Many home-owners can attest to the fact that plumbers charge very high rates for their services. Not only are labor charges usually well over $100/hr but many times this expense is augmented with high fees for materials as well.
With such high rates many customers find themselves asking whether or not plumbers are deliberately trying to gouge them for their expert services. The answer to this question is usually no. There are a couple of main reasons that plumbing repairs tend to be so expensive and they don’t have anything to do with the plumber’s desire to exploit customers.
One of the main reasons that plumbing repairs are so costly is that there is a shortage of licensed plumbers in most large metropolitan areas. Obtaining a plumbing license is very difficult in most states and often requires extensive work experience. Not only is there a work experience requirement but there are usually one or more written exams that test a would-be plumber’s knowledge of local building codes.
This means that individuals seeking a the license of master plumber have to be very committed to that line of work. Many service professionals will choose to obtain a general contractors license which is generally much easier and has far fewer requirements. Whenever there is a shortage of a commodity(in this case licensed plumbers) coupled with a strong demand for that commodity market forces will drive the price up.
In addition to licensed plumber being in short supply, the costs of plumbing repairs are also high because of overhead expenses. Most plumbing companies will carry premium liability insurance to protect themselves from any problems that may arise as a result of work done in a home. For instance, a plumbing company that does clean drains needs special equipment such as a drain camera, high powered drain snakes and digging equipment in some cases.
These policies tend to be more expensive for plumbers since water damage is one of the most costly things to repair for an insurance company. These costs are accounted for in the premiums companies pay and are then passed on to the consumer as a part of the service fee.
These are just a few of the reasons that plumbing repairs can be so expensive. While it might be tempting to look for a handyman to keep costs down, it is much safer in the long run to hire a licensed plumber to get the job done right the first time.