Choosing a plumber isn't rocket science, but there are definitely a few things you'll need to consider to ensure you're getting the best person for the job - and the best possible price. When you choose, keep the following things in mind:
- LOCATION - Is the plumber you're looking at local to your area? Does the plumber understand the local council rules? Most plumbers only service a particular area - and if they need to travel, may charge you for the privilege.
- TYPE OF WORK - There are many different types of plumbing systems, and not all plumbers are able to work on all things. If you have a problem with a particular brand of hot water system or solar setup, for example, you may need to contact the manufacturer to find an approved plumber or technician to work on it in order to keep your warranty intact (perhaps with a gasfitter's or electrical contractor's license too). Likewise, plumbers aren't necessarily licensed for gasfitting work, and vice versa.
- PLUMBING LICENSES - Beyond changing a washer (or in some states changing a showerhead), all plumbing work in Australia is 'regulated'. What this means is that it needs to be done by plumbers or gasfitters with a current licence, issued by the plumbing or gasfitting authority in your state. Don't be afraid to ask to see a license card - if they're above board, they'll be more than happy to show you.
- Visit licencerecognition.gov.au for details on how to check whether your plumber holds a valid license.
Plumbing costs: how much do plumbers charge?
Different plumbers will charge differently for their services, so there's no one-size-fits-all way of calculating plumbing charges. Where possible, discuss charges for plumbing work before you even agree to the plumber coming to your home. You may be liable for a bill even if the plumber arrives and doesn't fix anything.
The costs involved with your plumbing work will depend on a few things, which we've listed below:
- TIME OF DAY / EMERGENCY WORK - If your pipes start spewing hot water into your loungeroom at 3am and you desperately need to get it fixed, you'll have to be prepared to pay a premium for the fact that it's after hours emergency work. This is likely to cost far more than work done during normal business hours.
- CALL OUT FEE - Even if the plumber comes in, has a quick look and leaves without fixing anything, it's likely you'll still be charged a call-out fee. This is to account for the effort made by the plumber to visit your home.
- HOURLY RATE - Most plumbers charge by the hour for the work they do. If you make a plumber wait around for any reason, keep in mind that you're probably still paying for their time.
- NATURE OF WORK - If the plumbing work you need done requires some specialist expertise or certification, you're likely to be charged more for it.
- COST OF MATERIALS - You will need to pay for any materials the plumber uses, including fixtures, pipes, fittings and so forth.
If you have the luxury of choice, try and get a few different quotes before hiring a plumber. The cheapest one isn't always the best, but by the same token neither is the one who'll charge you the most.
Use the 'Get Quotes' form on the right of this page to get quotes from qualified, licensed tradespeople via Service Central.