A common complaint for many people in the UK is how expensive plumbers tend to be. There’s nothing more disheartening than having a burst water pipe or a toilet that won’t flush, particularly when times are tight, and money is scarce.

But are plumbers really all that expensive? Is there a good reason for the high price tag? And are you better off taking it on the chin and paying the professionals or should you try and DIY your plumbing problems instead?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about why plumbers charge what they do. 

How much do plumbers charge per hour in the UK on average? 

So, how much do plumbers charge per hour, on average in the UK? While this will vary based on your location and the time of the required service, the average is somewhere between £40 and £60 per hour. 

You’ll find that most plumbers will have a standard charge for a minimum of an hour’s work. Any additional time after that will be charged on a ‘per hour’ basis – excluding the cost of any required parts, etc. 

Why do plumbers charge so much? 

If you are wondering why plumbers charge what they do, we urge you to read on. There are a number of critical factors that influence the cost of plumbing in the UK and with a better understanding, you’ll soon see that plumbers are actually very well-priced, all things considered. 

Education and extensive training 

The fact is, plumbing requires a great deal of technical expertise and experience to pull off. In order to qualify as a licenced plumber, it takes years of training. 

While earning an NVQ, a plumber on a traditional apprenticeship will spend up to four years working under a qualified plumber for a minimum wage. During this time, they receive training on the job – after which they will work for an additional two years before taking their final exam and qualifying as a master plumber. 

That’s 6 years of training and gathering the expertise necessary to be able to go out on their own. So, it’s fair to say that no plumber should have to go to such great lengths to qualify, only to barely break even when they take home their monthly pay cheque.  

They’re in high demand 

As with anything in life, when there’s a high demand, people can charge a premium. That’s just the way these things work. And the fact is, most plumbing calls tend to happen in emergency circumstances – whether that be 3 am on a Sunday, or at lunchtime on Christmas day. 

Plumbers are required to be at your property as quickly as possible in order to make the necessary changes and return your home to an orderly condition. More often than not these calls happen in the evening – after a long day of work. 

That, and emergency callouts are expensive, period; this isn’t something exclusive to the plumbing industry. 

Costly travel expenses 

A plumber has to come to you, wherever that may be. This means that they are going to invariably rack up expensive travel costs when moving from one house call to the next. 

Particularly when fuel prices are skyrocketing, those costs are going to be reflected in what plumbers charge for their services. 

On a typical day, a plumber can easily drive up to 100 miles and more. That’s a lot of fuel being consumed. 

In addition, a plumber must keep their van road-worthy and in a safe condition. That, coupled with insurance (for high mileage), tax, public liability insurance and more are all large contributing factors to a plumber’s service cost. 


Running a small to medium-sized plumbing company isn’t a one-man job. There’s so much more that goes into it than merely unblocking your drains and fixing your leaky pipes. 

In order for a plumbing company to operate optimally, office employees are required. People will need to take calls throughout the day, book appointments, keep track of the accounting and bookkeeping and so much more (not to mention having staff available 24 hours a day). 

In addition, like any other business, plumbers need to invest money in their online presence as well – including their marketing. 

Even a self-employed plumber may need to outsource many of these requirements to a third party which all adds up! 

Tools and replacement parts 

In order to be able to carry out their duties effectively, plumbers need to have a wide variety of different tools and supplies on them at all times. Not only that but a number of plumbing issues that arise require specialised tools – which means going to a specialised supplier, rather than a local hardware store. 

The fact is, specialised plumbing tools typically cost 2 or 3 times more than what you’d pay for tools at an average hardware store. In addition, this high-tech equipment requires specialised training in order to be able to operate efficiently (e.g., high-pressure sewer jetter, cameras, and backflow testing gear etc.).

The job is not without risk 

Plumbing isn’t the safest of jobs. In fact, plumbers come in contact with all manner of harmful materials on a daily basis. When they’re dealing with mould and getting their hands dirty in sewers with a plethora of germs and bacteria, they need to remain safe and alert at all times. 

Without taking these extra precautions they would be running the risk of falling ill themselves and putting their customers at unnecessary risk as well. 

In addition to that, many of their duties may put them into physically dangerous situations (e.g., moving through loft space without sufficient support structures). 

So, not only do plumbers put themselves at risk on a daily basis, but they’re also doing the jobs that many of us wouldn’t want to do (i.e., unclogging a stranger’s blocked toilet). 

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are many good reasons why plumbers charge what they do. Just the cost of getting from A to B, maintaining their vehicles, and having the right tools and supplies to carry out their duties is expensive enough as it is. 

That and the extensive training and education required to become a qualified plumber, in addition to the cost of running a business and being available 24 hours a day, are just some of the reasons why plumbing services are widely considered as being expensive. 

All things considered, it’s safe to say that plumbing services in the UK are actually rather well priced, check out https://www.0800homefix.com/locations/richmond-upon-thames/ and their respective pricing https://www.0800homefix.com/rates/ here.