Why do Plumbers Have a Call Out Fee?

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why plumbers charge a call out fee

A plumbers call out fee is charged on every maintenance job a plumber attends to. They are a necessary charge to keep a plumber in business.

The call out fees in Brisbane range from $80 -$160. The call out fee does not include labour or materials, however, some plumbers do choose to give the first 15 minutes of labour free. But generally their call out fee is higher to compensate for the ‘free’ labour time.

What does a plumbers call out fee cover?

There are a number of items the call out fee covers but in a nutshell it generally covers the time and petrol and other expenditure incurred to reach your premises. It also covers the basic administration and running costs of the plumber’s business. A plumbers call out fee covers:

  • Expenditure travelling to your premises
  • Maintenance on the vehicle used
  • Labour time in keeping their vehicle stocked at all times to fix a number of different plumbing issues
  • Fees to keep Plumbing licenses up to date
  • Insurances for public liability, BSA etc
  • Accounting and invoicing costs
  • Workplace Health and Safety Manuals and Work Method Statements – generally needed for commercial premises only.

A plumber’s labour rate is generally what he or she earns per hour and takes as their income to live off. They don’t live off the call out fee.

Should a customer worry if they aren’t charged a plumbers call out fee?

Plumbers are a targeted occupation by the Australian Tax Office because they are the one of the worst occupations to over claim on expenses and not declare other income (eg cashies).

A good plumber will ensure their administration and accounts are handled in an honest and reputable manner. If a call out fee is not charged, it can be a sign of a plumber not charging efficiently.

This can affect you as a customer as a plumber who hasn’t done their due diligence to charge correctly can cut corners when attending a job and/or could be in a position of bankruptcy due to incorrect pricing.

It can put the customer at risk of illegal plumbing work, having to resolve an incomplete plumbing job and losing money because of the costs involved in correcting the work or getting the project completed in time.

Pardon the pun, but it pays to pay for quality. A cheap price or lack of call out fee can mean you will pay for it later.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

For a list of reputable plumbers in your area, check out the Master Plumber’s website in your state.