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En-suite final bill question

  • 11-04-2024 9:58pm
    Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭

    I got a job done recently in my small en-suite. I hired a local plumber but bought for all the materials myself (toilet, sink, unit, shower unit, shower tap, tiles etc) . The job is finished and I am happy with it. During the period the job was going on I had a tiler and and an electrician working on the job, these were organised by the plumber.

    The final bill I got for this job was just one amount of €5377 plus VAT. The materials which I paid for myself were about €4K There was no breakdown on the invoice for the tiler, the electrician and the plumbers time…. just one final amount.

    Is this normal or should I have more information and more of a breakdown of what I'm paying for. When I just see one amount of money to be paid plus VAT it's like this amount could be pulled out of the air. I wasn't given an estimate at the beginning of the job and I don't know what the tiler and electrician cost. Should I ask for more information before I pay or because the plumber was the main contractor is that it?

    (apologies for different fonts, something happened when I was typing and I couldn't change it back)

    Post edited by Wearb on



  • Registered Users Posts: 987 ✭✭✭Vestiapx

    You didn't get an estimate or quote or anything? No didmscussion of how much?

    Do you know the plumber in advance ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Tradesman should supply the materials. Apart from them getting them at trade prices, you save almost 10% on VAT alone. Tradesman claims back 23% vat on materials and then charges 13.5% for everything.

    You should have asked for a quote before the job started. Without a quote he can charge whatever he wants. Personally I don't see what difference it makes on what percentage goes to the tiles, electrician etc. The bill is the bill and that's what you owe. The time for haggling is before the work starts and not when completed.

    I'd be more concerned about the quality of the tradesmen and work done. For example all electric work in the bathroom, lights, showers mirror with lights etc must be done by a Registered Electrical Contractor. By law a RECI cert must be issued for the electric work in the bathroom. This is where I'd be focusing my attention as you gave him a blank cheque by not giving a quote first.

    It's not uncommon for a renovated bathroom to cost €15k or more so the total price you are paying doesn't sound over the top at today's rates

  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭mykrodot

    thanks Sleeper and I agree with you. I should have got a quote at the beginning. I've done it with every other jobs i'm getting done on this house I bought. None of the work is huge, its mostly cosmetic but I'm kicking myself I didn't get a quote up front. Having said that yes this renovation has come in just under €10K which as you say is about right.

    The irony is that I had turned down a "one stop shop" bathroom shop as they quoted 10K before they even viewed the job. Two of my neighbours in the estate I bought had used this plumber and I had seen his work. He has used RECI electrician. When I told him I had been quoted 10K he laughed and said I'd have a lot more change in my pocket by using him. Now I'm almost at 10K anyway. Bear in mind this is Kerry and the way of dealing with tradesmen is slightly different than in Dublin (where I'm from). Everyone knows everyone and there's far more banter with many tradesmen.

    On other jobs like painting, kitchen renovation and carpentry I have got quotes and they came in to the penny. This bathroom is the only job I didn't, even though I asked twice and was brushed off with banter like "sure I won't rob you".

    Anyway if its normal enough not to get breakdown for tiler and electrician I'll sort out payment before weekend. Good to know about RECI Certs, I'll be asking for one of those!

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    I've never given a breakdown on any jobs. Even on a quote, if asked for a breakdown I'd bow out & decline the job. That's just me. I don't know what the norm is on breakdowns. If he doesn't want to give a breakdown then he doesn't have to.

    The only thing I'd say is that a breakdown now is pointless as you didn't get a quote. Plumber is actually a contractor on your job by the sounds of it. He's perfectly entitled to make a profit on the electrician and tiler. That's what a contractor does. It's how they make money

    Prices differ throughout the country and haven't a clue about prices in kerry. But just to give an example of the first time installation of an electric shower,in Dublin 12 years ago you could have one installed, complete with RECI cert for around €550 Inc vat. Now the same job averages €1500 and can be higher

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭Kaisr Sose

    What about the 2/3 rule:

    If the cost of the goods used in carrying out the work exceeds two-thirds of the total price, the rate which applies to the goods then applies to the entire transaction.

    My experience is the trades person gets at trade price plus perhaps further discounts and charges full retail to the customer. The customer can often get a better deal than is offered by the trades person. Again, my experience.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Not in my company. We never charge full retail prices for materials we get wholesale. It will always work out more expensive for you to buy a Triton T90sr & pay for the fitting separate when using my company. By law you have to pass on the vat difference. Revenue are very interested companies not passing on the vat difference when applicable

    We give a firm quote upfront for parts and labour. Our website gives the actual price for a job. This saves me a lot of time on the phone with time wasters. Same price for everyone. We don't haggle on prices and we don't do cash prices.

    OP seems to have been charged the going rate. I just don't see what difference it makes knowing what the electrician got paid. Plumber is the contractor on this job. He is supposed to make a profit on the tiler and electrician. He arranged for each trade to be there on the correct days etc. Op might have saved money if he supplied the three tradesmen himself & did foreman on the job himself. This seems to have been left to the plumber. He gets paid for being the foreman aswell as his plumbing fees.

    I feel for op. He's in a difficult situation. It's usually much more civilised getting a firm price upfront

  • Registered Users Posts: 987 ✭✭✭Vestiapx

    Goods were 4 labour 5.7 so in this occasion it dosnet matter but yes if the materials are premium it won't work

    Standard to sell the goods to trades people at a discount structure and for the customer to pay retail you do however have peace of mind if they supply and fit as in the case of an issue the its possaible contractor will blame the retailer and the retailer will blame the contractor.

    If the op is happy with the job then I think the price isn't crazy.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭Kaisr Sose

    I agree on the foreman and blame arguments. It can make more sense to have all that on the builder / tradesperson. Its too late for the OP to do anything about prices now.

    I was in a similar post to OP last year but was quoted price for tiler and electrical. The tiling was working out at just over €100 per m² and I was buying the tiles. I questioned why so high and the guy never replied. It was poor form and indicative of the silly market we are in where trades can change massive sums for basic work. If you question the quote, they move to next person that won't care. The materials being supplied were at listed at higher prices (RRP) than the supplier sold in showroom.

    I scaled back my plans and did the work myself, without the electrical work.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,416 ✭✭✭standardg60

    What vat rate were you charged OP?

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭rightjob!

    a skilled trade and basic work dont fall into the same category.

    This does not apply to all,but of course there is going to be a mark up on the materials.The company is hardly going to spend time in the suppliers getting the material,driving back and forth.

    All time has to be paid for.

    People forget the cost of actually running a business!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭mykrodot

    thanks for your reply. You cleared up the point I was asking about…… i.e. the plumber is the contractor and he makes a profit on the trades. I didn't arrange tradesmen myself as I am only new to this area (and county) and know nobody. So there is no need to ask for actual breakdown for tiler and electrician. Thanks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭mykrodot

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭Lenar3556

    Which is almost certainly the correct VAT rate on the €5.7k bill.

    There would have been no VAT benefit to the client in the plumber/contractor supplying €4k of bathroom fittings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭well24

    Not sure why you wudnt, whats the problem with giving a breakdown of price.. Can you not understand a customers reason when forking out that much cash?

    Its no wonder the trade has such a bad name… if they are not so forthcoming on pricing makes you wonder what they are hiding, they might not be hiding anything at all, but it does beg the question.. or is it just laziness, contempt for the customer?

    To add to this, if you want to compare quotes you get, quite tricky when all you have is a number… is guy x charging more for materials, or is guy y charging more for labour etc… in order to make an informed decision you need info and breakdown..

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,858 ✭✭✭enricoh

    Ask him does he want 5200 cash or you bank transfer him the lot. If he used a reci spark I wouldn't go chasing certs. Breakdown on the bill means nothing.

    Don't tell fellas working again what other fellas were charging- this is basic stuff!

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Here's the thing. When you give a breakdown they start talking to Mr Google. Oh I can get this €5 cheaper & that €2.50 cheaper. They want you to buy from businesses that aren't your normal supplier. You have no idea how they stand over their goods. Them making changes to the original things quoted messes the whole thing up & a 2nd or 3rd unpaid visit might be required for a job you still don't have.

    When I give a quote it is an overall quote. I supply from my supplier & that is it. Giving a breakdown doesn't help the client in any way because my quote doesn't change in any way. It's a firm quote & I don't haggle. Plumbing Facebook group last week, this very topic came up. Over 2500 members & everyone that commented said RUN! everyone of them has experince that this job will end up a nightmare job.

    I had a property maintenance company many years ago. Homeowner bought exterior paint with a 10 year guarantee. Part of the guarantee states that all other paint had to be removed before new paint was applied. Homeowner asked me to quote removing 20 layers of paint that had been applied over 50 years or so on concrete windowsills. I told her there is no such thing a paint that doesn’t need repainting for 10 years but went out & worked out a quote. She rang me a few days later saying that they spent a few hours scraping over the weekend & wanted me to price it again. I told her my price was to remove the bottom layer of paint so it didn't matter how many hours she spent at it, my original quote still stands. I don't have time to deal with nonsense.

    Life is too short. I live a stressfree life

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    I don't see how there is no benifit to the homeowner. On one job this morning I supplied & fitted a shower for less than they were originally paying for the shower on it's own in Davies. I provided them with a full VAT invoice. They effectivly got the installation for free from their point of view

  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭well24

    So what, you give a quote and breakdown.. if they like they go for you, if not they go elsewhere.. leave it at that.. make it clear to them this is it, no questions..

    But you can see where a customer is coming from, Very hard to make informed decision based on a number.. and also is not encouraging when asked for breakdown to be declined..

    But all good as you can pick and choose jobs now, wait til times are tougher.. then the attitude might change!

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    I'm over 30 years doing what I do. We don't have lean times. 2008 to 2018 was the busiest 10 year period we've had. We don't advertise. We have a website but don't pay for advertising. No sign writing on any vans, ever.

    When you specialise in something, when you are the best you can be at it , when you leave all your clients happy with your work and backup service, you'll never have to worry about lean times. We do all this without cash jobs and we are still cheaper than most of the competitors.

    I just don't have time for time wasters. Looking for a breakdown is looking to see if changes can be made. We ask what you want originally and quote on that. If client wants to tinker with it that's fine but quote stays the same

  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭well24

    lucky you, long may it last..

    Suppose your lucky tbat their is so much work out there, ppl do find it hard to get the jobs done therefore they have to accept such contempt.. you just expect ppl to accept all you say as word and that’s it.. we all know reviews can be tampered with!

    Your contempt for the customer is hilarious .. hence why the trade has such a bad name

    MOD NOTE: WARNED FOR ABOVE. Very uncivil and trolling. Tone it down if you want to keep posting here.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Only on boards do you get someone with no knowledge of how a particular business needs to be run yet feels the need to tell a specialist in their field how to run their already successful business.

    Ask & most tradesmen will tell you that looking for a break down is a major red flag.

    Here's one from the plumbing group:

    "Anyone ever have a customer ask so many questions before as in ,I have the job priced in January they want to go ahead with it now a full replumb they asked for recommendations and reviews I gave them all that as have google and FB pages then a week later looking for insurance details gave them that now they are looking for my craft cert to see am I actually a plumber would anyone find that odd ?"

    This is the nonsense plumbers have to put up with. He has to be RGI to do the gasworks. He has to be trained & have insurance to be RGI. He has to provide RGI a copy of his insurance each year. All of the questions he's being asked are nonsense. Even looking for reviews etc. Why wouldn't a homeowner research a tradesman before being asked to quote. Personally I wouldn't even go with reviews. I wouldn't entertain a tradesman that hasn't come recommended by someone I trust

  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭well24

    whatever… not getting a breakdown of price is a big red flag…

    when someone clearly outlines behavior that defines the word contempt, is called ‘’uncivil’ I think I’ll Leave it at that…

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,912 ✭✭✭Dr Turk Turkelton

    Can you fill us in on your job since you have such expert insights- you could be someone worth employing since you are able to give advice to successful experts in their field.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    A busy tradesman can spend 7 or 8 hours per week pricing work. They don't pluck figures out of the sky within minutes. There is serious time involved with pen & paper, checking prices for everything with supplier etc. Giving a breakdown is far more time consuming or worse still itemising the whole quote. Smoe companies now charge €100/€250 for a quote. The quote fee then comes off the overall bill if homeowner goes ahead with the job

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭Kaisr Sose

    I suggest you read my post again. In the end I was supplying the materials and fixings

    I do not expect people to work for free but I also don't expect they will try and rip me off with massive costs for a simple tiling job.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,366 ✭✭✭Lenar3556

    The ‘two thirds rule’ applies.

    You can charge 13.5% VAT on the full job where the labour component is at least 66.6% of the total cost to the customer exclusive of VAT.

    For example you fit parts to a shower that cost you €25.00 Ex. VAT and you charge a customer €150.00 incl VAT for the job. That’s fine at 13.5% VAT.

    You buy a shower for €200 + Vat and charge the customer €400 incl vat for the supply and fit of a replacement shower - The VAT on that transaction should be 23%.

  • Registered Users Posts: 478 ✭✭rightjob!

    i did,if the contractor adds on a margin for supplying the materials that’s standard.If you wanted to source it all thats fine.

    “where trades can change massive sums for basic work”

    This is what im referring to as basic work and skilled work.What you might class as basic work for a trade is skilled work and running a business has costs.

    If you can do the work yourself or are handy thats great,but that also doesn't pay the bills in a business.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,949 ✭✭✭✭Sleeper12

    Yes the 2/3 rule applies. However you are getting muddled by the rules. The 2/3 applies to the materials not the labour.

    From Revenue website:

    "If the cost of the goods used in carrying out the work does not exceed two-thirds of the total price, the rate which applies to the service then applies to the entire transaction."

    In ops case the overall vat charged for materials & labour would be 13.5% as the labour is actually more than half of the overall cost. Labour can be as little as 1/3 the overall price.

    Op paid almost 10% extra in vat on the materials. That's in the region of €350/€400 paid needlessly to revenue.

    It's a learn curve for op and luckily the overall cost of the job seems reasonable by today's prices

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭Kaisr Sose

    The 2/3 rule from revenue:

    If the cost of the goods used in carrying out the work exceeds two-thirds of the total price, the rate which applies to the goods then applies to the entire transaction.

    So if the goods are 23%, the labour is 23%

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  • Registered Users Posts: 547 ✭✭✭mykrodot

    I'm the OP. Most people will only get a bathroom refurb once or twice (maybe 3 times) in a lifetime. In the interim prices change hugely. Its just very good to know from a customer point of view what each component of the job costs. We are not professionals and not experts. I sourced and bought all the materials myself so I knew exactly where I stood with them. But not the labour. It is people's hard earned money and a very big expense (in my case).

    I rang the plumber today and he is giving me a discount of €100 (who hoo) as a goodwill gesture because I told him despite asking twice for an estimate I never got one, not even a ballpark figure. But It would have helped me to have known in advance a rough figure to plan ahead for ……………..even to the nearest thousand! I wouldn't go as far as to say I feel I was treated with contempt but it just felt wrong to be so out of the loop despite asking twice. Especially in these times when costs are so high. Tradesmen should put themselves in customer's shoes.

    Overall I am very happy with the job but I've learnt my lesson. I probably should have told him at the beginning what MY budget was but then I would have been showing my hand. Its a bit like buying a house, it's a sellers (in this case tradesman's) market.