So… the hose bib on the side of their house was old, leaking and the stem was stripped badly enough that the oval knob wouldn’t even fit on it, much less turn the valve anymore.
A phone call to one of those big plumbing companies in the area (one that you see advertizing on TV all the time with a really annoying jingle) left them with a $300 estimate that would require cutting a hole through the master bedroom wall. (And did not include the sheet rock repair after replacing the sweat-on fitting.)
What I did, on the other hand… was call around the area to plumbing supply businesses to find the same type of hose bib – a Matco brand with a 1/2″ washer-type valve stem with top packing washer. It turns out that practically no one sells the replacement valves for these anymore – this isn’t a part you’ll find at Lowes or Home Depot; but buying a whole new unit itself was a grand total of $6.81. (I simply removed the valve stem from the new one and the actual brass housing went in the recycle bin.)
At that point all that was left to do onsite was turn the water supply off, remove the old valve stem, screw the new one in, tighten (enough but NOT too much)… and turn the water supply back on. A permanent fix; that took about 5 – 10 minutes.
I did go ahead and charge them an hour’s worth of labor for the time spent hunting around and the drive across town to a plumbing supply house that had these in stock. Grand total? $51.81. For that estimated $300 dollar job. Do you ever wonder what all that advertising on TV costs?