Plumbing price: Costs for plumbing work

Plumbing jobs can be exceptionally predictable or vary wildy in price - usually because a simple job can become complex once it starts. If your home is relatively new you'll find that there is less chance of costs escalating as the state of the plumbing is likely to be fairly stable and predictable, but in old houses some jobs can open up a can of worms.

Now that we've completely terrified you, here's some info about how much plumbing jobs can cost - call out fees, hourly rates and extra costs.

What is a plumber's call out fee?

Most plumbers will ask you to pay a call out fee. This is generally in the range of $50-85, but will be absorbed into the first 30-60 minutes of work. However, if the plumber comes out, turns on a tap, and leaves, you'll still pay the call out fee.

What is a plumber's hourly rate?

The general cost for work with a plumber is usually charged by the quarter hour at a rate of $50-$85 per hour. This price may be slightly higher if its a small plumbing job, and lower if it's a bigger job. Why is the hourly rate for smaller jobs sometimes more expensive?

Where could there be extra costs?

Extra costs can be expected if scaffolding, earth moving or specialist equipment (like drain camera's) are needed. Work done on older pipes can sometimes lead to a recommendation to upgrade existing pipes to withstand higher water pressure or gas pressure, but these can usually be anticipated early on in the quoting process too.

Products or materials cost?

Basic materials will be sourced and charged for either inclusive in the job or separately itemised. However, if you're renovating or installing new appliances or fittings, you can expect that costs will increase if you ask the plumber to source these for you. These additional costs will include the costs of purchase time, delivery costs and time and is not the most cost-effective way to do it (but certainly the least effort).

Now that you have a better idea on what your job could cost, get specific quotes from quality, licensed businesses byposting a job here.

Have some advice or info on plumbing quotes you've received in the past? Leave a comment or pop us an email to

Discussion Rate article:
· 8 ratings
  • I had gas connected and a Rinnai 26L instant hot water system installed (that's solar ready, just have to get the solar panel part sorted later). It cost me $2 200 all inclusive with a compliance certificate.

    Apparently if the heater had been further away from the gas metre it would have cost slightly more (more piping) but as it was within two metres it was easy.

    Oh and he also disconnected the old electric kettle heater and drained it but removing it from the ceiling wasn't part of the job (apparently they usually just leave it there).

    over a year ago by FaithS
  • I had a Bosche instantaneous gas hws system installed in 2007. It failed in 2011 and another gas plumber replaced it with a Rinnai. Being that these two units are very similar in size and shape and the pipes for the gas were already there - why would the plumbers cost be just under $2,000 when I was verbally quoted that the actual heater wouldbe seven to eight hundred. I cannot see that there would have been more to the pipework than some slight alterations. At $2,000 and $100 per hour for labour - that means the job took the plumber more than 10 hours. Can anybody explain this to me. I have asked my estate agents property manager to get me a breakdown of the plumbers work as all I was sent was a total cost - no costs per hour or what else he actually did other than take one heat off the wall and replace it with another. My property manager has not gotten back to me and I am getting very angry. Can anyone explain to me why the bill was so much? Thankyou

    over a year ago by Vicki Merivale
  • 2 K for a Rinnai swap out is a fair price . When you take a heater for 7 - $800 and some piping materials and tax and your now close to $1200 . A quality plumber with Liability and workers comp insurance should get $600 a day, be able to do the job in a day. You also need a gas permit and a plumbing permit cost$100.Then he still has to call get an inspection.Personally he should charge a little more, if there is any issues with the new unit he will be fixing it for free.

    over a year ago by matt
  • I had a sewer blockage which unfortunately required a plumber on Sunday to clear the drain.

    I was charged a $240 callout fee because it was Sunday. In addition I was charged $480.00 for what amounted to a high pressure hose being put into the pipe, It took 30 minutes all up and created more sewage outflow onto my back patio during the process.

    I was informed of these costs before the job was commenced but wa also promised a full inspection with a special root cutter if roots were the issue the issue. They weren't and none of that was done, just a stiff hose with a lot of pressure to clear the blockage shoved down the pipe for a few minutes.
    When I queried the cost with the sub contractor to the main service provider, he miraculously couldn't raise the boss on the phone for

    $792.00 incl GST for about half an hours work. I was ripped off and will never use Mr H20 again and will tell everybody I know about my experience.

    I imagine the poor fellow that turned up got $100 and the rest went to the gouger at home having fun.

    over a year ago by Alan Clarke
  • My name is Adam from Ar Lake Plumbing & Gas Service. I have read these comments above and find all of these jobs described excesive. An Instantaneous hot water system weather a Bosch or Rinnia range from $800 to $1200 and sometimes higher depending on the sizes but $1200 for a straight swap is outrageous. It myself would take less then an hour to install and even if you change the ball valves and all fittings it does not justify that price. As for the blocked drain a high pressure jet rodding machine is a very expensive piece of equipment and you should expect to pay $220 for the first hour. That is what I charge during normal business hours. Being a Sunday I would personally charge double that. All I can say is ring around before you commit to a Plumber. I myself am not the cheapest Plumber because you do get what you pay for but in saying that I can not understand how some of these Plumbing company's can justify charging what they do. My conscience would get the better of me. If you need a fair Plumber in the Brisbane area feel free to email me on

    over a year ago by AR Lake Plumbing
  • adam - you sound like a failry decent bloke - I'll keep your details for next time.

    after doing a number of reno pieces I've found that plumbers and electricians are the two worst for overcharging. the difficulty is that you cant pin them down on the time its likely to take yet you have to pay an hourly rate - so basically you're writing a blank cheque. I undestand that sometimes there are unforseen circumstances but at least if they could tell you that if everything goes to plan it'll take 3 hours or whatever and then tell you if something crops up and get an ok to continue.

    we've had plumbers and electricians spend most of the day on the phone to prospective clients, calling friends, smoko's, eating lunch and then 8 hours later charge us for 8 hours labour. needless to say we now monitor their work and only pay for the amount of time they are actually working - I dont get paid lunch breaks so I cant see why I would pay someone $80 to eat their sandwich.

    what really gets to me is paying someone $200 callout and $600 for a days work for a tradie - thats $800 a day. I know there are overheads and "slow days" to take into account but that works out to $1600 (or 80k a year) a week if you worked a 2 day week !

    over a year ago by tom
  • I just got charged $329 for changing an inlet valve and installing "fluid master" (I can buy from Bunnings for about $15) in the cistern. It took the guy about 30 mins and he was here about 60 mins! AND, he said he didn't charge for the call out.

    over a year ago by Kirsten
  • We had a plumber in Mackay come and fix our gutter that had fallen down, he came while it was raining and did a tempary job then returned 2 months later, stayed for 3.5 hrs, used my power for his boom box while he worked. he then sent me a bill for $888.00 and quoted planks and scaffolding as part of the billing process, the gutter was not replaced he just used re-enforced battons to fix it. I thought this was excessive, can anyone tell me if this is a fair price or not.. Thank You.

    over a year ago by jackie
  • What is the future of Plumbing jobs? I want to the details of this job.

    over a year ago by Lush Turf Solutions
  • I've read just about all these blogs
    Yes most of the pricing is very absurd.
    But in defense of my trade, as a licensed, Plumber!
    It is the people that charge outrageous rates that give us a bad name.
    As licensed professionals, we are not just mere technician's with only a little bit of instruction on how to repair pipe leaks, or how to get in the front door only to explore your homes plumbing and create more work!
    Licensed Plumbers" are highly qualified people, responsible for the health and welfare of the other people in which, plumbing installations and repairs, are being conducted for. (True Craftsman")
    So please? Don't continue to be misled, by believing that the plumbing industry is a pool of rip off artists!
    And shame on you! " Mr. If you need help in my area! My rates are high but You get what you pay for! That may be true! But come on", keep that to yourself!
    Show some professionalism, and integrity. (For the sake of the Professional Plumber)
    So the next time you call a plumber, expect to pay for a service that is in a sense life saving. Because without plumbing, we all would be unhealthy, stinky, and filthy!
    Hopefully you choose the right plumber to do the job!

    over a year ago by tony
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