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Paying the Plumber
November 3, 2004 5:40 AM   Subscribe

How much should I pay for a plumber? [mi]

We're trying to get our house ready for potential buyers, and part of that process is fixing a couple of minor toilet problems: one leaks a little from a plastic fitting, the other needs its handle held down for a few seconds to flush fully. It'll probably take five minutes to fix, but my wife and I are too busy packing to try and figure out how, so we've called a plumber and asked him to come over and give an estimate. But I have no idea what's a good price: if he says "I can do it right now for $100," is that reasonable or outrageous? I'm in upstate NY if that matters.
posted by languagehat to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
 
Unfortunately, with your time constraints, you may end up getting stiffed for around that amount, since they usually charge by the hour, and usually charge at least an hour if they come by and do work.

That being said, you could almost certainly get the work done for less if you had the time to either find a good, honest plumber (or got lucky). Generally, $50-75 is probably a fair expectation for a couple of small jobs. It'll probably take him 5 mins to fix the flushing, and depending where the fitting is, about 15-20 mins to replace it.

Figure in any parts and a little mark-up on the parts, and it's going to be at least $50, I'd guess.
posted by LairBob at 6:05 AM on November 3, 2004


That's on the high end of reasonable, especially if he is making a special trip or squeezing you in. My plumber charges somewhere in the area of $60 an hour which includes the headache of driving all the way out to my house. Plus parts.
posted by jessamyn at 7:49 AM on November 3, 2004


This doesn't address how much you should pay but in the interest of paying a fair price for a good job you might ask any friendly neighbors who they'd recommend. That should tend to discriminate against gougers or people who charge for just stopping by unless both are standard practice where you are.
posted by Songdog at 9:51 AM on November 3, 2004


The job seems small and simple enough, maybe you should try a handyman (or handywoman of course). I just bought a house and quickly found a handyman to help out with the chores that are too small (IMO) for a 'specialist' but outside my comfort level. He usually runs $35/hr.
posted by evilelf at 9:57 AM on November 3, 2004


Too late, he's just left. LairBob, you were right on the money as far as time was concerned -- he was here for 20 minutes -- but he only charged us $40! (Cash, needless to say.) I'm really glad I posted this, because now I feel I got a great deal; thanks to all who responded!

(If anybody in the Peekskill area needs a plumber, let me know and I'll e-mail you his name.)
posted by languagehat at 11:03 AM on November 3, 2004


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