Reasonable Cost?

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Our mobile home park suffered frozen sewer lines due to a record cold Winter. The guy charged $400 hr to sit on his butt slowly feeding a 3/4" hose down the lines. You got off cheap.
nb
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On 6/24/10 9:23 AM, notbob wrote:

Not to feel so bad-- you were paying for his experience and expertise in knowing that the hose was the was to fix it, what size hose to use, how fast to feed it, and the temp of the water, etc., etc....
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The sewer lines that were jetted cost the park a total of $38K over a 3 month period. The high pressure machine used on the job, designed specifically to jet frozen sewers and one of the best on the market, cost only $8K w/ 250' hose.
Our park board is populated by morons elected by other morons.
nb
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On 6/24/2010 10:14 AM, notbob wrote:

Your park board is probably hiring buddies or relatives. Not unknown for maintenance associations to do so.
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It sounds more like your "trailer park" suffered from a design flaw in its "sewers"... If the ground had frozen that hard many of your "homes" would have suffered from some sort of unexpected "movement"...
Oh, and when someone is jetting out lines like that, they usually charge by the linear foot of pipe they flush out, not by the job...
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Put into perspective, I recently had a plumber come out to re-seat a faucet that I could't get to stop leaking after installing it, a wall hung faucet, should have been really easy, but I digress. He was here for no more than 10 minutes max, including time spent talking about the weather, charged $60.00, so I don't think your plumber was outrageous, but mine was IMO.
Cheri
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wrote:

It was a difficult enough job that YOU couldn't do it yourself. The guy drove to your house, and fixed what you couldn't. $60 was a gift.
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No, it wasn't a gift...not at all, it was outrageous, but I didn't mind paying it. Most plumbers have a standard fee for coming, his was 60.00. I gave him a 20.00 tip (making the total 80.00) because his wife said he was sleeping when I called, and he was still here within 1/2 hour. I'm sure he went back home to bed.
Cheri
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wrote:

Wait! You mean it wasn't even normal business hours? That was far beyond a gift. You still owe him. Seriously.
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It was 10:30 in the morning. His nephew was on vacation, so the calls went to him. He had a heart attack not so long ago, so he probably needs a lot of sleep.
Cheri
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Right, that is called a "service charge" which is what it costs to get the trade professional out to your house with all their tools, equipment, supply of spare parts and the knowledge they possess...
It sounds like you either didn't know how to do the repair you were attempting or didn't have the right tool or a large enough tool to unstick something that was stuck...
As far as inflating the cost of your service, with a "tip" such gratuities are not required nor expected in the trades, the guy fixed your sink for $60 in less than 10 minutes, which was a skilled labor task, you don't need to "tip" him for that, as he is NOT a "service" employee being paid less than minimum wage to wait on your table at a restaurant -- you TIP those workers, not the ones who earn exponentially more...
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Right, that is called a "service charge" which is what it costs to get the trade professional out to your house with all their tools, equipment, supply of spare parts and the knowledge they possess...
It sounds like you either didn't know how to do the repair you were attempting or didn't have the right tool or a large enough tool to unstick something that was stuck...
As far as inflating the cost of your service, with a "tip" such gratuities are not required nor expected in the trades, the guy fixed your sink for $60 in less than 10 minutes, which was a skilled labor task, you don't need to "tip" him for that, as he is NOT a "service" employee being paid less than minimum wage to wait on your table at a restaurant -- you TIP those workers, not the ones who earn exponentially more...
======= Maybe *you* don't want to tip people that are called out to your home, but I always do. That's probably why he got out of bed and came over to fix my problem since he's been here before.
Cheri
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But...I will be able to do it next time, since I had forgotten that you had to tighten down individual sides one at a time and equally, to prevent one side from leaking, but I won't forget it again. However, at my age, I'm sure the new faucet will outlive me, since the last one I installed there was almost 20 years ago.:-)
Cheri
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No, it was a very reasonable price. Check out what his cost is just to step out the door in the morning. He needs a truck, about $15,000 in tools, $5000 in supplies, liability insurance, taxes, billing fees, office expenses, licensing fees, and more. See what you pay in FICA taxes? He pays double that in SE taxes. He had to travel to your place and must be pair for that also.
Tradesmen usually get from $60 to $150 an hour with a minimum of an hour billing
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wrote

My DH has been self employed for going on 15 years, so I know all about the expenses, trucks, insurance, quarterly taxes, etc., so no need to explain them to *me.* Sometimes, someone like the plumber that came here makes out because it only took him 10 minutes, and sometimes it takes close to an hour for the same rate, that's life. I recently had a large oil company (no not BP) pay me $1000.00 for about ten hours total of record searching floppy discs, printing the info, and sending it on to them. As I said, sometimes it works out. :-)
Cheri
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CWLee wrote:

Hi, That job is in the territory of DIY. I'd do it myself. Time is money. I don't think he charged too much.
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If I were you, what I would be worrying about is not how much you paid but if it happens again will he come back to fix it for free. In other words, what kind of warranty did he give you. Why was the toilet wobbling in the first place? Was the toilet bolted on to the floor or the flange? If the toilet was bolted on to the flange is the flange in turn bolted securely on to the floor and what part of the floor is it bolted on to, is it just the underlayment or something more substantial? Do you have enough of a background with this plumber to know that he guarantees his work and takes pride in it? My advise to people is not to worry about how much youre paying but how much you can trust the guy who is doing the work.
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Good advice.
My experience has been that if I find a car mechanic, electrician, plumber, other skilled tradesman who has been used repeatedly by my friends and colleagues, then I don't have a problem with follow-up repairs.

The house was built 30 years ago, and the toilet had required no work during that time. One of the two bolts on the toilet which hold it down no longer was attached or firm at the end below the floor. When the toilet was removed it was clear that the original flange had just corroded away, and the hole into which the bolt head fitted was enlarged - so much so that the bolt head could not get a good grip. The old flange was removed, which was the hardest part for the plumber, per his comments. It was made of plastic and I'm not sure how it had been fastened to the upright pipe, which is also plastic. Eventually the old flange was removed. Another plastic flange was then inserted over/into (I couldn't see well enough to tell which) the upright pipe, and glued to it. Then new bolts were inserted into the metal ring that swiveled on the new flange. The toilet was lowered onto the flange/floor, with the bolts sticking through the holes on the base of the toilet. Nuts and washer were applied, and after some shimming to make sure there was no more wobbliness, and after ensuring that the toilet was oriented parallel to the enclosing walls, the nuts were tightened. Then the outside of the base of the toilet was caulked. (At some point in the above process a new wax ring was inserted - don't know its purpose but I understand it is a standard procedure.)

I have no personal background with this plumber. He was recommended by a friend as being competent and honest - the two qualities I asked my friend about. So, I really know nothing about any guarantees he might make, or how much pride he takes in his work. He said if there was any problem to give him a call. He was friendly, clean, and got the job done. If the toilet still doesn't wobble by Christmas I'll figure he did the job properly. If it starts to wobble again I'll contact him to see his response.
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I would have done it for you $200. Cash.
An hour of actual work, and less than $10 in parts. Yes, he DID have to disassemble, and run for parts. For that price, I would have put you in totally new kit inside your toilet, as well as the new flange. I hope he used new bolts.
You could have done the same repair for less than $10. You need to learn DIY'ing. I do hope you watched him so you know how to do it yourself next time.
Steve
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A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
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On Wed, 23 Jun 2010 22:46:24 -0700, "CWLee"

Not bad at all. I'm not sure why it took 1.75 hours though. An experienced plumber should be able to do this in 15 minutes, but every job has its complications. Did he caulk around the commode? You could have done it yourself for less than $20, it's a fairly simple task. There are small plastic wedges, made specifically for resting a toilet on an uneven surface to prevent wobble.
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