The Problem With Traditional Billing For Plumbers Rates… Have you ever heard this before…”This job is taking longer than anticipated.” Maybe you’ve heard this one as your plumber is in the middle of installing your new multi-headed shower? Suddenly, not only are you further from your next great shower, you are going over the estimate and busting the project budget too.
The good news is that some plumbers have realized that the “traditional” way of doing business—the estimated bid using a “Parts + Labor”—has soured many customers on professional plumbing services over the years. Many forward thinking plumbers have responded by using “Flat Rate” pricing which is essentially one price for the entire job.
The Pros and Cons of Both Billing Methods for Plumbers Rates
The classic criticism of traditional plumbers rates is underestimation of the job. There are others too:
- Excessive mark up on parts. To be completely honest, whichever way services are billed, this has been a criticism of plumbers generally. The part you need may be cheaper at the hardware store but that cheaper part isn’t at your job. However, there is a parts savings in flat rate billing so read on.
- Sales taxes on parts. All jurisdictions which tax the sale of goods will also require your plumber to put the tax surcharge on the parts sold to you for your job. In a flat rate bid, you have paid for a “total service,” and the parts are included.
- Total uncertainty: The amount for labor is uncertain. The amount materials used is uncertain. The job length is uncertain. Who is assuming the risks that the job is more complicated than first thought? You are!
With Plumbers Flat Rate…This “fixed” or “contract” price plumbing does have its critics:
- You have to know your job. To not feel like, “I paid $150.00 for that short job?” you have to know two things: 1) The approximate value of the task you are calling a plumber for, and; 2) That traditionally billing plumbers are going to have a one hour minimum.
- It may seem that the plumbers rates has inflated the worth of the job. Parts might not have been required. It could seem the bill was all for labor and came out higher than an hourly rate may have.
- Again, you have to remember that the plumbers rates has shifted the risk that the job goes over estimate to his plumbing company and thats part of what you paid for was cost certainty!