and make your decision that way.
An informed customer is a safe customer!
Step 4: Be upfront about your budget constraints.
Plumbers are people, too! If you have a tight budget constraint and simply cannot go over a certain amount for a job you’re being quoted on, just let your plumber know. A good plumber will suggest alternative services that, while they may not completely fix the problem, will at least temporarily remedy the problem until you can afford to have it completely fixed.
As an example, Western Rooter currently has an account with a popular property management company in Pasadena. A full sewer line replacement was not in their quarterly budget early last year, so instead of being firm on completely replacing their sewer lines, we simply offered alternatives that would keep the sewer lines operational until they could afford to have them fixed next quarter.
And that’s exactly what we did! We kept their sewer lines operational, and the following quarter, we immediately went to work replacing their sewer lines.
This is the kind of collaboration you should expect from your plumber.
Step 5. Call Western Rooter & Plumbing!
Give us a call! Our plumbers are some of the best in Southern California, and they’re always happy to help! Also, we don’t give our plumbers a sales quota, unlike some other larger corporate plumbers. That means, while we are a business and do still need to make money, we would never take advantage of our customers and recommend products or services they simply do not need.
We are always 100% honest and up-front about cost, and if we know that we won’t be able to complete a job with your particular budget restraint, we will never hesitate to refer you to another plumber who will be able to work with your budget.