Cost of drain cleaning

Yesterday I had a service come and clean the drain. One of the downstairs toilets wouldn't flush and it backed up into the tub. The guy used an electric snake in the sewer pipe in the backyard. Within a couple minutes the water went down and he said there was a clog in the line leading to city line that he removed. He was here for less than 15 minutes, it wasn't an emergency call and the bill was $199. I think that was a bit high. My neighbor told me he had the same problem and the plumber charged him $85 and he even went on his roof and cleaned his drains inside the house as well. I'm asking because I want some bathroom fixtures changed and a new toilet installed so I want to know if this was a fair price before I call him to do more work.
Did I get ripped off or is this the going rate?
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Scot Lady wrote:

the basement drain out to the street. He must have worked over 20 minutes with his power rooter and it cost me $85.00 FYI, I live in the Midwest. Lionel
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Lionel C. Abrahams wrote:

I just had to have the drain on my house snaked all the way out to the street. There isn't a cleanout so they had to go up on the roof and go through the vent. Total charge from Roto-Rooter - $65.00
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You got ripped off. It is usually $65 to $100. I would at least call the place and complain. You might get some relief. I like drawing attention to locals who take advantage. I either call the local consumer complaints departments at the local TV stations, or go and picket in front of their business for about four hours. I have gotten ignored, and I have gotten a partial refund. They hate bad publicity, and I figure I can legally cost them some business. Be nice. Research the local laws and stay within them. Stay on the sidewalk. Don't impede traffic. Don't speak to anyone without them speaking to you first. Let the police know where and when you will be doing and "informational picket." Make sure your signs are simple, visible, not too much verbiage, and not too large. Just something like "Joe's Drain Cleaners is a RipOff."
It might not get you anywhere, but it might make you feel less helpless. And it might cost Joe a few customers.
Steve
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ask why it was so much. The service I used was RotoRooter. I talked to another neighbor who had RotoRooter out for the same problem and they charged her $89. Something isn't right here, everyone I talked to has paid less than half of what I was charged. I probably don't have much recourse, the guy came in, looked in the bathroom and said the line was clogged. He told me upfront that it would be $199 and I had no idea at that point what the going rate was and agreed. Because it was a well known company I figured the prices were standard. I guess I will just have to find someone else to do the plumbing work.
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I think it depends on the part of the country, if the guy is a licensed plumber or just a drain cleaner. How far he had to travel is considered since his time starts when he leaves the shop or the last job he was on..
If the fellow you called was a plumber then what he charged was about right, especially if he was from a Union shop.. (I was a union plumber, 45 years ago.. Highest pay of all union trades.)
If he was an independant, self employed, then he might have been cheaper, but then that all depends on how much business he has in your area..
If he was just a drain cleaner, he may have a franchise that sucks away a chunk of his fee.. The truck and equipment maybe on lease from a franchise outfit.. (Like those carpet cleaners)..
Since I learned as an apprentice, how to deal with most of these problems, I went for 40 + years without ever calling a plumber or drain cleaner.. However, about 10 years ago, I got fed up with my (ex)wife dumping greasy stuff down the drain. I think she assumed she had her own personal drain cleaner, so what's the big deal.. I refused to clean it again, Called Roto-Rooter.. Cost about $100 but I had him root out all the drain lines under my house slab, all the way to the street.. Trust me I got my/her moneys worth.. There was no way, even with rented equipment that I could have rooted out all those drains for $100.
So the bottom line, to the OP.. It costs what you are willing to pay and if you aren't, then get out out tools and do it yourself..
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My opinion and experience. FWIW

Steve
s/v Good Intentions
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something like $90. Last year a local drain company used a thin snake on a shower. 10 minutes, $75. Money well spent.
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Not too far out of line and there is little you can do about it after the work is done. Always ask over the phone what the prices will be. You may have to call a dozen places to get an answer.
On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 18:39:22 -0500, "Scout Lady"

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When I bought my house many of the drains were clogged. I went to Home Depot and bought an auger (25ft in a metal can, Rigid brand) for I think about $24-$25. I got out big clumps of hair from my drains (augered out each clogged drain several times) and now they work great.
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I recently called around when my kitchen sink wouldn't drain, and I got from $110 and up. Roto rooter wouldn't give me a price over the phone, but I'd used them years ago and they weren't too expensive, so I let them come out. They guy quoted my $175 and I politely said "bye-bye" and went out and bought another bottle of drain cleaner, which finally did the trick.

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Good for you, Betsy! Des

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You got ripped off.
RB
Scout Lady wrote:

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