Reviews

Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Which Plumbing Service Should You Choose in 2023?

Deciding between Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter for household plumbing needs? Don’t let the decision be draining: Here’s everything homeowners need to know about these two companies.
Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter

Photo: istockphoto.com

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Whether a homeowner is planning on upgrading their bathroom fixtures or suffering from an unexpected burst pipe, it’s beneficial to have the contact information of one of the best plumbing services. Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter are two names that homeowners are likely familiar with (and may even get confused, considering their similarity). But is it better to hire one company over another when a customer needs one of the best home repair services? Here, we’ll compare everything there is to consider when hiring a plumbing service and determine which company comes out on top in the battle of Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter.

How We Compared Plumbing Services

Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter
Photo: istockphoto.com

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a plumbing service. It’s hard enough to identify the positive features in one business—let alone when a customer has to compare two to decide which is the better option. We considered these main factors when evaluating Roto-Rooter and Mr. Rooter to make the comparison more straightforward.

  • Reputation: Is the general impression of the company positive? Stable business history, positive industry recognition, and customer satisfaction all go a long way toward contributing to a company’s good reputation.
  • Availability: The primary factor when deciding on a plumbing company is whether or not that company actually operates in the customer’s area. Companies with more franchise or chain locations can often service more customers. However, each location’s service area may vary.
  • Service offerings: What work can the company provide? Basic plumbing repairs and drain cleanings may be standard, but some customers may require more niche services, such as well pump repair, that not every company (or every location of that company) can offer.
  • Booking process: Most businesses allow customers to schedule an appointment over the phone. This feature can be beneficial, as the customer may be able to get a ballpark quote for the work over the phone, and the customer can provide details about the project up front. However, many customers prefer the ease of scheduling an appointment online. Ideally, businesses can offer multiple avenues of appointment scheduling.
  • Cost: One of the biggest factors in determining customer satisfaction is the price paid for the work. Customers want to know they’re getting a fair price for the work done. While plumbing jobs may vary in scope and cost, practices like up-front pricing and line-item quotes can make customers feel more sure that they’re not being swindled.
  • Guarantees: Even the best-laid plans go awry—and that is still true of plumbing work. Clear warranties with straightforward terms bolster customer confidence and provide peace of mind should anything go wrong with the work that’s been performed. One benefit of opting for a larger plumbing business is that there’s more accountability from the top, and it’s more likely that guarantees will be upheld if the work isn’t up to snuff.
  • Customer reviews: Reading reviews of the business’s past work can be helpful for customers to determine if a plumbing company is the right fit. However, it’s always important to take reviews with a grain of salt; typically, dissatisfied customers will leave reviews more often than satisfied customers.

1. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Reputation

Mr. Rooter was founded in 1970 and began franchising in 1972. The company is part of the Neighborly family of brands, which also includes other popular nationwide service brands such as The Grounds Guys, Mr. Handyman, and Window Genie. Mr. Rooter has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and this grade takes complaint history, transparent business practices, licensing, and customer communication into account. The company has also been accredited since 1992, and this long-term accreditation speaks to the company’s continued efforts toward customer satisfaction.

Mr. RooterRoto-Rooter
Year founded19701935
HeadquartersWaco, TexasCincinnati, Ohio
Number of locations200600
Better Business Bureau ratingA+Not rated

Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleanup (also branded as Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Drain Service) has been in business since 1935, and the company’s founder created the eponymous device that helped to cut tree roots out of sewer lines. Roto-Rooter’s sewer cleaning is still part of its legacy. From that modest invention grew an enterprise of over 600 locations nationwide, with its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Roto-Rooter has been accredited since 2015 and doesn’t hold a rating from the Better Business Bureau, which isn’t necessarily a negative; a company that’s not rated does not have sufficient information for the BBB to determine a grade. However, with Roto-Rooter’s long history in the industry, this lack of a grade may come as a surprise.

Verdict: Roto-Rooter is a pioneer in the plumbing industry, but Mr. Rooter’s consistent growth since its 1970 inception, paired with an A+ rating and 30-plus-year accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, secure its renown in the field.

Winner: Mr. Rooter

2. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Availability

Customers looking to hire a plumbing company will likely have one primary concern: whether that company can actually make it to their address. Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter are both companies with a nationwide presence. Mr. Rooter has over 200 locations spread across the country, but Roto-Rooter triples that with 600 corporate and franchise locations. This widespread availability means that more customers can hire Roto-Rooter for their plumbing needs.

Verdict: Mr. Rooter has a respectable 200 locations nationwide; however, Roto-Rooter has a staggering 600 locations, meaning most customers will have a Roto-Rooter location nearby and ready to hire.

Winner: Roto-Rooter

Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter
Photo: istockphoto.com

3. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Service Offerings

Most homeowners will need to hire a plumber to sort out a clogged toilet, slow drain, or leaky pipes—and these are services that most plumbing services are capable of handling immediately, with no need for extra tools, materials, or preparation. Both Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter services include a lineup of household plumbing needs, including some of the best drain cleaning services and best septic tank cleaning services, and they both have emergency availability. Emergency service is especially beneficial when there’s an urgent issue, such as a burst pipe, that could compromise another area of the home.

However, Mr. Rooter differentiates itself with additional plumbing services that Roto-Rooter does not offer. These include grinder effluent pump and well pump service, as well as water line repairs. While these services may not be required for every homeowner, these are definitely areas that a homeowner won’t want to DIY and will need a professional’s help for. Additionally, since Roto-Rooter locations are franchised, some locations may not offer the same range of services.

ServiceMr. RooterRoto-Rooter
Drain cleaningXX
Emergency servicesXX
Leak detection and repairXX
Mold remediationXX
Plumbing repairsXX
Plumbing replacement and installationXX
Sump pumpsXX
Water heater installationXX
Water heater repair and replacementXX
Sewer line repair and replacementXX
Water softener filtration systemsXX
Slab leak repairsXX
Grinder effluent pumpsX
Water line installation and replacementX
Water line repairsX
Well pump installation and replacementX
Well pump serviceX

*All services may not be available at all locations

Verdict: Both Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter offer a standard lineup of plumbing services, including emergency response. However, Mr. Rooter has an edge with more comprehensive water line, well pump, and sewer repair and replacement services.

Winner: Mr. Rooter

4. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Booking Process

Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter both allow customers the opportunity to book appointments over the phone. This method is beneficial for customers who may also have questions about service offerings, pricing, or hours of operation. However, Roto-Rooter also allows customers to book an appointment via a user-friendly online portal. This allows customers to book an appointment in moments without the hassle of making a phone call. Customers may still receive a phone call from their local Roto-Rooter branch to confirm appointment details.

Verdict: Both Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter allow customers to request a quote online and make appointments over the phone, but Roto-Rooter takes it a step further by providing customers the added option to book appointments through an online scheduling portal.

Winner: Roto-Rooter

5. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Cost

Neither Roto-Rooter nor Mr. Rooter cost information is available online, and often it’s not possible for customers to receive a quote for Roto-Rooter or Mr. Rooter plumbing prices over the phone. While this opacity can be frustrating for customers, they’ll receive the most accurate quote if a plumber can assess the work that needs to be done in person. To ensure Roto-Rooter and Mr. Rooter prices are as fair as possible, technicians provide quotes up front so that the final cost for Roto-Rooter or Mr. Rooter services doesn’t come as a shock after the work is complete. Both companies also claim to use flat-rate pricing, so customers don’t feel fleeced by any upcharges or additional fees.

Verdict: Neither Roto-Rooter nor Mr. Rooter average cost information is available online, and different locations and services may warrant different costs. Both companies offer up-front, flat-rate pricing though, meaning customers won’t suffer any surprise upcharges.

Winner: Tie

6. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Guarantees

Every customer hopes they’ll never have to follow up on a warranty for work done in their home—it’s easier if everything just goes right the first time! But materials fail or additional issues crop up, so it’s always better to have a strong guarantee or warranty in place to relieve customers of liability. Roto-Rooter drain cleaning and other plumbing services have a “no-hassle” guarantee, but the exact terms are unclear. Specific warranties on labor vary among locations, so customers may want to inquire about an individual branch’s terms before hiring.

On the other hand, Mr. Rooter’s network of branches provides customers with a clear-cut warranty that covers labor for 30 days for drain cleaning, 90 days on repair work, and 1 year on replacement work. These solid terms, plus the support of Mr. Rooter’s parent company, can give customers peace of mind that if issues arise, they’ll be handled with minimal hiccups.

Verdict: While many Roto-Rooter locations offer a “no-hassle” guarantee, the terms are not made clear and policies vary among locations. Conversely, all Mr. Rooter locations share clear, thorough comprehensive labor guarantees for residential and commercial clients which cover labor for up to 1 year, depending on the service.

Winner: Mr. Rooter

Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter
Photo: istockphoto.com

7. Mr. Rooter vs. Roto-Rooter: Customer Reviews

Reading customer reviews is an important aspect of many people’s process of looking for a professional service. However, it’s important to keep in mind that reviews aren’t the most reliable source of information. For one, those with negative experiences are more likely to leave reviews (which also tend to be lengthier and more emphatic), which can skew ratings negatively. Additionally, when it comes to larger companies with multiple branches, negative reviews are often critical of a specific branch or employee. This type of complaint reflects less on the company as a whole. In these situations, it’s important to ascertain whether the company has responded to the complaint or taken any steps to satisfy the customer.

Mr. RooterRoto-Rooter
Better Business Bureau
  • A+ rating
  • Accredited since 1992
  • 100 percent complaint-response rate
  • 1 complaint in the past 12 months
  • Not rated
  • Accredited since 2015
  • 100 percent complaint-response rate
  • 250 complaints in the past 12 months
Trustpilot
  • 2.4 stars out of 5
  • 33 reviews
  • 1.5 stars out of 5
  • 78 reviews

*As of February 2023

As noted earlier, Mr. Rooter maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with a 100 percent complaint-response rate and only one complaint filed in the past 12 months. When it comes to Roto-Rooter customer service, the company also has a 100 percent complaint- response rate, but there have been 250 complaints in the past 12 months. Since Roto-Rooter has three times the number of locations that Mr. Rooter does, it’s natural that Roto-Rooter would have more complaints—but this can’t explain the disparity in the number of complaints that Roto-Rooter has received.

Reviews on Trustpilot are closer: Mr. Rooter has 2.4 stars out of 5 with 33 reviews, and Roto-Rooter reviews come in at 1.5 stars out of 5 with 78 reviews. Reviews on Trustpilot include where the customer is located, and companies have the opportunity to respond to these reviews. Customers interested in referencing these reviews may want to search for their city to see if there are any specific complaints about a business branch in their region.

Verdict: Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter both hold mixed ratings on Trustpilot. But with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and minimal complaints filed, Mr. Rooter edges out Roto-Rooter for customer satisfaction.

Winner: Mr. Rooter

Verdict: With a solid reputation, a comprehensive range of services, and a clear-cut guarantee, Mr. Rooter is our pick for customers looking for a plumbing service. But there’s no need to count Roto-Rooter out—with 600 locations and a long business history, Roto-Rooter can provide services to many customers nationwide.

For those looking to hire a plumbing service, Mr. Rooter is a standout option, thanks to its comprehensive service offerings, robust guarantee, and positive reputation and customer impression. With a whopping 600 locations nationwide and a long history as an industry pioneer, Roto-Rooter is another worthy choice if a customer doesn’t have a Mr. Rooter branch nearby.