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.
in this article
How much do plumbers charge?
The cost of hiring a plumber in the UK can vary depending on factors such as the location, the complexity of the job, and the plumber’s experience and qualifications. On average, the hourly rate for a plumber in the UK ranges from £40 to £60 per hour.
However, some plumbers may charge a call-out fee in addition to their hourly rate, which can range from £20 to £50 or more. Additionally, some plumbers may charge a fixed fee for certain types of jobs, such as installing a new toilet or fixing a leaky tap.
It’s important to get a detailed quote from the plumber before hiring them to ensure that you understand the costs involved and avoid any surprises later on.
If you'd like to discover how specific construction industry statistics can affect tradesperson price, check out this guide.
Plumbing is one of the most varied 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 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? Weekend and public holiday rates per hour will cost you more
Common plumbing problems
Here are some common plumbing problems that homeowners may experience:
- Dripping faucet: A dripping faucet can waste a lot of water and increase your water bill over time. It can also be caused by worn out washers or O-rings that need to be replaced.
- Clogged drains: Clogs can occur in sinks, toilets, and shower or bathtub drains due to a buildup of hair, soap scum, and other debris. A plunger or plumbing snake can often be used to clear the blockage.
- Running toilet: A toilet that keeps running after flushing can waste a lot of water and lead to a higher water bill. This can be caused by a faulty flapper valve or a problem with the fill valve.
- Leaky pipes: Leaky pipes can cause water damage to your home and increase your water bill. They can be caused by corrosion, loose connections, or high water pressure.
- Low water pressure: Low water pressure can make it difficult to take a shower or wash dishes. It can be caused by a buildup of sediment in pipes or a problem with the water supply.
- Water heater issues: Problems with your water heater can lead to a lack of hot water or inconsistent water temperature. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including a malfunctioning thermostat or a buildup of sediment in the tank.
If you’re experiencing any of these plumbing issues, it’s best to contact a licensed plumber to assess and repair the problem.
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?
The daily rate for a plumber in the UK can vary depending on several factors such as location, experience, and the type of plumbing work required. On average, a plumber in the UK may charge a daily rate of £200 to £400, depending on these factors.
It’s important to note that a plumber’s daily rate may not be fixed and may vary depending on the specific job requirements. Additionally, some plumbers may charge a flat rate for certain jobs instead of a daily rate.
It’s always a good idea to get a detailed quote from a plumber before hiring them, including information on their daily rate and any additional costs that may be involved. This will help you understand the costs involved and avoid any surprises later on.
Labor 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 ask for a quote so that you can budget for the plumbing costs. It is common for repairs to be charged at an hourly rate.
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 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 10%-30% more.
As a general rule of thumb, plumbing prices are lower by 30% if you live in areas outside 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 Charge||1 hour|
Several typical quotes for plumbing jobs have been put together below to give you an idea of what to expect to pay when you need to hire a plumber:
|Job Type||Average||Most 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|
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 cause flooding and dampness that penetrates your home. A plunger easily and quickly clears a minor blockage, 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 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 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.
The average cost of 10 meters 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 use are steel or copper pipes. Galvanized 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.
- The 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 some people 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 several directories and websites where you can contact them. However, it is worth making sure you find someone relatively close so that you do not have to pay extra to cover the traveling expenses.
Request plumbing quotes
When contacting plumbing companies, it is worth asking them what plumbing services they offer. For example, some may specialize in bathrooms and repairs, while others specialize 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, you recommend replacing the pipes in appliances such as dishwashers to prevent greywater from 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 point you to 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 to 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 you 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 members 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
No company in any industry can offer the lowest 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:
- 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?
- To give the lowest price, they usually have low-wage, inexperienced employees that have not been adequately trained. The 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!
- The third problem with a plumber who offers the lowest price is that they tend to 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 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, typically things like unblocking drains, etc., usually come in at around £40. Fully licensed professional plumbers charge between £40-£75 an hour.
The more difficult the job, the higher the labor cost will be – as something becomes more complex or inaccessible, the longer it takes. Bear in mind that the 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 traveling.
- 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 reflect 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 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. 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 the plumber will charge is based on the total hours it takes to complete the work.