Calling a plumber can be a little nerve-wracking. Your pressure-reducing thing-a-ma-jig on your water heater is leaking and you’ve got to leave for work. The guy on the phone has no clue how much it’s going to cost so you take a deep breath and say, “yeah, send him out”, hoping it’s not a $2,000 repair.
So it doesn’t surprise us when callers ask the question, “How much do you think this will cost?” or, “What is your hourly rate?” Because we think all that stress is just pointless, allow us to shed some light on the different ways service plumbing companies charge.
Hourly v. Flat Rate. When a plumber shows up to fix a problem, there is always some degree of uncertainty. Will that old piping in the wall break once I start to work on it? Can I get that faucet apart without stripping that corroded screw that holds the handle on? To deal with this uncertainty, some plumbing companies charge by the hour as a way to protect themselves if the job goes bad. Alternatively, some companies charge a flat rate. This method of pricing provides the customer with a fixed price before the work begins.
Bonuses & Commissions. How the plumbing company pays their plumber can have a huge impact on what your final bill is. As you might expect, there’s an incentive to “sell” more when the plumber is going for a monthly $500 sales bonus or, even more, if he is paid a commission on whatever your final bill is.
Loss Leaders & Upcharging. Some plumbing companies advertise loss leaders such as water heater installation at a deep, deep discount. This allows the company to get the appointment scheduled but all too often the price significantly increases once the plumber is there. They might tell you that the price didn’t include multiple “required” items. For example, when a plumber installs a toilet, he charges extra for a supply line. The other common practice is to use the homeowner’s lack of plumbing knowledge or fear to pressure them into fixing things that may or may not need to be fixed.
How Mackin & Sons Plumbing Charges.
We use flat-rate pricing and our plumbers are never paid by sales bonuses or commissions.
Service Fees. When someone calls us to schedule an appointment, we tell them (1) we have a $59 service fee and (2) the plumber will provide a price before any work begins. Once we arrive, we quickly and accurately diagnose the problem. In cases where an unusually complex diagnosis is required (such as troubleshooting a tankless water heater or cutting drywall to track down a leak), we’ll let you know we need to switch to our diagnostic fee.
Required-to-Complete v. Optional. Next, we let you know the price to (1) complete the repair or installation along with (2) the price for any optional recommendations we may have. Once we’ve answered all your questions, we ask for a signature on our estimate, so we can proceed with the work. If something unforeseen happens once we’ve started (such as a related pipe breaking down the line), we stop and start the process over again (diagnosis, estimate, Q&A) before we do anything.
Serve the Customer. How do we resist the lure of arranging the transaction completely to our benefit with hourly pricing, paying sales bonuses, etc.? Easy. We serve the customer.
By serving the customer we fulfill our company mission to help others, restore
craftsmanship, and grow.
When one of our neighbors in Stow, Wadsworth, Hudson, Ellet or anywhere else around Akron has a plumbing need and is nervous about how much it will cost they can count on us to be upfront about our pricing and let them decide what is best for their situation.