Hiring a plumber can be a stressful situation, especially if you are facing a plumbing emergency. In order to make the process less stressful, it is best to start looking for your perfect plumber before an emergency situation occurs. Before starting, ask your friends and neighbors for plumber recommendations before checking out the yellow pages. Once you develop a short list of recommended plumbers, the process begins.
Ask Important Questions
The first thing you need to do with your list of plumbers is contact them and ask them important questions. Find out information about their company. How long has the company been in business? Do they provide 24-hour services in case of an emergency? Does a professional person answer the phone or an automated computer? These are important factors to consider when evaluating whether or not this pluming company can help you during an emergency situation. By getting a grasp on the company, you are able to start seeing if they will be there when a plumbing disaster strikes.
You now need to find out more information about your plumber. Ask the individual whether he or she is licensed, and if so, what his/her license number is. A licensed plumber is important because they carry workers’ compensation insurance and also provide liability coverage. Unlike an unlicensed plumber, they have to obtain all necessary permits for all plumbing jobs.
You should also find out if he/she is in a professional trade organization such as the Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors or the Institute of Plumbing. Plumbers in trade organizations are required to stick to a specific code of practice and the organization will offer recourse if anything goes wrong. If something happens to your plumber mid-project, the organization will generally offer you a new plumber to complete the job. Contact the trade organization to verify that the plumber is registered and to find out their policies.
Now that you have a professional background on your plumber and his/her company, you need to complete a personal background check. Ask for a list of their previous and current customers and phone numbers for references. Contact them to make sure that he/she really will complete projects professionally. You might also want to check with your state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (for example, Florida's DOACS) to check if any complaints have been filed against your potential plumber.
Deal with Price Issues
The last thing you need to do before selecting your professional plumbing contractor is to receive bids on the project. By receiving a few bids, you can make sure that the plumber will not be ripping you off. Ask your plumber to write down the exact work that needs to be done and what the price will be. Sometimes the lower cost is not necessarily the best option.
Consider Plumbing Supplies
Experienced plumbers will go out and purchase the best supplies to fit your job. If you purchase your own plumbing supplies—such as sinks and faucets—you run the risk of them not fitting and wasting your plumber’s time to go out and purchase more. You may also run the risk of you and the plumber not being sure whose responsibility it is if a fixture you purchased and the plumber installation goes wrong; however, they are generally willing do any repairs on supplies they bought. Keep in mind that the fixtures plumbers sell you are ones they receive at a discount, but are charging you full price in order to make money. An honest and professional contractor is key in getting your project completed.
Draft a Contract
Now that you have checked the background of your plumber and reached a price quote, you need to draft a contract to make sure there is an equal understanding of what needs done in this plumbing project. Include his/her full name, address, and license number. Write down the start and completion date, especially if you need the project done by a certain day. Attach a copy of the plumber’s quote and how the payments will be handled. Include a description of the work to be completed and a list of any materials to be purchased. This will provide you with all the details of the project, as well as a signed agreement in the event you need to bring your plumber to court.
Before deciding on your plumber, weigh the professional and personal background you received to make sure he or she will be the best option for you. Remember that sometimes the most talked about companies are not necessarily well-known for the right reasons. Research your future plumber and keep his/her contact information near in case of a plumbing emergency.