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How much do plumbers charge per hour?

28 February 2024

Whether you are thinking of working as a plumber or hiring one, it’s important to have an idea of what the going rate is. The amount can be dependent on several factors, which we explore in this post.  

Do all plumbers charge by the hour?

Many plumbers will charge by the hour, although not all. Some charge by the job or provide a day rate. However, it is still useful to know a plumber’s hourly charge, not least because they may use this when estimating the price of a job.


a plumber working in a tight-fitting space


What factors about a project may affect a plumber’s rates?

First is the scope of the project, e.g.

  • Is it a simple job with easy access to the plumbing system?
  • Is the intention to maintain and repair an existing system or install a brand-new one?
  • Is it a job where the fixtures are old and hard to source or replace?
  • Will the system need to be drained and waste removed?

All these factors, as well as the level of skill and expertise required, can affect the length of time a project will take and the price.

What is included in a plumber’s rates?

Both a quote and final bill may include a combination of the actual work, any fixtures and fittings required and, in some cases, VAT.

The cost of fixtures and fittings will vary depending on:

  • what the items are
  • any necessary materials
  • the quality of the item.

For example, you may be able to pick up a cheap bathroom sink for £50. Alternatively, you may be required to spend thousands of pounds on a marble sink with gold taps.

In addition, a plumber’s overheads need to be factored in, such as insurance, marketing, fuel, and general running costs.

Finally, if you are a plumber quoting on a job, you should make it clear whether the quote includes VAT. Your invoices will need to show how much the VAT is.

If you are not VAT registered (and therefore don’t need to charge VAT) it may be helpful to make that clear.


a workman refuelling their van



What external factors affect how much a plumber charges?

These are factors other than the actual job that is being priced and what is involved, and can be numerous.

First, is the location where the plumber operates. For example, rates in London and in other large cities are higher simply because the cost of operating in a city is higher.

The size of the plumbing business may also affect the hourly rate, as larger businesses may have more expensive overheads such as their plumber’s insurance.

However, being larger and charging more does not necessarily equate to less value. A larger firm may be able to offer quicker response times, get better trade discounts on parts and have more expertise on hand.  

Finally, an emergency or out-of-hours callout may be charged at a higher-than-normal rate.

What is the average hourly rate?

For a standard plumbing job, you can expect to pay anywhere between £45 and £80 per hour. For emergency callouts, plumbers may charge between £100 to £300 per hour depending on the time and what is involved.

Daily rates can also fluctuate, from anywhere between £250 and £500.

Preparing a quote or estimate

If you’re a plumber preparing a price for a job, it’s important you are clear about whether you are preparing a quote or an estimate.

An estimate is a ‘guesstimate’ or informal idea of price, based on limited information.

A quote is an exact price for the job. It cannot be changed once accepted by the customer unless the work required changes.


a tradesman loading/unloading a van at night



Finding the right insurance company

For plumbers, having the right insurance is an important consideration, which can mitigate unexpected costs associated with a job.

For more than 40 years, Trade Direct Insurance has specialised in providing insurance for tradespeople, including plumbers.

Our insurance is available in customisable packages that cover your essential business liabilities, provide protection against risks specific to your business, such as the provision of negligent advice, and other key forms of cover such as tools insurance.

For more information about our insurance for plumbers, contact Trade Direct Insurance today. Call 01483 521650 or email: enquiries@tradedirectinsurance.co.uk.

Trade Direct is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The company is a leading UK independent broker providing a wide range of policies to tradesmen and construction workers.

This note is not intended to give legal or financial advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon for such or regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. In preparing this note we have relied on information sourced from third parties and we make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein. You should not act upon information in this bulletin nor determine not to act, without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. We and our officers, employees or agents shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever arising from the recipient’s reliance upon any information we provide herein and exclude liability for the content to fullest extent permitted by law.

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