Are you in need of a reliable and competent plumber, but you just don’t know how to make sure that you’re choosing the best one? Have you received suggestions from just about everyone you know, but you’re still reluctant to make a decision?
Consider the following tips before hiring a plumber:
- License – It is very important to only work with a licensed plumber. Find out if the company you are looking at only employees licensed plumbers by check their website and asking them on the phone. You should also ask the plumber who shows up on your doorstep to show you his license. He should be carrying it with him. The last thing you want is an inexperienced and poorly trained plumber making mistakes on your house (it happens). Any trustworthy and reliable plumber is licensed in the region in which they operate. Ask for proof they have indeed licensed plumbers and not just some hacks with a truck, some water heaters thrown on the flatbed trailer and selling them door to door (happens too frequently, unfortunately). If your region doesn’t have a governing body that licenses plumbers, check the BBB in your area or Chamber of Commerce and inquire about complaints about the firm.
- Insurance – Even small operators need to hold general liability insurance. They could be dealing with a gas line in your home, anything could happen to your house and the neighboring buildings. No insurance, no work! Before hiring a plumber, confirm that they are registered with your province’s workers compensation board (WCB) and that their registration is in good standing. This will protect you financially if they are injured while working on your property.
- If you hire a general contractor or handyman to do plumbing work on your home, this may void your house insurance – especially if your home is damaged due to the work that they have done. For instance, you may not be covered for water damage if your home is flooded because you had an unlicensed worker doing plumbing work.
- The length of Time in Business / Experience – Ask the plumber how long they have been in business, and if recently knew, ask what firm they worked at to gain their experience. The more experience and the longer the company has been open, the better the quality of work.
- Pricing – The plumber will know what he or she needs to do complete the job and give accurate pricing, barring any unforeseen problems of course. Make sure you get at least 3 estimates, and if one is considerably lower, chances are that is an inexperienced plumber looking to snatch up the work, rather than an experienced plumber who will do the job right for you. If the plumber refuses to warranty their work, I would highly suggest selecting another local plumber.
- Warranty – What do you do if you pay a plumber to make a repair or install a fixture and then discover a problem after the plumber has left? Will you have to pay the plumber to come back and fix the problem they should have fixed the first time? All plumbers should warranty both their workmanship and the products/parts that they sell you. Ask them for the manufacturer warranty information and inquire if they warranty the workmanship.
- References/Reviews – Reading a plumber’s website along with their best reviews from their most satisfied customers can leaving you feeling good about any guy with a wrench, but that doesn’t mean he’s a professional plumber. Explore a plumber’s ratings on Google Places for Business, Yelp.ca, and HomeStars.com. In today’s day of age, you should be able to find online reviews about the plumber you are looking to hire. If they have no reviews, ask them for some references. If they have negative reviews, look at how they handle the complaints and in particular how quickly they responded. Everyone has bad days – including plumbers, and you can’t please everyone. So it’s normal to see a few bad reviews. Just because they have negative reviews, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good plumber. After all, I’d much rather have a plumber who took care of complaint with a customer, then one with glowing reviews from 1 or 2 customers online.
Get Multiple Quotes
It’s usually a good idea to get three quotes and find out what’s included in the quote: see what they are charging for labor, materials, and any additional charges. Additional fees can really add up. Fees companies charge can include a fee for providing a quote, a dispatch fee, a fee for traveling to your home, higher fees for overtime outside of normal business hours, and fees for specialized equipment that may be necessary to complete your job.
You’ll also want to find out if the plumbing company charges by the job or by the hour. Good companies can use either method, but we’ve seen uncompetitive companies take advantage of people using both methods as well. If the price is important to you, make sure to get a number of quotes because prices quoted from company to company can vary greatly.
For some jobs, it may be difficult or impossible for a plumber to give you a quote over the phone. They’ll need to take a look at the place you need the work done.
Don’t assume that the lowest price is always the best. You often get what you pay for. A plumber’s rates should be fair and competitive, but you won’t know if the first plumber you call is competitive until you get a couple more quotes.