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  • Re: What plumbers charge.

    True story..

    My cousin broke into the trade under my father, and after many years went into business himself. This was 8-9 years ago, and back then he was charging $55.00 a service call, and his phone was ringing. He lasted 6 months before he went under, and had to go out and go work for another Plumber. Today he's trying his hand at it again, and his prices are not much better. He told me the other day that he gave a lady a price of $89.00 to install a kitchen faucet, and the lady said she has to "think" about it.

    Comment


    • Re: What plumbers charge.

      flux. some people either don't know what it cost or can't afford it. $25.00 might be to much. its better than being told that they ain't got the it. sorry. breid............

      Comment


      • Re: What plumbers charge.

        Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
        Mr. Buyfield.

        No big company that does service work has a man in a truck that makes more money than I do. By the time the money is split by the guy in the office and the guy doing the work they are no where close to what I make.

        Now if the guy in the office has 10 trucks well sure he is making more money than I do but not PER truck...it takes multiples because the money is going out as fast as its coming in with costs associated with having employees. Everything goes up but profit does not nescessarliy rise with that overhead.

        For example....being a one man shop I can work from home. Do you realize how much money that saves me a month?

        Now for materials costs. I'm a one man shop with buying power. I buy by the case and get just as good of deals as other companies. The key to this is a good relationship with the counter men who write the tickets or the manager of the supply house.

        Being one guy I dont need to advertise....how many jobs does it take to pay for a full page ad in the phonebook?

        If profit does not increase in direct correlation to overhead, the overhead is cut, and fast. We have no time for anything that doesn't produce a profit. Trucks, people, tools, advertising, etc. all lead to an increased profit, and if they don't that overhead is eliminated just as fast as it was originated, doing as little damage as possible.

        The people who tell me I first need to figure out my costs and then base my prices upon my cost are putting the cart before the horse. First, lets find out what the market will bear and what prices customers are willing to pay given a certain level of service. Then we can find ways to adjust our costs to the market. I do not have 10 trucks, a showroom, a 40,000 sq. ft. building and then expect to pass those costs on to my limited amount of customers and expect them to understand due to the fact that I have such a large overhead associated with the business. Instead I understand what type of work I am currently capable of, what type of profit that will produce, and what investment I can make into my own business and still generate an income for myself and my family. Of course we are always thinking of ways to increase our capability, keeping in mind the investment required, and the return it will produce.
        Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

        Comment


        • Re: What plumbers charge.

          Originally posted by Devine Plumbing View Post
          If profit does not increase in direct correlation to overhead, the overhead is cut, and fast. We have no time for anything that doesn't produce a profit. Trucks, people, tools, advertising, etc. all lead to an increased profit, and if they don't that overhead is eliminated just as fast as it was originated, doing as little damage as possible.

          The people who tell me I first need to figure out my costs and then base my prices upon my cost are putting the cart before the horse. First, lets find out what the market will bear and what prices customers are willing to pay given a certain level of service. Then we can find ways to adjust our costs to the market. I do not have 10 trucks, a showroom, a 40,000 sq. ft. building and then expect to pass those costs on to my limited amount of customers and expect them to understand due to the fact that I have such a large overhead associated with the business. Instead I understand what type of work I am currently capable of, what type of profit that will produce, and what investment I can make into my own business and still generate an income for myself and my family. Of course we are always thinking of ways to increase our capability, keeping in mind the investment required, and the return it will produce.
          Some overhead is not so easily vaporized Things get rough and you have a year contract on cell phones,yellow page ad,insurances,licenses,shop associated costs,etc etc. It doesn't take long to drain the tank with overhead like that.

          Comment


          • Re: What plumbers charge.

            Since it has turned into a business discussion of gross, net, overhead, what one deserves etc. etc. etc.

            http://www.rense.com/general54/preco.htm

            I need to go up, up, up.


            J.C.

            Comment


            • Re: What plumbers charge.

              Originally posted by Devine Plumbing View Post

              *****snipped*****

              First, lets find out what the market will bear and what prices customers are willing to pay given a certain level of service.
              From my point of view, if I call someone to my house to fix a problem and I detail it enough that he can show up with the proper material to fix it, and then he works for an hour...I'm thinking a fair price would be $200. Which I would have paid for him to replace the two stops. Thinking that he could have done all the work up top, by cutting out the sheetrock a bit to give better access to the pipes, which I would have repaired later, I'm sure he could have done the job easily in that time frame.

              But they chose to have a man make a trip to my house for a "free estimate" and quote a price two or three times what I was willing to pay.

              Maybe someone else would have thought his quote was a bargain...I didn't.

              Comment


              • Re: What plumbers charge.

                I buy by the case and get just as good of deals as other companies.
                Maybe better but not just as good as some I would think. Do you buy your copper and CI pipe in bulk by the ton? Do you order a trailer truck load of 4" PVC every few months? Order CI fittings by the crate? If yes then you are doing as good as the big guys. A shop I worked for not long ago buys copper by the ton in various diameters, how much of each depends on what they are low on. They keep enough copper in their warehouse to keep them going for 6 months to a year and if they have a 50 or so projects going at once they are slow. Having this huge inventory on hand is expensive yes but they can pick and choose to buy when the price benefits them and are not pressured into making purchases by time. Anything from new home construction to schools to hospitals and hotels. This is a large plumbing and mechanical contractor not a service plumbing shop but they do have a small plumbing and HVAC division with a few dozen men. They have the buying power of the contracting side of the operation so they get excellent prices on materials.

                If you are getting good deals like all your competitors that is great, your suppliers are truly on your side which is a good thing. Usually as we all know they have about 4 or 5 price lists depending on how much volume you do with them (measured in dollars), and you pay accordingly. Fresh out of HS I worked for a auto parts distributor for a few months and they operated the same way...they had 3 different price lists of cash buyers and another 3 for those that had accounts with them. On the invoice it would say CASH 3 say or CREDIT 2, and that was the discount code that was applied to the suggested retail price that Joe Schmo would pay walking in off the street. Plumbing and electrical supply houses operate the same way.
                Last edited by Bob D.; 02-06-2011, 08:07 AM.
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                ---------
                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                Comment


                • Re: What plumbers charge.

                  1 of my supply house has a weekly special and then a friday special.

                  so the other day, on friday they were having an advertised lunch

                  grabbed 2 slices of pizza and a dr. pepper. cost me $1300.00

                  next time it's cheaper to go out to lunch

                  i rarely have to stop by the supply house as i stock the majority of the supplies i use. but when they have an advertised special on products i use, i take advantage of it. along with the 2% discount when paid by the 10th.

                  so now i have enough la pattern chrome p-traps and stainless water heater flexes to last a year plus. there is no shelf life on these products and money in the bank pays .01% interest.

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

                  Comment


                  • Re: What plumbers charge.

                    Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                    Maybe better but not just as good as some I would think. Do you buy your copper and CI pipe in bulk by the ton? Do you order a trailer truck load of 4" PVC every few months? Order CI fittings by the crate? If yes then you are doing as good as the big guys. A shop I worked for not long ago buys copper by the ton in various diameters, how much of each depends on what they are low on. They keep enough copper in their warehouse to keep them going for 6 months to a year and if they have a 50 or so projects going at once they are slow. Having this huge inventory on hand is expensive yes but they can pick and choose to buy when the price benefits them and are not pressured into making purchases by time. Anything from new home construction to schools to hospitals and hotels. This is a large plumbing and mechanical contractor not a service plumbing shop but they do have a small plumbing and HVAC division with a few dozen men. They have the buying power of the contracting side of the operation so they get excellent prices on materials.

                    If you are getting good deals like all your competitors that is great, your suppliers are truly on your side which is a good thing. Usually as we all know they have about 4 or 5 price lists depending on how much volume you do with them (measured in dollars), and you pay accordingly. Fresh out of HS I worked for a auto parts distributor for a few months and they operated the same way...they had 3 different price lists of cash buyers and another 3 for those that had accounts with them. On the invoice it would say CASH 3 say or CREDIT 2, and that was the discount code that was applied to the suggested retail price that Joe Schmo would pay walking in off the street. Plumbing and electrical supply houses operate the same way.
                    Correct. And I'm pretty sure it is illegal to operate this way. A volume pricing discount has to be public and equal.

                    Surprised a lawsuit hasn't happened yet.


                    J.C.

                    Comment


                    • Re: What plumbers charge.

                      Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                      Maybe better but not just as good as some I would think. Do you buy your copper and CI pipe in bulk by the ton? Do you order a trailer truck load of 4" PVC every few months? Order CI fittings by the crate? If yes then you are doing as good as the big guys. A shop I worked for not long ago buys copper by the ton in various diameters, how much of each depends on what they are low on. They keep enough copper in their warehouse to keep them going for 6 months to a year and if they have a 50 or so projects going at once they are slow. Having this huge inventory on hand is expensive yes but they can pick and choose to buy when the price benefits them and are not pressured into making purchases by time. Anything from new home construction to schools to hospitals and hotels. This is a large plumbing and mechanical contractor not a service plumbing shop but they do have a small plumbing and HVAC division with a few dozen men. They have the buying power of the contracting side of the operation so they get excellent prices on materials.

                      If you are getting good deals like all your competitors that is great, your suppliers are truly on your side which is a good thing. Usually as we all know they have about 4 or 5 price lists depending on how much volume you do with them (measured in dollars), and you pay accordingly. Fresh out of HS I worked for a auto parts distributor for a few months and they operated the same way...they had 3 different price lists of cash buyers and another 3 for those that had accounts with them. On the invoice it would say CASH 3 say or CREDIT 2, and that was the discount code that was applied to the suggested retail price that Joe Schmo would pay walking in off the street. Plumbing and electrical supply houses operate the same way.
                      I can get most plumbing supplies at dealer cost and ALL hydraulic fittings or hoses at or BELOW dealer cost,as I can buy straight from a distributer.

                      The word your looking for is called a "Multiplier" Its the number the dealer uses to multiply his cost of an item to arrive at your cost of an item.

                      I have good friends Even if I cant get dealer cost,I can find out dealer cost if I want. I drink beer with a couple managers of supply houses....I'm not how they make their money and they give me stuff all the time. Its no skin off their azz to sell me 100' of pvc at the same cost as they sell a truck load for to the big guys....and they do it Infact they will call me if they have a big order with a chance for me to get a deal. Once Toto sent 5 extra toilets..not on their invoice,,,,they called toto and toto said keep them I got them for 50.00 cash each That kinda stuff happens alot.

                      Speaking of copper pipe. I dont use much. Usually just for connecting water heaters. What do you think happens to a 20' stick that has a "ding" or a "dent" in it? Thats right...its free. I cant remember the last time I actually paid for any copper pipe.

                      Moral of the story..."who you know is just as important as what you know" and you can quote me on that

                      After they do inventory I get a phone call from one supply house manager to come buy everything I want thats not in their inventory...if its not in inventory the owner tells them to throw it away or sell it for cash. They know who has cash Delta 10000 rough valves for 10.00 and trim for 20.00 Delta Lav faucets with MPU pop-ups for 25.00

                      Comment


                      • Re: What plumbers charge.

                        Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                        Since it has turned into a business discussion of gross, net, overhead, what one deserves etc. etc. etc.

                        http://www.rense.com/general54/preco.htm

                        I need to go up, up, up.


                        J.C.

                        JC, of course the cost of raw materials doesn't begin to address the cost of development of the drugs, or the cost of getting them approved by the FDA. Surely that's part of the cost of the drug as well.

                        If we didn't have drug companies doing the legwork those who know will be forced to chew on the bark of a willow tree when we get headaches. The rest will live with the pain.
                        Time flies like an arrow.

                        Fruit flies like a banana.

                        Comment


                        • Re: What plumbers charge.

                          Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                          Maybe better but not just as good as some I would think. Do you buy your copper and CI pipe in bulk by the ton? Do you order a trailer truck load of 4" PVC every few months? Order CI fittings by the crate? If yes then you are doing as good as the big guys. A shop I worked for not long ago buys copper by the ton in various diameters, how much of each depends on what they are low on. They keep enough copper in their warehouse to keep them going for 6 months to a year and if they have a 50 or so projects going at once they are slow. Having this huge inventory on hand is expensive yes but they can pick and choose to buy when the price benefits them and are not pressured into making purchases by time. Anything from new home construction to schools to hospitals and hotels. This is a large plumbing and mechanical contractor not a service plumbing shop but they do have a small plumbing and HVAC division with a few dozen men. They have the buying power of the contracting side of the operation so they get excellent prices on materials.

                          If you are getting good deals like all your competitors that is great, your suppliers are truly on your side which is a good thing. Usually as we all know they have about 4 or 5 price lists depending on how much volume you do with them (measured in dollars), and you pay accordingly. Fresh out of HS I worked for a auto parts distributor for a few months and they operated the same way...they had 3 different price lists of cash buyers and another 3 for those that had accounts with them. On the invoice it would say CASH 3 say or CREDIT 2, and that was the discount code that was applied to the suggested retail price that Joe Schmo would pay walking in off the street. Plumbing and electrical supply houses operate the same way.
                          We know a large Plumbing outfit that does New Construction only in 3 different states, that buys copper by the tractor trailer load. My father back in the late 80's early 90's was one of the biggest new construction Plumbers in the area, and this guy dwarfed us. My dad had some pretty good leeway on price, but this other guy dictated to all the supply houses what he was going to pay for his material.

                          Today we still buy bulk for some things, but no where near what we use to, cause we are mostly service now.

                          Comment


                          • Re: What plumbers charge.

                            Originally posted by geno gardner View Post
                            JC, of course the cost of raw materials doesn't begin to address the cost of development of the drugs, or the cost of getting them approved by the FDA. Surely that's part of the cost of the drug as well.

                            If we didn't have drug companies doing the legwork those who know will be forced to chew on the bark of a willow tree when we get headaches. The rest will live with the pain.
                            There overhead is none of my concern.

                            The drug companies are one of the most unethical models of business I have seen.

                            They'll try and get that willow tree bark FDA approval one day. Call it WillowHeadEx. Only 15,000% over manufacturing cost though.


                            J.C.

                            Comment


                            • Re: What plumbers charge.

                              Originally posted by BuilderGal View Post
                              In the amount of time it takes to search the yellow pages, call a plumber, and get him into your home for a quote, a homeowner could have easily replaced two stops in less time if they had the know-how to do so. My point is not that plumbers 'charge too much', because obviously they have overhead expenses and need to make a profit. My point is that homeowners are at the mercy of tradsesmen until they acquire the knowledge and experience to do it themselves.

                              Rather than paying $400 to a plumber, they could spend around $50 on equipment (valves, pipe cutter, torch, etc.), and then spend some time educating themselves (library books, watching youtube videos, etc.). After a little practice they should be able to sweat the valves with little or no trouble. And once you learn how to do it you'll only get better and better. The next time they need to replace stop valves they'll already have all the equipment, and should be able to do it in a lot less time than it took the first time.

                              I feel like so many people in my generation don't know anything about anything when it comes to houses. Considering there is supposed to be a shortage of skilled tradesmen in the future, that will only result in higher and higher prices. If homeowners want to hedge against that, spend some time now to LEARN, so that you won't HAVE to hire the "high priced" contractors in the future (only if you want to ). A little knowledge never hurt anyone...
                              No, the homeowner should have gotten a second estimate, and hired a qualified licensed professional plumber to do the job. A seeming 'small job' in plumbing can easily turn into a fiasco in the hands of a novice.

                              My advice to the original poster, get three estimates, and hire the plumber who balances a fair price with your own comfort in dealing with them.

                              Establishing a good relationship with tradesmen you are happy with is one of the most important things a homeowner can do.

                              Trying to do it yourself, can very quickly rack up a $400 bill especially if you've never done it before.

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