The bill from the plumber arrived today for clearing out our blocked sewer pipe. I'd initially expected it to cost a couple of hundred dollars, as he'd done the job before and I think it cost around $400 that time, which had included installing a new access pipe to "make the job easier next time". I started to suspect it wouldn't be all that cheap when I initially talked to him via mobile after he first arrived at our house. When I mentioned the access pipe he'd installed last time, he said that this time the blockage was in a different spot connected to the other bathroom. He also asked for the drainage diagram, which is never a good sign for a supposedly simple job.
It turned out that the diagram we had from the house purchase was out of date, and didn't include changes made after the house was built. So after digging around the back of the house looking where he thought the pipe might be, he went away and promised to come back after looking up a copy of the new diagram. When I had a look the next evening after he'd finished, I noticed the neat new cement work where he'd added in a permanent access port to the pipe he installed last time, and also the repair job he'd done to the paver he'd dug up looking for where the pipes might be. When I commented to DW that the cementing was very neat, but I hated to think how much it would all cost, DW replied that "Oh, that shouldn't cost anything as he guessed wrong about where the pipe was" - I didn't say anything, but....
Anyhow, the bill came to $832.15 (!) - $50 service call, $65 plant hire (don't they have their own gear?), $573.50 labour, and $68 materials (some cement and a new garden tap).
The funny thing is that the job sheet shows that the blockage turned out the be immediately upstream of the Inspection Opening that he'd installed last time - which I mentioned to him when he first arrived. But what would I know, I'm not a plumber.