August 06, 2018

The Bear team came across a couple of news items last week that really got our backs up. And for good reason.

Both the Nine website and the Sydney Morning Herald ran articles with attention-grabbing headlines of “It’s confirmed: tradies adjust their prices depending on your postcode” and “The most expensive Sydney suburbs to hire a tradie”.  From Bear Plumbing’s point of view, this is wrong on so many levels and we’re devoting this month’s blog to explaining why.

These articles are painting the picture of money hungry tradies rubbing their dirty hands together with glee ask they start the quoting process with your postcode.  One of them has even drawn a “latte line” on the map.  From where we sit, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bear Plumbing covers much of Sydney, including the Lower North Shore, Upper North Shore, Northern Beaches, City and Inner West.  Let us makes this very clear:  In no way does location or postcode play a part in our pricing if it is within the areas we service. Only if travel will be excessive would we add that cost, and it’s certainly not a hidden cost – it would be discussed openly with the client.  This is because we’re a professional outfit, and clearly communicating with our clients is very high on our list of priorities.

If you read past the click-bait headlines of these stories – the headlines that suggest that all tradies operate in this way – you’ll see that the CEO of the group that conducted the study is quoted as saying that “Tradies working in suburbs considered to be more affluent often increase their charge-out rates because they perceive their customers to be more capable of paying higher prices.” Somewhat softer than the headline suggests.

What strikes us is that the practices of increasing rates by postcode don’t do even the one-man tradesperson justice. It certainly doesn’t do a reputable plumbing business justice to work at those rates quoted for the western suburbs.

Bear Plumbing offers a thoroughly professional service – from the administration side right through to the tradesman onsite.  It’s this sort of professionalism that has seen us chalk up more than 30 years of reputable business.

Plumbing is an important, professional trade, that provides essential services to the public. This profession hasn’t been around for thousands of years just because it’s a passing fad. It’s one of the few professions that cannot be replaced by machinery, computers, artificial intelligence or robotics.  And unless our stormwater, sewer and water systems are drastically reinvented, there will always be a need for plumbers.

It’s a shame that two news outlets have given this “story” credence.  They are really feeding into that dusty old stereotype of tradies as head-scratching, gut-hanging-out, butt-crack-showing neanderthals. The fact is, the majority of us are highly qualified, extensively experienced and running a professional business.  What’s most annoying is that these articles are both incredibly one-sided, as neither of them has included the tradie’s point of view to provide a balanced story.

Plumbers are in training almost as long as doctors.  They provide a service that the average unskilled person simply isn’t capable of providing.

Stories like this do hurt our trade.  And they’ve certainly poked this Bear!