When you have plumbing issues in your home, they should be diagnosed and repaired by a competent plumber. By doing this, you'll avoid further damage and the complications that often come with DIYing it.
When hiring a plumber, you might want to look beyond hiring a do-it-all handyman. According to a Houston plumbing company, “The first thing you want to be sure of is that you are hiring a plumbing company as opposed to a handyman who also does plumbing.” You want someone that lives and breaths plumbing, not someone who does it as a hobby.
Here are some important things you should know before putting your faith in a plumber.
The Plumber Should be Licensed, Bonded and Insured
Even though most states require plumbers to be licensed, each state has unique requirements. You can ask the plumbing company if their plumbers are licensed or ask the plumber that comes to your home for their specific license number.
Your state should have a contractor’s licensing website that will allow you to search for the license number and verify that the plumber is indeed licensed. Do not take a risk and hire an unlicensed plumber.
Also, ask if the plumber is bonded and insured. That way, if the plumber somehow causes more damage to your property while he’s working, he’ll have the resources to cover the damages.
You Should Have an Idea of the Cost Upfront
A reputable plumbing company will give you an upfront estimate of the work costs. Do not accept a verbal estimate. Instead, the estimate needs to be in writing, and it needs to detail exactly what parts and labor charges are included.
Ask about any additional charges that may apply to the job. For instance, ask about potential problems that could come up during the visit, which could cause extra parts or labor.
Some jobs, however, may be quoted at a flat rate, such as the installation of a new sink or water heater. If that’s the case, there should not be any unexpected charges outside of the quoted price.
You Should Know What’s Included in the Bid
Ask if cleanup is included in the bid. If it’s not, find out if there is an additional fee and decide whether you want to pay it.
If you don’t want to pay extra, you may have to haul off cumbersome items, such as your old water heater or dispose of packaging.
The Work Should Be Guaranteed
It’s important that the plumbing company you hire offers a guarantee for their work. Then, if the problem reoccurs or something installed fails, the plumber will have to come back and fix it free of charge.
Without a guarantee, you may end up having to pay additional costs if problems occur after the fact.
You Should Know When Payment is Expected
Depending on the plumbing company or plumber, you may be expected to pay a down payment before work begins. You can expect a down payment of up to 50% depending on the job.
For more extensive plumbing work, you may be able to request a payment plan. If they don't offer those kinds of terms, you may need to look elsewhere.
If you’re planning to pay for the job with a credit card, you’ll need to know if that is acceptable as well. Although most service providers accept credit cards, there are always exceptions.
Check for Reviews
One good way to find out if a plumber or plumbing company has a good reputation is to check online reviews. Take some time to search for and read relevant online reviews.
If the majority of reviews online indicate that customers are satisfied with the work performed, that’s good. If there are numerous negative reviews, however, consider those as red flags.
Also, look at the date stamped on the reviews. Negative reviews from several years ago could be a non-issue now if current reviews are positive.
Ask for References
Don’t hesitate to ask for references before hiring a plumber. Although it’s unlikely that they would give you contact information for someone they know would give them a bad reference. I mean — who would do that? Instead, they may give you the contact information of someone who is displeased with them but didn't voice it.
Sometimes, if the issue wasn’t serious, people won’t complain to the service provider. However, that doesn't mean they aren't willing to talk to other people about their negative experience.
Also, if you noticed the plumber you are considering hiring has done work for someone in your neighborhood, you can also ask them for their opinion of the work. It doesn't hurt to ask, right?