Reroute Pipe What is Reasonable

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by johJones, Dec 25, 2013.

  1. johJones

    johJones New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    I have a leaky pipe in my wall the plumber discovered the location and was able to stop the leaking. He said it was from a copper pipe that comes out of the slab. I took the first plumber I called on since I had no experience with such plumbing issue. I was freaked out about this happening in my house.

    What is reasonable price to pay for the reroute of this pipe?

    Pipe has to be routed from a laundry room through a small bathroom to the wall in the bedroom that backs to the bathroom. The bathroom is between the bedroom and laundry room.

    Here are some photos of the job:

    https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=8f4c26b577cbc2e4&id=8F4C26B577CBC2E4!228

    Thank you.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Trying to price a job, after it has been done, is a "fool's task", because we have absolutely no idea how complex the job was. Pictures ALWAYS make a job look easy. He had to figure out WHICH pipe was leaking so he could disconnect both ends, then determine a route for the new pipe. ALL of that is labor intensive and does not show up in the photos.
  3. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    California
    How much did you pay?

    Also, in the future get more than 1 bid, even though some bids may leave the door open for unforeseen difficulties.
  4. houptee

    houptee Member

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    Also keep in mind was it an emergency job on a weekend or an evening?
    You said it was a leak.
    It could have caused more expensive property damage to your home if he did not stop it quickly.
    Isn't that worth whatever you paid him?

    What do you do for a living and what do you charge others for your services?

    If you work for someone else, what do you get paid a year for your salary or per hour?
    Do you have any benefits paid by your employer that increase your net salary such as 401k matching, health insurance, life insurance, paid holidays, paid vacation days, paid sick days, travel expenses reimbursement?

    Keep all this in mind when you feel a self-employed tradesman is charging you too much per hour.

    His overhead expenses include: advertising in the yellow pages or wherever you found his name, the insurance on his truck, maintenance of his truck, gas to drive his truck to your house and back to the supply house to get parts, liability insurance, accountant fees, tools, continuing education classes to keep his plumbing license valid, cost of his annual state plumbing license, cell phone, office supplies, and the original cost of his years of training to become a plumber if he attended a vo-tech school.

    Probably a lot more expenses I missed.

    So after deducting all of those costs what did he have left in his pocket as his actual profit?
  5. johJones

    johJones New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    Yes I would have preferred to get bids. However, I was out of town and my wife was home alone, and I think she kind of got charged very high for this project. The leak was found and stopped within 4 hours time with 4 cuts in the drywall, 3 laundry room and 1 bed room. The reroute took perhaps 1.5 hours with no additional cutting to drywall.

    I am not sure what plumbers charge, but I would assume about $100 per hour plus parts. Is that the going rate? The only parts that were used is whatever is needed to cap the line coming out of the slab to stop leak, and then reroute it with a flexible plastic tube.

    So I was just curious what it would have cost had my wife gotten bids. It seems this would cost about $800 max. Am I off on that?

    Plumber wrote Cold Side 3/4 in copper water line broken under slab. Owner opted to eliminate 3/4 cold line from slab and reroute 3/4 cold line. Otherwise it would have involved demo concrete, expose the line, and make repairs.

    All work was done on Dec 23 and no dry wall repair was done, just plumbing.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  6. johJones

    johJones New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    Thanks and I agree with all that. I am not saying that a plumber should not charge and make a profit, I was just trying to figure out what was reasonable had my wife gotten bids. I have no idea at this point, perhaps I got an excellent deal. Thanks.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,777
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Bids could have been all over the map. Especially if it was bid "before" the problem line was located. I'm sure you had some travel time in there too. Time getting there is time they aren't working for somebody else. I sometimes find I've had a thirty minute phone call before I even get in the truck. Time winds up being used in so many ways. If you have ten people come out and bid, that's nine plumbers that wasted their billable hours. We either have to decide which calls we make to prevent the waste of our resources, or make up for it on the calls we do get. When I get people that want me to run out there and give them a bid on what I consider a "service call", I have a tendency to beg off. if it's a service call and I show up, I'm getting paid.
    Customers I have worked for that understand my ethics, I put out special effort for them. They just say, "Come!"

    I wish doctors were as successful at repairing things. I've had a lot better luck with tradesmen then doctors.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  8. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    854
    Location:
    ct
    There is no such thing as a "free service call" when you have someone come out and look at doing a repair. I charge for my time and then I will probably give a little credit off the final invoice.

    I also come to the job with a truck that holds as much as I can fit into it, that way I can do the job RIGHT NOW which most of the time keeps the customer from getting a 2nd or 3rd bid.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Some jobs are almost impossible to give a "good" estimate ahead of time, and this job would have been one of them. There would be absolutely NO WAY to tell, ahead of time, how long it would take to diagnose the problem, much less how long it would take to fix it, since he would NOT know which line was involved or how it could be repaired or rerouted. ANY "solid" estimate would have had to incorporate so many "ifs" that it would have been ridiculously high. If he itemized the invoice, which I would have, you would know how much time he spent and how much he charged per hour. I tell customer's it would cost almost as much to give an estimate for a repair as it does to do the job, unless it is a major reconstruction.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Keep all this in mind when you feel a self-employed tradesman is charging you too much per hour.

    As my wife says, "Everytime a contractor goes out of business, the next week you see 6 new plumbing companies with magnetic signs on their truck doors". All the former employees want to make the "big bucks" their employer did, and think they can 'undercut' what he charged to do it. And when you start calling the plumbers in the Yellow Pages, half of them are out of business.
  11. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,064
    Location:
    Maine
    The little fishes all trying to swim in the same little pond. Lol

    Our prices are roughly double what the station wagon crowd is quoting but for the price the customer gets unwavering quality and excellence. We refuse to install or use many of the cheapo plastic crap products that other plumbers embrace. We will not install PEX, CSST, AAV 's, flexible supply tubes, plastic pipe hangers and the list goes on and on. We also guarantee everything we sell and do and have been in business since 1956.
  12. houptee

    houptee Member

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    Why no PEX or CSST Tom?
    Just curious if you had seen problems with it.
    My neighbor just demolished his house and built a new one after Sandy and the plumber piped everything with PEX off a manifold and CSST for all the gas.
    Other neighbor across the street gutted and rehabbed his old house, same thing over there all PEX and CSST, different plumber did the job tho.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    They use PEX and CSST because it is fast and cheap. Also the installer does not need more than a sixth grade education to put it in. Just has to know red is hot, blue is cold, and yellow is gas.
  14. houptee

    houptee Member

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    Oh I was under the impression that PEX was now used because it is superior to copper in many ways.
    Such as:
    It is color coded to speed correct installation and aid in diagnostic work.
    It can cost effectively be used for individual branch runs for better pressure throughout the house that can be isolated from a central distribution manifold.
    It requires less fittings inside walls that can leak.
    Its more resistant to freezing and bursting.
    No torches in tight spots inside wood frame structures, crawlspaces, attics etc.
    No crappy water soluble flux or lead free solder that flows like crap or wire brushing/emery cloth needed to make a joint.
    PEX comes on rolls that are very lightweight so less chance of workplace injuries transporting it climbing on a ladder or up stairs, one guy can unload the entire truckload of material himself.
    Its way cheaper than copper per foot.

    Whats the cons of PEX as a material itself (not your opinion of the education needed) other than protecting it from UV light and from nails striking it?
  15. kcodyjr

    kcodyjr New Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Chelmsford, MA
    PEX is vulnerable to rodents' teeth.

    It's also got much thicker walls, resulting in crappy inner diameter and thus higher water velocity for the same flow rate, magnifying any unarrested water hammer effects. Although the material itself tolerates expansion reasonably well, the typical barb-and-ring fittings really don't seem to like it.

    I can only get two sizes, 1/2" and 3/4", from the local HD or Lowe's. The half inch has an inner diameter more like 1/4", and so IMO is only useful for a bathroom sink. The 3/4" is more like 1/2", maybe a hair bigger, but still insufficient for multiple major fixtures. Basically, all-PEX systems only behave well when you do use a manifold with dedicated branch lines, and no tees.

    I'm not saying PEX doesn't have its proper applications, but it's not a miracle product. For example, IMO it's suitable for single remote fixtures, especially where heat loss is a concern, such as a wet bar in the man-cave over the garage. I don't like it at center of the system, and I'd only consider using it for distribution with an expandable 3/4" manifold.
  16. houptee

    houptee Member

    Messages:
    181
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    If you were pouring a slab for a radiant heat job on a 2nd floor are you gonna use copper, black pipe, galvanized pipe, or one 300 ft roll of 1/2" oxygen barrier pex?
  17. kcodyjr

    kcodyjr New Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Chelmsford, MA
    Black and galvanized are non-starters, as is hard copper pipe. I've recently learned that no fittings of any kind can be inside a foundation slab, and I'd assume the same rule applies to a 2nd floor slab as well.

    In the case of a radiant heat setup, flow rate and hammer effects aren't such an issue, so the weaknesses of PEX aren't such an issue as they are in a potable supply system.

    However, one of the strengths of PEX works against radiant heating. Being self-insulating, the PEX will respond much more slowly, requiring either hotter water or more time to get the same amount of heat into the floor.

    I think I'd opt for flexible copper tubing, unless there's some code requirement favoring polyethylene.

    In a basement, however, and especially a basement floor that's deliberately uninsulated in the center, I'd go for the PEX, because such a system is designed to slowly store large amounts of thermal energy using a relatively low delta-T.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  18. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    California
    houptee, Everything you say is true, if it's so good, you install PEX in your house.

    I'll stay with copper type L.

    Do you know why copper is so expensive? yes, the building boom in Asia, but also because it's worth it.

    PEX was approved for use in my city just a few years ago. PEX manufacturers fought hard to get it approved. But only a very few plumbers install it around here. Why? Ask any old time plumber and he'll tell you "stick with copper".
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  19. kcodyjr

    kcodyjr New Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Chelmsford, MA
    I can think of one other application where I might favor PEX: a rarely occupied structure, such as a vacation cabin, due to its improved tolerance to freezing. Sure, the water still freezes, but the PEX is likely to just take it rather than splitting.

    Then again, if I had the dough to own a vacation home, I'd also have the dough to just keep it heated above freezing when I wasn't there.
  20. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,270
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; If you were pouring a slab for a radiant heat job on a 2nd floor are you gonna use copper, black pipe, galvanized pipe, or one 300 ft roll of 1/2" oxygen barrier pex?

    NO ONE here has even mentioned a radiant system, which is an entirely different animal that what we are discussing. Its parameters are completely different, and this discussion is NOT applicable to it.
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