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The Deck Guy
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Discussion Starter #1
I do a lot of bathroom remodeling. Some are facelifts, while most are full gut jobs. I'm wondering what some of you plumbers out there use as a base price for installing a new 60" tub on existing rough waste, installing all the shower valves, single vanity on existing rough waste/supply and new toilet on existing rough waste/supply--essentially the standard 5x7 bath package.

I am in Northern NJ, outside of NYC. I can't seem to click with a good plumbing sub and I've a seen a wide swing in pricing structures from different guys I've used for the same/similar type of job. Even if you are out of the area, let me know what you would charge just for comparison sake.

Why is it that all you plumbers don't like to go look at jobs but also won't give some sort of "base" price to a remodeler like me? It absolutely drives me insane. I must look at 5 jobs a week. You guys just show up do your thing and ask for a check. I'm in the wrong business! :cheesygri
 

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Its inpossable to give you a figure from out of the blue, as each job has its own problems.

I think it may be unfair to you for me to just "Ball Park" a figure of what it would cost, as I am going to tend to be on the Very high side.

BJD
 

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Greg-

When we did bath remodels in Las Vegas, the easiest plumbers to work with were service companies that had a fleet of trucks on the road- the mom-and-pop outfits were a PITA. They'd send a guy out in a fully-stocked truck, and we'd be billed at an hourly rate plus parts. They never had to come out to pre-inspect a job- you just called and made an appointment, and the tech came out and performed the work. Either they could supply the tub and valves, or we did- the rest of the material was from them.

While it was tough to nail down an exact price since the job conditions couldn't be 100% defined until the walls were open (hence the reason not to waste time getting "quotes" up front), we could get pretty close. We typically figured a full day to set a tub, re-pipe and set the valve, put new angle stops in for the toilet and lavs, and maybe make some minor relocations. Typically we'd set the toilet and lavs ourselves, rather than bring them back for a 2nd trip.

Based on 8 hours at a rate of $65/hour, we were paying $520 in labor, and typically around $100-150 for parts if we supplied fixtures/valves. So, we usually included around $750 in our bid for the plumber. If everything went smoothly, we ended up making a bit extra- if it ran over due to unforseens, our contract generally covered us for the extra (bad galvanized pipe hidden in walls, leaking lines, etc). Worst case, we may end up running $150 over, which shouldn't make or break most jobs.

The guys don't like to go "look at jobs" because it takes at least two hours (drive time, inspect, etc), so why bother- especially if you don't have the job yet? You've got to learn how to estimate this stuff on your own, especially for the basic cookie-cutter projects, because no one is going to run all over town pricing potential jobs for you when their total price on the job is only $750.

Bob
 

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The Deck Guy
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Discussion Starter #4
Bob Kovacs said:
You've got to learn how to estimate this stuff on your own, especially for the basic cookie-cutter projects, because no one is going to run all over town pricing potential jobs for you when their total price on the job is only $750.

Bob
That's my point exactly...If I use historical data from past jobs, the pricing is all over the place depending on the plumber I used and the job.

How do they think I feel running all over town looking at $750 jobs? If I'm bringing a sub in to look at a job, it's in the bag. For all the aggravation we go through as remodelers, the least the sub trades can do is appreciate a "free" lead" (my sales and marketing, my ad or referral) and look at an upcoming job. It gets me riled up writing about it.

I just had a very good experience with big mechanical outfit. They charged me $1600 to convert a stall shower to a 60" tub, toilet and lavs on a total gut job. They sent two demons from their installation division. They were there for not even 6 hours. This week, we did a small powder room job and I used their "service" division to deal with the sink supplies that had to be cleaned up. $80 first hour, plus $40 per half hour. The tech was great and was neat.

Try and figure out that pricing structure...I sure can't.
 

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If they did such a great job for you, sit down with the owner of the company and ask how the rates were figured. Seems like the $80/hour makes sense, so the two guys for 6 hours each should have been $960. Did they supply any material that would have brought the total to $1600? Maybe they miscalculated the bill? I'd sit with the owner and come to an agreement on rates, and get him to give you some ballpark manhour estimates for typical tasks. Then you'll be able to call them whenever you need to, and have a fairly good idea of the costs.

If you've got an unusual situation, you can always pick up the phone and get an idea of how many manhours to expect. The materials part should be easy- if they charged you $200 for material on a project, and you can buy the stuff for $100, you know they have a 100% material markup. You can now estimate material costs by taking your costs x 2.

Sounds like a sub I'd hold on to, and work with him to develop a stragegy for pricing your work that's "safe" for you and good for both of you.

Bob
 

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The Deck Guy
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Discussion Starter #6
They only supplied minimal material on that job. Maybe $50 worth tops (especially with their volume discounts).

I agree that I need to have them get me a rate card of sorts for typical jobs. What I was more concerned with is if they are giving me a good price because I don't have much to compare it to. They have a ton of overhead compared to a one man show, but it may allow them to charge less...I just don't know.

A plumber a customer of mine insisted on using turned out to be a nice, pleasant guy. He gave me a price of $3000 to do that work that I paid $1600 for. I just don't know....
 

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I'm starting to get more customers who want hard #'s. All that you can do is rachet it up to cover the worst case scenario and say that it could be less.
If they go with the low bid, let him eat his shorts, better than me doing it.
Low bidders come and go with the seasons, a good reputation will last you a lifetime. This applies to any business.
 
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Greg,

I charge by the fixture when it comes to bath remodels. A basic 5x7 that you mention would run about $600-$800 per fixture,not including the fixtures. That would include all the necessary rough and finish plumbing. On the rough, I like to bring things up to code permit or no permit! It is also a good Idea to replace all water pipe while the walls are open and of course this depends on the GC and the budget.

GC's usually can supply me with enough info over the phone for me to give an accurate qoute. Is it on 1st or 2nd flr,is the tub fiberglass or cast iron,etc. I usually like to have just a simple layout faxed to me and with that I know for the most part how it is piped and what I will be up against. Some bathrooms the price per fixture can reach $1000.


If you use the per fixture pricing you don't have to guess on how many hours you think it will take the plumber. By the way, in reference to you're invoiced amount above...there is no such thing in my business as a six hour job! Any job I look at and think is going to take more than half a day would be charged or qouted as a full day. When it gets in the 5,6,7 hour range you have to get paid for the day and that's why per fixture works for me an all my GC's I've worked for! Hope this helps!
 

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Take it from a "Mom & Pop" shop $750.00 a day aint going to cut it.

You seem to want some one to work for you for nothing, tell ya something

Good Luck

BJD
 

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I think the solution to your problem is to "click" with a couple of plumbing subs first off.

Once you do this, it is just a matter of working with the same few subs all the time, and pricing won't be much of a mystery anymore.
 

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The Deck Guy
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Discussion Starter #13
Bjd said:
Take it from a "Mom & Pop" shop $750.00 a day aint going to cut it.

You seem to want some one to work for you for nothing, tell ya something

Good Luck

BJD
I'm not looking for cheap work, only fairly and CONSISTENTLY priced work. Labor is labor in my book. My day has 8 hours in it just like yours. With material cost being negligible for this type plumbing work, I tend to think I'm getting ripped off slightly when one guy is making $2800 for a day's work, don't you?

Subs costs to me are in the same as materials to me. If I submit a bid to do work on a bathroom with a plumbing cost that's in the higher range, I will not get the job. I'm trying to get good work done for a fair price. If the subs give ME a good price, chances are that I will get the job and THEY will get the job. There has to be some compromise along the way.

Also, in my business, when I get single day jobs, I have to charge more than $750 for me and my helper to stay in business. It's a tough pill for most people to swallow when they want something as seemingly simple as crown molding installed and painted when they see a price tag of over $1000.00.

My new line to customers is that they have to realize that however long the job takes, they are essentially payrolling and funding operating expenses of the contractor during the time the job takes. This seems to click in there head a little bit, but most times I can tell if they are bottom feeding for low prices and don't care about insurance, quality, etc...
 

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$100 an man hour is close to going rate in north jersey. Flat rate billing would account for price. Why work faster to make less money???
 

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The Deck Guy
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Discussion Starter #16
plumguy said:
So, I'm curious what do you charge for a total bath remodel...start to finish total price for customer?
Customer supplies all fixtures, plumbing trim and tile. Price is between $5-7k depending on the tile work and trim options.
 

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The Deck Guy
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Discussion Starter #17
bergenbldr said:
$100 an man hour is close to going rate in north jersey. Flat rate billing would account for price. Why work faster to make less money???
$100 for a plumber or a remodeler? Not that it should matter...
 

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Greg Di said:
$100 for a plumber or a remodeler? Not that it should matter...
$100 an hour for a plumber,but flat rate type billing i.e. by scope of job would be more common for plumbing a complete bath remodel. Plumbing being a licenced trade in this state tends to be more expensive than a non-licenced trade such as remodeling where the market alone sets the cost of a service.
 

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It probably is his cost, - - I'm in central Jersey and it's minimum $75/hr. The closer to NYC, - - the higher the rate.
 
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