Hiring a plumber in Upstate SC - VENT!!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by barbarake, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    As some of you may remember, I'm currently renovating a house. The septic system is installed and the water is run to the house. I just got home from talking to a plumber about plumbing the house.

    But first I have to say that this is about as easy a plumbing job as there can be. It's a single story house - the kitchen, back porch and bathroom are right next to each other. Bathroom has a shower, toilet and sink - the kitchen has a sink and dishwasher and the back porch has a washing machine. The walls are open (i.e. you can see the studs) and there's room underneath the house to stand and reach up to do the plumbing (i.e. no crawling around in the mud).

    So I meet the plumber at the house and he looks over what needs to be done. He currently works for a plumbing company but wants to start his own business which is fine - I'm flexible on when he actually does the work (weekend, evenings, whatever). I buy the material and I'll pay him cash money. And I'll help him (cutting pipes, carrying stuff around, etc. since I want to learn about it). He says he'd like to come on a Saturday and do it all in one day. Great with me.

    So how much does he want for this?? $975.00!!!! Is he nuts!! We're talking a days work here and he wants almost a thousand dollars in cash money!!!

    Heck, I'll do it myself for that!!

    (By the way - if anyone here is close by and knows about plumbing - I'd be willing to pay $400 - $500 for your knowledge and labor for a day. Yes, I'm serious.)
     
  2. So, if you don't like his quote, get several more. What's the big deal?
     

  3. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    It's not a *big deal* - I'm just amazed that someone would even try to quote such an outlandish amount. I did check around beforehand and most people (not plumbers) thought that $250 - $300 cash money would be fair for a day's work. I thought $400 - $500 was being generous. And he quotes double that??!!?

    I've told my sons to forget about becoming doctors - they need to become electricians and plumbers for the *big* money. Geez!!

    (Don't get me wrong - I'm not denigrating electricians and plumbers. They deserve a decent wage as much as the next person. And maybe this would be acceptable in New York City or someplace like that. But in rural Upstate South Carolina - I don't think so. Getting my septic system installed didn't cost that much (for the labor) and that took them two days and several big machines. I guess this particular guy doesn't really want to start his own business. :rolleyes: )
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

    Messages:
    28,248
    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    Location:
    SE Missouri
    Lots of books available. Have at it yourself! Out of necessity I learned to do electircal and plumbing myself. If you take your time and have a good book or two on the subject you should be able to do just as good a job as the next guy. Use some of the money you would have paid a plumber to buy the right tools before you start. And let me tell you, if this old lady could learn to 'sweat a joint' anybody could.
     
  5. RAC

    RAC Guest

    I'm not a plumber, either, but it does sound high for your area, considering that you are willing to help out, which will cut his working time down considerably (making him more per hour). In New York or some other big state you'd be paying more....

    On the other hand, just because one works from home doesn't mean they *have* to cut their prices because supposedly they don't have the expenses the "big guys" do. How many other plumbers are there in your area? A lot of the money is in "trip charges" just to come out. It does cost money and time (that they could be working a job) to drive out for the "free estimates", and gas isn't exactly cheap right now. They have to make it up somewhere. Same with time spent doing paperwork for the business. Look at how lawyers bill for every single little thing.

    My DH can do plumbing but dislikes it intensely because he calls it the "three trip job"--get something, it doesn't fit, have to return it, try local stores to "help the local communtity", but of course they don't have the particular widget, so wind up going to the "big box" hardware stores. Grrrr.

    I agree with you--and you won't have huge malpractice insurance bills either!
     
  6. Ken in Maine

    Ken in Maine Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    574
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Saint Albans, Maine
    I was a plumber for 20 years and ALWAYS quoted a very high price when the homeowner was going to help. Obviously you have no plumbing experience so the frustration factor is very high. $500.00 or so is probably a good price for just a rough in. If that's for the complete job with fixture installation etc. it's a fair price. Everything he asks you to do will have to be double checked by him.

    Don't complain just get another bid!
     
  7. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    Contract the plumber by the hour. If he will work for $40 per hr. just pay for the hourly work you get.