When something goes wrong with your plumbing it could cost you more to fix it yourself. You could probably manage changing a washer on a leaking tap or unblocking your pipes with a chemical cleaner, but more complicated tasks such as replacing a toilet flush or fixing a leaking pipe will probably need the attention of a qualified plumber. If you have the DIY skills, you might fancy your chances but remember that there is a chance that you could create a bigger leak or even airlock your system.
Plumber's charge more in London and the Home Counties, rates are considerably lower as you move away from the capital. HaMuch members all display their rates so by searching your postcode/town you will see a list of plumbing businesses with their hour and day rates along with their contact details, locations, qualifications. Generally small businesses with less overheads (office staff to answer your calls, more business insurance, fleets of vehicles and clothing etc) will be cheaper. Other factors affecting prices would be how busy good plumbers are. Getting an excellent plumber for the right price while avoiding additional cost due to poor workmanship or cheap substandard materials is a challenge every homeowner faces sooner or later. It helps a lot if you communicate clearly what you want and treat your plumber respectfully (they have mortgages, families and bills to pay too). If you get on with the plumber you hire then you are more likely to avoid disagreements and have their ongoing support (paid for) in the future should a problem occur.
Plumbers undertake training, worked hard to build their business and take pride in what they do and so they are generally very professional and honest. What often leads to arguments is when unexpected problems and costs occur. To avoid these disruptive disagreements both the homeowner and plumber should communicate before, during and at the end of a project so everyone understands what the expectations are, what is happening and what the outcome is. If at some stage something unexpected appears then together and calmly a plan of how to proceed (including additional costs if relevant) can be agreed without tearing each other’s heads off and everyone feeling hard done by.
Paying Cash - there used to be a big culture of paying cash to plumbers to avoid taxes/VAT etc and generally not receiving an invoice in return. Apart from being illegal it also leads to arguments and lack of on-going service. If you want honest people in your home then don’t encourage them to be dishonest.
VAT - Many plumbers are VAT registered because all the materials they buy/sell quickly take them over the VAT threshold so normally you will be charged 20% VAT on top of the bill - check whether your quotes include this as it makes a big difference.
Materials Mark-Up - we can all google the cost of everything nowadays but the lowest price isn’t necessarily what your plumbing company will be paying. They cannot spend days shopping on different websites if they are concentrating on working to get your heating working quickly. When they arrange, collect and sometimes even return materials it costs time and money so it is natural that they build in a margin to cover this. If you want to organise buying expensive items yourself to save not paying a Mark-Up then many plumbers will work with you as long as you allow them to earn a fair income overall.
Payment schedule - is made up of 3 stages; deposit, stage completion payments and final completion payment. It is important that the expected amounts, timing and conditions for payment are written down and agreed by signature so you and your plumber know what to expect and arguments are avoided.
Deposit - It is fair to pay a deposit to cover materials which is often 20% but if you are getting a £5,000 bathroon fitted then the suite and accessories could easily cost 50% of the job and you may be asked for a bigger deposit.
Stage completion payments - this should be simple as long as you have a written agreement, stick to the schedule and your heating engineer should be happy.
Completion payment - the amount held back for completion should be significant so that it is worthwhile the tradesperson enduring any snagging process where together you look at any details of the job which require completing prior to the final payment.
Extra Costs - Even with the best laid plans and years of experience extra labour or materials can be required on top of those budgeted for. The potential for argument would be where the labour or materials is not perceived as ‘Extra’. Try to both be fair and if these extras were not agreed then often it is appropriate to have a discussion about what is an additional fair cost – however this should not be an opportunity to charge excessively.
Plumbers often also work as heating engineers so they get busy when the cold weather starts, in the UK that’s usually after the first cold weekend in October, and they stay busy until the Easter holidays (i.e. early April) when most people stop relying on central heating. If you know that you have a problem or a project then it will be calmer and possibly cheaper if you plan it to happen between April and September.
If you have had a plumbing company work for you and you paid them fairly then they will usually make an effort to get to you quickly.
Make sure you agree what you expect the guarantee to be and how long for. If you are getting a mechanical items such as valves then different manufacturers offer different duration and terms and conditions of guarantee.
There are different qualifications and associations plumbers can have or be members of, so best to ask and satisfy yourself that they are suitable for your job.
Some tradespeople have ratings on their profile page or you can ask your selected heating engineer for past customer’s contact numbers and speak to them directly about their experience.
All tradespeople working in your home, including plumbers, need to be covered by Public Liability Insurance which covers everything from a personal injury claim to damage to your property i.e. if your tradesman breaks something in your house or has an accident, the insurance company will pay for it. Your tradesman should either have their own policy or one from their employer which covers them – ask to see a copy. The amount varies from £1 to £2 million.
If you are installing a new bath room or kitchen then most likely you (the home owner) will have selected the large visible items such as baths, sinks or even shower heads. Once you move away from the these visible products the hidden products such as shower mixer valves, pipework etc then the tradesperson is more likely to be guiding or outright making the decisions. There will be cost and installation time differences for different systems eg for pipes; plastic push-fit, metal press-fit or solded copper pipes and if you do not discuss your preference then you may end up with the cheapest and easiest which possibly may not be ideal for you a couple of years later. Ask your heating engineer what the benefits are of each system and then decide whether you want to pay extra, this way even if you pick the cheapest option at least you know what you are getting.
|Location in UK||Hourly Rate||Daily Rate|
|London||£53 per hour||£276 per day|
|Birmingham||£39 per hour||£235 per day|
|Leeds||£35 per hour||£216 per day|
|Glasgow||£38 per hour||£252 per day|
|Sheffield||£33 per hour||£220 per day|
|Bradford||£34 per hour||£221 per day|
|Liverpool||£35 per hour||£220 per day|
|Edinburgh||£38 per hour||£254 per day|
|Manchester||£36 per hour||£224 per day|
|Bristol||£38 per hour||£246 per day|
|Kirklees||£33 per hour||£219 per day|
|Fife||£38 per hour||£261 per day|
|Wirral||£34 per hour||£213 per day|
|North Lanarkshire||£39 per hour||£261 per day|
|Wakefield||£34 per hour||£222 per day|
|Cardiff||£33 per hour||£216 per day|
|Dudley||£39 per hour||£235 per day|
|Wigan||£38 per hour||£230 per day|
|East Riding||£32 per hour||£207 per day|
|South Lanarkshire||£37 per hour||£262 per day|
|Coventry||£37 per hour||£230 per day|
|Belfast||£30 per hour||£188 per day|
|Leicester||£37 per hour||£228 per day|
|Sunderland||£38 per hour||£239 per day|
|Sandwell||£39 per hour||£234 per day|
|Doncaster||£33 per hour||£223 per day|
|Stockport||£36 per hour||£225 per day|
|Sefton||£35 per hour||£220 per day|
|Nottingham||£37 per hour||£230 per day|
|Newcastle-upon-Tyne||£38 per hour||£239 per day|
|Kingston-upon-Hull||£32 per hour||£207 per day|
|Bolton||£44 per hour||£234 per day|
|Walsall||£37 per hour||£229 per day|
|Plymouth||£30 per hour||£231 per day|
|Rotherham||£33 per hour||£219 per day|
|Stoke-on-Trent||£36 per hour||£221 per day|
|Wolverhampton||£38 per hour||£229 per day|
|Rhondda, Cynon, Taff||£33 per hour||£200 per day|
|South Gloucestershire||£38 per hour||£250 per day|
|Derby||£36 per hour||£233 per day|
|Swansea||£33 per hour||£206 per day|
|Salford||£36 per hour||£225 per day|
|Aberdeenshire||£34 per hour||£248 per day|
|Barnsley||£33 per hour||£218 per day|
|Tameside||£36 per hour||£224 per day|
|Oldham||£36 per hour||£231 per day|
|Trafford||£37 per hour||£229 per day|
|Aberdeen||£35 per hour||£252 per day|
|Southampton||£42 per hour||£249 per day|
|Highland||£38 per hour||£307 per day|
|Rochdale||£36 per hour||£233 per day|
|Solihull||£39 per hour||£232 per day|
|Gateshead||£38 per hour||£238 per day|
|Milton Keynes||£45 per hour||£260 per day|
|North Tyneside||£38 per hour||£236 per day|
|Calderdale||£32 per hour||£212 per day|
|Northampton||£45 per hour||£246 per day|
|Portsmouth||£41 per hour||£240 per day|
|Warrington||£37 per hour||£228 per day|
|North Somerset||£38 per hour||£240 per day|
|Bury||£44 per hour||£233 per day|
|Luton||£49 per hour||£271 per day|
|St Helens||£36 per hour||£222 per day|
|Stockton-on-Tees||£36 per hour||£233 per day|
|Renfrewshire||£38 per hour||£244 per day|
|York||£32 per hour||£216 per day|
|Thamesdown||£44 per hour||£282 per day|
|Southend-on-Sea||£44 per hour||£249 per day|
|New Forest||£43 per hour||£262 per day|
|Caerphilly||£33 per hour||£211 per day|
|Carmarthenshire||£27 per hour||£182 per day|
|Bath & North East Somerset||£39 per hour||£251 per day|
|Wycombe||£51 per hour||£283 per day|
|Basildon||£44 per hour||£251 per day|
|Bournemouth||£42 per hour||£271 per day|
|Peterborough||£37 per hour||£248 per day|
|North East Lincolnshire||£35 per hour||£232 per day|
|Chelmsford||£43 per hour||£253 per day|
|Brighton||£46 per hour||£271 per day|
|South Tyneside||£38 per hour||£238 per day|
|Charnwood||£37 per hour||£219 per day|
|Aylesbury Vale||£45 per hour||£265 per day|
|Colchester||£42 per hour||£242 per day|
|Knowsley||£35 per hour||£220 per day|
|North Lincolnshire||£34 per hour||£224 per day|
|Huntingdonshire||£39 per hour||£261 per day|
|Macclesfield||£33 per hour||£221 per day|
|Blackpool||£31 per hour||£221 per day|
|West Lothian||£39 per hour||£274 per day|
|South Somerset||£32 per hour||£249 per day|
|Dundee||£39 per hour||£244 per day|
|Basingstoke & Deane||£50 per hour||£262 per day|
|Harrogate||£35 per hour||£224 per day|
|Dumfries & Galloway||£29 per hour||£220 per day|
|Middlesbrough||£36 per hour||£231 per day|
|Flintshire||£36 per hour||£221 per day|
|Rochester-upon-Medway||£ per hour||£ per day|
|The Wrekin||£39 per hour||£256 per day|
|Newbury||£53 per hour||£279 per day|
|Falkirk||£37 per hour||£257 per day|