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  • rates for sewer and drain work?

    i have been in the sewer and drain business for over 25 years and i am just curious what other people are charging for doing this type of work. hourly, by the foot, whats the best and most profitable way?

  • #2
    JTANGE, THE BEST IS NOT ALWAYS THE MOST PROFITABLE.
    I CHARGE BY THE HOUR PLUS A CHARGE FOR THE EQUIPTMENT. HAND GUN, SEWER MACHINE, JETTER, CAMERA.
    CHARGING BY THE FOOT IS TYPICALLY A SCAM. NOBODY CAN JUSTIFY THE LENGTH OF THEIR CLEANING OR THE NECESSITY. EVERYTIME I'VE SEEN A BILL FROM ANOTHER CO. THAT CHARGES BY THE FOOT. IT'S A RIP OFF. IF THEY HAVE 150' ON THE MACHINE THAT'S WHAT THEY CHARGE FOR. EVEN THOUGH THE MAIN IS AT 80' TO THE CITY SADDLE CONNECTION. I ALWAYS KEEP TABS ON MY JOBS AND KEEP A RECORD OF THE CLEANING WITH THE FOOTAGE OF THE LOCATION I CLEARED THE STOPPAGE. IF I'VE CAMERED THE LINE, THEN IT'S ALL NOTED AND DOCUMENTED ON MY LAPTOP THAT I CARRY IN THE TRUCK. CAN'T GO TOO FAR OR COME UP SHORT FOR THE MAIN.

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    • #3
      IF you are merely talking about having a professional come in and run a snake through your drains/main line, the professional is making too much money! Now Hold on guy's, I understand time is money, which is why you have a service call charge. You also have an hourly rate you need to make in order to remain competetive and put food on your table. But in my opinion, they are charging way way too much for a main line snake. We had just moved into our home, and a few months later our main had started to back up. Now I am a pretty handy guy, do most of my plumbing work myself, running new lines, installation, etc. Being a new home owner i had no idea what to do. I called a plumber and he charged me over 200 bucks to snake my main. He was in and out in under an hour. In fact it took him more time to unload, set up, and reload his snake than it took him to do the job! After seeing what he did, in my opinion I got ripped off! Not worth it. Now I go down to the local rental place and rent the machine for a couple of hrs and do it my self. 30-40 bucks and an hour is a lot better than 200+
      \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

      Comment


      • #4
        SPACE YOU CAN SAY THIS ABOUT ANY TRADE OR BUSINESS.
        LET'S LOOK AT A 12 OZ. CAN OF COKE. YOU CAN PURCHASE A 6 PACK FOR $1.50 AT ANY MARKET. A RESTRAUNT WILL CHARGE ANYWHERE FROM $1.50- $4.00. IN A CAN THEY WON'T GIVE FREE REFILLS. JUST ATE A SMALL DELI FRIDAY. 3 COKES = $12.00. AS YOU CAN SEE, WE'LL NEVER GO BACK TO THIS LOCATION.
        P.S. LAST YEAR ON MY HONEYMOON. PAID $7.50 U.S. FOR A COKE IN VENICE ITALY. LEARNED TO LOOK AT THE MENU OR ASK FIRST.
        SEE MY POINT. BEST ADVISE IS TO ASK FOR A RECOMENDATION OF TRADES PEOPLE. CHECK WITH FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS. I DON'T ADVERTISE, I DON'T NEED TO.
        THE GOOD STAY IN BUSINESS, THE BAD END UP IN COURT. DOES YOUR DOCTOR ADVERTISE? DO YOU ASK FOR HIS PRICE, OR LET THE INSURANCE CO. PAY FOR IT? DID YOU GET RIPPED OFF? PROBABLY. NEXT TIME YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND ASK FIRST. DO I FEEL I GOT RIPPED OFF ON A CAN OF COKE? YOU BET I DO. I'M NOT GOING TO STOP DRINKING COKE. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT THAT CAN OF COKE IS WORTH AND WHAT I'M WILLING TO PAY FOR IT.
        NOT ALL PLUMBERS ARE A $4.00 CAN OF COKE.
        PLUMBER RICK.

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        • #5
          I'm charging $65 for any two inch line, and $85 for mainlines. I don't charge extra for roof jobs or taking the pipes apart under the sink. I do mostly
          property managment and don't advertise.

          In regards to high prices, i'm too shocked on what some of these compainies are charging. Some of those "national" drain compaines are indeed charging $200+ for even secondary lines.

          IMO, stay away from plumbers who do drain cleaning also. They tend to charge more, and will often try to sell you on plumbing work. Try to use a "drain only" company. Always insist on a telephone quotes, companies who don't usually charge way to much. Stay away from those damn rental machines, those things are often junk and it's really not that much more of you call around and get an estimate. Hope this helps.

          Comment


          • #6
            Space,

            Sewage work is nasty disgusting and filthy. You are asking another human being to drive to your home and get your fecal matter all over them and their tools. Then they have to clean YOUR $h!t off of their clothes and their equipment, sometimes their own skin. They have to smell YOUR human excrement the whole time they work and you want them to do it cheap? That attitude is exactly why I refuse to do that type of work whenever possible.

            That equipment is expensive to buy, expensive to maintain, and expensive to replace. A man who does that work deserves to make a very nice living indeed. 75 to 100 dollars an hour plus a machine charge is extremely reasonable and much less than I am willing to do it for. The plumber or service man has to load that heavy equipment drive top your home, play in your $h!t pipes then clean everything up and drive back. You want him to do that for pennies? Remember that plumber is still getting paid while he is driving to and from your house, its part of his 8 hour day and his employer must charge accordingly.

            Those national sewer chains are a rip off for the customer and the poor souls stuck working for them. One chain which I will not mention requires their "service techs" to be subcontractors who must buy or lease their own truck, provide their own equipment, their own insurance and keeps them on call 24/7. Those guys are told what they can charge and they don't even get overtime for Sunday and holiday work. Their cut of what they have to collect is less than 40%. Its a crime actually, or at least it should be.

            If you had your main sewer cleaned for 200 bucks you did not get ripped off, you recieved a good service at a fair price.

            Rick,

            I sort of agree with your coke analogy but I am willing to pay 4 bucks for a coke if i am in a very nice establishment with excellent service, excellent food and excellent ambiance. But i will only pay 99 cents for the same thing in a burger joint and expect it to be refilled.

            You have top equipment and experience in using it, plus you have to use your equipmment in other peoples home which means providing excellent service and being polite and business like which equates to the 4 dollar coke. If Spacebluesonoma does not want to pay another human being a decent wage to literally work in his $h!t then shame on him and he should rent a machine and do it himself.
            Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Like I said no disrespect meant. It is not a pleasent Job. No two ways about it. But snaking a main line should not cost 200 dollars. (depending on length and such of course). Yeah it is a nasty job. I hate doing it! And yes you have to make a living. I have traveled half way around the world 3 times and yeah the coke analogy is correct but not fitting.
              Yes the machines are expensive, initial investment, not that expensive to operate, you are using my electric, and some of the cleaners today, not too bad aweful to clean either. Whenever I do one, i usually spray a cleaner/degreaser on it on the way back up, allows the schmutz to run down the snake and back into the drain.
              Make a fair living but it certainly is not worth 200+ for a simple residental job.

              And again no disrespect, but that is the career path they have chosen. So getting dirty and such comes with the territory.

              I used to be an avionics technician and used to work on the E-2C hawkeye. Well the relief tube they had for the rear crew was in the back just above a tray of my avionics gear. In addition, the cooling fan was on the outside of the aircraft on the port side (left) just behind the pilot seat. Guess what, sucked in all the pilot's urine because his relief tube came out right there. When one of those went bad they were not real pleasent to change. But it was part of the job. (and we did not get to charge extra

              The hotwater heaters, the simple clogs, the new supply lines, etc, all the clean stuff that comes with the job....

              you take the good with the bad.

              And yes he has to clean up, when i do mine or help out a friend I have one pair of coveralls and one pair of gloves i use.

              the local rental center has some brand new ones. They were awesome. I think they were called the sewer snake. Only down part of them is that you had to stop every 13 feet and add/remove a segment. But i'll be damned if it did not get the job done. 40 bucks for 4 hrs and a shower afterwords beats 150 or 200 or 250 or more any day of the week.

              Again Pro's I mean't no disrespect.

              On that note put the drama act on hold...

              I am not asking anyone to do anything more then their job!

              Have a good evening
              \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

              Comment


              • #8
                Space,

                Do you really think the man who got your $h!t all over him gets to keep all of the money you were charged. How far away was the shop from which he was dispatched?

                I cannot disagree more with your line of reasoning. Yes that equipment is expensive and it gets damaged and has to be repiared and replaced often. Contractors do not do this for free. The man who played in your sh!t, the owner of the company he works for, the secretary, and any other non production personell that may work at that conmpany are paid from the money that the fieldworkers bring in. Or do you think they should all work for free too?

                By the picture you display on all of your posts I assume you work with or have worked with aircraft. You know it takes many, many men besides the pilot to get that plane off of the ground. Well in most circumstances there is more than one person behind that tech that was sent to play in your sh!t. Its a filthy stinking job, that you want another human to do it for peanuts is a disgrace.
                Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  PLUMBER AND SPACE,
                  BELIEVE IT OR NOT I AGREE WITH BOTH OF YOUR POINTS. LET ME EXPLAIN AS I'VE WORKED WITH THE GOOD STUFF FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS NOW. SINCE I WAS 12 YEARS OLD MAKING $3.00 AN HOUR IN JR. HIGH. AND TODAY AT 42 YEARS OLD CHARGING $70.OO AN HOUR. AS YOU CAN SEE I DON'T PROFIT $70.00 AN HOUR. THERE ARE LOTS OF THING ITEMS THAT EAT AWAY AT THIS AMOUT. YOU ARE RIGHT THAT MANY COMPANIES DO CHARGE WAY TOO MUCH FOR THIS SERVICE. MOST OF THESE CO. ARE ON A COMMISION OR SPLIT WITH THEIR TECH'S. NOTICE I DIDN'T SAY PLUMBER. I'M ONE OF THE HONEST ONES. I DON'T SELL THINGS THAT ARE UNNESSESARY. I GET THE JOB DONE AND GO TO THE NEXT JOB. I DON'T ADVERTISE. ALL OF MY WORK IS FROM WORD OF MOUTH AND OTHER CONTRACTORS. YOU ARE CORRECT IN SAYING THAT SOME COMPANIES CHARGE TOO MUCH. BUT THAT CAN BE SAID ABOUT ANY SERVICE BASED CO. OR BUSINESS. A WORD OF ADVISE. IF YOU LOOK IN THE YELLOW PAGES FOR A PLUMBER OR ANY OTHER TRADE, BEWARE!
                  WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU LOOKED IN THE YELLOW PAGES FOR A DOCTOR. YOU NEED TO ASK FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS FOR A RELIABLE AND GOOD TRADESMAN. PRICE IS NOT ALWAYS THE FACTOR. DIFFICULT TO GET THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AND BEST PLUMBER OUT THERE.
                  THE CLIENTS THAT GET ME ARE GETTING THE BEST, BUT NOT THE LEAST EXPENSIVE. I'M THE FAIREST.
                  ONCE AGAIN LOOK AT THE COKE SCENARIO. ALL COKES ARE THE SAME. NOT ALL COKES ARE PRICED THE SAME. NOW SAY THIS ABOUT PLUMBERS OR OTHER TRADES. YU DON'T GET THE SAME QUALITY, OR SAME PRICE. YOU NEED TO SHOP FOR BOTH.
                  NEXT TIME SPACE, GET A REFERRAL FROM A FRIEND, NOT THE YELLOW PAGES. YOU WILL BE MUCH HAPPIER.
                  RICK.
                  PS. PLUMBER THANKS FOR STICKING UP FOR US.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Again my apologies if I offended anyone. The only referral I need right now is to the local rental center.

                    No I understand that there is overhead, it costs money to run a business and they are in the business to make money. But quality and quantity go a long way. Let me explain it to you like this. I am awaiting back surgery for 2 herniated thoracic discs. I am in near constant pain and have not been doing much since november. some days are better than others. Well my wife bought a new frige with an ice maker and water supply. Needed a supply line run. In addition, both my silcoks were leaking and she wanted a new one on the side of the house. In addition the main line coming into the house was still galvanized pipe. So this weekend it took me 2 full days to do all that work. Would have cost too much to have a pro come in and do it. Yes it took me 2.5 times longer than it usually would for that amount of work, yes I was in pain the entire next day and stayed on the couch, but it was worth it. I mainly did it now because i do not know what condition I am going to be in after I am cut.

                    Plumbing is a racket that has the potential for those in the field to make a hell of a lot of money. Not my choice of career, i hate the task, i don't do it for fun. Sometimes it is necessary to call a pro, i have no doubt about that. but some of the fundamental stuff, like running a new supply line, sweating a couple of pieces of copper together would have cost me a couple hundred bucks I am sure. At least 100

                    25 bucks worth of copper and some pain is worth it to me.

                    Now everyone from the secretary on up and down needs to get paid. I have no problem with that. ANd they are entitled to a fair wage. But the potential to "overcharge" for simple tasks in the field is very great.

                    I am a DIY'r, have done some rehab work, remodel work, etc. Over the last few years I have spend some money on tools. And I refuse to buy crap. All my wrenches are ridgid as are my pipe cutters. Channellocks, and snap-on. So yes I have spent some money on tools. No doubt there. But in the long run, a penny saved is a penny earned. The local plumbers supply is great. If I have a question, the guys behind the counter are very knowledgeble and are willing to answer questions and talk you through things that you are unsure of. You can also often find a pro there waiting for service that will also help you out. Nice group of guys.

                    Now I know that i probably have more ability to do certain things than others. I have picked up a bunch of things throughout the years just by watching others, asking questions, and low and behold reading a book or two.

                    I have no problem calling someone if something is over my head. So far I have not run into anything that has been. And that includes replacing my 40 year old soil stack that was rotted and seeping. (took me over 13 hrs which is probably much longer than it would have taken a pro), but it saved me a bunch of money.

                    I don't care what anyone here says. I still think I was overcharged for the snaking of my main line. But I learned how to do it. So i guess it was a couple hundred dollar class!

                    I have all the respect in the world for anyone who does this for a living. It is your lively hood and you need to put food on your table.

                    You guys just won't be getting too many calls from me!
                    \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      SPACE, LIKE I'VE SAID MANY TIMES. THERE ARE HONEST TRADESMEN, AND DISHONEST TRADESMEN. THERE ARE RESTAURANTS THAT CHARGE $4.00 FOR A CAN OF COKE, NO REFILL, AND RESTAURANTS THAT CHARGE $1.50 WITH FREE REFILLS. YOU CAN SAY THIS ABOUT EVERY TRADE OR PROFESSION OUT THERE.
                      THE REAL FAULT IS IN YOU AS A CONSUMER. YOU SHOULD HAVE SHOPPED AROUND. THEN YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET THE PERSON WHO YOU FELT MOST COMFORTABLE WITH, BOTH IN COST AND ABILITY. ONCE AGAIN IT'S BUYER BEWARE WHEN IT COMES TO YELLOW PAGE ADS. THE GOOD COMPANIES HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH WORK AND DON'T NEED TO ADVERTISE. A REFERRAL FROM A FRIEND, OR NEIGHBOR IS MUCH MORE RELIABLE THAN A SHOT IN THE DARK WITH THE YELLOW PAGES.
                      SPACE NEXT TIME YOU NEED A TRADE PERSON, DOCTOR, LAWYER, AUTO MECHANIC, GET A REFERRAL. OTHERWISE YOUR GOING TO BE IN THE SAME BOAT AS THIS LAST EXPERIENCE. A COKE SHOUDN'T COST $4.00. AND YOU DON'T NEED TO DRINK IT FROM A DIRTY GLASS EITHER.
                      SPACE, IF YOU'VE HAD GOOD LUCK DEALING WITH SOME OF THE GUS AT THE SUPPLY HOUSE, THEN WHY DON'T YOU JUST HIRE ONE OF THEM? BY THE WAY WHERE DID YOU FIND THE PLUMBER THAT YOU FELT OVERCHARGED YOU? YOU WERE NOT OBLIGATED TO HIRE THEM. YOUR POINTING THE BLAME ON THE WHOLE TRADE AND NOT THE COMPANY YOU DEALT WITH. DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE TO BLAME TOO? IF YOU HIRED AN EXPENSIVE CO. AND WERE HAPPY WITH THE WORK, THEN UPSET ABOUT THE PRICE YOU WERE CHARGED, THAT'S YOUR FAULT. I PURCHASED THE $4.00 COKE, BUT THE 4 OF US ARE NOT GOING BACK TO THAT RESTAURANT AGAIN. WE ARE STILL GOING TO DRINK COKE IN THE FUTURE.
                      HOPE THAT THIS PUTS AN END TO THIS DEBATE. PLUMBER GIVE US YOUR 2CENTS.
                      THANKS, RICK

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Spacebluesonoma,

                        Well you may not care what anyone else says but you were not overcharged.

                        I am sorry that you have been in pain. But that service man who hefts that sewer equipment around all the time most certainly has or will have back and knee problems. He will have to still feed his family, pay his mortgage, and plan for retirement. His job is not an easy one and he deserves to make a good living.

                        It is good that you have mechanical ability and can do many things for yourself. If you can do these things in your own home and save yourself some money I am all for it and happy for you.

                        If you call a professional out to your home you will be required to compensate at professional rates. Flat rate companies would probably have put your main line cleaning around 250 to 400 dollars. One man outfits with low overhead who work out of the back of their trucks will probably be around 85 to 100 bucks plus machine charge( I would be scared of them if they charged less) Established companies with fully outfitted shops and good dependable employees that they wish to retain will be charging 150 to 250 dollars for someone to come and work in your excrement. Trust me, NO ONE does that type of work for fun. They deserve an above average home and a nice car and pleasant vacations.

                        There are people who would overcharge and do. Thats in every trade and every facet of life. One thing to do is to ask how much they charge and how they base their rates. If that professional was in your home an hour then he probably has at least another hour invested in reaching your home and returning to the shop and loading and unloading equipment. Thats two hours total, he gets paid during that entire time. At a standard fee of 75 dollars an hour plus a machine charge (which all sensible companies must charge)200 dollars is right in line with what I would figure to be an average rate.

                        Your electricity cost is pennies and caused this professional to laugh outloud that you would even bring it up. Would you rather he spent three or four hours with an old fashioned flat steel tape pushed in by hand? Perhaps you would have been happier if the poor soul worked in the dark while he played in your waste.

                        Space, I was not offended by your posts. A bit disgusted at first maybe even aggravated, but not offended. You learned from the person who worked in your home and thats good. Now when you rent equipment to clean your sewer you know how much that knowledge is truly worth. Good luck with your DIY projects and don't get that rental cable all tied up in your lines or you will really wish you paid someone another 200 to come out.

                        One thing to consider, and a bit of free advice. If you are having to clean out your sewer often, (More than twice a year) then you really should budget for a new main line or at least to have your existing line repaired. Or have a very long talk with the ladies in your home about proper hygene product disposal.
                        Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          well so far it has happened twice and I have been here going on three years. Helped my sister out when she bought her home. She has a lot of trees around, as do I. My washing machine currently drains into the tub and that has a long run under the cement until it hits the main. That tends to back up more and will be changed hopefully in the spring.

                          I have nothing but respect for any trade, you have to make a living the same as me.

                          We will have to agree to disagree on this one.

                          I feel that for what was involved for my particular situation, I was overcharged, and anyone who has had the same experience as I was overcharged. As I said it took him longer to set up and load up than it did to do the job.

                          Now if he was there 2-3-4-hrs ok,

                          but just about an hour. maybe a little less, maybe a little more.
                          \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I hope I haven't burned any bridges here and am still welcome to ask for advice?
                            \"A SHIP OF WAR IS THE BEST AMBASSADOR\"<br /><br />OLIVER CROMWELL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              SPACE, 1 LAST QUESTION THAT STILL HASN'T BEEN ANSWERED. WHERE DID YOU FIND THIS TRADEPERSON? WHY DID YOU HIRE HIM IF YOU KNEW THE PRICE? YOU COULD HAVE CALLED SOMEONE ELSE. YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE EVERY PERSON IN THIS TRADE IS CHARGING TOO MUCH. IF YOU WOULD HAVE DONE SOME HOMEWORK, YOU COULD HAVE FOUND A LESS EXPENSIVE AND JUST AS CAPABLE TRADESMAN.
                              JUST LIKE MOST OF THE POST ON THIS FORUM ABOUT RIDGID DRILLS. NOT ALL OF THEM WOBBLE. THERE ARE GOOD AND THERE ARE BAD. YOU NEED TO FIND A GOOD ONE AND KEEP IT. I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT IF I WAS IN YOUR AREA, THIS WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE. YOU NOW SHOULD KNOW HOW TO SHOP FOR ANY TRADES PERSON. FOLLOW SOME OF THE ADVISE THAT WE HAVE GIVEN AND SOME COMMON SENSE.
                              RICK.

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