Maybe you just purchased your first home. Perhaps you moved to a new city and everything is unfamiliar. Whatever the case may be, finding a plumber that does quality work and you can trust should be a top priority. Even though there are a million other things you’re probably focused on with your home, you should be prepared if you encounter a plumbing emergency. But how do you know who you can trust to do a thorough job at a fair price? With so many plumbers to choose from, making the right choice can seem overwhelming. To help make the process of finding the right plumber easier, we’ve listed the best questions to ask them below.
Are You Licensed?
This question seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised to know how many general contractors are not licensed. In order to become a licensed plumbing contractor, apprentices have to undergo rigorous schooling, training and testing. If your plumber has gone through all the steps to become licensed, they know what they’re doing and have the skills to handle any plumbing issue that comes their way.
If you try to hire someone that isn’t licensed because their rates are cheaper you could be putting yourself in some real danger. Not only is it illegal, but this person likely lacks the knowledge of local, state and federal building codes and can’t draw the permits necessary to do the job. If work is done without the proper documentation you open yourself up to fines and potentially having the entire project shut down.
Who Are Your References?
Any reliable residential or commercial plumber has plenty of experience and providing references shouldn’t be a problem at all. In an age where the internet makes information so readily available, it’s a good idea to google your plumbers’ name or business and look for testimonials. If the plumber is just starting out in business or doesn’t have favorable testimonials, it could be a sign the work they do is suspect or they might not have the experience to do the necessary work.
Are You Insured?
Beyond having a license, having proper insurance says a lot about a plumber. Make sure your plumber is bonded, has builder’s risk and workman’s compensation insurance so you’re protected from any unexpected liabilities. The reality is that mistakes happen and things go wrong occasionally. A reputable plumber will have all the necessary insurance to make sure he’s covered and you won’t end up with any unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
Even though longevity doesn’t always guarantee quality work, it says a lot about an individual or company. Plumbers wouldn’t be able to survive if no one came to them for help. If a plumber has been in business for years or decades, it’s likely that they have a loyal customer base that trusts them to get the job done right and on time.
What Are Your Specialties?
When you ask a new plumber what he specializes in you gain valuable insight as to whether or not they are going to be a good fit for the work you need to have done. As an example, if a plumber specializes in emergency fixes and repairs, they might not be the best option for a bathroom or kitchen remodel. If your plumber says they are an expert in everything without giving any specifics it doesn’t mean they aren’t telling the truth, but you may want to do some additional research before you make the hire.
What Are Your Service Fees?
Most plumbers will charge a service fee for simply showing up at your home and providing an estimate. This might seem unfair but remember, time is money to plumbers and they wouldn’t be able to put food on the table if they just ran around and gave free bids all day. Knowing what these costs are upfront however, will save you the agony of unexpected expenses and help you make a choice that fits within your budget.
Are Your Service Contractors Independently Licensed?
Just because the plumber that owns the company came out and gave you the initial bid doesn’t mean they will be the one performing the work. Maybe they are so busy with other jobs that they have to employ a service contractor to do the work on your home. Making sure all a plumbers’ service contractors are licensed and insured lets you know that any work performed will be to the same professional standards as the owner of the company. If you’re still unsure, you can politely ask for a list of references for service contractors to help put your mind at ease.
There’s nothing wrong with thoroughly vetting a new plumber to make sure they are a good fit for the job you need done. After all, you’re the one spending your hard-earned money and having proper plumbing in your home is a must. When you ask some of the tough questions though, keep in mind that properly qualified plumbers are a rare breed that take tremendous pride in their work. After all, if they develop a bad reputation chances are they won’t be in business for very long. So, do your homework and ask the questions, but remember to do so respectively and your plumbing experience will be all the better.