Chris Heal
Hamish was punctual, friendly and professional and made sure the job was done properly. His prices are fair and there were no hidden extras as can often be the case. All in all a first class service from someone who takes pride in what they do. Highly recommended.
Ben Pearson
Hamish left us with a loo in perfect working order. He kindly fitted the job in at short notice (a lifesaver since we had a leak) and talked us through all the options as he went. Pretty reasonable too!
Finlay Jones
Fantastic plumber, quick response, fixed problem and very competitively priced.
Emmeline Kelly
Great Plumber! I rang Hamish first thing in the morning to ask if he could move our radiator from under the window to a tall wall radiator. As stated on his website, he was free that day, so he came within the hour. He did a great job, really neatly done and very tidy. Would definitely recommend to anyone.
Joe Webber
Excellent service and reasonable price. Definitely recommended
Jamie Wengradt
Hamish was incredibly efficient and communicative when replacing our two bathroom taps. It was great to find a plumber who would do such a job hassle free. I would have no hesitation in using him for future jobs and recommend thoroughly to others.
Tat Ruck
Hamish did a fantastic job sorting out our shower emergency, despite it not being the easiest house to work in! Highly recommended and would call out again. Thanks, Hamish!
Alistair Fitchett
Terrific service. First plumber who actually made the effort to properly trace the issue with our leaking shower and then to fully fix it. Explained in full what the job would entail and then carried out the work over the course of a few visits. Always let us know when he would be coming to carry out the work and left everything tidy afterwards. Would recommend Hamish without hesitation.
Hamish the Plumber, Best Plumbing Services in Devon Award 2015

Best Plumbing Services
“The firm’s dedication and friendly, customer focused approach was what brought them to the attention of our awards team”


I specialise in small plumbing repairs, and charge by the hour for my time. Ideally, I like to be available within a few days, and my pricing is set with this goal in mind. At busy times of year, I am usually available within about a week or so.

Labour - Normal working hours
I have a minimum charge of £70 plus parts for up to an hour for Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm, within 10 miles of Salisbury, followed by £60 per hour to the nearest 0.1 hour. For jobs exceeding two hours it's simply £60 per hour, start to finish, plus parts. I am not VAT registered, so there is no additional VAT to pay on my labour. My rates are based on the Average UK Plumber day rate as published by Checkatrade.
After the job, my invoice will give a detailed breakdown showing the cost of labour and of parts fitted. I carry a good supply of top quality parts sufficient for most common plumbing repairs. Where larger or more costly parts are required and need to be ordered, I will talk you through possible choices according to your budget, and either order them myself or show you where to order them for the best possible price. I am happy to install items that you supply as long as they are good quality.

Payment Methods
At the end of the job I will ask for your email address so I can send you an invoice with my bank details. For domestic customers, payment is requested by online transfer within 7 days. Alternatively, you can pay me at the end of the job by cheque or cash if you prefer. For local business customers, payment is requested within 14 days of invoicing unless we have agreed otherwise.
Evening and Weekend Emergencies
Because plumbing keeps me busy during normal working hours, I do very little emergency work. But if you have a real emergency and are struggling to find someone, feel free to call me and leave a voicemail - you just might be able to persuade me! If I'm able to respond I will get back to you quickly. On the rare occasions that I do emergency work, I charge £120 plus parts for the first hour (minimum charge), then £80 per hour to the nearest 0.1 hour.
More than 10 miles from central Salisbury
Because I usually get more than enough work to keep me busy within a 10 mile radius of Salisbury, I try to avoid going much beyond that as it is less profitable for me to do so. But if I do go beyond that, I charge a bit extra. Please see my Area page for details.

Price guidance by Job type
At the end of the job, my price is always according to my hourly rate plus parts. Please view the following pages for guidance, and feel free to ask me any further questions you have.
I don't normally offer a quoting service since my priority is smaller maintenance jobs and my price at the end of the job is always according to my hourly rate plus parts. For jobs where parts will need to be identified and ordered, as long as you are happy in principle with my hourly rate, I am happy to make an inspection visit to work out what might be needed, to discuss the cost of different possible parts, and to give a rough estimate as to how long the job will likely take. Also, If you click on the buttons above for different job types, I hope you will find my general guidance helpful. For larger installation jobs, where you are just at the stage of gathering several quotes, I am probably not the right person for you. With a focus on smaller maintenance jobs and a policy of charging by the hour, I fill a very particular niche in the market and the jobs that are my priority are often not a priority to other plumbers. Each to their own!
Pricing FAQ

As a sole trader, with an annual turnover less than a certain threshold, the government gives me a choice whether to be VAT registered or not, and there are pros and cons each way. Because I mainly serve domestic customers, I choose not to be VAT registered. The upside is that I don’t have to charge you VAT for my labour. That helps me keep my prices competitive and to pass on a considerable saving to you. The downside is that I can’t reclaim VAT on my business running expenses. So my overheads cost me 20% more, but it’s worth it in order to keep my prices competitive. I still have to pay VAT on parts, so any prices I charge for parts are inclusive of VAT.

When I do jobs for business customers it is a slight disadvantage not to be VAT registered. Although I don’t charge VAT on my labour, they can’t reclaim the VAT on my parts. However, because I specialise in small repairs, the cost of parts is usually the smaller part of the overall cost and the VAT issue is fairly insignificant. However, if you want me to replace an expensive part like a Saniflo, for example, I am happy to source the part, tell you where to order it, and fit it for you when you’ve got it. That way you can still reclaim the VAT.
Because of my focus on plumbing repairs and maintenance, which tend to be small jobs, I charge by the hour. However, if you want to compare my pricing with the 'going rate', as it were for plumbers in general, it is helpful to start by considering day rates. According to Checkatrade's Plumber Cost Guide, in 2022 a plumber's day rate was typically in the range between £325 and £375, with an average of £347.50. Let's round that to £350 for simplicity of numbers. From the customer's perspective, this is what you should typically expect to pay a plumber for a full day's work. From the plumber's perspective, this is essentially their daily target of what they hope to take in labour on a good day. How that translates into an hourly rate depends what type of plumbing they do. Essentially, there are three main types. Also, let's assume that including travel time and admin time, a plumber works a nine hour day on average (equivalent to an office worker doing nine to five, with a half-hour commute at each end).

1) Plumbing installers
Most plumbers are primarily installers, focusing on larger-type jobs that ideally last all day, or even for several days. This approach means they can maximise the proportion of their work day which is 'on-the-tools' and therefore chargeable, and minimise travel and admin time. A plumbing installer can achieve a £350 day rate by doing seven chargeable hours at £50 per hour. In a nine hour total work day, that leaves an hour for travel time, often including a stop at a plumbing merchant, and an hour for admin time (quoting, invoicing, bookkeeping, and communicating with customers and enquirers). According to Checkatrade, £50 per hour is the average hourly rate for a plumber, but although they don't clearly state it, bear in mind that it applies primarily to this category, of all-day installation-type jobs, since that is what most plumbers do most of the time. In terms of their hourly rate, installers are at the cheap end of the pricing spectrum. In practice, very few plumbing installers actually publish their hourly rate - instead they price their work 'by the job' in the form of a quote.

2) Emergency plumbers
An emergency plumber is likely to only do one or two jobs in a day, and these will typically each be short in duration. Their total working hours will be much less than other plumbers, but they need to be on call pretty much 24/7. To achieve a £350 day rate with two jobs, they would have to charge £175 per hour. In practice, emergency plumbers typically charge a callout fee which is chargeable from the moment they arrive, plus an hourly rate on top of that for the time they spend actually fixing something. According to Checkatrade, the average emergency callout fee is £110, and the average hourly rate for an emergency plumber is £112.50. That means that a half-hour callout will cost you £166.25 plus parts, and a one-hour callout will cost you £222.50, on average! In terms of hourly rate, emergency plumbers are obviously at the expensive end of the pricing spectrum. It's not that you get a better or more experienced plumber. Rather what you are paying for is that a plumber will arrive at your door within about an hour or two of you calling them. Plumbers can only deliver that kind of service if they spend most of their day waiting for the phone to ring.

3) Maintenance plumbers (like me!)
Based on an average plumber day rate of £350, how much should you pay for a small non-emergency plumbing callout? I believe that a £70 minimum charge for up to an hour is about right. Here's why. Based on ten years' experience of focussing on small plumbing repairs, I find that within a 9 hour working day (including travel and admin), I can only schedule in four jobs. Typically, about half of those will be completed within an hour, and the other half will go over a bit, so on average those four jobs amount to about five chargeable hours in a day. Five chargeable hours at £70/hr makes a £350 day. What am I doing with the other 4 working hours? Firstly, four jobs in a day means three more trips compared to a single all-day job so there's typically about two hours' travel time in a day. Secondly, four jobs per day on average only works if I get a high volume of calls and enquiries, so it is normal to spend two hours of my day doing admin (responding to enquiries as well as invoicing, sourcing and restocking of parts). In practice, some days I might have a three-hour job and a couple of smaller jobs and total 5.5 chargeable hours. So after the first hour of a job it makes sense to drop my hourly rate to £60.
When you call an emergency plumber, you are looking for instant availability, and you will pay a big premium for it. When you call a plumbing installer, they will be a lot cheaper, but you may have to wait several weeks for them to fit you in. As a maintenance plumber, I fit somewhere in between the two. I am typically booked up a few days in advance, and sometimes a week or more. But relative to most installers, I am available within a fairly short time period. This is another reason why I believe my charge of £70 for up to an hour followed by £60 per hour is great value for money.
According to Checkatrade's "How much is a plumber’s salary in the UK?", plumbers who are employed earn between £15k for those who are newly qualified, and up to £40k per year for the most senior plumbers, with an average plumber salary of £31,703.

Self-employed plumbers who run their own business can potentially earn more. If a plumber works 5 days per week, and takes 28 days' holiday per year including bank holidays, they work 232 days per year. Hypothetically, if it were possible to achieve a day rate of £350 per day every working day they could take £81,200 per year in labour! Subtract about £10,000 for typical business running costs (van, fuel, insurance, advertising, professional fees, etc). and they could be earning as much as £70k. In reality, a plumber's day rate is their daily target, but their average daily takings will always be less than that. Not counting London plumbers where rates are higher, only the most successful plumbers earn £50k or more. Average earnings for self-employed plumbers are probably slightly more than for those who are employed, but not much more. My guess would be about £35k.
If you’re reading this, you must be the curious type. So let me share a picture with you and tell you a story it reminds me of.
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This photo was taken about 15 years ago, in the days when I was still a teacher. It is a picture of tradesmen, specifically decorators, in Yemen, a country I lived and worked in for 14 years. These days, 90% of my plumbing work comes through my website and Google. But their means of finding work was a bit more basic. There were certain places around town where tradesmen would gather in the mornings, hoping someone would hire them for the day. So here they are, waiting…

It reminds me of a famous story that was told about 2000 years ago:
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the market-place doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. “He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ “‘Because no-one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ “The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
I like this story, and it influences how I work.

Those who were hired first agreed to work the whole day for a denarius. That was a Roman coin, and it was the going rate of pay at the time for a tradesman or labourer for a day. They agreed to work for a full day, and they wanted a pre-fixed quote as to how much they would earn. At the end of the day they got what had been agreed.

Those who were hired later during the day agreed to do so on the basis that the landowner would pay them what was fair. They took it on trust that he was a good and honourable man who wouldn’t cheat them. You might think such a basis was more likely to lead to misunderstanding and upset.

But at the end of the day, which workers were happy, and which ones grumbled? Those who agreed to a fixed quote got what they agreed but grumbled. Whose who worked on the basis of trust were not disappointed because the landowner was not only a man of his word, but generous also.

I work according to a published hourly rate of what I think is reasonable, and based on my many reviews, my customers seem to agree with me. But every job I take on is on a trust basis. I spend my time on a job and I install parts that I have paid for. I trust that at the end of the job I will be paid what is reasonable, usually by a person I have never met before. Very rarely am I disappointed.

I realise that my customers also employ me on a trust basis. They may have never met me either, but they trust me to do a good job and to be a man of my word. I hope to never disappoint them.

Of course there is more to this story than meets the eye. This story was told by Jesus, and he is the one represented as the landowner in the story. I first took him at his word 30 years ago, and I haven't been disappointed. Sometimes he is hard to understand, and he gives no guarantees that life will be easy. The end of the day is fast approaching but there is still time for you to trust him also. When the day does end, you will find him to be generous if you do.
Hamish the Plumber
16 Ashlands, Salisbury, SP4 6DY
Hamish the Plumber
16 Ashlands, Salisbury, SP4 6DY

Web design by Hamish? Och aye! That too.
© 2020 Hamish Erskine, h@htp

Web design by Hamish? Och aye! That too.
© 2020 Hamish Erskine, h@htp