If it’s not your worst nightmare, it could well be one of the worst. Picture this: it’s late on a rainy Saturday. You’ve opened a bottle of wine. You’re about to fall asleep on the couch in front of some awful television. And then you hear the gushing from the bathroom. A pipe has cracked! A drain has burst! Something is going wrong with the plumbing and you just don’t know what to do about it… It’s in these type of dire situations that it can be comforting to know that there should always be someone to call. Your emergency plumber might not look like a superhero. But does anybody do more important work?
Consider hiring a plumber whenever you confront a water-based problem in your home or office and you’re not sure what to do about it. You might also consider hiring a plumber even when you think the job is minor, sometimes it’s best to have a pro do the work for peace of mind. Some of the common situations in which people hire a plumber include:
When taps won’t stop dripping
When water pressure is low through the house
When the sewage seems to be clogged
When water heaters are broken or not working well
Skilled and licensed plumbers are capable of performing a wide array of tasks. Some of the tasks they are often called upon to perform are:
Fixing burst water mains
Unclogging pipes or drains
Replacing sinks in the kitchen, laundry or bathroom
Repairing or replacing leaking taps
Fixing or replacing hot water heaters
Installing pipes and water systems in new builds or in properties undergoing renovation
In an emergency, the first question you might think to ask your plumber might be pretty predictable: when can you fix it?!!
But there are other queries you might consider putting to your plumber, either before or after you’ve engaged them. A few of the common questions clients put to plumber are:
Have you done a job like this before?
What is your level of insurance coverage?
Are you OK to clean up when you are done?
What are your training qualifications?
Does your quote cover all the costs associated with the job?
Will you perform the task by yourself or with others?
Can you show me examples of other tasks you have completed?
It is hard to say what method of charging is most common. The main split in the way that plumbers charge for their work is whether they charge by time, or by a fixed rate per task. If they charge by time, they will bill you per hourly or half hourly increments. So, for example, if they charge at $100 per hour and work for four hours, they will bill you $400. On the other hand, if a plumber charges by the task, they will bill you the one price regardless of how long the task takes. If you have accepted a quote of $400 and the task only takes them half an hour, you’ll still end up paying $400.
On balance, it is probably more common for plumbers to charge by the task. The good element of this sort of pricing for the customer is that you know how much you’ll be paying. The less positive element for the customer is that you might feel like you’re paying too much if the job takes little time.
Emergency plumbers should be available 24/7 - for a price. Regardless of the time of day, if you’re in a big city you should be able to locate someone willing to take on the job. Availability might be a bit more difficult, however, if you’re in a smaller town or regional area. You might still be able to locate an emergency plumber in the regions, but you could be liable for the cost of having them travel from a larger centre.
There will usually be a premium for calling out a plumber after hours. There might also be a premium for getting them to come immediately, rather than at their convenience.
One reasonably common method of emergency plumbing pricing is for plumbers to add a “service fee” on top of their regular rates for coming out on a weekend or after-hours.
It is a good idea to discuss with your emergency plumber what their service fee might be before engaging them to undertake your job.
Different Australian states and territories impose different licensing and qualifications schemes for people working or seeking to work as plumbers. Typically, these schemes require a Certificate III in plumbing or a related discipline, as well as a couple of years of on the job training in an apprenticeship. Licensing and registration schemes usually involve some combination of government registration, as well as accreditation by an industry body.
If you’re concerned about the qualifications held by your plumber or by a prospective plumber, it might be a good idea to check with your jurisdiction’s department of fair trading or equivalent about what qualifications they should hold.
The cost of your emergency plumbing task will depend on the specific work that you need completing. Having said that, some of the average rates charged for plumbing jobs are listed below:
Don’t be shy about putting a call out for emergency plumbing help! But if you do need a bit of inspiration about what to put in your listings, have a look at how the below have done it:
As a rough guide, plumbers tend to charge around $80-$100 an hour. But that can vary a bit depending on a range of factors, including: the experience of the plumber, your location, the time at which you have called them out, the type of job you need them to do, and their general busyness.
Typically. If you call a plumber out at short notice, or at odd hours, expect to pay extra. One method of working out how much extra is for the plumber to add a service or call-out fee to their regular rates. It’s not uncommon for emergency plumbing fees to more than double the regular cost of plumbing services.
If you’re looking to do major work to your home, make sure to budget a few thousand and perhaps more for the plumbing work. The cost of plumbing an entire bathroom, for example, could easily be around $2000 to $3000. And depending on your kitchen set-up, you could be up for a similar amount in that room.
All jobs differ. But as a rough rule of thumb, you might expect to pay about $100 for installing a new tap or faucet in a sink. You might pay around $200 for simple repairs to broken piping. However that figure could easily climb if the pipe damage is extensive or if the water has caused damage elsewhere in the property. And expect to pay between $80 and $150 or so for fixing a clogged drain.
You should definitely remember to ask them to! Most plumbers build cleaning into their services. But not all do. And even relatively simple plumbing jobs like unclogging drains can leave large amounts of unpleasant material around, if it’s not cleaned up. So it’s a good idea to confirm with your plumber their policy on cleaning.
How much does it cost to hire someone to install or repair a tap or faucet in Australia? Our price guide breaks down the prices for different plumbing services and location-based prices.
A leaking tap is not only annoying but can cause high water bills and property damage. If you learn how to fix a leaking tap, you can stop your money from going down the drain.