How Much Does a Plumber Cost Per Hour?

Normal range: $177 - $483

The average cost to hiring a plumber is $330, depending on your location and job size.

How we get this data
Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated September 16, 2022
Kitchen sink with appliances and cabinets in background
Photo: Raul Rodrigquez / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

If you need to install a new shower or repair a drain line, your first step is to find a professional plumber near you to get the job done. But how do you determine how much to budget for the cost of your plumber’s labor?

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. The cost of hiring a plumber per hour typically ranges from $177 to $483. Read on to learn more about the plumber cost per hour and various cost factors that will impact your final bill.

See the price range for plumbers in

your area
How we get this data
Normal range for U.S.
$177 - $483
  • Average
  • $330
  • Low end
  • $96
  • high end
  • $900
LOWHIGH

What is the Average Plumber Hourly Rate?

A qualified plumber near you will typically charge between $45 to $200 per hour or more. Recent data from HomeAdvisor found a range of $175 to $480 with an average cost of about $330.

Plumber Cost Breakdown

You might notice that plumbing rates amount to quite a bit more than you’d pay for the part itself, but that doesn’t mean it’s all in your plumber’s pocket. Here’s a breakdown of what the extra costs cover.

Tools and Materials

Your plumber cost covers all the necessary supplies and materials to fix your emergency ASAP. Not only that: Your plumber has also invested a lot into their tool collection, which is typically quite extensive to cover a range of needs. Most jobs get taken care of on the spot, and that preparation is folded into your plumber’s hourly rate.

Vehicle Expenses

Plumbers need a large vehicle to haul around their supplies, which comes with an upfront cost, plus insurance rates and fuel. Your plumber costs help to cover these expenses.

Union Fees

Most plumbers need to pay around 20% to 25% of their wages to cover union fees. This also provides them with insurance, pension, and other benefits.

Plumber Wages

A portion of your plumber costs covers your plumber’s wages. A master plumber makes anywhere from $25 to $75 per hour and often oversees the work of plumbers underneath him. A journeyperson plumber usually makes between $16 and $34 per hour, while apprentices typically make about half of that.

How Much Does a Plumber Cost by Job Type?

Sometimes you might forgo the typical plumbing rates per hour  and pay a flat fee instead. Many plumbers will figure out a solid rate for common jobs, so this is a good area to compare plumber quotes and look for the best deal.

Here’s a ballpark plumbing services price list:

  • Fixing a leak: $150–$700

  • Installing and repairing gas lines: $250–$750

  • Repairing a water main: $300–$1,250

  • Installing a water main: $600–$2,400

  • Repairing a septic tank: $600–$2,500

  • Installing a bathtub: $1,000–$5,100

  • Installing a shower: $1,200–$5,500

  • Repairing a drain line: $250–$1,000

  • Installing new plumbing pipes: $350–$1,750

  • Fixing a toilet: $150–$300

  • Cleaning a sewer line: $175–$450

  • Installing a water heater: $750–$3,000

  • Unclogging a drain: $125–$300

  • Installing a sump pump: $650–$1,800

  • Repairing a sump pump: $300–$700

Additional Cost Factors of Plumber Hourly Rates

If you’re wondering how to hire the best plumber, you should look for certain favorable (and some mandatory) qualifications. Suspiciously low plumber quotes often point to cutting corners, so it helps to consider all the plumber cost factors at play. Along with location and job type, these will all play a big part in your plumber’s hourly rate:

Experience

A less-experienced pro (or apprentice) will often have lower plumber rates than their more-experienced counterparts. If you’re dealing with a complex job, it’s best to pay for the plumber who’s been in the game for at least five to 10 years.

Residential Versus Commercial Plumber Rates

Smaller plumbing companies might charge a lower hourly rate than well-known corporate ones. Commercial plumbers average about $100 per hour, while residential plumber rates are about $80 per hour. This doesn’t mean that inexpensive plumbers are less qualified to fix your sink, but you might have to do your homework. Corporate companies often feature better insurance coverage and quality guarantees, so it’s worthwhile to compare if you’re not pressed for time.

Licensure

Yes, plumbers should be licensed, and this isn’t necessarily par for the course. Certain states require a license, but not all of them do. In any case, it’s wise to politely ask your plumber for proof of a license. Unlicensed “plumbers” might cost less, but you’re better off going with the real deal.

Insurance

Finding out whether they have insurance is one of the most important questions to ask a plumber. If they don’t, then you might be financially liable if anything unthinkable happens. Again, uninsured individuals might charge a lower plumber hourly rate, but the extra risk on your end isn’t worth it.

Timing

An emergency won’t wait for a plumber to finish dinner or wake up in the morning. Luckily for those who have to deal with a burst pipe during the wee hours, there’s a pro who can come to the rescue. 

If you’re calling during off-hours though, expect to pay an overtime rate. Most plumbers charge time-and-a-half to triple the hourly rate based on when the job call happens. Evening calls might see a time-and-a-half hourly charge, while weekends typically incur double-time rates. Calling your plumber away from their Thanksgiving dinner or Memorial Day barbecue might cost around triple the hourly rate.

Plumber Flat-Rate Fees

Some plumbers might charge a flat rate or trip fee of $100 to $400, which could be in combination with elevated hourly rates, or instead of them. Plumbers typically charge flat-rate fees for simple service calls like unclogging a drain or toilet.

Trip Fees

If you live outside of the plumber’s typical work zone, they may charge a trip fee of $50 to $300 in addition to labor charges. This fee covers the cost of their travel expenses, and it’s usually applied if you live outside of a certain radius of the plumber’s shop.

Service or Diagnostic Fees 

If you can’t determine why your toilet won’t stop running or your ceiling is leaking, you’ll need to pay a professional plumber to find the answer. In this case, the plumber will likely charge a diagnostic fee for the time and effort spent locating the problem. Keep in mind that some plumbers may waive the diagnostic fee if you hire them to implement the solution they suggest.

Ways to Save Money on Plumbing Costs 

Trying to find ways to cut down on your plumber’s final bill? Follow these tips to save money on plumbing costs.

  • Keep up with plumbing maintenance: The best way to save on plumbing costs is to avoid needing to call a plumber. Follow these preventative plumbing maintenance tips to keep your home’s system running smoothly.

  • Choose the right pipes: Ask your plumber to help you choose the right types of pipes for your home so you can avoid issues with freezing and deterioration.

  • Repairs leaks and cracks quickly: The difference between a quick fix and a major plumbing disaster is how long it takes to resolve the issue. Prevent major issues by repairing small leaks and cracks fast before they grow into larger issues.

FAQs About Hiring a Plumber

First and foremost: don’t wait until your toilet resembles Old Faithful to start looking for a plumber. Haste makes waste, and you won’t have the luxury of finding the best pro for the task.

Here are a few other bits of wisdom for finding the best plumber rates:

  • Get a firm, detailed estimate in writing that accounts for all fees (e.g., first-hour fees, trip fees, equipment fees, etc.)

  • Compare at least three plumber quotes before you hire

  • Ensure that the work comes with a written quality guarantee

  • If possible, have your plumber take care of multiple jobs (e.g., fixing your drippy kitchen faucet when they come to install your new toilet)

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