What is a plumbers call-out fee?
A plumbers call-out fee is a set amount charged by a plumbing business to come to your home or business.
The call-out fee covers all of the costs incurred for the time it takes to arrive. The call-out fee covers employee costs, vehicle costs and business overhead costs.
Generally, for those businesses that charge call-out fees, the call-out fee only allows for arriving at your home or business. It does not allow for any investigation work of your plumbing problem.
What is a plumbing diagnostic evaluation fee?
Here at Whywait Plumbing, we do not charge a plumbers call-out fee to merely arrive at your home or business.
Since 1999 we have charged on every job we are called out to a diagnostic evaluation fee. This fee we require to be paid by credit card when you book your job in with us.
When you call us, we guarantee that we inform you of our initial upfront fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee and what that fee is.
Once you are happy to accept our diagnostic pricing, we’ll secure your booking by providing your credit card to cover the initial fault finding/investigation diagnostic evaluation fee.
What is the difference between a call-out fee & a diagnostic evaluation fee?
Plumbing companies that charge a call-out fee use it to cover the cost for the journey for a plumber to arrive at your home or business.
Plumbing companies that charge a diagnostic evaluation fee cover the initial journey cost plus the cost to inspect your plumbing problems, diagnose the cause of the problem and provide fully costed solutions.
No call-out fee plumbers
Some plumbing companies heavily advertise that they have a no call-out fee. It may sound good for budget-minded potential customers but…..I guarantee you will end up paying the plumbers call-out fee anyway.
Remember if something is FREE, it has no value to the plumbing business offering it or to the customer receiving it. No call-0ut fee plumbing businesses simply transfer the costs of getting to the job in their other costs plus a margin so either way you pay.
The perception that advertising a no-call out fee creates is that you are getting something for free, as they will be cheaper. Perception is never reality as no business can work for free.
Think about it, would you go to work for free?
What you should ask about a plumbers call-out fee?
Always ask on the phone what is their call-out fee and what does it include. Many plumbing businesses not only have a call-out fee but an additional minimum charge for their time.
Clear communication is paramount to avoiding disputes. Be very clear in your own mind exactly what the plumber will charge you to arrive at your home or business and investigate what work is required.
Why do call-out fees vary so much?
Contrary to popular urban myths, there is no such thing as a set rate or recommended rate or the going rate for a plumbers call-out fee.
Every plumbing business is not the same. Every plumbing business has different employee costs, overhead costs and productivity levels that are required to set a call-out fee or diagnostic evaluation fee.
It is illegal under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for business to collude in setting prices. The Act aims to give all businesses a fair and competitive operating environment. It covers anti-competitive conduct, price-fixing, unconscionable conduct and numerous other issues, such as advertising. The Act also sets out consumers’ rights and responsibilities.
It is also illegal under the Act for there to be any set or recommended rates by master plumbers associations.
Other factors that influence call-out fees are the type of service required and the time of day and which day. Major variances will occur if you require plumbing service at night, on weekends or on public holidays.
So how much should a plumbers call-out fee be?
Reality is asking how much should a plumbers call-out fee be is akin to asking how long a piece of string is.
Remember, there are no recommended call-out fee rates as every business has to determine what they charge.
As a rough guide in my experience, a basic plumbers call-out fee during normal weekday working hours will vary from $0 to $150 to simply arrive on the job. For an emergency plumbing call-out, the costs increase dramatically and you can expect to pay between $150 and $500.
I can only reiterate that you need to be very clear in your own mind exactly what the plumber will charge you to arrive at your home or business and investigate what work is required.
Rights and responsibilities
Both the plumber and the customer have rights and responsibilities. Sadly there is a culture of mutual distrust between customers and plumbers with each being wary of being ripped off by the other.
Here at Whywait Plumbing, we aim to be always upfront with our pricing starting with our initial plumbers call-out fee or diagnostic fee. When we ask you to pay for that diagnostic fee upfront by credit card, we are both making a commitment from the beginning.
We guarantee and disclose our diagnostic fee up front and provide an upfront fixed price guarantee for all residential, domestic clients. There is no game playing, our clients are always informed of costs upfront, and there are never any hidden costs or nasty surprises.