Do You Tip Plumbers - and How Much? (4 job sizes)

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

Plumbers offer some of the most requested services by homeowners, especially when it comes to emergencies like leaks and blockages. They are highly skilled tradesmen usually working as contractors, so you might not know whether you should tip them or not.

It is not customary to tip plumbers, since they earn a decent wage. About 50% of people seem to consider tipping their plumber, based on a case-by-case basis. The minimum tipping amount expected for plumbing jobs is $20, but this can rise significantly depending on the workload.

If you’ve been wondering about how tipping etiquette works for contractors, read on to find out more about what to do when you require their services.

Tipping Customs

Tipping not customary $ 20 - $ 50

Should You Tip Plumbers?

Tipping etiquette suggests that there is no requirement for tipping contractors like plumbers. Despite this, if a plumbing job has been more complex or lengthier than the norm, you could consider rewarding your plumber with a tip. This will depend on the particular job and on how impressed you are with the work they do.

Contractors are usually paid either on an hourly or daily basis. Unlike others working in the service industry, plumbers don’t rely on tips as their primary source of income. There is no obligation to tip, and the decision is entirely up to you. Take into consideration the factors involved in the job, and base your decision on them.

Bear in mind that there is no expectation to tip in this case, and it depends on how you feel about the service provided. It is not a common thing to do when it comes to highly skilled professionals earning a decent rate, but it can be a pleasant surprise for your plumber.

As a general guide, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re wondering whether or not to tip plumbers:

  • The difficulty: If you’re calling a plumber to fix a leaky faucet, that’s not a particularly intense job. If you’re calling them for a huge leak that affects several floors or for jobs that are sure to get messy, that changes the parameters.
  • The time: Some plumbing jobs take five minutes to fix, while others take hours or even days.
  • The materials: If the job requires far more materials than initially planned, you should consider that as an extra expense.
  • Service quality: If your plumber has the best attitude and goes above and beyond to help you, this could impact the likelihood of a tip.

If you’d like to know more about what people usually tip their plumbers when they do, take a look at four different plumbing job sizes to get an idea of what’s expected of you if you choose to tip.

Tipping amounts for four plumbing job sizes:

  1. Drain cleaning: $20-30
  2. Leak repair: 10-15%
  3. Appliance installation: $20-50
  4. Main water line installation: $100-200

Job #1: Drain Cleaning

Plumbers usually clean drains with the help of a mechanical plumbing snake. This tends to be a straightforward job priced between $100 to $300. If you’re inclined to tip for this job, you should aim for about $20 to $30.

Job #2: Leak Repair

Leaks can range in size from being contained in a bathroom to affecting an entire building. This will determine the invoice, but this type of job tends to start at $200. If the damage is severe and pipes need to be replaced, the final price can be in the thousands of dollars. If you’d like to tip for this sort of job, you should aim for about 10% to 15% of the invoice.

Job #3: Appliance Installation

Plumbers will install appliances like washing machines and dishwashers, and the price you’ll pay for the service will depend on other factors. These include the amount of plumbing and electrical work that’s already been done before the plumber’s arrival and the amount of time spent on the service.

If the plumber doesn’t need to do any further electrical or plumbing work other than the installation, the job will range between $75 and $100. If that is not the case, you’ll face an invoice between $200 and $600. If you’d like to tip, adapt it to the final amount. It will usually be between $20 and $50.

Job #4: Main Water Line Installation

Installing a main water line usually involves the plumber using a standard six-foot line. If you have special requirements for this, it might affect the final price. The usual amount for a job like this is between $1500 and $2000. If you’d like to leave a tip for a job well done, you’d be looking at something between $100 and $200.

When Not to Tip

If your plumber works for a company instead of freelancing, you should always check the company policy before offering a tip. Some companies don’t allow their employees to accept tips. Some billing systems used by plumbing companies might not even accept tips if you’re paying by card.

Refrain from tipping if your plumber is visibly uncomfortable with accepting the gesture. Take your cues from them and make sure that it is welcomed before you proceed.

You should also not tip if you’re not in the financial situation to do so, or simply out of feeling obligated. The same goes if you are not fully satisfied with the job or if it was a quick and easy job that didn’t require extra effort.

When it comes to plumbers, you should never tip if you don’t feel like doing it, especially if they haven’t gone above or beyond on the job they did for you.

What Plumbers Think About Tips

Plumbers don’t usually expect a tip at the end of a job, but they are happy to receive one if their company allows them to accept it. A tip is a reward for a job well done, and it can be a significant boost to plumbers to have their job appreciated in this way.

Plumbers will also appreciate you leaving them a good review online. This can bring them more clients and increase their exposure, so they might see it as something even more valuable than a tip. If you’re impressed by their work, this is another option to consider if you wish to reward them for it.

Other things that plumbers believe can be better than tips include:

  • Hiring the same one regularly, especially if you have a business
  • Recommending them to acquaintances
  • Letting them know that you appreciate their work

What Do Plumbers Actually Make?

The average hourly rate for plumbers is $22.02, with rates going from $15 to $35. Plumbers can also make between $252 and $6,000 in bonuses and between $294 and $46,000 from commissions. Per year, plumbers tend to earn between $31,000 and $79,000.

These rates will vary depending on the state, the plumber’s years of experience, and whether they are self-employed or working for a company.

Some General Tips on Tipping Plumbers

If you’ve made up your mind to tip your plumber, here are some further tips to guide you:

  • Generally aim for an amount between 10% to 20% of the quoted invoice.
  • Factor in additional expenses or extra time that the plumber has spent helping you, especially if he did anything extra that he wasn’t required to do.
  • Short notice or emergency responses should also be considered and influence the tip amount.
  • Remember that the quality of the service won’t depend on the tip.
  • Only tip what you’re comfortable with.


It is not customary to leave tips for plumbers, but you can choose to do so if you feel like they’ve done a great job. You should tip whatever amount you wish ($20 at the minimum), depending on the service provided and the extent of the job.

If you’re not sure, you can leave a reward for your plumber in the form of an online review or a recommendation to friends or family. These options can go much further than a tip can for tradespeople.


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