Plumbers are expensive because it is a highly specialized trade requiring thousands of hours to master. Additionally, they make house calls meaning they spend time and money investing in vehicles, tools, equipment and gas to bring to you. They also carry insurance and have other overhead expenses. Labor shortages in the field also contribute to premium pricing.
late 14c. (from c.1100 as a surname), "a worker in any sort of lead" (roofs, gutters, pipes), from Old French plomier "lead-smelter" (Modern French plombier) and directly from Latin plumbarius "worker in lead," noun use of adjective meaning "pertaining to lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)). Meaning focused 19c. on "workman who installs pipes and fittings" as lead water pipes became the principal concern of the trade. In U.S. Nixon administration (1969-74), the name of a special unit for investigation of "leaks" of government secrets.
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