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"Why do plumbers charge so much?" - Brad Explains

Why do plumbers charge so much? An explanation from Element Plumbing & Gas
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Hi everyone, it’s Brad from Element Plumbing & Gas here.

I thought I’d make a little video to address a point which gets raised from time to time, probably more often than not, actually.

  • “Why do you plumbers charge so much?” or
  • “You plumbers are so expensive” or
  • “You plumbers make a fortune”

If I had a dollar for every time someone addressed this point, then I probably would have retired a while ago. The reality is, plumbing is expensive by nature.

“Why do plumbers charge so much?” Well… The costs add up


A plumbing contractor spends a lot of time training. Once we’ve done our apprenticeship we need a lot of time on our own to learn how to run a business.

Furthermore, we have to do a contractors license as well, so it’s not a matter of just finishing a four year apprenticeship. In other words, you get your trades license first and then you get your contractors license in order to be able to operate a business. This costs us plumbers money to maintain and renew.


You also need to look at the nature of our business. Plumbers spend a lot of time traveling around the city from job to job. As soon as I get in my car to come and do a quote or a job, I’m using time and money just to get to your front door. Travel limits the time plumbers can actually spend in someone’s house or business getting jobs done. Performing this work on your premises is the only time we’ve got a chance to make money.

In a typical day, we’ve got five or six hours to actually make money but, in the real world we’re working 12, 13, 14, or 15 hours a day.


Those 12, 13, 14, or 15 hours a day include drawing up quotes, doing all the contract administration, performing all the research for materials in order to offer our customers the best service at an affordable price.

Ultimately, we don’t get paid for any of that time. We can only charge for when we’re in front of our customers, offering a service and doing the job. Performing this technical work for our customers is what keeps a plumber’s business alive.


Also, don’t forget that you’re not just paying for tradesmen to visit you on site and carry out your plumbing job, you’re paying for the company’s overheads too, which includes maintaining vehicles, maintaining vehicle licenses, fuel and associated automotive expenses.

Plumbers also pay an incredible amount for insurance, wages, accountant and bookkeeper fees, administration fees and a whole different raft of bills including marketing, which all need to be accounted for by the charges on an invoice sent to a customer at the end of a job.

Not all days are busy for us

Trades in general have to be prepared for days where work doesn’t come in. Quiet days do happen, which means plumbing business owners spend a couple of days a week in the office creating quotes for project work, renovations and the like. Yes, it’s true, the phone may not ring for a day or two.

When a plumbing business owner breaks down their costs, averages it all out, and charges you accordingly, you need to know that this is what needs to be done in order to provide a genuinely good service, at an affordable rate, that’s backed up with a guarantee. Offering a guarantee is another point I will talk about later in this video post.


In this instance, I can only speak for Element Plumbing & Gas. We use top-notch materials on all projects. We can offer budget options, but the reality is that these products simply do not last as long as their quality counterparts.

Plumbing also involves the use of expensive commodities such as copper. The resins we use also do not come cheap. Resin and copper prices increase every month, and have done so especially in the last six months or so, or at least since the start 2021.

There’s only so much of that we can wear, and we try to wear it as best we can but at the end of the day us plumbers have to pass on these costs. Unfortunately that’s reflected in the cost of plumbing and gas fittings. In the space of an hour we could use hundreds of dollars worth of fittings, whether it’s PVC, copper or other expensive parts.

Don’t get ripped off!

We know there are plumbers out there who charge too much. This is frustrating for the rest of us honest tradesmen in the industry, because we are doing the right thing by our customers. Particularly those of us plumbers who are family run businesses. We charge enough to keep the lights on that’s the fact of the matter.

You can hire someone cheap to do the job, that’s all very well and good, but you need to ask them if they are going to have your back and fix a problem if it arises. Quite often, that’s the case with the trades who charge cheap rates. If something goes wrong and you call said plumber for some assistance, like a leak repair, or the multitude of other things which can go wrong with cheap plumbing and gas jobs, your call might be ignored. The voicemail you left may not be replied to for days, even weeks. You need assurance that your plumber will answer the phone. You’re going to need assurance that the tradesman offers a guarantee on their work and is genuinely interested in returning to your home or business to help you.

“Why do plumbers charge so much?” Well… You get what you pay for

Genuine plumbers who are interested in forging lifelong relationships with their clients will charge a fair price for a good job and will rush to help you for no extra charge, should your plumbing job malfunction. That’s what a guarantee is all about – doing the right thing by people. If a customer feels valued, they will send repeat business to a plumber, and that’s best thing for a company like Element Plumbing & Gas.

For me, it’s satisfying seeing customers come back to me time and time again, when they need plumbing and gas issues sorted.

I hope this video helps and you’re now informed

I hope this video post sheds some light on the cost structures of your average plumbing business. At the end of the day, we’re certainly not in business to rip people off. Our cost structures revolve around offering you a value-for-money service, doing the best thing by you, while being able to feed our families and keep a small business running.

Again, I hope this video and blog post explains why plumbing can be expensive. It really is just the nature of the industry. By all means, please reach out to me if you have any questions.

I hope to see you at your home or business soon.

Alright, see ya.


Brad Deutscher
Element Plumbing & Gas