Bathroom Fitting Question

A plumber quotes a estimate price for a bathroom installation. customer offers to carry out help to install. can the plumber still charger the estimate price?

A plumber supplies a verbal estimate to fit a bathroom. Say £1950.00. Including labour and materials to install the bathroom assuming fitting of bath, sink, toilet and radiator.
The customer is a very competent person experienced in a wide range of building work. However, too busy to carry out the plumbing installation. As they are projecting the installation, measure all out doing the joinery work, tiling, painting etc. To get the job as required up to 50% of the installation assistance is supplied to the plumber without questioning, assistance just given and accepted. 75% of the installation materials are available free issue and taken without question from the customer, copper pipes & fittings, soil pipes, the plumber supplies hep pipe but takes the customers stock copper pipe to trade etc. Some of the work the plumber caries out is not to satisfaction. I.e. loose pipes need re-bracketing and further chasing out and is rectified in the absence of the plumber to move on with the install. All holes cored for waste and soil pipe with customers core drill. Plumbers drill is said to not be suitable to core engineered brickwork. The fitting of most equipment is prepped and carried out by the customer for the plumber just to fit pipes. Bath, sink, wall hung toilet frame. The plumber has spent approx 50 hours installing the bathroom. This is a generous time given due to plumber spending up to 2 hours a day on their mobile running their business.
The customer expected the price to be less than £1950 as most materials were supplied and assistance supplied. Equipment was fitted ready for piping up. A lot of time has been paid for by the customer for the plumber to speak business on his phone, visit plumbers merchant for the bathroom equipment installation advice etc.
The plumber requests the verbal estimated price for the job £1950. Where would the customer stand requesting a discount? Customer has requested a breakdown of the price but still said to be a fixed price!

Thanks for the replies. further Info:
The price supplied was a verbal estimate (not a quote) as he was unsure about the equipment to be fitted as he had never installed Hansgrohe. This was to fully install and supply materials to install. If it was a 'standard bathroom'. usually charges £1500. Most materials were free-issued from my local plumber account (some items not used and not returned)
I have requested a price breakdown. The plumber will not issue one. He says its £1950.00. A fair days pay for a fair days work!
For the plumber to carry out the work himself would of doubled his time. Supplying labour to assist has allowed him to carry out work for others and ensured I get what I want.
Finally I must say the plumbers workmanship is outstanding with no or little installation complaints. A very good plumber but value for money is in question for the work rate.
The plumber understood the situation and agreed on £1575. Both parties happy!
Thanks for all the advice.

16 Answers

Best Answer

yeah yeah yeah now pay the man ,he did the job at the agreed price pay him ,

Answered 23rd Dec 2011


Member since 7 Jun 2008


An estimate can be changed, a quote can't be.

If he has estimated for labour and materials, and then the customer supplies materials. Obviously the estimate has changed....

I doubt the customer can knock much off for labour, customers often like to help. Sometimes this benefits the tradesperson, but usually it doesn't.

I would work out the amount of materials the customer has supplied with receipts and renegotiate the estimate. In all fairness if the customers supplied the materials... I wouldn't expect the full price.

Answered 23rd Dec 2011

Rebel Carpenter

Member since 24 Sep 2008

This all sounds a bit of a mess to be honest.You should have discussed with the plumber exactly what materials were supplied so that they could be taken into account when the quote was being done.It also sounds like you have taken on a lot of the work which makes me wonder why on earth you havent done it all yourself (you say you are competent).Unfortunately having accepted the plumbers quote,you should really pay it.His opinion may be that he didnt want or expect any help and may even say that you hindered him.With everything being so unclear you are going to struggle to get any kind of discount.Next time get your quote IN WRITING as verbal agreements arent worth entertaining.

Answered 23rd Dec 2011

Roc builders

Member since 25 Aug 2011

He gave you a price he did a good job pay the man.

Answered 23rd Mar 2012

Denham Electrical & Building Services

Member since 21 May 2008

What a mess. I must say that the guy is entitled to run his business whilst at work. He gave you a price to complete the work, not a day rate or hourly rate so you cant complain. Both got yourself in a pickle.

Answered 10th Feb 2012


Member since 8 Sep 2011

Hindsight is a very good thing!
A reputibul company would have given you an estimate cost basied on youe discussions, you would also have a build schedual and payment schedual to form part of your contract of works with them.
If you agreed a price with the offer of help then the company would say weather this will affect the price, you should put in a formal complaint to the company and pay for any time and materials that thay have supplied to you without delay!!
You must state that no other monies will be forthcomming untill you have the breakedown that you have requested from them.
Next time get a contract in wrighting.
I hope you get this sorted if you need any helo just ask.
regards Ashley
Further to you update!!
I myself use Hansgrohe product and have done for many years, thay are no harder to install than most and in most cases are eaiser by design to install.
you have two issues as i see it:-
Did you get value for mony??
Is the work up to the standerd you requier.

The first is something that I cant answer/Question as I have not seen his work, but the second question has been sorted in your own words:-
(Quotation taken from your updated post).
Finally I must say the plumbers workmanship is outstanding with no or little installation complaints, A very good plumber.
So I think he has proberly compleated the works to a good/high standeard, as to the overall cost that is something else.
I charge a good price for good work so that is what he may see as his pat on the back, next time get it all in a contract Regards Ashley

Answered 23rd Dec 2011


Member since 3 Mar 2009

when the estimate was given to you you should have come to an agreement in advance about discounts if you you helped or supplied materials.If as a plumber myself i started to change price at the end of a job without prior notice then im sure you wouldnt be happy, it works both ways but we allways get the bad side of it!
Also you seem to contradict yourself on 1 hand you say some work was not to satisfaction, then you add plumbers work was outstanding.Can only be one or the other!!!!

Answered 23rd Dec 2011


Member since 20 Feb 2010

an agreement should have been made regarding discounts for work you carry out .if materials were priced into the job and subsequently bought by the customer then the these should be deducted .but being a plumber myself i would consider a reduction of some kind. you must get a written quote and a breakdown of what is included in the price.prior to work commencing .so its a case of learning by your mistakes. not all tradesmen are money grabbing ,there are really good ones out there and once you have one hold onto him /her.

Answered 23rd Dec 2011

crest installations and maintenance services

Member since 25 Oct 2011

This is a very messy situation to have gotten in to - you should really have all this laid out so everybody involved knows exactly what is expected of them before the works start - also set this out in writing, quotation etc. I would say you have to cut your losses and learn from this mistake, he may well have charged mainly for the time allowed to complete the works and without knowing your involvement on the job assumed doing the work himself without your help. i think the copper tube etc is a bit wrong on his part though.

Answered 25th Dec 2011

N Smith

Member since 19 Dec 2011

hi guys
I agree with most of the posts here. Sorry the only thing that the plumber as done wrong realy is on the materials side. When we carry out work we dont accept help from customers and when they do try to help we quote health and safty to them and i am sure if they had an accident whilst working your insurance would not pay out.

Hanson estimates can be changed up or down but verbal is no good it needs to be written down. That sort of money should have had a contract

Answered 29th Dec 2011


Member since 10 Oct 2007


Answered 2nd Jan 2012

J&M Plumbing Services

Member since 18 Oct 2011

It is always difficult to advise with only one side of a story, however I hope this helps.
Depending on circumstances quotes can be changed, estimates can be changed i.e. if the work is added to or reduced or takes longer that the time expected due to unforseen circumstances, but a fixed price can not be changed unless agreed by both parties.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing but you have gone about this the wrong way and unfortunately he seems to have taken advantage of that.
Legally I suspect you do not have a leg to stand on.
Try talking to him, he may be prepared to replace the materials he has used if he calculated them into his price - otherwise you may just have to pay up and learn from experience - at you will know better next time.

Mike Davison CSSW

Answered 11th Feb 2012

Dryspace Maintain Ltd

Member since 7 Nov 2010

I've had offers of help before now, if that is the case I just switch to the hourly rate as I don't know if the customer is going to be a help or slow the job down, it seems the fairest way to all,................ but a plumber not having a suitable core drill sounds a bit odd!

Answered 9th Apr 2012


Member since 24 Jan 2012

ESTIMATE IS JUST THAT! Its for unforeseens to do a professional job to a finish! as long as the extras are justified and for a reason its a good way of working,and fair for both sides! keeping customer informed of any problem is key!!


Answered 18th Mar 2012

kelly plumbing Heating & gas

Member since 4 Jan 2012

Should of either done the job yourself or asked for a firm quotation and left the man to do the job himself and paid him when each part of the quote was completed correctly.

Answered 20th Apr 2013

Anderson Heating & Gas

Member since 30 Jul 2008

I'm surprised how many people seem to think an estimated price isn't legally binding whereas a quotation is. There is no real difference between the two and even the fact of writing a figure down doesn't change this. If both parties agree a contract that is quite different.
In this instance the customer was within his rights to question whether the initially agreed figure should stand. However if he then wanted to supply materials himself it would have been useful to agree any changes from either side during the process. I don't agree that it is appropriate to run ones business for two hours out of a working day. Even assuming this figure is exaggerated this is to do with the prevalence of mobile phones rather than based on need or custom. How did tradespeople run their businesses before mobile phones? And yet they did.

Answered 30th Oct 2018

Progress Carpentry

Member since 17 Oct 2018

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