Price of Plumbing Parts


This is a question for professional plumbers.
I had a problem with a kitchen drain that was ultimately diagnosed as a separation of the drain from the sewer beneath the house. The conclusion was to reroute the 2" kitchen drain into a 4" (I think) metal drainpipe in the basement. The estimate was for some amount of labor plus $200 in parts. I agreed, so he came back a couple of days later to do the job.
When we opened the wall, we saw that there was another 2" drain already built in (apparently for a future bathroom) and was merely capped off. The decision was made to route the kitchen drain into that drain, which was a much simpler job.
I noted the parts that were used for the job. He used about 12 to 15 PVC elbows, and 4 rubber junctions (not sure what they are really called) to connect the old copper pipe to the new PVC replacement pipe. The plumber also used about 12 feet of 2" PVC pipe.
When he wrote the bill, he used the $200 figure for the parts. I was certain that the task was easier than originally though, as it did not require cutting into the existing 4" pipe nor require whatever parts were needed to hook that all up again. In fact, the 12 to 15 elbows, at Home Depot's retail price, are about 80 cents each. The rubber junctions were about $2.50 each. This adds up to about $22.00, plus whatever 12 feet of 2" PVC costs. which I think is not that much. I did not feel that the labor charges were unfair, but the price for the parts left me feeling a bit ripped off.
Should I feel that way, or are plumbing parts typically priced with a 600 to 800 percent markup? I complained to the plumber, but he essentially said that since I had agreed to pay $200 for parts, I have to pay it. (I asked, does this mean if he discovered that all he had to do was replace a washer, that it would've been $200 because I had agreed to it? He refused to answer that question.)
Of course, I am quite thankful the job didn't cost thousands, as one plumber had estimated (he was going to dig up the basement, destroying a finished bathroom in the process). But I still would like to pay a fair price for what I got. Should I feel ripped off?
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I am not a professional plumber but am in the trades. Off the truck parts should run about 2-3 times what you can buy the same part for at HD. Reason: the cash and time invested in the purchasing and hauling. Some things actually sell for less at HD than the trades pay for the same part at the supply house. The difference is that the supply always has the part, others that HD does not stock and gets the contractor in and out quickly.
The only way this persons attitude could be fair is if he pre-purchased the parts specifically for your job before he came to your home. Even then it is not something I would do to a customer.
Colbyt
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I figured a 100% to 200% markup would've been ok. In fact, he did buy specific parts for the job, but the parts required for the original job still only added up to about $10 more at retail prices.
I appreciate the reply. Thanks.
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I suggest that you do the next job yourself and pocket all that cash.
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Funny how we know when we have been taken but always try and see how it might be that it really isn't so. The guy simply took advantage of you and knows he can get away with it. You just need to yell louder. People who are honest in a situation like you described will take the time to explain it to your satisfaction. A dishonest person will always be evasive and try and throw it back on you. You shouldn't have to feel bad about a situation like that. That's how you know when you are getting screwed, you feel uncomfortable, akward and uneasy.
Doug

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i agree with JimL. PVC drain pipe install is easy enough to train a chimp to do it. plumbers arent exactly rocket scientists. go spend your 30$ in pvc and glue/primer n go to town.

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12 to 15 elbows and a couple of mission couplings with 12 feet of pipe....
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His mistake was separating a labor and parts charge. Basically, he fixed your problem at a price you found agreeable and he did it within a couple days. Had he not broken out 200. for parts and just gave you a lump sum price, you wouldn't have the bad taste in your mouth.
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