If you’re dealing with plumbing problems, you definitely need a professional plumber to solve them. The question is, while there are many plumbers out there, how do you choose a real, reliable expert?
Here are things to consider when choosing a plumber:
This is the number one factor you should look into. Know if your prospective plumber has a license, and if he does, ask for evidence. What do you lose by hiring an unlicensed plumber? His work may be rejected by inspectors, and you may have to redo the job all over again.
Insurance and Bond
You may not need an insured or bonded plumber for small projects, but if you’re hiring someone for a big job, then these two are a must. Both will keep you protected financially in the event of accidental injuries and property damage related to the work.
If somebody wants to provide a quote through the phone, be doubtful. Professional plumbers will always come to check out the job before they begin. Upon studying the quote, know if it already covers labor and materials, as well as a contingency. Some estimates look fantastic on paper until they skyrocket as the job continues.
Hourly Rate or Flat Rate
When you get an estimate, ask the plumber if you’ll be quote a flat rate (won’t change regardless of labor costs) or an hourly rate plus the cost of materials. The issue with the second option is that while the materials’ prices are fixed, you can still end up paying more if the job drags long. In any case, sign the contract only if you’re sure you’ve understood everything in it.
Aside from knowing how much you have to pay, you also need to be aware of when you are expected to make the payment. Some plumbers go by “milestones” – when a part of the work is completed, you have to pay a certain percentage. Others go by time – for example, every three days, every week, etc. What you have to totally avoid is a plumber who requires you to pay the full quote at the beginning of the project.
This may sound like it has an obvious answer, but believe it or not, some plumbers will just leave their mess and let you clean it up yourself. Don’t forget to ask if cleanup is included in the quote, and if not, they should tell you why.
Guarantee or Warranty
Lastly, some plumbers will come back in a year’s time to check for issues and fix them if any, while others will wait for you to call them when there are problems. The point is to have some kind of warranty or guarantee, and it must be in writing. Why should you trust a plumber who can’t even stand by his own work?