All you need to know about Plumbers



Every trade has its problems: brickies cant really lay bricks in the depths of winter (they do of course, by adding chemicals to the mix, but they shouldn’t really). Plasterers never see the light of day and spend their whole life inside facing the wall.

Plumber’s the poor devils need to carry round a virtual treasure trove of bits and pieces (fittings) because fittings are their life’s blood. And there is one overriding law, which governs their existence and it is this.

No matter how large or well organised their van is, (it isn’t), or how much notice they have of the job in hand, they never have all the correct fittings to complete any job, ever, without going out to buy more.

They spend more time driving to the merchants, queuing at the merchants, nattering to their mates at the merchants, ordering stuff the merchant can get in for tomorrow (and going back to get it), than ever they do actually doing the blessed job.

This is an actual conversation I once overheard between two South London plumbers queuing behind me in a merchants in Croydon This was the sum total of the conversation by the way (there was no more to say) and the almost indecipherable sounds that constituted the second plumbers reply were all any man in the place would have needed, to understand how the poor sod’s working day was panning out.

Plumber 1 “Waya werkin?”
Plumber 2 “Ut taan”

If you don’t speak “Saaf Lunden”, his answer (translated) was…”Up town”. That means somewhere in London. Somewhere where he wouldn’t be able to park, would have to cart all his tools up 5 flights of stairs and when he realised he needed a “22/15 reducer” and hadn’t got one, wouldn’t have a clue where to buy one and if he did it would take 3hours to get there and back in the traffic. So he finished early and drove back to his “manor” where he knew everyone and everything.

If you were his customer that day, have no doubt at all about the fact that you would be paying for every bit of this diabolical process!

There must be a thousand bits and pieces that plumbers need every day of their lives. They won’t use them all of course but wo betide (that can’t be how you spell that, surely!) any man who thinks he can get away without a “15mm swept end feed elbow” or an “offset multiquick” for more than an hour or two.

Then there’s the “that’ll come in handy one day bucket”. The depositary for all the junk that’s “just a bit too useful to chuck away”.You might as well call it a suppository though, because for all the use these things are, he might as well just shove them up….sorry, I was forgetting where I was for a minute!

You can tell how long a bloke has been doing the job by this vital piece of equipment. If he’s a fresh faced boy of 40 it will be full of “push fit back nuts” and “curly nylon, in line flow reducers”. If he’s an old dog he will have burned out old Yorkshire fittings with all the solder gone out of them, half a dozen three quarter olives in a Bryant and May match box and his old “wiping cloth” that he hasn’t used for 25 years. But…you know, some things just have a way of staying close, keeping you honest, letting you know just where you came from. Wives are good for this as well.

Are you getting the gist?…jolly good….and I’ve only dealt with his “materials” so far. What about the jobs you give him?

you ever tried separating a 50 year old tap from a delicate ceramic hand basin? Or knelt on joist tops in a boiling hot loft trying to undo a leaking Portsmouth valve, then dropped your adjustable spanner into the water tank? (No matter how far you roll your shirt sleeve up, it still gets sopping wet). No?

How about laid on your back with your head in an under sink cupboard (with the bottom edge digging horribly into your shoulder blades) sucking the “S trap”, trying to undo a horribly burred nylon tap backnut, while dirty water runs down your arm and into your ear?

Course you haven’t….But hopefully, what you are getting the feel of, is why they charge so much!

(What’s that puddle on the floor behind you)?

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