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Is this quote reasonable ?

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  1. #1
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    Default Is this quote reasonable ?

    Hi,

    I have just been given a 3 part quote to plumb a kitchen sink, which totals $6,500 . The work breaks down like this:

    First quote to install the drain, including: Cut & jackhammer out about 1/2 sq metre of concrete pathway, dig about 300mm to pipe, cut sewer & install junction, inspection port and section of pipe, test, back fill and concrete (I explained that the concreting only needed to be temporary as its all getting replaced later in the year). that part comes to $3,000, which seems rather high

    I then install the kitchen cabinets, get a GPO installed under the sink and fit the single bowl sink and mixer tap before the plumbers come back:

    2nd quote to install P trap, pipe and connect to the previously installed sewer line. Run 15mm copper pipe from a nearby line including stop valves, pipework for a water heater under the sink with duo valve and pressure limiting valve. The part came to $2,140.


    Final quote is to install a 50L Rheem water heater, connect hot & cold water points, test the tank, clean up the site, which comes to $1,351 including the tank. From searching on line, the heater is available from $400 so the plumber is charging around $900 for about 2 to 3 hour's work.

    As well as from the seeming high price for the sewer work, the plumber wanted to take the water supply for the sink from a small bore pipe feeding a toilet cistern, which sounded dodgy to me as its not the closest supply line he could tap in to. Apart from the sewer being under a path, the site is very open and all the services are within a metre of the sink. The quotes have a description of the job but no itemised costs, so I can't tell what is labour and what is materials.

    SO... does this seem expensive? I got the quote without a call-out fee and I don't want to pay another company to find out whether I am being ripped off or not unless this set of quotes is really blatant The other thing that makes me suspicious is this a 'discount' price from about $8,000 because my elderly parents (who's house is getting the work) signed up for an annual maintenance agreement.

    Just as an aside, is there anything more compact than a 50L tank to feed a single kitchen sink that will not have much use? I'd really like to keep as much space as possible in this small 2nd kitchen.

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    And let me just add that I'm not planning to do any of the plumbing work myself or trying to get a cheap 'n shonky job done, I just need a sanity check on a quote that is almost 50% of the total budget for the room.

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    You say that a call out fee wasn't paid for the quote

    seems a bit pricey

    get at least another quote to compare

    maybe private school fees are dearer in Sydney

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    LOL, yeah schools in Sydney are not cheap! I was reading that "bad tradies" thread and call-out fees got a major mention, so I don't want to sour a possibly good deal for my folks without a good reason. I'm 50 YO and not fit, but I recently managed to demolish much more than 0.5 sq M of concrete in 2 hours and paying $3K for virtually no materials and perhaps 4 hours labour seems a bit rich - if I was qualified, I could hire the tools from Kennards and complete the first stage for way less! The guy that came around for the quote could probably juggle 15kg demo hammers and get the job done far quicker than me.

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    tellm his dreaming......

    maybe get another quote, take the excavation (handdigging) and concrete patching out of the scope and get a handy man for $40per hour to that work,.

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    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    He is hoping you pay for his whole family to go on holidays, 1st class. A couple of hours max for the sewer connection and $20 max for a furnco fitting and another $20 for pipe. What a joke. Its no wonder some trades have a bad rep

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    Thanks guys! What really pisses me of is that they know full well that they are over-quoting an 85 year old pensioner with a low income - I wonder how many other times they have over charged her? I'll give them a chance to re-quote and if they don't come back with something much more reasonable, they are sacked.

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    Get another couple of quotes for sure. What area of Sydney?
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Close to Ryde.

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    Just had a chat with my octogenarian mum - apparently she has a "contract" with this plumbing company where she agrees to use them exclusively and they agreed waive any call-out fees and supposedly give her a discount. She has also been paying them around a 20% deposit on anything that isn't an on the spot repair. I'm going to have a close read of the paperwork and then the big decision is whether to shred it or burn it

    I also had a look at concrete saws, they seem much easier to depth control than I imagined, so I'm confident about doing the concrete work myself - that should save at least $2k!

  11. #11
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    When I had to do more or less exactly what you are doing ( tap into the sewer) I had a concrete cutter come out and for $ 100 cash he was on his way in ten minutes - worth considering and cheaper / safer than hiring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    Just had a chat with my octogenarian mum - apparently she has a "contract" with this plumbing company where she agrees to use them exclusively and they agreed waive any call-out fees and supposedly give her a discount. She has also been paying them around a 20% deposit on anything that isn't an on the spot repair. I'm going to have a close read of the paperwork and then the big decision is whether to shred it or burn it

    I also had a look at concrete saws, they seem much easier to depth control than I imagined, so I'm confident about doing the concrete work myself - that should save at least $2k!
    Hmmm, sounds like C******k ........ Close?
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post


    I also had a look at concrete saws, they seem much easier to depth control than I imagined, so I'm confident about doing the concrete work myself - that should save at least $2k!
    for small cut out like this just use 9inc grinder with diamond blade, we do this when we are to lazy to get the demo saw from the factory

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    Hi Wonderplumb, you really know the industry, got it in one! To be fair, they are always very prompt, courteous and the work appears to be good. I called about the quote and they are looking in to it. Meanwhile I installed a dam made of spare flashing to contain any water overflow and will cut out the concrete in a day or two.

    Gaza; what would a diamond blade cost? I could probably use it on other jobs so it might pay for itself . Kennards want $192 for 1/2 a day on the large concrete saw but as you say, something much smaller will have enough reach.

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    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Ive used the 9 inch plenty of times but always get paranoid about the massive amounts of dust and the neighbours. Mask up. About 30 - 40 bucks for a chinese blade.

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    For $192 give or take some dollars you can buy a 9" grinder and diamond blade from big green shed. This means you will have it for the next job. If the job is interrupted and takes longer you will not be out of pocket. You will get heaps of dust though.

    I bought my grinder and blade to fit cook top. Have used it a few times to cut bricks to fill holes in walls.

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    I'm liking the 9" diamond blade idea; the smaller diameter will allow me to cut into inside corners better . the dust is an issue as my glasses fog up with a dust mask but something can always be worked out.

    I found a site photo; this was taken just after I cleaned up and before any work started. The area was used as an indoors garden shed, one of the lamest ideas my dad ever had!

    plumber_fail.jpg

    The slab floor is 170 mm below the pathway and the plumber wanted to cut out the red area to access the sewer and bring the offshoot into the room after I had demolished the filler strip. I would then put in a new footing around the pipe. I'm assuming the plumber was going to include a 150 to 50mm reducer somewhere in there although its not mentioned. I'm sure that you are wondering how any architect or builder would allow the inside of a house to be much lower than the pathway - it floods during almost every storm and the new footing will be well above the peak water level.

  18. #18
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    I'm a little bit confused. Back to the beginning. Are you relocating the kitchen ? If not, where is the existing pipework ? If so, can you tap into the sewer above ground from another fixture ? All of my fittings bar the toilets just go into squash tops which are then mortared over.

    If the site photo is the area of a new kitchen then I get it and the price you were quoted is even more of a shafting

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    No, this a new mini kitchen. There is already a bathroom to the left of this space and a bedroom behind that cladded wall so this work turns the area into a complete granny flat. There is a sewer entrance but its about 3 metres to the left of the photo which might pose a problem for the drop and would look pretty ugly IMHO. The cold water line runs along the back of the house and is under that red cut-out area so its easy to bring the service into the new kitchen. Amazingly the $3K doesn't include that; the plumber wanted to add a tee into an above ground 13mm OD pipe that supplies the nearby loo on a separate quote. There is no hot water line conveniently nearby, so the suggestion was to install a Rheem 50 litre tank under the sink - for another $1351. Its just now occurred to me that the tank might be too tall to fit, will have to check all the dimensions.

  20. #20
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    3 mts away and assuming the bottom of the sink is about 800 higher then thats bulk fall. Its only as ugly as you (or plumber) makes it. I assume the panel door goes and hole gets bricked up or enclosed with something. I know what I'd be doing and it wouldnt be cutting the slab. 1 piece of 50 mm pipe painted to match the outside and drop it into the existing. Done. Cost - bugger all.

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    Oops, too late! It took about an hour to cut out the concrete as the 9" angle grinder & blade couldn't cut completely thru the pathway - it was much thicker in the middle than at the edge. I had to resort to the BFH and crowbar, but I'm very happy with the results so far and the grinder will definitely get more use.

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    Probably too late but I would have hired a wet saw for half a day.....
    Those plumbers have a reputation for reliability but their costing is somewhat exorbitant. About ten years ago I got hold of their pricing book that their plumbers use. One thing that comes to mind was a cost of 30 cents per primered joint and 50 cents per glued joint. An IO bought up to ground level has three, as well as three bits of pipe to be cleaned and glued makes six joints at 80 cents a pop. Over the course of a drainage job or a couple of stacks on a two story house it becomes quite considerable.
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    I was going for a wet saw too, but Handyjack talked me into a grinder for about the same price. A 14" wet saw would have done the job quicker, but then I would have spent half an hour to return it, so all-up, I spent the same time & money, but now I have a useful new tool. It was quite windy today so I just kept up-wind of the grinder and all the dust blew down the yard & away from me, hardly needed the mask .

    BTW: I still haven't had a call back from the plumbers; it seems their response is much slower when they are not earning top dollar! On a previous job, they invoiced a drain cleaner at $376 for 2 hours; that has to be double the Kennards price.

  24. #24
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    $376 for for a plumber to spend two hours unblocking a drain isn't unreasonable.
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    There is no hot water line conveniently nearby, so the suggestion was to install a Rheem 50 litre tank under the sink - for another $1351. Its just now occurred to me that the tank might be too tall to fit, will have to check all the dimensions.
    I recently had a 50 litre tank fitted under a kitchen bench in the dishwasher space. Fits no problem. Tank itself cost $490

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    $376 for for a plumber to spend two hours unblocking a drain isn't unreasonable.
    That was just for the machine, there was another $495 labour and with GST the total was $998 - that was the "discount" price.

  27. #27
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    $245 ish per hour for labour. Plenty of medical specialists would be envious of that hourly rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    That was just for the machine, there was another $495 labour and with GST the total was $998 - that was the "discount" price.
    Uh huh, well yes, that is indeed expensive. I wish I could charge that!
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    $245 ish per hour for labour. Plenty of medical specialists would be envious of that hourly rate.
    that sort of money is around the going rate for a blocked drain, but that includes man and machine.
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderplumb View Post
    that sort of money is around the going rate for a blocked drain, but that includes man and machine.
    Scandalous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Scandalous.
    Not really. I wouldn't expect a licensed tradesman to come to my place with specialised equipment and play in my feaces for their standard hourly rate.
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    When you put it that way, up go my rates...

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    Quote Originally Posted by plum View Post
    When you put it that, up go my rates...
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderplumb View Post
    Not really. I wouldn't expect a licensed tradesman to come to my place with specialised equipment and play in my feaces for their standard hourly rate.
    Eeeeewwwwwwwwww. Ahhhh, its 90 % water aint it ? Then again, thats your chosen job why should the labour rate vary. I dont charge a higher rate for high set decks just because they are more difficult to build than low set ones. I bet the plumbers apprentice doesnt see a penny more in his pay packet eh ?

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    I had a friend whose sewer developed serious problems and flooded his backyard; there was a lot of disintegrated toilet paper but no floaters and very little smell - I was quite surprised, but I wouldn't want to deal with it every day! I definitely don't begrudge a reasonable price for this kind of work.

    Progress report: I found the advice on the pipe location was very wrong and had to dig out twice as much concrete & clay than expected.

    cimg0933_small.jpg

    The sewer is 400mm deep at this point and I think I will let the professionals take over from here. By the time I have filled that back in and concreted, I reckon there will be a $2.5K saving on the original quote.

    9" angle grinder $280
    wrecking bar (that brok atfer 30 minutes!): $79
    Losing 1Kg in a week without dieting: priceless!

  36. #36
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    At least its all there exposed now. Good one with the 1 kg

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    I dont charge a higher rate for high set decks just because they are more difficult to build than low set ones.
    So you wouldn't charge for a machine to dig footings or sink piles for such a job then?
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Everything in your truck cost something and its all depreciating and needs maintenance; that has to be built into the price somewhere. The question is where do you think you are making money - hiring machines or charging for your skilled labour? If that drain cleaner cost $10K, it paid itself off after only 28 jobs which might work out a 1 or two months. After that it is making a massive profit minus the maintenance costs. In all the businesses that I have worked in a pay-back time of under a year was considered spectacular, so by some standards, $376 per job for a drain cleaner would be expensive.

    There might be something else going on here; the quote says "jet drain cleaner" which is for cleaning soft blockages, but the plumber showed where roots were getting into old terracotta pipes near the street. Wouldn't that be a job for a less expensive electric eel?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderplumb View Post
    So you wouldn't charge for a machine to dig footings or sink piles for such a job then?
    Of course I would. All the excavation etc... is nothing to do with my hourly rate. Any sub - let gets a % margin put on top as well. The question was why should a plumber ( or any tradesman) vary the labour rate depending on the job ? Part of a plumbers job is to unblock drains, just as it is to rough in pipes, braze fittings, fit down pipes etc... are you saying that all the different aspects of your job attract a different hourly rate ? I get customers asking me to paint the work Ive just completed for them. I tell them thats fine but my hourly rate doesnt change just because its painting and the customer can get a painting tradesman for at least $ 15 / hr cheaper than me so I leave it up to them. More often than not the customer is willing to pay the extra for the job to be done there and then rather than organise another trade and wait.

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    Even as a DIYer, I expect to make a return when the house eventually gets sold. There is a big difference between Ringtail adding a % to subcontractors telling clients he is more expensive than a painter and that plumbing company paying off a machine in a month and charging pensioners high prices just because they can get away with it.

  41. #41
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    If my customers want to pay for the earth moving ( for example, and they are given the choice) themselves thats fine with me but if I'm expected to carry that cost until job completion then its gets a margin added to it. If you own a piece of gear to do a job its not ethical IMHO to charge it out separately. It would be like me turning up to a site and giving them a bill for labour and materials and another bill for the drop saw, cordless drill, tape measure,pencil etc...If you hire a piece of gear to do a specific job then a hire charge is fine provided the mark up is no more than 20 % than cost. The cost of equipment is a % of the labour rate which is in turn how much you charge to run a business. This hourly rate reflects the cost of opening the doors for business and includes everything from insurances and tool replacement/repair to your skill as a tradesman all bundled together to form the hourly rate. If you buy a new piece of gear thats a tax deduction - a cost of doing business. Flogging your customers to recoup equipment costs quickly is not good business.

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    Couldn't have put it better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    If my customers want to pay for the earth moving ( for example, and they are given the choice) themselves thats fine with me but if I'm expected to carry that cost until job completion then its gets a margin added to it. If you own a piece of gear to do a job its not ethical IMHO to charge it out separately. It would be like me turning up to a site and giving them a bill for labour and materials and another bill for the drop saw, cordless drill, tape measure,pencil etc...If you hire a piece of gear to do a specific job then a hire charge is fine provided the mark up is no more than 20 % than cost. The cost of equipment is a % of the labour rate which is in turn how much you charge to run a business. This hourly rate reflects the cost of opening the doors for business and includes everything from insurances and tool replacement/repair to your skill as a tradesman all bundled together to form the hourly rate. If you buy a new piece of gear thats a tax deduction - a cost of doing business. Flogging your customers to recoup equipment costs quickly is not good business.
    where do you draw the line, if i own 10k worth of scaffold can i chanrge for this, howabout a mangetic base drill worth 3k, demo saw, kango, i think it maybe far to charge a use fee, with gear like this, but no way for paslode gun .

    if the job is lumb sum then these costs are part of the price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaza View Post
    where do you draw the line, if i own 10k worth of scaffold can i chanrge for this, howabout a mangetic base drill worth 3k, demo saw, kango, i think it maybe far to charge a use fee, with gear like this, but no way for paslode gun .

    if the job is lumb sum then these costs are part of the price.
    Agree. With big ticket items that one would normally hire or sub-let then a realistic hire fee is appropriate. Magnetic drill base ? are you doing heaps of custom on site steel work ? But, the initial outlay of all those toys would give you a nice little tax offset so in one way you have already won. Judging by some of the scaffold quotes Ive seen you either get very little scaff for your money or the hire rates are astronomical. Its a very good investment in hindsight I reckon your 10 k of scaff could earn 10 k per year easy.

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    I love the way these threads relating to price seem to go way off track. Hilarious.
    Plumbers were around long before Jesus was a carpenter

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    Quote Originally Posted by ringtail View Post
    Agree. With big ticket items that one would normally hire or sub-let then a realistic hire fee is appropriate. Magnetic drill base ? are you doing heaps of custom on site steel work ? But, the initial outlay of all those toys would give you a nice little tax offset so in one way you have already won. Judging by some of the scaffold quotes Ive seen you either get very little scaff for your money or the hire rates are astronomical. Its a very good investment in hindsight I reckon your 10 k of scaff could earn 10 k per year easy.
    i got 4 6mt alloy double bay towers, plus 2 4mt single bay towers, magnet drill we had to drill a lot of holes through a steel stair that was built by another guy so that we could screw the timber treads on, i have used for fab up steel supports for shop fronts and few other things, we have the makta metal cut circular saw which can go through upto 10mm, also have horizontal bandsaw in factory for heavy duty cutting. my 3ph mig is worth over 2k,

    it depends on what work you have on at the time for what you need, we do a range of work so need a heap of differnt gear. we dont hire as a rule, last year i maybe spent less than $400 on hire fees which was mostly when i need extra props a few times and we need an edge sander cause mine was getting fixed,

  47. #47
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    I guess the bigger the set up the more you accumulate eh. I'm a one man band yet have enough gear to make most go goggle eyed. All my stuff has been accumulated over 3 different trade careers though. One thing I always wanted but could never justify was a mag drill. With regards to charging for what you own, well, if you would have had to hire it and pass the cost onto the customer anyway, charging the equivilant hire fee or a bit cheaper than retail would be a good deal all round I reckon. But, to charge out a piece of owned machinery at exorbitant rates time and time again is wrong, especially when that same gear can be hired by the customer for a fraction of the price

    x 2 wonderplumb.

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    DOH, I just had a power blackout and lost a long post that sounded a lot like Ringtail's but from a consumer POV. If everyone commentating on this thread was in the same business, I would have to pick Ringtail; he obviously has the best tax accountant and quoting system

  49. #49
    4K Club Member ringtail's Avatar
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    Geez I dunno about that. I cant afford packers accountant as I still pay tax

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    Update: I had a requote based on digging out the site; the plumber knocked off over $2k and while the job still seems expensive, its still cheaper than sacking them and getting another company in. If the going rate for digging a 400m deep hole and filling it back was $2K, I would quite the day job and only have to work 1 or 2 days a week .

    They also insist on installing a gully. This new sewer connection is in the middle of the sever run around the house and there appears to be a gully at a lower point nearer the street. I'm not against having another gully trap, but it seems a bit pointless - should I question this before the work is done?

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