Roto-Rooter has been providing plumbing and drain cleaning services, as well as emergency cleanups and water damage restorations, since 1935. With nearly a century of experience and below-average pricing, the provider is well known for being an affordable and widely available plumbing and water cleanup specialist.
We’ve spent hours reviewing and rating plumbers and believe Roto-Rooter is the best in the industry for discounts and financing. The provider has had some issues with poor customer service, but many homeowners are pleased with the service they receive, especially for the price.
In this Roto-Rooter review, we’ll explain everything you need to know to decide if this is the right plumber for your needs.
Our Take on Roto-Rooter
Roto-Rooter has almost 90 years of experience and over 2,100 employees across all 50 states. It’s a massive operation, which means it’s widely available, but it also means customer satisfaction and service can vary among the different local branches.
The company has a wealth of information available online for DIY plumbing repair and preventative measures, and it positions itself as the best in the industry for more complicated plumbing jobs, including emergency cleanups. Roto-Rooter is known for rapid response times, so you’ll have a fast resolution for leaks before they cause severe damage.
Roto-Rooter plumbing services range widely, from simple drain cleaning to emergency flood services and basement pump-outs. That means you can use Roto-Rooter as your standard plumber and keep them on call for fast responses during emergencies.
Best of all, the company has below-average prices and routinely offers discounts to make its services even more appealing and affordable.
Roto Rooter Pros & Cons
- Broad availability in all 50 states
- Low prices and discounts available
- Rapid response times 24/7 (usually under 2 hours)
- Wide range of services for routine plumbing and emergencies
- Customer service is poor in some areas
- Not all locations offer the same services and pricing
What Plumbing Services Does Roto-Rooter Offer?
One of the best things about Roto-Rooter is that it’s large enough to offer 24/7 responses to emergencies and major plumbing issues but not so large that it won’t handle routine problems as well. The company covers everything from drain line cleaning to water damage cleanup and mold remediation.
Below are some of the services the company offers:
- Appliance installation and repair
- Emergency services, including cleanups and restoration
- Large-scale plumbing issues
- Routine plumbing repair and maintenance
Roto-Rooter offers more services than most plumbers, making the provider a great option for homeowners looking for a one-stop shop for plumbing work.
In the following sections, we’ll explain how Roto-Rooter’s services differ from those of other providers.
Routine Plumbing Repair and Maintenance
Roto-Rooter will handle any routine plumbing issue, so the company can be your main plumber. Some of the services offered include the following:
- Clearing clogs
- Drain cleaning and drain snaking
- Leak repair
- Sink, toilet, shower, and faucet repair
- Trenchless pipe repair
- Video camera inspections of pipes
Most plumbers offer these services, so they don’t necessarily set Roto-Rooter apart from the competition, but it’s great to know it does offer services for routine plumbing problems. The only service listed above that is not routine is trenchless pipe repair. This service can fix underground main sewer lines and drain pipes without excavation or ground-level clean-outs. It can save you money and won’t damage your property or require planting new grass seed after the work.
Most homeowners will eventually run into one or more routine plumbing issues, and Roto-Rooter provides fast responses to even minor problems.
One thing Roto-Rooter doesn’t advertise is installing new plumbing, but it also tackles this. If you’re renovating a bathroom, moving a fixture, or installing a dormer or another extension on your home, Roto-Rooter can handle plumbing installation for you.
It’s important to know that each Roto-Rooter location is independently owned and operated, which means not all branches provide every service. We recommend contacting your local branch to find out if the service you need is available.
Appliance Installation and Repair
In addition to installing new fixtures, Roto-Rooter can also handle installing and repairing appliances. If you’re replacing your appliances or running into performance issues or leaks, Roto-Rooter can help. The appliances the company advertises working on include the following:
- Garbage disposals
- Washing machines
- Water heaters
Some plumbers don’t offer these services and instead point homeowners toward appliance repair specialists. This is one area where Roto-Rooter outperforms the competition.
Large-Scale Plumbing Issues
Some plumbers only tackle routine services to not complicate their work, but Roto-Rooter also tackles large-scale plumbing issues. If you’re running into major leaks from your water main, problems with sewer lines, or need plumbing services at a place of business, Roto-Rooter will probably be able to fix the issue.
The major plumbing repairs and services Roto-Rooter offers include the following:
- Commercial plumbing services
- Septic system issues, including septic tank pumping
- Sewer line repair (including excavation)
- Sump pump issues and failure
Commercial plumbing and excavation for sewer line repair, in particular, are often not offered by plumbers, so these services help establish the company’s authority in the industry and ability to respond to just about any plumbing need.
Some of Roto-Rooter’s competitors, like ARS/Rescue Rooter, also offer HVAC services, and this is the only area in which Roto-Rooter falls short in its scope.
Emergency Plumbing Services
Roto-Rooter is perhaps best known for its emergency plumbing services, including responding to major water line leaks and floods with pump-outs, cleanups, and remediation. If you run into a true plumbing emergency, the breadth of service and the rapid response time — usually within two hours — make Roto-Rooter a good option.
The emergency services provided by Roto-Rooter are listed below:
- Basement flooding cleanup
- Cleanup after water damage
- Emergency flood services
- Mold remediation
- Water removal and pump-outs
These larger, more urgent jobs are often unavailable from local plumbers, and even some that offer them won’t do things like mold remediation or building back after water damage. Roto-Rooter sets itself apart again by providing these services and responding quickly — usually within two hours for true emergencies.
How Much Does Roto-Rooter Cost?
Roto-Rooter doesn’t have flat rates posted on its website, but most plumbers don’t — or can’t — offer this because every plumbing job is different. However, based on our research and analysis of customer reviews, it seems clear that Roto-Rooter’s pricing is below average for most services.
Not only is it more affordable than most of the competition, but Roto-Rooter also regularly offers discounts and accepts various payment methods to keep its services as accessible as possible.
Its website has a dedicated page for plumbing discounts and deals, including $300 off sewer line replacement and $100 off water heater repair. Roto-Rooter also accepts cash, credit card, and customized payment plans with no upfront payment required. Many companies don’t offer payment plans, so this helps set Roto-Rooter apart from the rest.
In most cases, your pricing from Roto-Rooter will range from $100 to $800, although the exact price will vary quite a bit. Some of the factors that can influence your total are listed below:
- Your location: As we mentioned, each Roto-Rooter office is independently owned and operated, so there isn’t complete price continuity from location to location. The cost for identical services can vary based on where you live and which office services your area.
- The work being completed: The biggest cost factor will be the work being completed. Not only will your Roto-Rooter plumber need to charge based on the extent of the underlying issue and the materials required, but, like most plumbers, the company charges based on time. The longer your plumber takes to access and fix the issue, the higher your bill will be.
- Deals available: Roto-Rooter helps keep its pricing low in part by offering deals and discounts for different services. These deals change over time, but they also depend on your location. You can search by ZIP code on the company’s website.
Overall, the pricing from Roto-Rooter is below average in most cases. The quality of the work is usually excellent, and some locations offer a guarantee for a few months that provides additional peace of mind. If your local branch doesn’t offer this, you may need to rely on a home warranty for plumbing for added protection.
One thing to note is that while the actual plumbing work is usually outstanding, customer service can be lacking, depending on your local office.
How To Save Money With Roto-Rooter
As mentioned above, you can save money on services from Roto-Rooter by checking your zip code for discounts on specific services. As of this writing, discounts ranged from $50 off on routine plumbing services like drain cleaning up to $300 off on water or sewer line excavation and replacement.
Where Is Roto-Rooter Available?
Roto-Rooter is a nationwide company with local offices located in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Most plumbers come nowhere near Roto-Rooter’s coverage, and even other national providers often have some exclusions.
Roto-Rooter provides routine and emergency services in all 50 states, but you should contact your local office for more specific information. The individual services available will depend on your location.
How To Schedule and Get a Quote From Roto-Rooter
Roto-Rooter has two options for scheduling service: a convenient online form and a service call number to contact for general or emergency plumbing service. Many plumbers don’t have the same online scheduling service, so Roto-Rooter will be more convenient for many homeowners who prefer to handle scheduling automatically.
You can follow the steps below to schedule with the company on its website. We recommend contacting your local branch if you need emergency service instead.
- Step 1: Head to www.rotorooter.com/schedule-service/ and input your zip code.
- Step 2: Enter your full name, email, and phone number. On the page where you enter your phone number, you can opt to get a text when your technician is on the way.
- Step 3: Put in the address where you need service.
- Step 4: Choose a date and time you’d like services completed. You should also describe your issue in as much detail as possible before clicking submit.
- Step 5: A representative will contact you to confirm your information and ensure a rep is available within your requested time frame.
Compare Roto-Rooter vs. Other Plumbing Providers
Roto-Rooter is one of the largest plumbing companies in the country, but, of course, that doesn’t mean it’s the best. It provides a greater breadth of services than most competitors and has below-average pricing, but it’s not the best for customer service or overall value, for example.
If you’re looking for the highest quality customer service in the industry, we recommend Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, which has a reputation for fast service and positive customer experiences. We also suggest looking into ARS/Rescue Rooter for outstanding value for the money.
The table below includes a side-by-side look at how Roto-Rooter compares to some of our other top-rated plumbers in the United States.
|Providers||Roto-Rooter||ARS/Rescue Rooter||Benjamin Franklin Plumbing||Mr. Rooter|
|Our Score (Out of 100)||92.5||91.0||95.0||91.0|
|Cost ($ – $$$$$)||$$||$$$||$$$||$$|
|Service Area||50 states plus Washington, D.C.||24 states||14 states||46 states|
|Scheduling||Online or phone||Online or phone||Online or phone||Online or phone|
|Customer Support||Phone, email, live chat||Phone, email, live chat||Phone or email||Phone, email, live chat|
Customer Reviews of Roto-Rooter
Unfortunately, a lot of the reviews for Roto-Rooter are negative. Negative reviews are the norm in the home service industry, but even considering how reviews tend to skew, Roto-Rooter has below-average ratings.
A good portion of the negative reviews mention that the company upsells work when it’s unnecessary. It seems that the per-item costs are below-average in part because the company makes up for it by pushing higher-cost services. In some cases, customers felt lied to about the extent of their issue.
Other complaints mention that the technicians left issues at their properties, like water on the floor, fixtures that weren’t properly reinstalled, and even sprinkler lines that weren’t repaired before backfilling. The complaints mention that, without a service guarantee, they could pay for additional repairs out of pocket.
Many positive reviews typically mention how punctual Roto-Rooter is and how helpful it can be in emergencies. Some customers even mention they could get a tech to come out on a holiday to solve major problems within just a few hours.
We read around three dozen Roto-Rooter reviews, and about 80% were negative. Overall, we’ve read hundreds of reviews to assess how positive or negative your experience could be with other plumbers, so we have a solid basis for comparing Roto-Rooter to the industry average.
So, Should You Hire Roto-Rooter?
Overall, we recommend Roto-Rooter mostly for emergency services. The company is available 24/7 for emergencies, even on holidays, and they have a self-proclaimed average wait for service of around two hours. This is faster than you’ll see from most competitors.
Roto-Rooter also offers routine services, and it’s a decent option for these, given their below-average pricing. However, it should be noted that the company sometimes struggles with providing high-quality customer service. If you’re looking for service warranties, friendly technicians, and helpful customer service representatives, you might choose a company like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing or ARS/Rescue Rooter.
You can use the tool below to get instant quotes from highly-rated competitors in your area.
Since Roto-Rooter is one of the country’s largest and most popular plumbers, we get many questions about its services. We’ll answer some of those questions below.
FAQs About Roto-Rooter
How long does it take Roto-Rooter to unclog a drain?
Roto-Rooter notes on its website that it can often fix a clogged drain or remove a blockage in as little as a half-hour, although it often takes up to an hour. If the drain unclogging takes more than an hour, Roto-Rooter promises to charge a flat rate rather than an hourly rate to help you save money.
How does Roto-Rooter clean drains?
Roto-Rooter plumbers use a variety of methods to clean drains. These include using manual snakes, motorized plumber’s augers, and hydro jetting. For sewer pipes, the company can clear clogs and roots by using a blade auger to cut through clogged debris and shave the inside walls of your pipes clean.
Does Roto-Rooter have a lifetime warranty?
No, Roto-Rooter does not offer a lifetime warranty, and there is no universal warranty on the company’s services. Some offices individually offer a service guarantee — called a “no-hassle guarantee” — that lasts for around three months and covers any recurring and related issues after service.
How much does Roto-Rooter cost?
Roto-Rooter’s pricing is below average for the industry, although the costs can vary based on your location, the work you need to do, how accessible the issue is, and more. Most jobs completed by the company fall between $100 and $800.