Finding a really good plumber is not as easy as running a quick online search and calling the first phone number you run across. Plumbing is no different than any other industry in that there are some who are better at it than others. The tricky thing is finding a plumber that will do the job right and not rip you off in the process.
So, how do you find the best plumber for the job? Salt City Plumbing, a local plumbing company serving customers in Salt Lake City, Utah area, says you have to shop around. You have to look at online reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). When you actually start calling plumbers, you have to ask questions.
Salt City Plumbing recommends asking the following five questions before you hire someone:
1. Are you licensed?
States regulate plumbers in different ways, but most require licenses. There are generally three types of people plumbing companies send into the field: apprentices, journeyman, and master plumbers. The apprentice is not licensed. The journeyman and master plumber are.
An apprentice is someone who is learning the trade. A journeyman is a plumber who has completed their apprenticeship and passed a state licensing exam. A master plumber, in most states, has steadily worked as a journeyman for at least five years and passed a more advanced licensing exam.
2. Are you insured?
It is a bad idea to hire any home repair contractor who is uninsured. Fortunately, nearly every state requires contractors to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. When researching plumbers, ask for proof of insurance before you agree to hire.
3. Will you provide references?
A good plumber proud of their work should be happy to supply references. Ask for them. And when they are provided, actually check them. You can learn a lot about a plumber by talking with previous customers about their experiences.
4. Are you willing to provide a detailed estimate?
A big part of shopping around for a plumber is getting estimates for the work you need done. The more estimates you can get, the better prepared you will be to make an informed decision. However, don’t settle for generic estimates that only give you a bottom-line price. Ask for detailed estimates.
A detailed estimate lists all the materials the plumber expects to use. It also includes labor fees. The reason for asking for a detailed estimate is to prevent the plumber from slipping in extra fees and charges once the job is done. Most won’t do that, but you can never be too careful.
5. What are your payment policies?
This final question is pretty broad. It covers a number of things, including how the plumber charges for service. Some charge flat fees for each type of job while others charge an hourly rate. You need to know this going in.
The payment policy question also covers when payment is due and the types of payments the plumber expects. Some plumbing companies ask for a deposit in order to secure their time. Others don’t. As for types of payment, checks and credit cards are the norm. A few plumbers still accept cash payments.
Asking the right questions goes a long way toward making sure that shopping around for a plumber pays off. Just remember that you are ultimately in control. It is your home, and you ultimately decide who works on it. Take your time and make sure you hire a plumber you have complete confidence in. You are less likely to run into problems that way.