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How to avoid Sydney Plumber sales gimmicks

We uncover some of the most common sales gimmicks used by Sydney plumbers & explain how you can avoid getting ripped off when getting quotes

How much do plumbers in Sydney cost?

It is actually impossible to get a fixed price for the cost of a plumber in Sydney. A plumber is providing a service which is a mixture of labour, consultation, expertise & problem solving. So it is not the same as buying a box of something off the shelf in a supermarket. Each plumber will charge slightly different amounts based on what they believe they are worth while also trying to be competitive in the market.


If you open the local newspaper you will see pages filled with all the same sales gimmicks, promises and discount offers. There is really no such thing as a fixed price plumbing cost, just like a plumber can’t guarantee a discount up front when they don’t even know what work will really be involved. All of these sales promotions are being done because each business feels pressured into offering the same thing as the other businesses.


Think about it – how can a plumber give you a genuine discount when they don’t even know the full extent of the work required or without even visiting your house? Most plumbing problems can’t be seen because they are in walls, under floors or even under the ground inside the piping. So how is it possible they can offer a discount on something that is not a finite service.


The answer?


It is just a sales gimmick to get you to call them.


Some people will think we are crazy to talk about plumber pricing in Sydney & how local contractors present their services or how the industry works. Although we see people getting ripped off time & time again and that is why we believe in offering you;


1. A free verbal quotation over the phone.


2. A written service guarantee.


3. Our  ‘No Sales Gimmicks’ policy.


That’s right – we don’t offer a ‘$50 discount on your first booking’ or ‘blocked drains cleared for $88’ because these offers aren’t real or genuine, let us explain how they work.

What is the average cost for a plumber in Sydney?

With so many years in the industry we have either seen or experienced first hand some of the various sales tactics, special promotions and customer phone call generation tactics that lots of plumbers in Sydney use. In fact the industry just copies each other and offers the exact same thing in the end, it is a race to the bottom.


Think about it, how is it possible for a plumber to offer $88 on getting a drain unblocked – they don’t even know how far they have to travel, how long it will take or how bad the blockage is? What if they have to travel for 45 minutes & then take another hour to resolve the issue – do you really think they will still charge $88, of course not, they will come up with some other item that needed to be fixed, load up their quote & cover their costs that way.


We have shaken our head many times at some of the stories that our Clients have shared with us.



Just look at the examples;

  • $0 Call Out; so does that mean they will visit for free, but charge extra for the service they provide by loading their quote later?
  • Mention this ad for $50 off; a discount for what exactly? If you mention it when they arrive they will probably just load this value into the price quoted when they are on-site. They might add a line item to the invoice which says ‘$50 discount’ but you don’t know what their everyday pricing is anyway, it isn’t like you are comparing products on a shelf at Woolworths right?
  • Seniors 30% off; like the cash discount, without an established price beforehand, how do you know you are really getting a discount at all? This is just a trick to get elderly people to book a plumber and typically they will charge silly amounts to get basic things done.

Where can you get the cheapest plumber pricing in Sydney?

Yes there will be examples where there are genuine offerings being made, but we always recommend our Clients to make sure they get a few quotes from different plumbers. The scope of work required needs to be the same as well & you need to get the quotes in writing to help make a decision. 



What can sometimes happen in various industries is everyone copies everyone else for fear of missing out. This dilutes the marketplace offerings and of course can make it a little trickier to choose the right plumber in Sydney – they all look the same don’t they? 


Some even use the same stock photos copied from the internet, it isn’t even really them.



There are over 700 plumbing companies available in Sydney that you can choose from and we hope many of them, like us, deliver legitimate quotations, pricing or special offers.


What does a plumber sales discount look like?

When you do a quick Google search for ‘Plumber Sydney’ or you open your local newspaper you will see lots of offers that look incredibly appealing. Although if you slow down and take a closer look you will see they are all the same generally. What is common amongst all of them is promises of up-front discounts or ‘first time discounts’

Although ask yourself this – ‘A discount off what?’ 

Take the example above ‘15% off your first service’ – does that mean you can call up at 2 am in the morning with a broken hot water system and have it replaced with a lifetime warranty and 15% off the price and a senior’s discount? We doubt it.

If you think about normal retail stores you will know Product X costs $50, so if it goes on ‘sale’ or is ‘discounted’ you already have a rough idea of it’s value and can easily determine if the promotion is of value to you or not.

Although how does that work for a Service industry which makes most of its revenue and profit on skilled labour. Then, in the case of Plumbing, we are dealing with things like pipes, sewage or tap internals that you can’t even see most of the time. So how could a business ‘guarantee’ a genuine discount without even stepping foot onto your property?

Taking it a step further, if those discounts are available every day of the week, does it make them ‘real’ discounts anyway?


It creates a scenario where you may feel like there is a special offer available but it can easily be disguised or buried into the quote for other things done once the person is on your property. With the thousands of unknowns when it comes to Plumbing this is an easy scenario to see happening. 


How do plumber promotional discounts work?

We will try an attempt to explain the most common Sydney Plumber sales ‘gimmicks’ that we generally see. Of course there will be variations and in some cases they may be very genuine, so it does pay to do your homework and compare offers via written quotations. 

$50 off if you mention this ad

This is the most common one you will see in local newspapers, online advertising or letterbox flyers. Although think about it, how can they provide a genuine discount when they haven’t even visited your property or know the real extent of the work required?

They may show ‘$50 Discount’ on their Invoice, but they have added that cost into either their labour, parts or another part of their work done. 

So you may think like you have received a discount, but you haven’t really.


This is second most common gimmick you will see in local newspapers, online advertising or letterbox flyers. It’s similar to the $50 off deal, how can they provide a genuine discount when they haven’t even visited your property or know the real extent of the work required?

They may show a % Discount on their Invoice, but typically they have either over-quoted to create a perceived discount or found ‘extra work required’ that probably didn’t need doing.  

The discount might get shown as a line item on the invoice but it has been accounted for in higher pricing or extra servicing. Either way it isn’t a genuine offer in most cases.


We love this one, it seems so simple right? Come and unblock a drain for less than $100. Although this hides what is really an opportunity to secure a job and get onto your property. They aren’t going to know what is the cause of the blockage before inspecting it, it could be deep within your pipes, a sewer, tree roots or other things.

How could all these scenarios or deeper inspections possibly only cost $79? A blocked drain could actually be a repair worth thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances.


Being on time is one of the biggest issues Customers have with tradespeople. The perception is that a tradie doesn’t care or isn’t disciplined although sometimes there are so many unexpected variables that can occur from one job to another. We will always let you know immediately.

Getting $100 for being late sounds pretty attractive, but guess what, it’s another trick where that amount is added elsewhere into the pricing of your service.


Call out fees are a tricky one. The vast majority of tradesman will do free site visits and quotations, so seeing the $0 fee isn’t really unique or different, they are generally free anyway.

The ones that do charge a fee to cover their time may then give you the amount as a discount, but guess what, it’s probably buried in their quotation anyway. One way or another any service business needs to charge or recover money for time spent.


This one sounds like a typical retailer promotional offer. Unless you do your own research and select a make and model of water heater, then get price comparisons for ‘supply only’ then how will you know if you are getting a real discount or not?

You might get $100 off the unit, but then the labour component is higher than normal. So always best to ask for a quote for exact same model and labour quoted separately so you can compare.


This is a funny one because sometimes to uncover the root cause of a blockage you have to use the CCTV camera to see inside the pipe. So basically, you have to use a required tool to fix the problem you are being paid to fix.

So while it may be offered ‘free’, it is sometimes a required task to try and rectify a problem. What some plumbers may do is place a cost on the CCTV inspection, then present it as a discounted service or add cost to the repair after the inspection.


This one is hilarious when you think about it. It sounds like a cheap offer ‘Your drain unblocked for $30’ for example.

Although read the accompanying fine print or watch out for the ‘from’ that is in the ad. It will be very easy for additional costs to be added once the plumber is on-site that will make this special offer not really that great.

It is nearly impossible to know the cause of a blockage without going on-site so fixed prices are a guess at best.

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Nu-Trend has been operating since 2009 as an independent bathroom renovation and plumbing contractor in Sydney. Rick and his team provide a wide range of services for home owners in houses, units, apartments or businesses.

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