Money & Career

5 Things Your Plumber Isn’t Telling You

Two experts offer up some trade secrets to save you money.
By Luke Alexander, MoneySense
plumber fixing drain Photo, GregorBister/Getty Images.

1. You can totally do some of this work.

One way to save money on a plumber is by not needing one in the first place. Jonathon Watson, a pipefitter at Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, points to toilet installation as an easy do-it-yourself job that’ll save you a couple hours in plumbing costs. Oh, and a blocked toilet? Forget the plunger. Patrick Boulay, President of Wentworth Plumbing, says a $30 toilet auger from Home Depot will “clear your toilet 99 percent of the time.” A plumber will charge $200 for the pleasure.


2. You can buy from their secret supplier.

Boulay says many retail stores sell lower-quality fixtures specifically built for the public. One way around that is to head to a commercial plumbing wholesaler like Noble or EMCO, where you’ll likely get a more durable fixture, says Boulay. They’re often open to the public, too.

3. Don’t call the plumber on a Friday.

A common theory is that Mondays are the busiest time for plumbers. But Boulay sees Fridays as a rush, too: “People want stuff done before the weekend,” he says, so they frequently take a Friday off to arrange it.

4. Plumbers are expensive for a reason.

It’s easy to ask a friend or neighbour to share the number of His Guy, but only licensed plumbers will know the best practices and local codes that will save you time and money and ensure safety. For a recommendation you can trust, call a plumbing supply store, or if you live in Ontario, Boulay suggests checking the Ontario College of Trades’s online list of licensed tradespeople.

5. What you really need is a drain-cleaning company.

Both Watson and Boulay agree: Homeowners often call a plumber for clogged drains, when they should really call a drain-cleaning company. Both will do the job, but a plumber will charge around $300, twice what the drain-cleaning company costs.

5 Things Your Plumber Isn’t Telling You

This post is part of Spend It Better, a personal finance collaboration between Chatelaine and MoneySense about how to get the most for your money. You can find out more right here.


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