We've talked about this before: Doing your own plumbing is never a good idea, and the best solution to any plumbing problem is to hire a professional. But we understand; the professionals are expensive. Many plumbers have hourly rates that can quickly add up, and flat-rate companies can charge hundreds to install a fixture that you can find in the hardware store for a fraction of that cost. Have you ever wondered if these companies are just ripping you off? Maybe they're taking advantage of you?
Of course there are some plumbers out there who will try to rip you off, and you must always do your research and read reviews before hiring a company. But with even the most honest of plumbing companies, the truth is that plumbing is an expensive business to run. The following is a breakdown of some of the reasons why plumbing companies charge so much more than just the price of materials, and why the high price is necessary.
1. Education and Demand
Becoming a licensed plumber requires years of schooling and training. After receiving a high school diploma or GED, a student must attend a plumbing vocational school and pay tuition. Once they graduate, they must become an apprentice, receiving on-the-job training from licensed and experienced plumbers. Once the student has been an apprentice for at least 4 years, they must pass an exam before they can get their license. And that is just the beginning for a plumber; for example, if they wish to become a Master Plumber, more training and exams must be paid for and completed. Skilled plumbers are in high demand, so plumbing companies must offer competitive pay in order to employ a licensed & highly skilled staff.
2. Travel Expenses
As you know, purchasing and insuring a vehicle is not cheap. When you call a plumber, they come to you in their insured & fully-stocked truck. And when they complete the job, they drive that truck to the next customer's house, and so on. A technician can easily drive almost 100 miles in total on a busy day, so gas gets used up quickly. Regular maintenance to the trucks, such as oil changes and minor repairs, must be taken into account as well. Between the purchasing, fueling, and maintaining of these trucks, plumbers pour thousands of dollars into transportation costs alone.
3. Office Staff
Running a plumbing company is more than just fixing pipes and installing faucets. Without full-time employees working in the office, the company would be messy and unreliable at best. Here at Universal Plumbing, our awesome office staff answers every phone call (at all hours), arranges the job schedule, keeps track of all accounting and bookkeeping, updates our website and advertising, maintains the detailed database of customer records, ensures all the technicians are fully prepared for the day's jobs, and more. All the things you love about us, like same-day appointments, 24-hour emergency service, and great communication would not be possible if it weren't for our office staff.
Plumbing is not an easy job, and it can even be scary at times. Plumbers come into contact with many different harmful materials on a regular basis, including mold, sewage, bacteria, toxic chemicals, and more. They must take extra precautions so they don't become sick or endanger others. Additionally, some tasks can be physically dangerous, like excavating and installing underground plumbing. Every day, a plumber has no way of knowing exactly what dangers they will face while on the job, but they must jump in and get the job done anyway.
5. Tools and Equipment
While you can pick up a variety of plumbing tools at your local hardware store, those tools are generally made with cheaper parts and a one-size-fits-all approach. Many plumbing problems require specialized tools, which can only be bought from a professional plumbing supplier, in order to be fixed properly. Many plumbers also have high-tech equipment that requires special training to use and costs thousands of dollars to purchase and operate, such as full-color sewer cameras, a high-pressure sewer jetter, and backflow testing equipment.
When a plumber completes the work you hired them to do, and you pay the bill, your payment is contributing to much more than just the plumber's wallet. It gives the plumber the ability to drive to your house. It ensures that there will always be a friendly voice answering the phone when you call the company, even in the middle of the night on a weekend when your basement is flooding. It provides the equipment needed to fix even the most complicated or severe plumbing problems. It gives the company the ability to provide continuous training for its employees, so you receive the best service and workmanship possible.
For these reasons, when you hire a plumber based solely on the fact that they're inexpensive, unfortunately you often get what you pay for.
We understand that it can be financially difficult to hire Universal Plumbing & Sewer, so we do what we can to help. We offer financing for qualifying applicants, so you can pay off the bigger jobs in smaller installments. And feel free to print out a coupon to use the next time you hire us! (click here to see our coupons.) Above all, we work hard to make sure you get your money's worth, by striving for excellence in every area and doing our best to provide you with the best service possible.