Hello - Help! Plumber/Plumbing advice Charente Maritime

Hi everyone I hope you can give me some urgent advice as I need to make a decision by today really latest tomorrow morning.
I bought a lovely old Maison de Maitre near Jonzac. I had half the electrics done and the French electrician was spot on with going rate and efficiency and general care.

We now need to put in an immersion heater for hot water just for the bathroom and the kitchen down stairs we’ve been using a camping shower bag and there is only cold water in the kitchen as it comes via a unusable gas water heater.

So I asked the electrician to recommend a plumber - no response from message.
I contacted the woman at the gite where I stayed as she had a list of trades , an English guy came out to look and never sent the quote, he did say he was very busy. And no response from follow up message.

After a meeting with the Mayor I asked for a list of Trades and contacted the plumber who the mayor said was very fair. I contacted the plumber who lives in the next village to me less than 10 mins away first week in March informing him that we will be over at the house 10th April. The quote finally came through last Friday.

This is the work required - There is a breeze block wall between the kitchen and Bathroom on the ground floor. The bathroom is 10’ x 7 the immersion heater will go in the corner, the sink is on the outside wall and has 10ml pipes apparently this is an issue as it has to connect to 16 ml feed.
The bathroom taps face the outside wall which has a sloping roof so you cannot use the shower attachment. We have asked the plumber to site the taps on the kitchen wall so we can actually use the shower. (Unfortunately during this 2 week trip we have limited time to work on the bathroom there are more pressing matters such as windows and guttering to attend to so just moving the bath in the opposite direction is the easy option for the time being.) the plumber wants a meeting about this, I suppose because its extra work to connect it to the existing waste.

In the kitchen the old gas heater is to be removed pipes to it removed. Taps plumbed in under sink to the hot water, washing machine and dishwasher plumbed in.

The plumber told me he’s not replacing the 10 ml pipes but adding 16 ml to conform.

We naively thought maybe he was replacing all the pipes from the mains in the front garden and more…

The plumber wants to start work the day we’re travelling so we won’t see him and have a meeting the next morning.

Talking to my trade friends in Ireland they thought the quote was way over the top, Yes I know it’s a different country and social charges etc are much higher in France

The quote is for 2 men 2 days work total - the ballon (immersion heater and cradle is 665 euros and the total price is 2997 might as well say 3000 euros! He hasn’t separated the labour cost and the cost of other materials (16mls).

This is the best description I can give, We don’t feel its a huge job but the price…mmmm

I have to pay the deposit by tomorrow as it Bank Holiday - and he’s starting Tuesday…I want to support the local trades but… What do you think? But I want to be able to shower after knocking lumps of plaster off the stone walls!!! Many thanks and I look forward to your thoughts.

So 4 days of work? That’s easily €1600 -€2000, plus cost of ballon, piping, all the little bits and pieces and the travel costs add up to something not that far off the devis. Yes somewhat inflated, but you may well not get better as a second home owner with no track record.

Little jobs are way more expensive than large ones, and also consider how long you have tried to find someone else. And you are getting a registered artisan with insurance and a guarantee.

My only slight flag is that you contacted him in march and he is able to do the job now - over easter - suggests he’s not as busy as he should be or some other client is going to find no-one on site for 2 days!

Your choice, but it’s a seller’s market for this sort of small job.


Hello Jane

Many Thanks for your thoughts. I ll save up the next plumbing jobs! He is a registered S.A.R.L Artisan and comes with a recommendation from The Marie.
For the amount of practical work involved for two guys over two days my partner just felt it was very high and my trade friends thought I was being ripped off, so it’s good to get an opinion from someone living in France.

My experience with the electrician was that he was excellent and did an incredibly neat job for what was involved and the price was exactly what I expected.

Many Thanks for your swift response and I value it.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

I would say that is there or there abouts the price in France.

I’m supprised your electrician did not know a plumber. Or was not a plumber himself. They tend to have both trades or at least work with with someone with the opposite trade.

TBH my view is that your quote is a rip off.

Say 1000 euros cost of materials allowing for pipework (copper or plastic?) and balloon.

Labour at 300 euros a man day (probably an over estimate), comes out at 1200 euros.

So total cost in the region of 2200 euros.

Guess it depends how quickly you want the work done.

if I was you I’d just go with it Tricia. As for your trade friends in Ireland, I just paid 25K to renovate two bathrooms in Dublin. It is expensive here, but it’s just as expensive in Ireland these days.

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Reasonable price for the chauffe-eau and stand, I paid over €800 in 2012 but it was a top range one. The whole devis does not sound too bad at all, remember too that raw materials such as copper have gone through the roof hence all the theft going on at the moment and labour charges have to run to cover social charges as well as a bit of profit for the artisan. Normally a plumber would also be a qualified electrician as they run hand in hand but not evryone goes down that route when they start their studies to qualify. Don’t forget too the TVA probably adds a bit on as well.

I just bought an Ariston 200l chauffe-eau and stand at Leroy for €340 so a lot cheaper than 2012.

Already, you’ve got doubts… so I suggest you take a deep breath. Is there really such a rush to get things done in your absence?

We asked for 2 or 3 quotes for every aspect of the works on our wreck…
Must be said that once we found someone reliable, who gave full itemised quotes for whatever we had been discussing… we were happy to give him a set of keys, pay the deposit and let him and his team get things done in our absence…

It doesn’t seem to me that you have yet acquired that happy/trusting/confident relationship with this plumber… in your place I’d put things on hold… but I understand not everyone might agree with me…

Yes mine was a Thermostore (sp) and supplied by the electrician/plumber, the previous one we installed in 1989 and was a bog standard Atlantic but 23 years on I was worried as had no idea what the lifespan was and it was in an upstairs room so also the risk of leaking if it should rust. OH was called out to client who installed a €60 Bdepot cheapie that had burst open underneath two months after he put it in (the client, not my OH who refused to use their stuff as he had to guarantee it)

Stella was that a while ago? Hard to find people for small jobs these days unless a repeat client. And the idea of asking for 3 devis for a job costing less than €5k would have people laughing in the aisles here! Maybe your area has more artisans, but here they all know each other within 50km radius.


You do realise how much labour costs are here? Fine if one-man band making ends meet by working under the table, but for a firm to hire a qualified plumber is more than €300 a day!

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July 2022 I was charged just under 200 euros a day for plumbing work by a local fully registered qualified plumber. All paperwork received and correct.

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I have to smile.
The poster as asked for opinions on a quote for specific work they want doing within an exact timeframe and only the artisan knows what is involved via interpretation of what the client wants.
Ouch! that seems alot thinks the client and wanders off to his/her local for an expert opinion.
Of course thier fellow drinkers at the pub know a man who can or a mate who had the same job done for half the price.
The poster has bought a house in France to renovate and wants a job doing they cannot do themselves and is unhappy with the price given, 3000 euros.
Welcome to France and the world of renovation.
Sorry if some might think I am not contributing a positive comment but I think it is helpful for the poster to understand that a newcomer in a foreign land is not going to get any favours from the locals, you have to work at that for many years.


the original, major works… were indeed a while ago.
But we handle a lot for friends with a 2nd home and always get more than the one quote (if only to prove to our friends that they’re getting the best deal). The cheapest/quickest is not always the best, of course… and for us, it pays to wait for the artisan of their/our choice…


The price seems about right to me given the circumstances.

It is the way it works in France.

There are no rules when quoting for work.

Hello Everyone

Thank you for the swift responses…Just to clarify. The electrician does know a plumber but the plumber never replied to my messages and explanation of the job…obviously not interested.

There will be loads more plumbing work at a later stage 3 more bathrooms and at least one more kitchen. At the moment we just want basic comforts when we come over to do some work and if friends stay. It is perfectly liveable, from next week we ll be staying there for over 2 weeks but hot water for a shower not from a bag would be nice!

So I feel its important to find trades that I can trust and do a good job even if they’re not the cheapest.

In Ireland I live in Wicklow but Dublin trades would probably charge double compared to my friends in South Wicklow. My tastes aren’t luxurious just simple farmhouse style using reclaimed and vintage where I can.

Many thanks I ll probably be grateful of other advise re renovation.

Wishing you all a beautiful day.

Truly wishing you the best, @Tricia_Monk

With so much to do on/in the house… there were other priorities and we were without running hot water for 2 years.
The kettle was in great demand !!! :rofl: :rofl:

Our plumber charges €250 - €400 depending on which person/skill I think partly because we are long standing clients. A one-off small job he would charge more for the hassle judging by what neighbour was charged. Under €200 a day and the guy doing the work is being paid little more than SMIC once taxes, social charges factored in.

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Never mind buying, running and filling a vehicle, buying and replacing tools…

Everything has gone up around 25% in the last 12 month so expect to pay more. Time is just as expensive which is partly why the days of the three quotes rule have long gone. Especially for little jobs like this.

Personally, if he came via the mayor, I’d go with it and enjoy the hot water!