plumbing cost...Was my Mom way overcharged??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by diydisaster, Oct 18, 2008.


Did my Mom who is not rich nor poor pay too much for this job @ $1350

Poll closed Jan 26, 2009.
  1. Yes, she was overcharged

    11 vote(s)
  2. No, about average total cost for this scope of work

    1 vote(s)
  3. She should have declined this bid and continued using the bathroom sink to drain pasta

    5 vote(s)
  1. diydisaster

    diydisaster New Member

    Chicago area
    Hello everybody, I would value your opinion on the following situation.....

    First want to say that I am in no way a cheap skate or trying to say plumbing skills don't deserve high pay.....

    THE JOB: My mom had a new sink and counter install in her kitchen which was completed by my brother. He hooked up the faucet and water lines but did not do anything with the drains on either side of the sink....previously there was a 2 sided sink in place but the drain pipes were now being blocked on one side where the disposal needed to be in place.

    Ok, here is the scope of the job as copied from the quote...

    cut into back of cab to expose drain tee
    relocate tee for new dbl sink setup
    repipe all drains brass
    hook up disposal
    hook install 2 new basket strainers
    Ok, so the guy was nice I guess, and did a good job, but the total cost was $1350. I was wondering what you guys think? Again, I am all about making sure people get paid and don't expect anything for free but I feel like $1350 was way too much for this job. Look forward to hearing your responses... Tim

    the picture attached is just a shot of the sink before anything was done.

    Attached Files:

  2. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Tim, are you sure she didn't pay 350 instead of 1350? That seems pretty high to me. Does she live in the suburbs? If that were my mom, I would wring his bloody neck.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2008
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    I would have said, "Thanks for the esimate... Next!"
  4. diydisaster

    diydisaster New Member

    Chicago area
    $1350 is what she paid, which just seemed too much.
    she lives in the suburb aurora in chicago area. My mom is a seamstress so it wasn't like she was serving up caviar and playing tennis in the back with the pool boy.

    350 is what I thought it would have cost which is why I turned down attempting to do it for her.
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    350 is probably a bit low...
    Though the fact that the cabinets were installed before the plumbing was done does add to the cost,,,
  6. diydisaster

    diydisaster New Member

    Chicago area
    if you can see in the photo. it is just drywall, there wasn't even an actual back to the cabinet.
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Right but it's easier therefore cheaper when you figure out where it needs to be and move it before the cabinets are in place.
  8. It's sounds high but to do it justice, post a picture of the finished work.

    How come she didn't get "roundabout" pricing before they started?

    I'm hourly and I'm always asked for a figure.

    Maybe he's starving for work and found a victim to pay the bills?

    Was joe the plumber there? :eek:
  9. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Ouch... :confused:

    Did the new sink really go that low that he had to move the drainĂ‚Â¿ Even the disposer wouldn't have been that far back. But without adequate pics it's hard to really say.
  10. SHE GOT TOOK pretty good

    It looks like something pretty easy to me..

    not to exceed $400 at the very worst...

    she must have called someone out of the yellow pages with a big add.... and they got into the home one time....

    which is all they want to do...

    if your mother paid by master card or visa , she has 60 days to dispute the charges.........

    if she paid by check....put a stop on it..

    but actually it has probably already been
    cashed in and the fellow is bragging about his windfall at the local bar....

    call the comapny back up and jump up and down for your mother... and then call the BBB ..... + Angies List....

  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    We cannot tell how much pipe is sticking out of the wall, but there were ways that even that could have been overcome without opening the wall or engaging in any minor remodeling. I think he is a plumber who only knows one way to do a job and has absolutely no creativity when things are not "perfect". Even doing it in brass implies the same thing, because plastic is just as good, sometimes better, and costs considerably less. Without knowing the labor rates, or the time it took, we cannot tell if it was overpriced, but on the surface it looks like it. Maybe he is one of those plumbers who overcharges with the idea that he doesn't need repeat business if he can get enough new customers every day.
  12. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    First of all I believe you mom was way overcharged. That said, let's face the fact of life. Plumbers are expensive. They have considerable overhead to operate their businesses that we consumers are really not aware of. While it might take me, an DIYer, hours to figure out what to do and get it done, an experienced plumber would only need a fraction of the time to do the job. There are things in this job we can see, but even so $350 to $500 should cover the overhead, time on the job, travel to and from the job, and materials.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Was there any wiring involved, by that I mean did a new electrical outlet have to be installed?

    I'm guessing no.

    So then it is moving the tee down, and connecting the basket on one side and installing a disposer.

    Let's just say that there are outfits that will give you a ball park price that would have been lower than that.
    I'm embarrassed to say how little I charged for a similar job in Mill Creek this Summer.
    That customer would have had enough money after paying me to go to Hawaii compared to the amount that your mother paid.

    Speaking of Moms.
    Mines 91, still driving a pretty hot car with 17" alloy rims.
    I guess we're having Turkey today. Going to watch the Seahawks on the Sunday night game.
    She gets a new 1 hp disposer every 8-9 years.
    Her hearing isn't that good, maybe she grinding up her spoons and forks.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  14. jfarnold

    jfarnold Apprentice Plumber

    Metro DC
    From the industry magazines I read, undercharging is a problem for smaller plumbing businesses. If your mom was happy with everything else:

    It was done quickly.
    She was treated courteously and professionally.
    No mess was left.
    Everything is functioning better.

    then I would say if she feels she paid too much she should've shopped around, but I wouldn't go screaming foul on the plumber, he did a good job that will probably last until you are your mom's age.

    If any of the above statements are untrue, then the time to complain would've been before the job was started. If the plumber is a class act, perhaps you can talk to him about it, negotiate a senior citizen discount or such. It's a rare bird that's up for that though.

    All just my opinion.
  15. I like those statements jfarnold.

    I've had "older" people ask me for senior citizen discounts from time to time......and if they are really being a PITA about it I'll tell them, "Sorry, I don't age discriminate my customers. I could get in a lot of trouble for that if they found out."

    Probably keeps me from coming back....but I'm saying those words to actually seal that deal if they were difficult to begin with.

    It's a discount I like to give when it is not asked for, a much better application.
  16. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy In the Trades

    This forum is all right!

    Most other contractor forums, when a home owner posts about a high repair bill, the home owner gets beaten up every time, even if everyone on the forum knows the price really was ridiculous.

    The honesty and fairness here is impressive.
  17. From a professionals point of view...seems a bit high.
    ...maybe more than a bit.
    I recently did a kitchen sink disconnect, moved the water and waste lines to new locations in block wall, then returned for reconnect and ran new icemaker line thru cabinets for around $700.
    Hope that give you a little infor for comparison.

    NOTE: I'd be willing to bet big money that the company that charged your Mom was a flat-rate company, NOT someone charging time and material.
  18. Information is missing, and even if we see an itemized bill, and even if there is a lot of time charged, we may never know whether the customer had him do or undo things during the visit.

  19. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson I teach guitar:You call that a job?

    Huntington Station, NY
    Was the plumber one of the founding fathers of our country?

    If so, I'm familiar with their routine, and yes, your mother was greatly taken advantage of.

    How many hours was the guy there?

  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    He might have been from a large South American country, or one with the word "rooter" in his name.
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