- This topic has 4 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 20 years, 4 months ago by Richard.
23 Dec 2000 at 8:39 am #278814MasterPlumbersKeymaster
what is a fair price to unclog a drain? I know it depends on the job, but how can i avoid getting ripped off?
23 Dec 2000 at 8:32 pm #299350fourth year
You have to depend on the integrity of the plumber. I have had drains that take 10 minutes and I have had some that take hours. And there is no way to tell which would apply to your drains until the job is over.
23 Dec 2000 at 11:27 pm #299351SylvanLMP
The very least I charge for a stoppage is $125 for a drain.
BUT if it is a main sewer for example I charge the following $125 each direction using several cutting heads plus cleaning out the main trap for an additional $85 and this work normally takes one man less then a half hour.
Total $335 UNLESS this line needs water jetting then it cost slightly more.
Now let me give you my break down
I have NO HELPERS I only employ mechanics and each mechanic gets in the envelope $30 per hr Or more (top journeyman gets $55 per HR) not including benefits.
The sewer machine cost me $1,800 for the basic unit The water jetter I just bought cost over $12,000 PLUS the new Van to carry $28,000+
Now I also have video camera and locator and again this equipment cost several thousand dollars PLUS the training for my mechanics to use this equipment safely
My business insurance is over $47,000 per year and this year alone my lowest paid employee was given 4 weeks pay for holiday bonuses ($4,200)
Operating a legitimate business cost money TRAINING cost money and having state of the art equipment also cost money.
Ever get a CT SCAN? Or MRI?
See what they charge compared to my $500 fee for doing a sewer inspection (about one hours work)
In order for us Master Plumbers to keep Quality mechanics and continue the on going education with sending employees to school and GETTING PAID to go this cost money.
So before you look at the bottom line think of the following
1- Is your plumber licensed (for YOUR protection)
2- Is this contractor insured? Again for your protection
3- Is this contractor using stumble helpers in lieu of Qualified Journeymen CHARGING you for the highly skilled person
ASK to see the license if no license then YOU should figure like this Which is worth more seeing a doctor or his office staff for your problems.
The reason I only use Mechanics even though it cost me more to send them out is PEACE of mind knowing you are getting the right job for the right price.
Anyone can clear out a drain BUT to do it properly is another story.
We do not resort to SNAKE OIL chemicals to up the cost to our clients
We do not give you a phony SCAM contract (Sewer Cleaning And Maintenance)
We try to tell you exactly what caused this stoppage and then tell you how to hopefully prevent this from happening again.
My employees deserve to be highly compensated for working on drains and sewers as they are SKILLED Craftsmen and working on sewers they can be exposed to Hepatitis Type A and B plus numerous other water borne diseases.
Only an IDIOT would dare send an unskilled helper out to work on drains without having them under the watchful eyes of a journeyman or Master Plumber.
If the drain guy your hiring has no license or insurance THEN think how much would you pay an air line to fly you some place using non licensed pilots for a discounted price.
If sewer effluent is NOT properly safe guarded during rodding your putting your entire family at risk. Today especially with aids and other bacteria growing unchecked health risks are at an all time high.
So considering my employees exposure to possible health risks the $335 per hr hour is really not that much. HOW MUCH is your health worth?
24 Dec 2000 at 12:46 am #299352robala
There is no way to give a rough price until the particular job is assessed. Check with local licensed and insured contractors in your area. Ask them for individual references and follow up on them before committing. I guarantee that the cheapest will not do you the best job. Look for the quality and you won’t get “ripped off”.
24 Dec 2000 at 12:51 am #299353Richard
I make $125 an hour to lecture to plumbing staff on Hazmat and Biohazmat issues as related to plumbing. All “chemicals” used in plumbing come with MSDS’s, and the biological material found in sewers have their own hazards. Each person that is even exposed briefly to biological materials or Hazmat should have knowledge of CPR, first aid, and must be equipped with the proper wash materials to clean themselves if they come in contact with various pathogens and poisons. Training employees in safety and safe use of spill kits cost money. I doubt anyone would want a plumber come in that endangers everyone on the job but lacking the safety skills to deal with even the most miniscule amount in a spill or splashback.
Even Zinc Chloride (a lewis acid) in the soldering flux requires special treatment and safety precautions, especially in a poorly ventilated area. Sylvan, I assume that the helper expects companies to forgo such training and precautions to save the average homeowner a few bucks on the bill. This is what seperates the helper or handyman from the bonafide plumbers.
Plus, the gas for the van you use to get to the job is free, and therefore need not be accounted for in the bill.
The Friendly Chemist
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