How much should I pay the plumber?
November 14, 2006 5:03 PM   Subscribe

How much would a generic plumber charge to fix a generic toilet problem? Looking for a price range.

We act as administrators for the estate of a low-functioning relative. He called to say that his toilet was broken and that he had called a plumber to come fix it tomorrow morning. This relative lives on his own, but the money comes from us: we'll have to poney up for this plumber, who is in theory all set to come. I'll be heading up there tomorrow morning with a blank check to inspect and and pay if the job is done well.
Here's the sticking points-

1) I have no idea what a toilet repair costs- we've always done it ourselves. What would be a fair range, given that we don't know yet what the problem is? Alternately, what is a fair price for various procedures?

2) It is possible that a workman will try to take advantage of the low-functioning relative (it's happened before, and that's why I'm going). What to look out for?

3) The relative lives in absolute filth. We go and help clean once a year, but he won't clean in the interim. When we do clean, we literally use snow shovels to get the junk out. Do workmen charge premiums for having to enter such houses?

Thanks for the help!
posted by ohio to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Plumbers are expensive. They will probably charge 50- 75 dollars just for coming out, plus parts.
posted by lee at 5:16 PM on November 14, 2006

If the commode is actually broken and has to be replaced it will cost at least $100 plus the commode price which varies according to model. The cheapest is about $50. I don't think the plumber will charge more due to the filth. They will just want to go in and do the work and get out of there. If it just leaks water or won't cut-off it will be simpler and less costly.
Good luck. Would like to know how it turns out.
posted by JayRwv at 5:56 PM on November 14, 2006

Plumbers from the yellow pages grow fat on emergencies - "help sewage is spewing all over the place". I once called such for a non emergency and was only told only after the phone call, the house visit, and getting an opinion on the problem (for which he had a ridicoulsy expensive solution) that just the worthless house call meant I owed him 80 bucks.

Negeotiate all visits up front and on the phone.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:34 PM on November 14, 2006

For a clogged toilet in a hurry: $125 or so, in my experience.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:43 PM on November 14, 2006

Find out the hourly rate, plus the fee for showing up, in advance of the work (in advance of the plumber showing up, if possible). Then you've at least limited the amount of padding he can do. If possible, get the rates from multiple plumbers. If the problem is just drain blockage, there are guys who aren't plumbers who just go around snaking drains -- that will cost less.

The fee that they charge for just showing up has one benefit: it's to the plumber's advantage to get the job done fast (reducing the hourly fee) because they make more money by getting as many jobs as possible done in a day than drawing out a single job.
posted by winston at 7:07 AM on November 15, 2006

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