Re: standard plumbers' rates
$880 for labor only sounds way too steep! Who's supplying the new water heater and hauling off the old one? My sense is, this guy sees an easy target and by telling you "that's the standard rate" is an indication he's lying through his teeth.
I would call around to several plumbing companies and see what their hourly rate is and whether or not they have a flat fee for waterheater replacements. Give them specifics about access, waterheater type and capacity, your location, etc., they should be able to give you a good ballpark for the entire job.
I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!