We had a guy out yesterday to give us a quote for replacing our natural gas water heater. He assured us that the rate he quoted was a "standard rate", that "everybody charges the same." He said it was a pretty simple job, though he'd have to lengthen the pipes a little because the new heater will probably be shorter than the current one. He said it would take about 4 hours and cost about $880 for the labor alone.
1) Is there such a thing as "standard rates"?
2) Can a water heater replacement (like for like) really take 4 hours?
By the way, I'm in Asheville, NC. The water heater is in a finished, walk-in basement.