Choosing a Plumber
The best time to look for a plumber is before a plumbing emergency arises. Unfortunately, in most cases, people facing an emergency won’t have time to learn more about a plumber. A leaky toilet or a wet basement ceiling (because of a broken pipe upstairs) requires urgent attention.
First talk to someone you trust – maybe a friend or acquaintance who owns a home. Most people, at one time or another, have used a plumber and can recommend someone with a good reputation.
These people deal with plumbers often and typically have reliable opinions on different local plumbers, the kind of work they do and their pricing. These people deal with plumbers from time to time and generally have accurate opinions about many local plumbers, their work quality and the competitiveness of their pricing.
Doing Services The Right Way
Also talk to the real estate agent you worked with when you bought your home. Most agents will be happy to help their former clients.
Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Plumbing? This May Help
When you call a plumber, unless after business hours, don’t simply leave your name and contact number on their answering machine. If a child picks up the phone, be suspicious. Some reputable plumbers, especially in small communities or rural areas, do work out of their homes, but most of them are professional enough to take calls themselves, or at least employ an electronic receptionist.
When speaking to the plumber, ask for their license number. Don’t feel nervous – say you need it to claim homeowner’s insurance.
Also remember to ask if they have insurance, and ask for proof. Even the best plumbers cause accidental damage to plumbing structures or the system itself. They may even cause accidental injury to themselves while performing their task, so you need them to have worker’s compensation as well. In case you or anyone in your household is accidentally injured, that will fall under their liability insurance.
Of course, you need to be very clear about price and costs before the job rolls out. Reputable plumbers will give you a written estimate or at least an estimate with a maximum price, except when the problem concerns the interior of a closed wall or ceiling. In that scenario, the plumber may hesitate to quote a firm bid until he has actually inspected the structures. This is where you can ask for a “worst-case scenario” quote.
Finally, check if the plumber offers a service warranty. If they can’t guarantee their own work for a realistic period, they are not worth considering. Unless your pipes and fixtures were very old to begin with, a good plumber will always come back to fix whatever problem there is after his first visit.