PLumber's Charges


Hi,
What is a reasonable price for a plumber to charge to replace a very accessible pump in a central heating sytem?
I ask because a plumber wanted 260GBP from a couple in their 80s to do the job..including 160GBP for the pump.
I happened to be there when the plumber called and simply couldn't believe he would try to charge so much.
In the end, I offered to do the job for them. It took 15 mins to nip down the road to the nearest plumber's merchant to buy an identical pump (although in retail, rather than "not for resale" packaging) for 60GBP and less than 10 mins to swap it into place.
But is it normal to put a 100GBP+ markup on a pump and charge 100GBP for 15 mins work?
I've never had to employ a plumber.. so have no idea what they do normally charge.
(I did it for a mince pie and a glass of sherry...but then, I don't need to make a living from it)
--
Sue




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On Sat, 23 Dec 2006 19:26:31 +0000, Palindr

=============================It's probably illegal to charge such a high mark-up. A recent court case ruled that the customer was entitled to be charged a fair price for spares and 100-00 would be far more that the costs incurred by the plumber.
I would report this plumber to your local Trading Standards in case he's trying to make a fortune by ripping people off generally. He may already be known to them and more evidence may help to put a stop to his profiteering.
<snipped>
Cic
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IANAL but I doubt if any amount is illegal if it's quoted in advance (which clearly this was).
Although it seems this plumber was being greedy, I assume he's liable for any further labour costs incurred if the pump fails, so he needs to add something for that. He also has to cover his non-earning time (without which you'd never get a plumber at short notice) - and that includes time & cost travelling to prepare quotes which aren't accepted (as in this case). And the possibility that the job wouldn't be so straight forward (see AlanG's post here, re.seized threads etc), and possibility a longer trip if pump not in stock locally. And a bit for bad debt provision or recovery costs (unless client pays cash).
I reckon the split between parts and labour was absurd, but the overall quote was not so obscene as to warrant a report to local TS people. The real test would be to get other plumbers to quote - and on that basis I suspect this plumber wasn't far off the mark.
Sorry to be in a minority of one on this, but I think self-employed folk (whether plumbers or other) are entitled to quote what they choose - and they'll win some and lose some accordingly.
--
Martin

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On Sun, 24 Dec 2006 01:01:46 +0000, Martin wrote:

==============================The case to which I referred concerned a 'fair price'. A heavily marked-up price doesn't become a fair price just because it's included in an advance quotation.
It might reasonably be argued that a plumber (or any other tradesman) who provides an advance quotation knows the cost of the item which he is supplying and should base his mark-up accordingly. The plumber in the OP's post was proposing a mark-up of probably up to 300% (on the pump)and that is certainly not a fair price for a readily available item.
I think the morality of self-employed people charging any price they want is highly suspect especially when they are doing so with vulnerable people like the elderly as was the case in the OP's post.
Cic.
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I agree. Which is why I didn't suggest it was "fair".

I agree. Which is why I said "the split between parts and labour was absurd"

Er - it's called market forces. Apart from the very few sectors which are regulated / controlled (Offcom, TV licence etc) every business in the land charges whatever it chooses. Successful businesses get their pricing right most of the time. None gets it right all the time. Sometimes, people deliberately over-price cos they don't want the job.

I read the OP as saying the plumber travelled to the client, diagnosed the problem, provided a quote - all for free. The client then got the work done by someone else. Is it fair the plumber didn't get anything - not even a mince pie for diagnosing the fault?
I'm not defending this apparently grossly inflated quote, I'm merely pointing out that the total costs of running a business have to be covered somehow and we shouldn't rush to judgement. Whenever people seek 2 or 3 quotes for a job, the costs of preparing the unsuccessful quotes have to be built into other quotes for other jobs.
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Martin

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wrote:

Depends on the pump. They do come in different qualities so it might be that 160 is the going rate for that model.
No it isn't okay to charge 100 for 15 minutes work but a plumber may have a minimum charge of 1 hours work. Round here (Durham) that is about 40. But I have been quoted 60 for a call out. Could be he's wanted to charge for the initial call and the fitting call plus parts. Expensive but possibly not overly so.

I almost always get a boiler engineer in to fix our boiler because it's a combi and spares are not always easy to get for someone not in the trade. The one year I didn't get the engineer in I did it myself. Bought a new generic extractor fan from a supplier for 83. The manufacturers spare was 160. Fitted it myself. took 2 hours because the screws were seized and had to be drilled out and replaced. I'm a bit arthritic too so couldn't reach the two at the top very easily :(
The fan failed the following year (last year). I got the engineer to fix it this time at a cost of 160 for the fan and 60 for his time. 2 trips. So far it is still working but I think a replacement boiler might be in order. Got quoted 1500 for that

I've just spent 3 hours getting someone's broadband wireless connection working. That includes travel and getting a replacement cos the first one was faulty) Got a bottle of red wine and quite happy for it. Always happy when they give me a bottle of plonk :)
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AlanG wrote:

Other than the packaging - it was the same Grundfos 15/50 Central Heating Pump Selectric that retails at 52.95GBP here:
http://www.plumbworld.co.uk/0-192
As the plumber's was in a "not for resale" package, I assume that he paid somewhat less than the retail pack.

I wouldn't have been too upset at a total bill of 130GBP or thereabouts - even though the system was obviously well maintained and accessible - so the job would be quick and easy. That would have been about 80GBP for labour/callout, plus around 50GBP for the part.
I shall mention this to the local trading standards, In case there is a pattern to this particular plumber's activities.
--
Sue



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wrote:

Then I would consider he has ripped the customer off. In my case the extractor fan was a no name from a heating supplier. The one the engineer used was the manufacturers spare part at twice the price. Still working (touch wood)

Do that. I know there is a warning system in this area where things like this are circulated to TS and consumer advice offices like the CAB.
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Maybe the pump was a left over from a full kit the plumper had prevoiusly bought.

40 to 50 quid labour for the first hour of part of it. Markup on parts maybe 20%

Nice one.
Adam

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He can charge what he likes. You are not obliged to pay it. Between those two statements lies negotiation. There are some people in this world that would sell their mother for a shilling - there are some that are decent and charge a fair price for their skill and labour.
I have just made it a personal decision to try and not rely on anyone except myself - however that is not always possible.
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