How Much Does A Plumber Cost? [2023 Data]
$180 - $490
$180 - $490
Updated May 31, 2023Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.
When you spot water on the floor, a drain just won’t drain, or your water heater quits on you, you’ll need to call a pro. But with so many plumbing issues that might arise, deciphering a plumber’s costs can get complicated. Here, we’ll sift through the problems and prices to help you when talking with your contractor. Although plumbers cost about $45 to $200 per hour, most jobs run an average of $333 total, with some pros charging a flat rate for common problems like clogged drains and water heater replacements. Actual prices can vary depending on the job, timing, and location.
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|Typical Range||$180 - $490|
|Low End - High End||$98 - $925|
Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 89,038 HomeAdvisor members.
Not all jobs are created equal, so plumbing costs vary. For multiple reasons, installing a water heater in one location might cost twice as much as in a neighboring state. You might have a more experienced plumber, the cost of doing business could be higher, and permit fees vary from location to location. When examining your plumber's estimate, you’ll want to consider the following cost factors.
Most plumbers charge an average of $70 to $120 per hour before trip fees and materials. Rates can range as high as $200 or as low as $45. The hourly rate covers a plumber’s salary, insurance premiums, union dues, overhead, equipment, vehicle maintenance, and tools. Here are their hourly rates based on experience.
|Plumber’s Level of Expertise||Average Hourly Rate|
|Apprentice||$45 – $90 per hour|
|Journeyperson||$70 – $120 per hour|
|Master||$90 – $200 per hour|
The typical price for an apprentice plumber is between $45 and $90 per hour with an average of $70 per hour. Apprentices work for four to five years under a master plumber before taking the test to become a journeyperson. During this time, they work on a wide variety of projects to gain experience.
The average price for a journeyperson is between $70 and $120 per hour, with an average cost of $90 per hour. Your bill reflects those wages plus overhead, insurance, tools, equipment, vehicle expenses, and advertising.
Expect to pay a master plumber $90 to $200 per hour, with an average cost of $120 per hour. They survey the plumbing work completed by apprentices and journeymen. Some states don't require or endorse certification levels. You can speak with your local construction and planning office for details on the requirements in your state or city.
The more complex the solution, the longer it’ll likely take to diagnose and repair. For example, snaking a drain might only require an hour of work. But installing new plumbing behind drywall requires multiple steps: determining the run, removing drywall, drilling through joists, installing plumbing, and putting it all back together. So, adding complexity adds both time and materials, increasing your overall cost.
Some repairs are routine and frequent, such as clogged drains and installing a water heater, while burst pipes are often weather dependent and happen more rarely. Routine repairs often come with flat rates. Expect to pay on the low end, or $150 to $350, for something routine like a clogged drain. A burst pipe can run you up to $2,000 if you need extensive work done, not including the cleanup.
Materials make a difference in plumbing only if you need them. Using the clogged drain example, you likely won’t have any material costs associated with the fix. But if you need new pipes installed, you’ll have to choose what they’re made from, like PEX or copper, and that choice affects your bill. Discuss your options with your plumber. They’ll know which materials work best in your area and can give you estimates for each type.
Labor costs for most plumbing jobs run $90 per hour for each plumber working on the job. For many jobs, you’ll have a journeyperson and an apprentice working together; their combined hourly rate is higher, but they’ll get the job done quicker.
Location plays a part in two ways: cost of living and travel time.
Cost of living: The higher the cost of living in your area, the more you can expect to pay for services. That’s usually because more overhead is associated with running a service business in your location.
Travel time: If you live within a certain distance from your plumber, you likely won’t pay a travel fee. But with the cost of transportation rising, you can expect your pro to tack on a travel fee for each mile outside their home radius. That fee helps cover the time it takes to get to you and the fuel costs associated with the distance.
The best way to determine your project budget is to get at least three quotes from local plumbers. Knowing what others paid for the same work helps you make an informed decision after the bids come in.
We've collected thousands of HomeAdvisor members' reported data to provide comparisons for the most common issues. Below is a list of the most common plumbing projects and their price ranges. Each list item links to a detailed guide on pricing information and considerations for each project.
Cost to Fix a Leak: $150–$450
Water Heater Installation Costs: $850–$1,700
Price of Unclogging a Drain: $150–$350
Drain Line Repair Costs: $225–$1,175
Water Main Repair Fees: $350–$1,600
Water Main Installation Costs: $625–$2,700
New Plumbing Pipes Cost: $375–$2,000
Sewer Line Cleaning Costs: $200–$550
Sewer Main Installation Prices: $550–$2,300
Sewer Main Line Repair Cost: $1,250–$4,900
Sewer Camera Inspection Rates: $250–$1,500
Septic Tank Repair Fees: $650–$3,000
Septic Tank Cleaning Costs: $300–$600
Water Purification System Costs: $1,000–$3,300
Fix a Toilet Fees: $150–$400
Faucet Installation Costs: $150–$400
Shower Installation Costs: $3,000–$11,200
Bathtub Install Pricing: $4,150–$11,000
Water Heater Repair Costs: $200–$1,000
Tankless Water Heater Prices: $1,300–$3,700
Sump Pump Installation Fees: $650–$2,100
Sump Pump Repair Prices: $325–$750
Well Pump Repair Costs: $350–$1,500
Gas Line Installation and Repair Prices: $300–$900
Repiping a House Costs: $350–$2,100
The cost for plumbing services can vary greatly depending on additional factors that affect the final price, like emergency work, flat-rate pricing, and call-out fees.
Flat rates run from $100 to $400 for most simple service calls, such as unclogging a drain or fixing a faucet or toilet. More complex jobs requiring more time often incur further labor charges.
Most plumbers are called out for emergency situations. Off-hour repairs are more expensive than making an appointment during regular business hours. Weekend, holiday, and after-hours work come at a higher hourly rate or flat-rate pricing, or a combination of the two.
Flat rate or trip fee: $100–$350 or more in some extreme cases. Ask your contractor if this is in addition to an hourly rate.
Hourly rate: $70–$400
The cost of an emergency plumber depends on the individual contractor’s policies. Most charge time-and-a-half to triple their hourly rate depending on when the call comes in. Some may charge time-and-a-half for evening work, double-time for weekends, and triple-time for holidays.
Service call fees range from $100 to $350 and usually include the first hour of work. Service calls cover a wide range of common services, including clogged drains, leaking pipes, and fixture repair.
Trip fees range anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on your location and the distance your plumber needs to travel. Unlike a service call, this fee is in addition to labor charges.
Minimum fees and trip charges help offset the cost of traveling to and from job sites. Plumbers spend much of their time traveling to a job site and supply house to pick up materials for your project.
Most plumbers offer a flat fee within a certain radius of their shop with additional mileage pricing past that.
Alternatively, some skip the trip charge and simply charge a one- or two-hour minimum. So, if they spend only 15 minutes working, you'll pay the minimum amount of time.
A plumbing inspection costs between $180 and $225 on average, although extreme cases could cost more. In most cases, you’ll pay on the lower end. You can often get a routine inspection on an annual plan from your local plumber. You might need a specific inspection, such as a camera in the sewer lines, to help diagnose a problem, which tends to cost far more.
Haul away fees are usually included in your estimate and only pertain to large items, such as a water heater, sink, bathtub, or other large fixture. This covers any transport and dumping fees. It’s typically a relatively minimal charge, anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on how much your local landfill charges.
Water damage restoration costs $1,000 to $6,000, and that’s after you pay for the plumbing fixtures. Plumbers don’t usually clean up water damage; instead, you’ll want to call in a specialist for that job.
Commercial plumbers average $100 per hour, while residential plumbers average $80 per hour. Commercial contractors rarely do residential work and vice versa. The building codes and equipment they deal with and the skillsets they develop vary between the two types.
It’s almost always a better idea to hire a professional plumber. Most plumbing issues need specialized knowledge, experience, and tools. While it’s likely that you can DIY some minor things, like fixing a leaky faucet or snaking a drain, your repairs won’t be covered if water damage occurs.
Plumbing isn't necessarily difficult, but it requires a lot of specialized training. Code requirements are just one consideration; you must also understand piping parts and have experience with the materials. For instance, knowing how hard you can crank on PVC before it cracks takes time to master. Not having a feel for this can turn a $10 repair into a flood.
Some other considerations to keep in mind when choosing a plumber include state licensure, insurance, and knowledge.
State licensure: All states issue licenses, and the licensing board can confirm their legitimacy. However, not every state requires journeymen to have certification. Most states provide a number you can call to verify that a plumber’s license is current and there are no active complaints against it.
Insurance: Any pro you consider should also hold a current workers' compensation policy and a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance.
Before hiring a pro, have a list of questions to ask potential plumbers ready. Get several quotes unless you’re in a hurry and have water gushing from the ceiling. Most plumbers will provide you with a free quote, and some may even come out to your home for a free consultation if you’re a first-time customer.
You may be surprised to learn that different plumbers handle specific types of plumbing jobs. The main areas of focus and duties break out into two categories: general plumbers or family plumbers who take care of general repairs and some emergency situations and plumbing contractors who specialize in new construction and remodeling.
For a general or family plumber, be prepared for a more urgent situation by establishing a relationship with a pro before you need them. If possible, hire a plumber for non-urgent repairs or to install fixtures during regular business hours. Sometimes it can be easier to get a plumber to make time for an immediate visit if you’re a regular customer.
Unlike a family plumber, when you hire a plumbing contractor, they tend to work strictly on new construction, major renovations, or additions. Some shops do small, residential, emergency, and new construction projects.
Plumbers are expensive because their highly specialized trade requires thousands of hours to master. But hiring a plumber is usually less expensive than not fixing a plumbing problem.
Additionally, they make house calls, so they invest in vehicles, tools, equipment, and gas to bring their services to you. They also carry insurance and have other overhead expenses. Meanwhile, labor shortages in the field also contribute to premium pricing.
You can find inexpensive plumbers by asking for multiple bids from multiple plumbers and going with the least expensive option. However, finding inexpensive plumbers is often a mistake. If you have a family member or friend in the trade, they may work at a lower rate for you. Remember that plumbers have highly specialized skills developed over years of training and experience; their fees reflect their skill, overhead, and demand.
Plumbers offer multiple ways to pay, including cash, check, credit, and digital payment methods. You’ll have the opportunity to pay at the time of service or they can invoice you as well. If you’re having a water heater installed, you’ll often have to cover the cost of the water heater up front. The choice is usually up to you. Ask how they bill when you get a quote.
Although a plumber charges about $70 an hour, that’s not actually what they take home. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers make a mean hourly wage of $31.34 or anywhere from $17.91 to $48.65 per hour. However, it varies around the country. For example, in Massachusetts, a plumber makes about 14% more than the average, while in New York, they make only slightly more than average, or $18 to $52 per hour.
Although not all pipe leaks are an emergency, they might be. So it’s best to call an emergency plumber to inspect the leak immediately. Cleaning up a burst pipe costs more than a plumber's emergency rates. Some leaks might never worsen, while others could indicate a more severe problem. For example, they can cause structural damage and promote mold growth.
Almost all plumbers will provide you with free estimates and quotes. However, if you want them to do an inspection first, they’ll usually include that in the price of the project. Estimates include a quick look at the problem if it’s not typical. Over the phone, you can only expect to get a range of prices for common problems like clogged drains.