50 gal water heater, installed

I know I'm inviting flames, but my mom's 50 gallon Nat Gas water heater failed last night. I got her the same plumber who did ours a few years ago.
Yep, he came right out with a brand-new Bradford White Defender and did a very nice job installing it, yes at 8PM on a Friday night. The price was exactly what he quoted me, $925 installed. This is not a misprint. I almost passed out when he made the quote, and I did tell him we could get through the night without the heater if he wanted to do the job today (I know, still a weekend call). He said it didn't make any difference.
This particular plumber is fairly well-known to be a quality guy, with prices to match. He was quite insistent on the phone that I could call anybody I wanted, and that I would find that he was in pretty much the same ballpark as anyone else in the area. I don't remember how much he charged for the job he did here. I'm acquainted with his brother through work, and we know a lot of the same people, so due to his reputation, I didn't want to waste his or my time, so I just told him to come on and get 'er done. He was here for about an hour and 45 minutes. He told me that water heater prices had gone up a number of times due to steel prices and the new sealed combustion chambers, among other things. He did what I consider to be an excellent job, installing a new ball valve on the intake so we didn't have to mess with the old crusted closet valve, cleaning up after himself, etc, but didn't remove the old heater from the property. I've seen quite a few water heaters out front with the trash, so maybe they don't do that here.
We are in a nicer working-class suburb of NYC, have lived here since it wasn't as affluent. I have no doubt whatsoever that although he is an independent, his overhead is pretty high as far as shop space, taxes, fuel etc. I get a pretty hefty pay when I work overtime, so I understand what it means to be fairly paid.
He didn't break his price down parts/labor wise, and I guess I just want to know two things:
1/ How much does a 50 gallon Bradford-White cost?, and 2/ If you were me (not a plumber), how much do you think is a fair price for this job?
By the way, there's no "hidden story" here. The driveway he backed his van into is literally 10 feet from the water heater, which is out in the open in a large basement (no stairs). The weather was about 60 degrees out, no rain, no screwed-up plumbing in the house. He used all the existing water lines, etc. I had the hot water system almost fully drained and everything turned off when he got there. He was gone from home maybe 2 1/2 hours. I know where he lives, right by his shop, it's 15-20 minutes away from Mom's.
I mean, I'm thinking, OK, $100 per hour from the time you leave home seems decent, so $925 minus $250 leaves $675 for the water heater. Something seems outta whack here....
I know one guy will say "I wouldn't leave home on a Friday night for less than $500", and another will say "You been HAD". Who's right?
I'm trying to do the right thing by wasting YOUR 3 minutes reading this, and not calling some poor guy on the "24 hour emergency" line to waste his time making me a quote. Job's already done anyway.
Enlighten me. Dean
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There are three issues that contribute to the price quoted.
1. Premium for after-hours labor.
2. Mark up on material. This is the charge that the plumber recovers for his time and overhead for getting, storing, and bringing material to the job, including the labor of replacing defective materials. These costs are not recovered through labor charges so they must be added to the material charge.
3. Regional labor cost premium. New York City has the highest labor costs of any place in the country, for every type of work.
MM
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The $925 is exactly what we charge for a 50 Gal NG. Always let my customers know before-hand what it's going to cost them. That WH costs me $350 plus tax. I also went and got it for you. That usually adds at least another hr at my supplier. Add earthquake straps, flex connectors, gas valve with gas flex, ball valve, T&P run, etc it adds up fast. The only problem I see is your guy didn't remove the old WH. My price would and that includes a $10 dump fee plus my time to drive to the dump. Minus Insurance, gas, workers comp,payroll, fed payroll taxes, state taxes we probably will clear $300 on this call.
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OK, I appreciate the answer.
FYI, he is a one-man show, and stocks the water heaters in his shop. Of course he has to pay taxes and insurance, torch gas, fuel, etc. No doubt he has the heaters delivered, and that costs too.
I'm figuring he made around $375-400 clear. Guess I'm in the wrong business.
Dean _________________________________________

seems
customers
valve,
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This is from http://www.gogeisel.com/geiselonline/sales_promotions/lochinvar.html Have a Bradford White 40 gallon natural gas hot water tank installed in our service area now only $556, while supplies last. Adam

ago.
almost
still
same
to
was
it
to
in
rain,
where
seems
and
time
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ago.
almost
still
same
to
was
it
to
in
rain,
where
seems
and
time
You think he starts work when he leaves his shop ? Inventory, Insurance, Commercial taxes, License fees...........keep going. Plus you ruined his night. I'd never show up at that time. Take 2 pots, put them on the stove and call me Monday. You got away damn cheap. I charged $1,200 for a 40 gal. ten+ years ago. I thought it was low, some Arabs had bought allot of big apt. here and I gave them a break.
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OK, no problem.
You got $1200 ten years ago, and it was a bargain. So I imagine, given the rate of inflation in all the expenses you mentioned, you must get about $2000 to install a water heater now?
Would you really pay a professional tradesman (from another trade) $250-$350 per hour without feeling like you were taken?
Dean ______________________________________________

a
through
charged
and
want
prices
have
etc,
few
here.
fuel
van
open
lines,
turned
seems
less
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Lets not FORGET our buddies the Chinese who make that shit with slave labor now. Once we had unions that paid Americans a decent wage. I see in another post they give away a 50 for $400.00. They cost more back then, but they were good ones.
Your damn right I pay a man for what he knows, not what he does. I had my electrical done by a Master, you think I could not have snuck it in myself ?

heater
did
was
He
an
it
what
want
this,
going.
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I work at a plumbing supply house in Memphis, TN. We sell a 50NG American WH for $265 w/ 9 year warranty, 18" flex with valve $8.50, Watts ball valve $3.50.

ago.
almost
still
same
to
was
it
to
in
rain,
where
seems
and
time
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Only a jackleg installs gas water heaters with flex connectors.
MM
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I think I'm a jackleg. What is it, anyway? I'm thinking it's probably bad. We use flex connectors here in Colorado because of expansive soil. If the basement floor rises then the flex connectors just bend.
Dave
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We all do what we know best. The value of having sombody available on fri night at 8 to drop what ever they had planned to make sure you had hot water or anybody else who called is well worth the price. I bet if you did with out till monday during normal hours and made some calls you might save 200.00 if you are also willing to be patient until they are available to do the work. You also have to rember sombody will have to be there to let the plumber in so you might lose another day of work. Yes it is alot but you did get great service when you wanted it and at your convience. Your only other option would be do it yourself but then you would still have to wait till sat and get a truck to pick it up, wait in line, run back for the part that you forgot, do all the work, and if you made a mistake you could burn down the house with your family in it. You could also need to take a few more trips to get the right part or the maybe the heater would turn out defective and start over. Ya 925.00 sucks to dish out but you can bitch at the plumber if he messes up. If you mess up well, you face the music from the wife for ever and you still pay the plumber. Have you hugged your plumber today? I do my own plumbing but I don't work on my car now those guys are thiefs! they don't even come to your house or work after Hours!
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Was at my supplier yesterday at they've posted an 18% increase in water heater prices effective 11/15. This on top of the $100 increase last year with the new models.
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