Are you meant to haggle with plumbers/central heating? (also sparkies!)

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Found 23rd Jul 2011
Ok, i know the obvious answer is 'yes you should try'... but can any plumbers/electricians/chippies etc. say that when they put in a written estimate for work, do they build in enough profit expecting the customer to haggle?

I have had 3 estimates for central heating work. All are fairly similar in price although the way each would do the work is different. I'm guessing we are being charged a fair surplus for the 'parts', and of course the labour can be whatever the workman is prepared to do it for. Should i take the estimate at face value, or should i assume i can get it down 10% or more?

Also, largish traditional 3 bed detached... £750 seems excessive for a new consumer unit and bonding to gas and water?

Thanks for any useful advice.
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Firstly, you need to have fixed quotations and not estimates - an estimate will vary and you may end up paying more. Their paperwork needs to have quotation written on it.

If a potential customer asked me reduce a quotation, I'd politely tell them to do one. And then I would be thinking that if I got the job in any case, would they be the type of customer who would then be looking to haggle about everything and then would I actually get paid when I presented the final invoice, or would they be nit-picking about everything. I'd then probably be "too busy" and have to turn down the customer if they wanted to give me the job

If your three quotes/estimates are comparable then that is what the going rates are - even if you think that parts of the work are expensive
Edited by: "Waldolf" 23rd Jul 2011
Skilled workers will always cost more, They have to go to college for years to get their knowledge. You can always try to haggle and you may have some success if they are private workers.

Also try and get a recommendation, not all advertised sparkies/plumbers are qulaified to the level they should be, trust me I know. (I'm not one of them though
Edited by: "jonny619447" 23rd Jul 2011
Just to clarify, they are quotations and recommended tradesmen. Just trying to work out if we are expected to haggle and would be considered dumb not to. e.g you buy a car, whoever pays the screen price.

All are fairly similar in price although the way each would do the work … All are fairly similar in price although the way each would do the work is different.



Offhand I can't think of 3 ways to replace a CU lol. £750 seems a bit steep for what you describe but then what do I know.
When tradesmen quote, obviously there is a profit margin built into the price. But it can also depend on how busy they are etc ie how much they need the business, so yes it is worth negotiating, probably with the one who is your preferred choice
No, it was the central heating with 3 different ways of replacing and changing - varying brands of boiler, varying numbers of thermo valves, motorised valves, one includes replacing the pump, but despite various permutations, all end up at a similar price. The consumer unit was an additional quote from one plumber who said ideally it should be changed. I thought about £300-400, was suprised to get £750.
Our combi boiler broke a few weeks ago ( circuit board ) got 3 quotes for repair , all roughly same price ranging from £280- £310 for part and labour .......i picked the brains of one asking part etc ..went on Ebay and got part for £75 brand new and paid spark £35 for fitting it ( was a 5 min job !!! )...so do your homework first op and find out exactly how much they are saying the parts are etc ..i am glad i did as hubby was just gonna say 'yeh , go ahead ' to the £280 quote !!!
£750 is a lot for a consumer unit.
Why did the plumber say it needed changing?
We still have the old fuse boxes, the consumer unit doesn't need changing, it was an option...just thought it would be a good idea rather than putting an rcd on the central heating system. £750 rang alarm bells for me, and made me wonder how much extra I appeared to be paying for everything else.
I don't think anybody can tell you really as each situation is different. One thing I will say though is that the earth bonding bit should be included in the boiler price as it would need checking/replacing when the boiler is wired in anyway. If its not up to standard they cant sign off on the job.
I used Ratedpeople.com. Ive used them twice with no problems and the people tend to give yoou the best price if they know they are competing against other companies on the database.
BlackCloud

No, it was the central heating with 3 different ways of replacing and … No, it was the central heating with 3 different ways of replacing and changing - varying brands of boiler, varying numbers of thermo valves, motorised valves, one includes replacing the pump, but despite various permutations, all end up at a similar price.



It's no good having quotes for different makes of boilers and different fittings

You need to compare like for like and so should decide on a particular make and model of boiler, and specify what sort of control gear and valves you want and get them all to quote on the same things

For a say a £3k installation, one company could be quoting for a cheap boiler which wont last five minutes, and he will make loads of profit on labour, but another could be quoting for much less labour and a top class boiler which will last years.

For the CU, if it needs changing then get quotes from other electrical contractors and not rely the one from a plumber who has a mate who does electrics

Edited by: "Waldolf" 24th Jul 2011
ei8hty5ive

I used Ratedpeople.com. Ive used them twice with no problems and the … I used Ratedpeople.com. Ive used them twice with no problems and the people tend to give yoou the best price if they know they are competing against other companies on the database.



checkatrade is good as well.
Waldolf

It's no good having quotes for different makes of boilers and different … It's no good having quotes for different makes of boilers and different fittingsYou need to compare like for like and so should decide on a particular make and model of boiler, and specify what sort of control gear and valves you want and get them all to quote on the same thingsFor a say a £3k installation, one company could be quoting for a cheap boiler which wont last five minutes, and he will make loads of profit on labour, but another could be quoting for much less labour and a top class boiler which will last years.For the CU, if it needs changing then get quotes from other electrical contractors and not rely the one from a plumber who has a mate who does electrics



Thanks, yes, I agree in principle, but in practice plumbers/installers turn up with their own preferences for kit they are familiar with or what makes them a good margin. Clearly some installers have apreference for Baxi, Glow worm or Worcester Bosch. Most say they will fit what you want, but I'm left with the impression if you do that and later have a problem, the response seems to be 'I told you so'. I think I am going to go with a 'heat only' boiler which will be a replacement in a confined space in the kitchen. Would appear to be a Baxi Solo 15 HE, or a Worcester Bosch 15 RI. Both i think mid range equipment, Drayton thermo valves.

When i say 3 different solutions. The different installers all had slightly different ideas about 'what would be best' and which boiler they prefer. If you are not an expert you are guided by them.

The plumber is a qualified electrician too, not a guy with a mate. Thanks.
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