Plumbing, Plumbing

Plumbing prices and costs in the UK 2020

Plumbing can be extremely tricky and mistakes can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage and some major inconvenience, so make sure you hire a professional plumber.

How much do plumbers charge?

The cost to repair plumbing issues depends on the job size. The bigger the job the higher the cost. Drain cleaning or fixing a leaky faucet costs between £100-£250 on average. For bigger jobs, such as repairing a leaking pipe estimate to pay from £160–£310. Read our plumbing repair cost guide for more details.


Plumbing is one of the most varied of all trades, as it demands a wide range of capabilities and great technical knowledge. A plumber’s job is not always as easy as fixing a leaking tap. Plumbers are often called to deal with many complicated problems such as repairing leaking pipes and installing new appliances.

Plumbing costs are difficult to estimate as every job is different. Certain jobs will require a certain amount of time and the plumber will quote you accordingly. In general, plumbing prices will depend on:

  • Type and size of the plumbing job
  • Where you live
  • Plumbing materials needed to complete the job
  • Whether the plumber charges per hour or provided based on a fixed
  • Is it an emergency situation? Weekend and public holiday rates per hour will cost you more=-oi

Common plumbing problems

A blocked toilet or blocked pipe is one of the most common plumbing problems, as well as one of the most horrible. Although some blockages can be moved with a plunger, some are not easily shifted and can create a horrible smell, meaning a plumber will have to be called in to shift the blockage. Blocked pipes likewise cause water to move slowly down the plug hole and again lead to stagnation and smells. Oil and food are usually the culprits of these problems.

Leaky taps can waste a lot of water over a surprisingly short time. If the water bill doesn’t get to you first, the sound of the dripping tap may drive you insane. These can thankfully usually be fixed simply by tightening a washer, so it’s best to get them fixed as soon as possible.

Noisy pipes, usually caused by a loose ball valve vibrating in the pipe, are also very common issues with plumbing. The most common way to fix this is to replace the valve, which most plumbers should be able to do.

How much do plumbers charge per hour?

This will be dependent on your location and the time of day and night.  The average hourly rate for a plumber in the UK is between £40 and £60.

What is the plumber’s daily rate?

Plumbers charge per day from £320-£375 + VAT. in the United Kingdom. However, if your job involves an installation, expect to pay from £400-£475 + VAT.

Labour costs for plumbers

The rates for plumbers vary significantly and depend on if a plumber charges by the hour or by the project cost. Always get a quoted price so you can budget for the plumbing costs. It is common for repairs to be charged at an hourly rate. Ask the plumber how long a job like this would normally take him and this will give you the price the job may cost.

Plumbers usually have a minimum charge known as “call-out fee” or a fee equivalent to an hour’s work. Additional time is charged either per hour, per half hour or per fifteen minutes. The average hourly rate is £40 per hour in the UK. However, depending on your location and the size of the company you will hire, expect to pay from 10%-30% more.

As a general rule of thumb, plumbing prices are lower by 30% if you live in areas outside of the south. In addition, keep in mind that sole traders tend to charge less than any medium or small-sized company. For evening work and weekends expect to pay 50% more.

Below is our per hour price guide for the South of the UK, including London.

London & SE£85 per hour
London & SE (medium-sized firm)£55 per hour
London & SE (sole trader)£40 per hour
Minimum Charge1 hour

Several typical quotes for plumbing jobs have been put together bellow to give you an idea of what to expect to pay when you need to hire a plumber:

Job TypeAverageMost quoted price
Fit a pedestal basin£80- £140£110
Call out fee for an emergency£65-£75£70
Plumbing installation services£40-£60£50
Fix a blocked toilet£75-£150£110
Replace a kitchen sink£125-£265£190
Replace a toilet£150-£300£210
Swap an electric shower£80-£120£100
Install a new electric shower£250-£350£300
Repair a continuously filling toilet£75-£120£95
Install a radiator£150-£180£160
Replace a bath£75-£120£85
Change taps on bath/basin£70-£130£95
Fix a dripping tap£70-£120£90
Replace a hot water tank£360-£450£390
Fix a leaking radiator£75-£158£100
Install thermostatic radiator valves£125-£180£150

Need to find a professional plumber? We can help!    Find A Tradesman

ACO drain price guide

The average cost of ACO drain installation ranges from £190 to £450. However, depending on where you line and how difficult the job is you can end up paying as little as £40.

ACO drains are designed to funnel any water away from a property and prevent flooding. These are good drains for sloping blocks and in areas that are prone to flooding. The price will depend on the size of the drains and the material used.

How much does it cost to unblock a drain?

Blocked drains can be a serious issue over time and can cause flooding and damp that penetrates into your home. A minor blockage is easily and quickly cleared by a plunger but a more serious blockage will need the services of a qualified plumber. The prices will vary depending on the size and location of the blockage.

The average cost to unblock a drain: £150 – £200

How much does a CCTV drain survey cost?

If you are constantly having problems with blocked drains you will need a CCTV survey carried out to determine the cause. A professional plumber will insert a camera inside the drains to find the cause.

Average CCTV survey cost: £95

How much does drain lining cost?

Drain lining is applied to drains and pipes to increase their life span and to repair minor cracks and holes. Get a professional plumber who will install the lining without taking the pipes apart. Prices vary depending on the length of pipes being lined.

Average cost of 10 metres of drain lining: £900

How much does drain cleaning cost?

Always hire a professional to clean out the drains on your property as they will use the proper equipment and cleaners. They will also advise you of any other work that is needed.

Drain cleaning prices

  • Initial inspection can cost up to £150
  • The plumbing cost of unblocking a toilet can cost around £100 – £150
  • The plumbing costs for a system scrub and clean of your gas central heating system costs on average £450

Steel and copper pipe prices

Price Range = £2.66 to £6.72     Average Cost = £4.91   Cheapest Price = £2.66

If you are building a home, adding a bathroom or replacing old plumbing it will need to have new pipes laid. Pipes are made of different materials but the best to sue are steel or copper pipes. Galvanised steel pipes are hard wearing and will last a long time. Steel is more expensive than copper but copper is not as resilient as steel.

steel and coper pipes prices

  • Average price of new steel pipes in a four bedroom semi-detached house is around £20,117 for the entire plumbing system.
  • Average cost of installing new copper pipes in a four bedroom semi-detached house is around £13,954 for the entire plumbing system.

How to find a plumber

Before you contact a plumber it is worth finding the emergency water shut off valve on your property. This may sound obvious but there are people who have lived for decades in their house without knowing where this is! Shutting off the water supply will mean you can delay calling out the plumber, saving you money because you do not need to call them out to prevent flooding!

Finding a reliable local plumber is relatively easy. There are a number of directories and websites where you can contact them. However it is worth making sure you find someone who is located relatively close so that you do not have to pay extra to cover the travelling expenses.

Need to find a professional plumber? We can help!    Find A Tradesman

Request plumbing quotes

When contacting plumbing companies it is worth asking them what plumbing services they offer. For example, some may specialise in bathrooms and repairs while others may specialise in boiler installation or exterior drainage.

When you get a quote from a plumber specify the kind of work you want them to do. For example, it is recommended that you replace the pipes in appliances such as dishwashers in order to prevent grey water leaking from them (these leaks can increase the risk of sickness and discomfort so this is worth doing!)

Emergency plumber callouts

Another factor to consider is whether or not you can get an emergency plumber to come out at short notice. Often this will be an additional charge, especially if they need to be called out late at night. If this is not specified when they give you a quote ask them to explain this further (if they are hesitant to look elsewhere for a plumber who will properly discuss the details with you!

A good deal

As with any other service it pays to compare carefully when looking for local plumbers. Friends and family can often help and can point you to someone who is reliable (this is especially worth noting if the same person gets recommendations from various people!)

However, if you are new to a local area you may not have friends or family nearby to offer recommendations. Fortunately, if you look online there are various websites and social media where you can ask people in the local area to recommend someone for you.

In short, if you are prepared to do a bit of research then you will find the right plumbing service in your local area to suit your needs!

What to look for in a plumber

How do find the best plumber for you? You need to find a qualified and reputable plumber and to do this you will need to ask some questions:

  • Ask to see proof of professional qualifications.
  • Find out if they are registered with Gas Safe.
  • Make sure they are insured.
  • Ask if they guarantee their work and materials used.
  • Find out if they are a member of a trade association such as the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) or the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers (CIPHE).
  • Check reference.
  • Ask for the work they are going to carry out.

 Avoid hiring a plumber based only on price

It is impossible for any company in any industry to offer the cheapest price, have the highest quality, and provide the best service all at the same time. You can get high quality and super service, but you can’t get both and still get the lowest price. Just like in any business, when a company hires the best people and buys the highest quality products—consequently, it has to charge more for its services.

Good quality service and low cost do not go together!

The 3 most common problems you have when you hire a plumber who only offers the lowest price:

    1. The first problem is that low-cost plumbing services don’t usually stand behind their work if there is a mistake. Sure, other plumbers might do your job for a little less money, but how will they treat you when there is a mistake with your job?
    2. To give the cheapest price, they usually have low-wage, inexperienced employees that have not been adequately trained. The end result is that you get what you pay for. And the little bit of money you saved ends up costing you more in the long run!
    3. The third problem with a plumber who offers the lowest price is that they tend to also offer the lowest quality. Your plumbing can be one of the biggest expenses in your home. And, one of the best investments you can make in your home if done properly.

Additional charges may occur

Very often when you hire a cheap plumber you might end up getting charged extra for things other plumbers normally include in their quote in the first place. You’ll be charged extra for such things as misdiagnosis, every piece of plumbers putty, overtime due to bad estimates. What seemed like a good price actually ends up costing you more in the end. This is just a tactic cheap plumbers use to get in the door.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should a plumber cost me?

Charges depend on the type of job and the skill of the person you hire.  Tradesmen’s jobs, which are typically things like unblocking drains, etc usually comes in at around £40.  Fully licensed professional plumbers charge between £40-£75 an hour.

The more difficult the job the higher the labor cost is going to be – as something becomes more complex or inaccessible the longer it takes.  Bear in mind that price will include the materials you need to complete the job. Also remember that while an apprentice or less experienced plumber can do some jobs, for these types of complex projects you will really need to hire a fully trained professional.

Professional plumbers often charge for trip time so look out for things such as:

    • Standalone fees for travelling.
    • Service fees.
    • A fixed-rate for the first hour, with a reduction in rate after that
    • Setting a minimum chargeable amount of time for a house call
    • Flat rates for simple jobs
    • You can use this as a general guide but always ask for a quote in writing before agreeing to any work

My plumber has quoted for my work – why is the cost so high?

When you hire a plumber you are hiring a specialist who has training for thousands of hours.  Plumbers are often self-employed people who have had to invest in everything they need to carry out their trade – everything from tools, vehicles right through to insurance and other overhead expenses.  There is also a shortage of trained plumbers, which also acts to drive the price up.

How can I find a cheap plumber?

Trained plumbers have developed a highly specialist skill over many years and their fees are a reflection of this.  Although it might be tempting to go for a cheaper option this is often a mistake and can mean you end up paying more in the long run.

How can I pay my plumber?

It depends on the individual plumber how they want to be paid, many will send an invoice, whilst others will accept a credit card or check payment at the time of their visit.  You should clarify the method of payment when you ask for a quote.

Do I need a commercial or residential plumber?

Commercial and residential plumbing are specialisms in their own right, therefore you need the type of plumber relevant to your building.  Commercial plumbers usually only work on commercial properties and vice versa. Each trade has to comply with different regulations, building codes, etc which relate to the type of work they do.  On average commercial plumbers charge around £55 per hour and residential plumbers £40 per hour.

What is a ‘fixed rate plumber’?

A Fixed Rate Plumber will charge you based on the type of services as tasks they have performed.  The hourly rate plumber will charge based on the total amount of hours it takes to complete the work.  


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