Plumbers are often paid on an hourly basis. There are some instances, such as large residential or commercial developments, where they bid a flat rate for the cost of the materials and labor. But in that instance, they will tend to submit their bids using the cost per hour times the estimated time it will take to complete the entire contract. Most other plumbing work is done on an hourly rate.
According to the bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly cost for a plumber is $23.62. This should be used as a baseline figure as there are factors that could affect the amount. Here is a list of factors that could create a different cost per hour.
• The above average rate would be applicable to a journeyman plumber. Master plumbers can make as much as 20% more depending on the complexities of the job. Apprentice plumbers work under the guidance of licensed plumbers and are generally billed out at an average of just over $17.00 an hour.
• Plumbers in large metropolitan areas usually have higher rates by as much as 10%-30% when compared to plumbers in rural areas.
• Plumbers who are unionized make as much as 20%-30% more per hour. However, they are usually employed by companies that directly use their services as opposed to farming their services out.
• Most plumbers will charge an "emergency" premium for late night or emergency calls
• Some jobs require special skills and training. Plumbers who match a special skill set tend to bill at a slightly higher cost per hour.
While billing procedures may vary, most plumbers will issue a bill for labor (per hour) plus a separate line item(s) for materials. Travel costs from/to the job site are usually part of the service unless the request is for emergency services or the site is out of their normal working area. In that case, a quote for the travel costs should be discussed.