How much would a typical plumbing job (gdu) cost?

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In a recent thread, someone called a plumber to unclog a drain at a total cost of $50 which I find shocking.
Given that I recently unclogged a shower stall of hair, replaced a garbage disposal unit, and unclogged a main drain 60 feet deep, I'm curious:
What would you estimate those plumbing jobs to cost were I to have hired out a "real" plumber?
I estimate parts costs something on the order of twice my cost (with inferior parts chosen by the plumber).
And, anywhere between $100 and $200 for the plumber to show up. Plus, about $150 to $200 per hour.
I'd guess the plumber would charge roughly about: - 1 hour for the garbage disposal replacement? - 1 hour for the sink unclogging? - 1 hour for the main house drain unclogging?
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On 7/22/2013 7:08 PM, Danny D. wrote:

pay, why would they lower prices.
I have a 6" cleanout leading to my 4" basement/home drain system with access in my front yard to clean roots from a tree within that same yard. Every year it gets cleaned by a plumbing company and every year I call for lower prices. The first time I did this the cost was $125 and I thought, "holy hell!, to clean out a drain?" Though, now, I can find for about $100. Also, the job is less than a half hours work. It appears to be the norm and still shocks me. Fortunately, the wife works for a contractor and we use their plumber who gives us a great deal. I'm contemplating buying a power snake and assuming the cleaning role every year. I should receive cost back in about three years if not less.
There are people who prefer to pay another than do it them self. Sometimes, I get that way but when I sit and add the cost of something such as this, I decide to do them on my own. Also, there are people who simply can't, for whatever reason, do it them self and must pay another. Obviously, it's enough to keep the plumbers in business.
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On Mon, 22 Jul 2013 19:44:23 -0400, Meanie wrote:

How long of a snake do you need?
Googling "cable drum machine auger" at Lowes, the prices are roughly $200 to $400 depending on the cable chosen: http://www.lowes.com/Plumbing/_/N-1z13dr7/pl?Ntt=plumbing+snake#!
At $400, I had figured mine paid for itself with the first use, although maybe it's really two uses before it pays for itself - but that's an OK equation for any tool.
One caveat. I lent mine out and the person royally screwed up the cable. And even I kinked the brand new $100 75' cable in my first use of it last week. It turns out even though the cable drum machine comes with a massive motor, you almost never *use* the motor, except when the cable is static.
Details are in this Cobra propaganda video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nB1vhQEvJ8

Note that that video says tree roots require 5/8" cable, whereas the 40-series at Lowes/Home Depot is 3/8" cable.
My main problem with my machine is that it's hard to feed the 3/8" thick cable after about 50 feet; it's just too thin to push on it and get much leverage. Also, the cheap plastic knob breaks (but Cobra sends free replacements).
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On 7/22/2013 7:08 PM, Danny D. wrote:

My plumber charges about $50-75 to show up and about $100 hr. Getting older, there were a couple of things I had put off and had parts for and combining with another job, saved a few bucks.
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On Mon, 22 Jul 2013 23:08:32 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Yes, it is shocking. I'd have expected to pay a minimum of $75.

Why do you say inferior parts? Smart plumbers use quality parts and do not get call backs. Most all local plumbers buy at the same couple of supply houses and they don't carry junk.
My plumber charges $75 per hour and a minimum of 1 hour. I think that is a very fair price. I use a welder that charges $110, boiler technician for $100, electrician $80, carpenter $55. All of these guys are making a decent living, but none are wealthy.
They all carry insurance, have reliable trucks, phone bills, etc. They show up when needed because they also know they will be paid promptly.
I charge out my lowest paid help at $25, my semi skilled help at double that. My rate is $1000 a day plus expenses.
Quality labor deserves a decent wage. I don't want some low priced hack effing up a job and creating problems.
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That was my thought. Man, that plumber is far too cheap.
A plumber is working in a dentist's office. Finish the job, and hands the dentist the bill. Dentist: "I don't make this kind of money, and I'm a dentist!" Plumber: "I know. That's why I changed from dentistry to plumbing." . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
wrote:

Yes, it is shocking. I'd have expected to pay a minimum of $75.

Why do you say inferior parts? Smart plumbers use quality parts and do not get call backs. Most all local plumbers buy at the same couple of supply houses and they don't carry junk.
My plumber charges $75 per hour and a minimum of 1 hour. I think that is a very fair price. I use a welder that charges $110, boiler technician for $100, electrician $80, carpenter $55. All of these guys are making a decent living, but none are wealthy.
They all carry insurance, have reliable trucks, phone bills, etc. They show up when needed because they also know they will be paid promptly.
I charge out my lowest paid help at $25, my semi skilled help at double that. My rate is $1000 a day plus expenses.
Quality labor deserves a decent wage. I don't want some low priced hack effing up a job and creating problems.
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On Mon, 22 Jul 2013 22:54:51 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Just "my" experience with "other" service calls.
For example, I had a garage door spring put in, and, the spring put in saved *them* $10 but was only a 10,000 cycle "industry standard" spring.
When I finally learned how to do it myself, I put in 70,000 cycle springs, and all they cost me was an extra $10.
In addition, I've had my car serviced and they put on basic brake pads and motor oil, yet, for half of what they charged me for parts, I could easily have put on premium pads and synthetic oil. For example, I could have gotten a nice Mann or Hengst oil filter for about $5 but they charged me $25 for an el cheapo STP which nearly fell apart at the seams.
Likewise, I once paid for some cabinet work and they charged me for materials what turned out to be high prices; so, in effect, at the time, I calculated I could have put in solid maple cabinets for the price they charged for their fake wood.
Given those (and similar experiences), my assumption is that they save a dime on every job while charging you double their cost for parts such that you can get quality parts for half to equal what they charge you.
But, the whole point was to see what a typical plumbing job cost for you.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 16:13:38 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

How do you know this? It the spring labeled "10,000 cycle industry standard spring."
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:48:04 -0500, CRNG wrote:

There are lots (and lots and lots) of ways to know this, which everyone in the industry knows (and, which, I'm sure, most here also know), simply because this well-known industry standard was expressly set up to prevent exactly the kind of abuse I'm suggesting happens all the time.
Here's just one reference, from the most esteemed garage door spring site on the net, Dan Musick of DDM Garage doors, whom I've personally discussed this topic with: "The standard cycle life in the garage door industry is 10,000 cycles" http://ddmgaragedoors.com/springs/standard-torsion-springs.php
Very many other examples abound on the net. https://www.google.com/search?q %2C000+duty+cycle+garage+door+spring+industry+standard&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a&channellb#client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aunofficial&channellb&sclient=psy-ab&q=garage+door+torsion+spring+industry+standards+10000+cycles&oq=garage+door+torsion+spring+industry+standards+10000+cycles&gs_l=serp.3...472870.490441.0.490809.68.52.5.0.0.7.1232.16555.1j0j17j21j4j2j1j1.47.0....0...1c.1.22.psy-ab..46.22.8289.i8gw-qvmBhg&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.49641647,d.aGc&fp52618a19ef62f5&biw89&bih8
The point is, repairmen, to save $10, put in substandard springs, which, they charge you, for example, double what it cost them. The equation is very simple.
They save $10 on each visit, which, for example, could easily be $50 a day, which is, over a year, is well over $10,000 of savings for *them*.
You, on the other hand, saved nothing, and you have a "standard" spring. I, for example, upgraded mine to 70,000 cycles, for about $10 over the cost of the "standard" spring - and - of course, I paid about half for that better spring than a repairman would have charged me.
Someone here even mentioned that the reason for the 'industry standard' colored primer was that repairmen were skimping on the primer, saving a buck or ten per day, which boils down to the same problem.
My assertion: - A repairman is incentivized to not only save a few bucks on his parts costs, but to also charge you more than his parts costs ... such that you'd do better to buy better parts at half *his* price.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 18:01:41 +0000, Danny D. wrote:

This was in regards to PVC pipe repair.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:03:31 -0700, Oren wrote:

I am decidedly *not* a builder or contractor, but, I suspect the whole point of "code" was to *require* a bare minimum from the contractor, who, otherwise, may skimp on materials (yet, still charge you double for the materials they didn't use!).
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 18:01:41 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Nobody but a hack who won't be in business long uses substandard parts. Don't hire hacks

That's all full of assumptions. Almost every business builds in mark-ups. You can dig into that if you want, but the bottom line is that just gets reflected in the final price. It's up to you to ask about materials used, and to do the best you can to determine workmanship. Most people get a good job done just by leaving it all to those they've selected to do the work.

You may think that cycle grading is important, but I don't. I suspect most competent garage door installers and repairmen know that a garage door is likely to be replaced - along with the springs - before a spring needs replacement. I never had one break. and don't think that's common. If everybody had "40 year springs" it wouldn't make any real difference. Some springs are just going to break no matter how many "cycles" are assigned to them. Materials, manufacturing and QC will always have failures. You're paying for "bling." A manufacturer of bad springs won't stay in business, nor will garage door pros who use bad springs. I had my wood door replaced last year with steel door, by a guy whose small garage business has been around for many years. Cost me $960 total for a 7x16, opener with 2 remotes and a keypad.. No way in the world I'm going to start telling that guy what springs to use. And no way I could have saved money buying the stuff and DYing unless I counted my labor at about 25 cents an hour. I still do a lot of DIY, but it has to work out right. Sometimes it not the way to go.

You can agonize over parts markup if you want. I look at reputation, my "feel" for the contractor, and total price. I had my roof ridge capping replaced last year because all the caps had curled. When I had it roofed about 10 years ago the guy used a type of cap made of a new material that turned out to deteriorate in as early as 5 years. There was a class action suit about it, but it had expired before mine started curling. I have no idea if the original roofer was saving a buck with that capping, and don't care. I don't blame him. Shit happens, and nobody's immune. Even after getting the caps torn off and replaced by a different roofer - first guy had turned flaky - my total is still about par cost around here. The new roofer gave me a price, told me offhand what caps he'd use, as he worked out the price, and said they'd cost him about 6 bills. Gave me a price of $900. I thought - to myself only - the cap cost was pretty high. I looked the caps up. They were high quality and damned if they wouldn't cost him 6 bills. He got the job. But he would have got it anyway not even mentioning his costs, because I trusted him. Trust but verify. I don't know where you get the idea anybody but fly-by-nights use sub-par materials. That doesn't work. My brother was a painting contractor for years. He never got rich. And he never used anything but the best paint. That cost was built into his bids. You have to learn how to select good contractors, that's all.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 16:23:20 -0500, Vic Smith wrote:

I've had two torsion springs break on me in the past 5 years.
The first I had a repairman replace because I was scared; and, after watching him, I was much less scared, so I did the second myself (with expert guidance from alt.home.repair).
Since then, I've done three "repairs" for friends, so, all in all, I've personally done four garage door torsion spring replacements in the past year.
I think whether they break or not has a *lot* to do with the fact that I use the garage a few times a day as my "front door".
At 10,000 cycles, if I come in the house, say, an average of five times a day, that's 5x36525 cycles a year. The 10,000 duty cycle spring that is standard for garage installations would thus break in about 6 years.
However, a 70,000 cycle spring (which only costs about $10 more IIRC), would last six times that (at around 38 years), all other things being equal.
So, the "industry standard" replacement spring that all the garage door repairmen will install will break in six years; while the slightly more expensive spring (but about half the price the repairman charges for the cheaper spring) will outlast both you and me, and our garage doors.
For my extra $10, that's a good bet in my book.
The problem, as I see it, is that the repairman pockets that $10, and then pockets about double the price of the spring, when he gives you the standard 10000 cycle spring.
It's OK that we see this differently though.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:48:04 -0500, CRNG wrote:

BTW, I assumed you had asked how I know the industry standard is set to 10,000 cycles (which is, as I showed, explained all over the net).
But, you *might* have been asking how I know *my* replacement spring was 10,000 cycles?
If so, that's as easily answered, simply because the duty cycle is a function of the physical parameters of my garage door, all of which are known to me.
All I did was plug in the numbers into the garage door calculators on the net (the aforementioned DDM garage door site is the best) and they provided the duty cycle numbers outright.
If I misinterpreted your question, please rephrase so that I may more fully answer your concerns.
My premise is that plumbers (and other repairmen), have an incentive to give you the cheapest parts they can, for which they save $10 (or whatever) many times a day, while you save absolutely nothing simply because they charge you twice what it cost them.
So, my motto, if I can swing it, is to do it myself, using the best parts I can afford, and, the correct tools - such that - in the end, the total outlay in dollars is usually just about what it would have cost for a professional repair - but the result is: a) A much better job than the professionals do b) Much better equipment is installed c) I get to keep the tools (to re-use for other jobs) d) And, I learn a lot in the process (with your help)
The downside is steep though, in that it takes a LOT of time and effort to research all the options, especially in the case of complex things such as garage door torsion springs. Luckily, plumbing is quite easy in comparison.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 18:08:33 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

A good philosophy.
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On Mon, 22 Jul 2013 22:54:51 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I want to live where YOU live!
Man, a crummy house must be less than half a million dollars there.
Out here, the worst houses go for $400 to $500K, and a "decent" 1200 sq foot house is $700 to $800K and a "nice" livable house of, say 2000 sq foot is over a million.
Plumbers live in those houses too, and, not one would survive charging $75/hour.
But, that's why I had asked. I was shocked how cheap plumbers appear to be in other parts of the country.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 16:18:46 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Probably 90% of the houses here are less than that.

My house is 2000 sq ft. and is about $220,000 right now. Detached garage, 1/3 acre. In the ten town area I doubt there are more than a half dozen million dollar houses and they would be quite large with 10+ acres of land.
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On Tue, 23 Jul 2013 18:20:23 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Silicon Valley is different.
Supply and demand.
You never get what you pay for.
You get what you get, and you pay what others pay for it (since you're competing with them for that house).
My first house in the Silicon Valley was well over a half million dollars, and it was only about 1300 sq feet with about 6000 sq feet of land. They just go up from there.
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On Wed, 24 Jul 2013 03:42:13 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

I'm in the NE corner of CT. Houses are cheap here compared to the rest of the state or towards Boston. At the other corner of the state there is a house for sale for $190,000,000.
If I moved my house 50 miles, it would at least double, another few miles would quadruple it. My property taxes are $2600.
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On Wed, 24 Jul 2013 00:21:27 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Yup. You get what you get. And you pay what others are willing to pay for it (since it goes to the highest bidder).
So, the same house (what you get) would go up four fold, simply by putting it in a neighborhood that has more people bidding for it.
That's why whenever someone says you get what you pay for, I go ballistic, because you get what you get. You *pay* what others are willing to pay for it. And, those others may not be nearly as smart as you are.
Back on topic, it seems that in some parts of the country, a plumber can be had for about $100 for the visit, and then another $75 per hour for the work. Parts prices are roughly double what you'd pay for them on the open market.
So the fact that the original poster in the other thread paid $50 in toto for a complete kitchen sink snake job, doesn't seem to fit the established datapoints all that well.
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