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Plumber Hourly Rate and Cost of Plumbers and Plumbing Services

Aug 10, 2022 | Commercial Plumbing, Plumbing Advice, Residential Plumbing, San Francisco Plumbing

An element of every San Francisco Bay Area home that is greatly valued but frequently overlooked is the plumbing. The network of materials ensures that the water and sewer systems function properly so that the occupants of a home may take advantage of their modern comforts. When installing any new water-using fixtures and especially when a repair is required, a homeowner in San Francisco must call a plumber. Making your own plumbing repairs can go horribly wrong if you use the wrong tool or secure a fixture incorrectly and unintentionally cause a much worse issue. Plumbing costs typically go toward fixing broken pipes, installing faucets, and repairing toilets, but they also depend on other factors.

There can be a significant difference in the hourly rates that each plumber charges because of the significance of the task and the specific knowledge needed.

Here, we go through the hourly rates for plumbers as well as the variables that determine them. You may employ the best plumber for the task while staying within your budget by being aware of these expenses and other considerations.

Plumber Hourly Rates by Expertise

The plumber cost per hour in San Francisco ranges from $45 to $200 on average, but the majority of plumbers make between $75 and $150. An apprentice is paid less per hour. However, keep in mind that a journeyman or master plumber should be in charge of overseeing them. Even though you hire an apprentice, you typically pay the supervisor’s hourly wage. Prices vary by location and the level of activity of the plumbers, with slower periods resulting in lower costs than busier periods. [1]

The plumber rate is also affected by the training and expertise of the plumber.  Before earning a license as a journeyman plumber, plumbers start as apprentices. Some go on to take the exam to become master plumbers. The plumbing company you call might hire all three, which could affect the price. You can also work with any of the three levels of plumbers directly, however this is not generally advised for apprentices who should be supervised by a licensed plumber.

Hourly rate for an apprentice plumber

The apprentice plumber hourly rates range from $20 to $40. The first step for a plumber is to complete an apprenticeship under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber. This two to six-year on-the-job training cycle involves both academic study and real-world training. A journeyman or master plumber must be present whenever an apprentice is working in the plumbing industry to ensure their safety. To address small problems, such a clog, you can employ a handyman or apprentice, but it is not advised. You may be confident that even though you may pay less if your company sends an apprentice, they are closely watched while they work.

Hourly Rate for a Journeyman Plumber

Journeyman plumbers rates are between $45 and $90 per hour. A journeyman plumber must pass state-mandated exams after completing their academic and practical training. Once licensed, a journeyman can work independently and earn more money. The majority of journeyman plumbers are capable of performing routine plumbing tasks like installing shut-off valves, repairing water heaters, and installing toilets. They don’t frequently work on complicated tasks, and in some areas, they can be required to collaborate with a master plumber on particular jobs. A journeyman plumber is suitable for the majority of routine plumbing tasks.

Hourly rate for a master plumber

The hourly pay for a master plumber in San Francisco ranges from $70 to $200. After two years as a journeyman plumber, a plumber can pursue a master plumber qualification. While the precise tests differ from state to state, a plumber who has earned a master plumber certification in any state has proven through testing that they possess a wide range of theoretical knowledge and advanced practical abilities. Master plumbers typically handle difficult installations and jobs. They may oversee the plumbing of a full house or install your new jetted tub. Although they are not always required, master plumbers may be brought in to provide supervision. [2]

What Does a Plumber Charge? Plumbing Jobs: Types

Each plumbing repair is unique. Plumbers might run into a problem that you couldn’t describe over the phone, or the repair might end up being less disastrous than anticipated. The range of plumbing repairs includes anything from clogged drains and burst pipes to installing new water heaters and repairing radiators.

Repairing Slab Leaks

A slab leak is one of the more dreaded repairs. A slab is the concrete foundation on which a house is built, and to find the issue requires specialized tools. $125 to $400 for detection and $500 to $4,000 for repair are the costs associated with fixing a slab leak. Before removing and replacing the faulty pipe, the flooring will need to be taken up, and the plumber may need to jackhammer through some of the concrete foundation.

Plumbing Repair Cost: Repair of Leaking or Burst Pipes

A burst pipe is an instant emergency, while leaking pipes can grow into significant issues over a short period of time. If the leak’s position isn’t obvious, the plumber will have to spend an extra $100 trying to find its cause. The leak can be fixed for $150 to $350. Repairs for burst pipes will be more expensive because it will be necessary to account for damage to other household items like walls and carpeting. For cleaning and repairs, budget between $1,000 and $4,000.

Repairing ceiling pipes

You might need to call a plumber to fix a ceiling pipe depending on your plumbing system and the location of the leak. A plumber may need to cut into the wall to reach the problem if it is serious. In addition to any further construction repairs, budget around $675 for ceiling pipe repairs.

Eliminating Clogs

Even if we strive to stop the wrong things from going down the drains, clogs tend to form over time. Since clearing a clogged sink or drain is typically not a tough chore, you could engage the top handyman services in your area to handle the task. Prevention is the key to reducing this expense because serious clogs can cost up to $200 to fix.

Replacing the plumbing

The task of replacing damaged plumbing can grow quickly. Replacing the P-trap beneath the sink is one thing; installing a new toilet is quite another. The typical hourly fee usually applies, although plumbing replacement generally costs between $350 and $2,000 in total. While new showers or bathtubs frequently cost between $1,000 and $5,500, sinks, toilets, and faucets typically cost between $150 and $525.

Sink Installation

You’ll spend less money on the installation of a new sink if the drain lines are already in place. Since they are larger and frequently come with a garbage disposal, kitchen sinks typically cost extra to install. Bathroom sink installations are typically much easier and less complicated. Sink installation typically costs between $200 and $525.

Repair of radiator

Typical flat rates for basic radiator repairs range from $60 to $80. An unreliable, noisy, or leaking radiator can be diagnosed by a plumber. Expect to spend between $150 and $750 on a water heater repair.

Installation of a sump pump

Sump pumps are necessary in some places to help drain extra water that could collect under a property. The price to install a sump pump ranges from $639 to $1,977 depending on the complexity of the system. You can install either a pedestal or a submersible sump pump, which range in price from $60 to $170. An average sump pump repair costs $510.

Water Heater Installation

Depending on the system you select, water heater installation cost will be different amounts: Solar energy water heaters costs $2,000 to $5,200, tankless water heaters cost $1,000 to $1,800, and a conventional heater installation costs $750 to $1,400 (or more for high-efficiency systems). If the original piping was harmed in any way, the rate for the water heater installation can go up.

How much does it cost to snake a drain?

The cost of plumbing repair to have your drain snaked might vary significantly, as you can certainly understand. The sort of drain you need unclogged and the extent of the obstruction are the two main pricing determinants.

Nevertheless, the average cost of drain snaking in the country is about $225, and here included  are some more precise per-project rates.

Bathroom & kitchen drains

You should budget between $150 and $250 if you need to have a kitchen or bathroom sink snaked. Some little snaking projects could cost as little as $100.

Tub drains will cost a little more since more work must be done to reach the drainpipe. The average cost for a shower snake-drain is between $225 and $300 for households.


Because specific tools are required, the clogged material is likely to be larger and more difficult to remove, and the operation is less pleasant, most plumbers charge a little bit more to snake a toilet.

For a toilet, the average cost of drain cleaning is roughly $275, but severe obstructions might cost as much as $350.

More drains

Laundry and driveway drains typically cost $325, and more serious obstructions in these plumbing lines can cost up to $500. If you’re unlucky enough to have a clog in the main sewer line, professional snaking will probably cost you between $500 and $1,000.

The cost of this unclogging service varies based on how simple it is to reach your sewer line, how far the obstruction extends into the pipe, and how serious it is. You may have to pay between $4,000 and $20,000 for the service if the blockage is particularly serious and necessitates replacing the sewage line.

How much does it cost to reroute plumbing

All of the plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances in your home are served by plumbing lines that run beneath the walls of your house and carry water from your water supply through the water main.

Every water-using fixture also has a drain pipe that directs used water to your sewage line for proper disposal. Copper pipes are also used by your water heater and boiler, depending on the sort of heating system you have, to circulate hot water as needed around your home.

Drain lines are normally made of PVC, while water lines are typically made of copper. Due to the inflexible nature of these materials, any fixture that needs to be relocated, even a few inches, usually necessitates moving the piping as well.

When a plumber “moves a pipe,” they expose the old plumbing, remove any extraneous components, and then use new pipe material to install the line in the proper location. All this work will affect the hourly rate charged.

How much does it cost to move a pipe?

Depending on what you’re doing, moving plumbing can cost different amounts. It costs between $450 and $1,200 per fixture to move a bathroom fixture more than three feet. Plumbing line relocation costs range from $150 to $600 for each line that is moved more than three feet to free up a wall that needs to be moved. This can easily add up if you are undertaking a large remodel that involves moving an entire bathroom or demolishing a number of non-load-bearing walls. Costs can differ based on whether you need new pipes or can utilize your current ones.

The type of pipe you want to move and the distance you want it moved will have the biggest impact on your plumbing line’s overall cost.

The costs for moving certain lines is mentioned in more detail below, but bear in mind that any additional relocation will considerably raise the price of your project because each linear foot of piping requires additional work and materials. Based on national statistics, the expenses to relocate various kinds of plumbing lines are listed below.

Residential water lines

Cost on average: $700

Standard Range: $600-$900*

*Based on the relocation of a single water line, this rate is an estimate. Your prices will go up if you add additional lines or move your line a long way.

Heating Lines

Cost on average: $700

Standard Range: $500 to $1,000

Sump pipes

Cost on average: $400

Standard Range: $150 to $800

Sliding Lines

Cost on average: $3,250

Standard Range: $2,500 to $4,500

Fuel lines

Cost on average: $900

Standard Range: $700 to $1100

Cost Factors to Consider

The complexity of the project, the materials required, and the time required all affect plumbing prices. Emergency plumbing repairs will also cost more, especially if they are required after business hours. Depending on the following conditions, a plumber’s hourly charge could be more or less


The cost of hiring a plumber is influenced by geographic location because experienced laborers are paid more per hour in urban areas. Additionally, if there is a scarcity of plumbers in the area, the increased demand for them may have risen prices above what is typical. Use a plumbing cost calculator and enter your zip code to find the typical price in your area.

Job Difficulty

A difficult repair will cost more than a simple one, as is the case with the majority of labor-intensive repairs. One explanation for this is that a homeowner can employ a handyman or journeyman plumber to unclog a trash disposal but will require a master plumber for a main line problem or an undetected leak. In addition to taking longer to accomplish, more complicated tasks also cost more labor.

Materials and Supplies Required

While some plumbing tasks don’t call for a lot of supplies, others do. For instance, if you’re replacing an outdated faucet, you’ll have to spend money on both the faucet itself as well as any other plumbing components that require replacement, in addition to the usual materials like caulk. And if a piece of the house will need to have its plumbing replaced, which will cost more money.

Timing: Emergency Plumbing Repairs Are More Expensive

The timing of the repair may have two effects on expenses. First of all, scheduling a plumber for repairs may be challenging if the local construction industry is busy, and the demand may drive up costs. Second, it always costs more to call a plumber for an emergency plumbing repair, and doing so after hours can increase the cost by three times. Most businesses impose an additional trip fee between $100 and $350. When looking for an emergency plumber, make careful to enquire about the hourly cost and any emergency surcharges.

Additional Charges and Considerations

There are additional elements that affect a plumber’s cost besides the intricacy of the job, scheduling, and level of competence. Take into account the extent of the repair as well as service expenses, haul-away fees, and trip fees. Some of these expenses might be included in the overall cost of the plumbing repairs, depending on the circumstances.

Fees for Services and Diagnostics

To ensure that expenditures are covered, plumbing businesses may impose additional fees. The cost of materials and trip time are typically covered by service call fees, which typically vary from $100 to $350. You can be charged an extra diagnostic fee if it’s challenging to find the leak.

Plumbing System Condition

Plumbing in older homes may require major or ongoing maintenance. You’ll probably pay more for plumbing repairs in a home with older plumbing components like galvanized pipes than in one with newer plumbing components. If you discover that you are frequently hiring a plumber, think about having the plumbing completely renovated.

Hauling Fees

Minor repairs and improvements are exempt from haul-away fees, but any large plumbing work that involves replacing existing materials will be charged a haul-away fee in order to properly dispose of the extra materials. Depending on the material, certain disposal laws may apply in some states.

Trip Cost

A trip fee is commonly imposed by plumbers. A trip charge, which can cost between $50 and $300, covers the distance that plumbers must travel between jobs and supply sources as they deliver work to San Francisco residents and businesses. The trip cost increases with distance from a plumber’s service area. A homeowner will only pay the smallest trip fee or nothing at all if their house is within the plumber’s service area. As an alternative, some plumbers only charge a minimum 1- to 2-hour service fee, regardless of how long they are on the job. [3]


Most plumbers perform modest drywall repairs and clean up any damages they caused while on the job. They typically do not, however, finish work that requires replacement of drywall, extensive patching, or crack repair. Typically, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to make arrangements for a drywall expert to assist after the plumbing job is finished.

Union dues

Plumbers who are union members in San Francisco are required to pay dues. To cover dues and additional expenses like insurance, pensions, and state licensing fees, they raise their prices. These expenses are often covered by their baseline project costs. The work of a plumber may be covered by warranties endorsed by the union for homeowners who use union workers.

Frequently asked questions

Why do plumbers cost so much?

Due of their particular expertise and abilities, plumbers are expensive. Their capacity to locate and address a wide range of issues in your home is what drives up their price. One of the main factors contributing to their high prices is their trained staff.

It’s vital to keep in mind that while hiring a professional plumber may appear expensive, the consequences of disobeying them or attempting to handle apparently straightforward problems on your own may be far greater. If you want to protect your house and give your family a secure, healthy place to live, you should entrust the difficult and specialized work of home repairs to a professional.

Are plumbers’ fees higher on the weekends?

Yes. The majority of plumbing firms offer 24-hour service, albeit at a price. The prices range from a flat fee of $100 to an additional $350, or whatever the cost of an hour and a half would be if calculated using their hourly rate.

What does installing plumbing in a home cost?

Depending on the type of piping utilized and the size of the house, different plumbing installations are required. For installing plastic pipes, a modest cottage or house measuring 800 square feet costs about $1,600. The most expensive metal pipe option might cost up to $18,000 for a large house of 3,000 square feet.

How long does plumbing installation take in a new home?

A new house’s plumbing typically takes 3 to 5 days, assuming no delays. This project takes longer the bigger the house is.




  1. 2022 Plumber Cost Per Hour | Average Rates To Hire A Plumber.
  2. Average Plumber Hourly Pay in San Francisco, California.
  3. Hourly Wage for Plumber Salary in the United States.

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