When you need to hire a local plumber, it’s never a good idea to go in blindly. This is because plumbers charge a wide variety of prices for the numerous different services they provide. Many people find themselves only interested in finding whether their local plumber can complete the work they require. However, there’s so much more that should be considered when selecting a local plumber.
Here are 22 questions you can ask every local plumber you get in touch with.
What Is Their Service Area?
Begin by making sure that the plumber you’ve found is located in your area. For example, if you live in Texas, perhaps begin your search for a plumber online by keying in Dallas plumber. When giving a prospective plumber a call, be sure to ask them if they service your town. Search engines can be tricky, as you don’t always give you the results you’re searching for.
What Is Their Physical Address?
After you’ve made sure, they serve your area, be sure to write down the plumber’s physical address. This is because most genuine, trusted local plumbing companies would have physical addresses, not simply PO boxes. Not only is this helpful in confirming they’re legitimate, but it’ll ensure you can visit if you have questions you need to ask in person, or if you encounter problems they need to be aware of.
Are They Licensed?
The opening question you should ask every local plumber is whether they’re licensed or not. If a plumber is licensed, this shows that they’re professional enough to handle any plumbing job that you have for them, with the expertise required. Plumbers who are licensed should be up to date with building codes and any necessary safety requirements. They’ve also likely been audited to ensure their work is of acceptable quality.
If a plumber is unlicensed, they may make costly mistakes, and their work may not pass inspection or be up to code. Unlicensed plumbers aren’t able to pull permits that are needed for specific plumbing jobs, which essentially makes your plumbing work illegal and potentially subject to fines or stoppages.
Are They Insured?
Being insured is another important aspect to look for when hiring a quality plumber. When a plumber is insured, this gives you the additional security that you need should an accident or error happen. Without insurance, if an unexpected mistake comes to light, you’ll be stuck with the consequences, no matter how costly they may be. A plumber equipped with the proper insurance can work on your project with confidence, and you won’t have to worry about having to pay for unexpected costs due to some unforeseen problems.
How Established Are They?
Nobody wants to take the risk of water flooding inside their home. So, it’s a good idea to avoid inexperienced plumbers or companies that are newly established—particularly for large jobs. Before booking in a job, find out how long the company has been in business.
For example, if a plumbing business has been in service in your area for ten years, then the chances are you’re dealing with a top-quality professional. With so much competition out there, if a plumber isn’t doing a good job, then they’ll likely be out of business before you know it.
Can You See Their References?
It’s a good idea to get objective reviews of the plumbing company and check their online reviews to see what past customers are saying. While you’re on their website, ask for their credentials and references. Here are some questions that you can ask their past clients or look for in public reviews:
- Were they pleased with the job performed?
- Was the job completed in the time agreed?
- Did any unexpected expenses arise?
- Would they use this plumber again?
- Do they recommend this plumber?
Who Will Actually Be Performing The Work?
It’s important to ask who will be performing the plumbing work because some companies utilize subcontractors to do their jobs. The plumbing company itself may be completely reputable, but they may hire subcontractors that aren’t. Be sure to confirm who exactly will be doing the work in your home, and make sure that this particular individual is a licensed plumber, themself. Don’t be afraid to ask what level of experience and qualifications they have.
Does The Company Do Background Checks On Their Employees?
The plumber you hire is going to be in the presence of your precious family and possessions. One cannot be too careful these days. Particularly if someone is going to have access to your home when you’re not there, it’s vital you’re sure they can be trusted. Ask if their employees are drug tested and if they conduct background checks when they hire new staff.
Do They Charge Hourly Or A Flat Rate?
Before you sign a contract, be sure to find out if they’re going to charge you an hourly rate or a flat rate. For example, find out if the quote is likely to change due to labor costs, or whether the plumber is quoting you an hourly rate plus the cost of materials. The problem with an hourly rate plus materials is that the cost of the job will keep going up if the job runs longer than expected.
What Are Their Service Fees?
Many plumbers charge a service fee just for coming to your home, commonly referred to as a call-out fee. Before your local plumber even turns up to work, you need to find out what they’re going to charge you for coming out and giving you an estimate. Most of the time, the service fee is non-negotiable, so be sure to account for this figure upfront.
When Do They Expect Payment?
Find out if payment is expected upfront or after the job has been completed. If any plumber asks for complete payment of the job cost before they even begin, it may be best to find another. Some companies will ask for payments when certain portions of the job have been completed, or when certain milestones have been reached. Others will ask to be paid on a specific schedule or by a set date. Keep in mind that if a plumber wants to be paid on a schedule, you are at the mercy of their pace. If you haven’t worked with them before, this may not be the best arrangement.
Do They Charge For Travel Time?
Even if you’re hiring a plumber from a neighboring town, some will charge travel fees. You won’t want to pay for them to drive to and from your home if you have a choice. Be sure to ask them ahead of time if they charge for travel time, so you don’t find an unexpected expense added to your final bill.
How Soon Can They Arrive?
If you have an important plumbing problem, you logically need to know how quickly your local plumber can take care of your situation. On the other hand, even if you have a large job that’s less pressing, you’ll need to plan and book in a time when they can come, that doesn’t interfere too much with your schedule. A professional establishment will work with your availability to determine the best day and time to get started.
Do They Have A 24-Hour Emergency Service?
If you’re having major plumbing works done, find out whether their customer service number is available 24-hours a day and seven days a week. That way, if you have a plumbing emergency in the middle of the night, you’ll be able to speak to someone and arrange for a repairman to come out and assist. It’s in your best interest to find a local plumber ahead of time who you know will be there whenever you need them.
If you are unable to find a local plumbing company with a 24-hour emergency service, be sure to find out the company’s typical response time. This can be crucial in an emergency plumbing situation. Something that could have been an inexpensive, quick fix can turn into a water damage nightmare if not handled in a timely fashion.
What Are Their Specialties?
Asking what your local plumber specializes in is helpful so you can find a good fit for the project you need to be completed. For example, if you need your bathroom completely gutted and remodeled, make sure the plumber you hire is experienced in this type of extensive job. However, if you have a leaky toilet, a plumber who’s more familiar with small jobs should suffice.
What Do They Charge For Parts?
Many plumbers keep a good stock of all of the parts that they’ll need to service your home with them. However, what if they run into a situation where they need to buy a part that they don’t have on hand? If they have to take a trip and buy a special plumbing part for your home, will they charge you anything extra for doing so? Be sure to ask about any costs associated with new or specialized plumbing parts.
Do They Have The Right Equipment For The Job?
You don’t want to have to hire a second plumber to finish the job that your first plumber didn’t have the equipment to complete. For instance, if you have a clog in a drain line, will your plumber have a camera to find it, or will they use a drain snake and hope for the best?
Another situation will be if there’s a problem in your sewer line that runs across your property. Instead of making the necessary repairs with little damage, they could tell you they’re going to have to dig up your entire yard. In situations like these, the right equipment is particularly essential.
Is Cleanup Included?
It may seem silly to think that anyone doing work in your home would leave a mess behind, but some have no problem doing just that. Some plumbing companies won’t clean up after themselves, so that you may be left with old fixtures, boxes, and a dirty mess. Be sure to inquire whether cleanup is included in any written estimate that they provide you with.
What If Something Breaks?
Before you sign on the dotted line, ask if there’s a warranty or some guarantee included in the work being performed. Some will offer to come back within a year free of charge, while others will have a conditional-type warranty. Whatever warranty they offer, be sure to get it in writing, or it isn’t very worthy.
How Do They Ensure Customer Satisfaction?
It’s one thing to claim you do quality work, and it’s another entirely to back that up with a promise. What if they complete the job and you’re not happy with the outcome? If you believe they’ve done substandard work, you need to know whether they’ll offer any reparations. Find out ahead of time whether they offer any satisfaction guarantee. If so, be sure to get that in writing as well.
Will They Give You An Estimate in Writing?
Even if your local plumber agrees to give you a written estimate, it’s crucial them what type of estimate it is. If it’s a firm estimate, it should be the amount you’re required to pay, no matter how much time or what materials are needed. If it’s a cap estimate, this means the cost will not exceed the amount shown. If it’s a ballpark estimate, then the final figure is subject to change. Confirm whether they’re providing you with the total cost or an approximation.
Can the Problem Be Fixed in One Service Call?
Many people assume that after one visit and one bill, it’s all said and done. However, this isn’t always true. Be sure to ask how many appointments the plumber is going to need to get the job done and if the estimate covers all of the appointments needed for completion.
Hiring a great local plumber involves asking many questions to make sure they’re a good fit for your needs. With that being said, it’s a good idea to ask only those who are of importance to you. Asking too many questions may cause them to feel mistrusted by you before they even begin their work. Establishing a good relationship with a plumbing professional in your area should ensure the job is completed to a high standard.