Tips for Choosing a Quality Plumber
The best time for choosing a plumber is prior to a plumbing emergency. Unfortunately, in most cases, people facing an emergency won’t have time to learn more about a plumber. A leaking toilet or a basement ceiling that is wet from a broken pipe above it, requires immediate help.
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.
Try talking to a contractor or builder too if you know one. 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.
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Also speak to the real estate agent who helped you buy your home. Most agents will be happy to help their former clients.
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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 be shy – just say you’ll turn the claim into your homeowner’s insurance agent and that they require it.
At the same time, check if they are insured and ask for proof. Even with the best plumber in town, accidental damage to your plumbing structures or the system itself is not totally avoidable. They may even cause accidental injury to themselves while performing their task, so you should hire a plumber who is also covered by worker’s compensation. 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. Most reliable plumbers will give you a written quote, or at least a quote that indicates a ceiling price, unless the plumbing problem concerns a ceiling or a closed wall. In such a case, the plumber might choose not to quote a firm bid until he has actually checked the structures. This is when you might have to ask for a “worst-case scenario” price.
Lastly, make sure you choose a plumber that provides a service warranty. Anyone who can’t stand behind his own work for an acceptable period is a complete waste of your cash and time. 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.