Any household improvement project can be stressful. There are so many decisions to be made. Finding an honest plumber who will start the job on time, work according to schedule, perform quality work, leave the job site clean, and finish within budget makes all the difference.
So before you hire a plumber for your next job, make sure you ask him these five questions:
Licensed? Insured? Bonded?
It’s always wise to check the basics. A professional plumber makes sure he fulfills all state licensing requirements. Requirements vary, so check out your state’s contractor license board to make sure the plumber and the company you’re considering are listed.
The state boards may also list whether the plumber is bonded and insured. A bond will compensate to fix a project in the case of unfinished or shoddy work, generally for projects over $500 or so. Since any worksite has hazards, liability insurance covers unexpected damage, while Workman’s Compensation protects on-site workers in the case of injuries or health issues related to the job.
A professional plumber stands behind his work. Always ask if he has a parts and labor warranty, and make sure you understand the terms just in case you are not satisfied with the completed job.
Keep in mind that fly-by-night plumbers can guarantee their work for a decade, but if the company is no longer around to call, the guarantee isn’t worth the paper it isn’t printed on. So make sure to ask how long the plumber has been in business in the area. A plumber with a local physical address, one who has been working in a community for decades, is a professional who has a vested interest in doing his best for the folks among whom he lives.
A professional plumber won’t flinch when you ask him about fees and payment schedules. Are estimates free or is there an on-site charge? Will the estimate include labor, parts, permit costs, and clean-up? Will the plumber be paid hourly or at a fixed rate? If it’s a large project, how are payments to be meted out over the course of the project?
A busy professional plumber will be in high demand, but he should have workers who can handle small jobs promptly and emergency situations right away. Larger projects will require scheduling, so make sure that he can work to accommodate you and your schedule.
The most important question is left for last. Although services like Yelp have allowed people to post reviews of professionals and their work, often they draw only the crankiest of customers. Make sure to read them (and do read them) with a gimlet eye. A professional plumber who has been working for years will have built up a clientele of satisfied customers, so it’s always wise to supplement those reviews by asking for a few of those names.
Plumbing is a vital part of any home or office improvement job. Installed well, it’s likely that you won’t have to think about it for a century or more, so make sure you hire the best plumber you can find.