Plumbers, Should You Charge If You Can’t Find The Leak?

Charge Out Rates


Not all water leaks are easy to find. Sometimes, you have to turn around to your customer and tell them the bad news: that you can’t find it.

When you find yourself in this situation, what do you do?

Whether a customer should pay if a plumber can't find a leak depends on various factors, including the terms of the agreement between the customer and the plumber, the effort expended by the plumber, and the circumstances surrounding the situation. Here are a few considerations:

  1. Agreement Terms: If there was an agreement or contract in place outlining the terms of payment for the plumber's services, it should be referenced to determine the appropriate course of action.
  2. Effort Expended: If the plumber made a reasonable effort to locate the leak but was unsuccessful, it might be fair for the customer to pay for the plumber's time and effort, particularly if the plumber had to use specialised equipment or spend a significant amount of time on the task.
  3. Professionalism and Skill: If the customer feels that the plumber did not demonstrate sufficient professionalism or skill in attempting to find the leak, they may have grounds to dispute payment or negotiate a reduced fee.
  4. Warranty or Guarantee: Some plumbers offer warranties or guarantees on their work. If the plumber guarantees to find and fix the leak but fails to do so, the customer may not be obligated to pay, or they may be entitled to a refund.
  5. Communication: Clear communication between the customer and the plumber is crucial. If the plumber communicated upfront that there was a possibility they might not be able to find the leak, the customer should have been aware of this risk and may still be responsible for payment for the plumber's time and effort.

In general, it's best for both parties to discuss and agree upon payment terms before the work begins to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes later on. If there is a disagreement, it may be helpful to try to resolve it through communication and negotiation first. If that fails, seeking legal advice might be necessary.

For technical advice, members can give our Technical Team a call on 07 3273 0800.

Matt Simpson
Matt Simpson Technical Officer

Matt began his plumbing, drainage and gas fitting career 36 years ago and has a wealth of practical knowledge and hands on experience that he brings to his role as a Technical Officer. Matt is a licensed plumber and gas fitter who has worked on numerous projects including high rise construction, commercial work, house renovations, and general domestic maintenance. He also specialises in roofing and stormwater ensuring their efficiency and reliability. "I look forward to making a valuable contribution to the members of Master Plumbers Association Qld with my experience to address the challenges of the plumbing industry."

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