Many of us rely on tradesmen to help us build our dream homes, whether that be building a new conservatory, painting and decorating or fitting a new bathroom. Lots of us are clueless when it comes to understanding what’s involved in the work we ask our tradesmen to do, meaning we readily accept their quotes.

So, do quotations really differ depending on who you are, or where you live? We gave a middle-aged woman, a middle-aged man, and an elderly man a list of 90 plumbers across 9 English counties. We asked them to call listed plumbers to obtain a quote for fitting mixer taps in their kitchen.

Fitting a mixer tap is usually a straightforward job for a plumber. With the plumbing already in place, it’s a case of swapping the older tap, for the new tap.

So, how much did quotations differ?

Differences by Region

London emerged as the most expensive for this particular job at £85. That may not come as a surprise, given that Londoners are used to inflated prices. The West Midlands was the second most expensive at £70. Those in the North West are in luck if they need the services of a plumber as it was cheapest at £63. This was followed by South West at £64.

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Quotes for the work varied across all regions, and in some cases, the range was quite extensive.

While London had the most expensive overall average, the difference between the lowest and highest quotes was just £7. This means that London plumbers are the most consistent when it comes to quoting, which I guess is good news. In contrast, there was a £20 difference between the lowest quote of £55 for the male caller and the quote of £75 for the elderly caller in the North East.

Ok, so calling a tradesman might cost you more money depending on location, we can live with that. But let’s take a look at how quotations vary depending on the caller.

Male, Female and the Elderly

Our three callers contacted the same plumber over a two-month period, asking for a quote for exactly the same job. We analysed quotes obtained by our three callers to find the average for each, and the results were concerning.

The average price across all quotations for each caller was as follows:
Male: £62
Female: £71
Elderly: £75

So, the male caller managed to obtain the cheapest price overall. He was charged nearly 15% less than the female caller and 21% less than the elderly caller. But was this the case in every region?

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Unfortunately, it was. In every single region apart from one, the male caller was quoted the lowest average price. London was the only exception, with the female caller receiving a lower average price by just £2.

The elderly caller fared the worst in 7 out of 9 regions, levelling with the female caller in the West Midlands.

Male VS Female

Now that we’ve established that the male caller obtained the cheapest quotes, we wanted to find out the worst offending region for overcharging women. We did our sums and figured out the percentage difference between the average price for males and females.

We can reveal that plumbers in the North East are the most likely to quote different prices based on gender, with a 53% increase between the male and female caller.

Male VS Elderly

When it comes to overcharging the elderly, the North East is the worst offender once more. The Elderly caller was quoted 36.36% more than the male caller in this particular region. The North West was the second worst offender, charging 27.27% more, followed by the West Midlands with 27.1%.

Lowest VS Highest

The range of quotes for the male, female and elderly caller varied significantly.

Lowest Quotes

For the female caller, the lowest quote was £40 and this obtained from a plumber in the North East.
The lowest quote for the male caller was £45. Plumbers in the North East, East of England, South West and North West all gave this price.
The most modest quote given to the elderly caller was £50 and this was obtained from three plumbers based in the North East, East of England and West Midlands.

Highest Quotes

The highest price given was £120. The quote was given by a plumber in the North East to the female caller and by a plumber in London to the elderly caller.
£90 was the highest price given to the male caller and that was quoted by a plumber in London.

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Of course, we acknowledge that plumbers and other tradesmen might not be able to give a precise quotation up front, without seeing the work in question. However, it does seem from our research, that on the spot quotations favour men over women and that the elderly pay the highest price. How much do your home improvements cost? Well, the data suggests that it depends on who you are.

Methodology

The aim of this study was to investigate the extent in which costings in the plumbing industry can vary depending on location and the caller. Anchor Pumps acknowledges that quotations will vary depending on region and the way in which a quote is calculated. For example, if the plumber charges a flat hourly rate or whether they charge by job type.

In total, quotes were obtained by ten plumbers for 9 different areas of England. Plumbers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the study. Each plumber was contacted on three separate occasions across a three-month period. First by a female caller, secondly by a male caller and then by an elderly caller. Each caller requested an over the phone quotation for the same job.

The Request: A new mixer tap installation to be fitted in the kitchen, a straight swap with the plumbing already in place.   

Please note that there were twenty-two additional plumbers who stated that they could not provide a quote over the phone without inspecting the work via a photograph or in person. These were not included in the study as no upfront quote was provided.

Quotes included in the study do not include additional VAT.

Below are quotes obtained for each region. The overall averages have been calculated to the nearest whole number.

If you would like to discuss the study, please email apmedia@gmail.com for further details.

London

South East

South West

West Midlands

East Midlands

East of England

Yorkshire

North East

North West