How much does Jim’s Plumbing cost?

You might be wondering how much it costs to get a new hot water system installed and whether Jim’s Plumbing is an expensive or reasonably priced plumber. How much does Jim’s Plumbing cost? Read on to find out.

This morning I discovered my gas hot water system wasn’t working. It’s an old Aquamax gas hot water system. On the outside it says Aquamax 200, which I’m sure is a very outdated model. But it also says 5 star and stainless steel cylinder so I’m sure back in it’s day it was a decent gas hot water system. How old it is I’m not sure, but it was here when I moved in a few years ago.

Old Aquamax hot water unit
Showing some rust for its age, the old Aquamax gas hot water unit

I tried the pilot light and nothing happened, couldn’t even hear gas going to it when I pressed the value button. So I gave up and decided to call a plumber.

So first I Googled “gas hot water repair”, that’s how I usually start to find a tradie and how most people start from scratch in finding a plumber.

And in the search results I saw two nicely SEO’d pages for Jim’s Plumbing. “Ah, that’s a major franchise brand, they should be reputable” I thought. I also thought, well I hoped, they’d provide reasonable prices.

By “reasonable” I mean my expectation was that a major franchise group would be big enough and care about their reputation enough to not just rip me off with the price. The carefully SEO crafted meta description in their snippet even suggests so; “reliable and affordable“. Was I expecting too much that Jim’s Plumbing would quote me a reasonable, affordable cost? Maybe.

Jim's plumbing in Google search results
Jim’s Plumbing’s SEO team has done a decent job, wish their tradies did as good a job!

So I called Jim’s on 1300 133 509, spoke to the polite and helpful staff at their call centre and booked an appointment for this morning. They quoted the $120 (+GST) call out fee which I agreed to.

The guy from Jim’s plumbing turned up, took a look and said we need a new hot water system. He gave a few options of brands, Rheem or Aquamax and suggested we go with the largest size given the size of our house, the Aquamax 390. The price he quoted to supply and install the Aquamax gas hot water system, pressure test and remove the old gas hot water system was $4,600.

That price was higher than I was expecting so I went back to Google. Searching for “aquamax 390 price”. That search shows up plumbers offering to supply and install it for around $1,600. Here’s one:

Aquamax 390 gas hot water system for $1605 fully installed.
Aquamax 390 fully installed for $1605, seems like a good deal?

That’s from the website of Harley’s plumbing.

In fact even checking the price of just the unit shows it costs $1321 at Reece Plumbing supplies.

Aquamax 390 at Reece Plumbing supplies.

And Harvey Norman sell it for $1659 installed.

Aquamax 390 at Harvey Norman

So now I was wondering why Jim’s quoted me $4,600. If the unit itself costs $1,400 (let’s round up that price from Reece) and it’s being offered with a basic installation for $1659 from Harvey Norman, then Jim’s Plumbing seem to be asking for about $3000 more than what seems reasonable.

How much does a new gas hot water system cost?

Now I know that the cheapest price here is for a “basic installation”, which is rarely what is needed in real world examples. So I take that $1605 – $1659 cost as the minimum but more likely there’s going to be extra costs involved.

I’m prepared to add some extra costs to the installation of the hot water system. If there’s 1-2 hours work by the plumber to do some extra gas & water pipe lines of a short distance, that’s possibly another $500. And then a charge to remove and dispose of the old unit, add $100 for that. So I’m expecting a price more like $2,300 to $2,500.

So why was Jim’s Plumbing quoting $4,600? Beats me.

We asked the guy from Jim’s why that price and gave some other examples of the much cheaper prices. His answer? “I can’t even get close to $3k for this job”.

In fact he wasn’t prepared to budge on the price. At all. It’s a fixed price apparently. When I called Jim’s plumbing call centre to query it they said it’s their “national fixed price” for replacing the gas hot water system. When I asked for a detailed breakdown of why their quote was for $4,600 and an itemised costing of what made up that total cost they said they wouldn’t provide that.

Jims Plumbing costs
We took a photo of the quoted install price from Jims Plumbing. No breakdown of what that $4,600 gets you. Just a flat (expensive) fixed cost.

So we said no thanks to the hot water replacement from Jim’s Plumbing, paid their $132 call out fee and said goodbye. I’ve called some other plumbers to provide quotes to replace the old Aquamax with a new system.

So what does Jim’s plumbing cost? In my experience, heaps. Is Jim’s Plumbing expensive? In my experience yes. Would I call them again, for any home tradie job? No way!

What’s the cost to replace a gas hot water system?

Based on my google research it should cost from $1650 for a new gas hot water system to be supplied and installed. But I estimate that’s the base, cheapest possible cost and more likely you should add anywhere from $500 to $1000 to that price depending on the details of your required installation. So a more realistic price for a new gas hot water system is between $1,650 and $2,600.

I’ll post an update with my other quotes from plumbers to confirm that. I suggest if you’re looking to replace your hot water unit you should google your local plumbers and ask them for a quote and compare it to what I’ve listed here.

I also recommend you don’t call Jim’s Plumbing.