When it comes to hiring a plumber to work on your home, it’s never a good idea to go in blind. That’s because plumbing contractors can charge a wide range of prices that all depend on your area and the task you’re calling about. It doesn’t hurt to call a few plumbing companies for an estimate on what they’d charge for repairs, and if the price sounds right, try asking any of the 15 follow up questions to ask a plumber before hiring. These will ensure that the person is truly qualified to handle your repairs.
“Are You Insured, Bonded, or Both?”
Making sure that your plumber is both insured and bonded the best way to ensure that your home and property are protected before, during, and after a plumbing repair. You should verify that your plumber is insured and bonded, just in case, your problem persists even after the plumber has left. Strictly bonded plumbers are different from insured plumbers in that if the plumber does a poor job, a surety bond will cover the damages and price of repair, whereas an insured plumber is covered by an insurance policy that outlines what it will and will not cover. Ideally, a plumber should be both bonded and insured.
“Who Cleans Up the Mess?”
This question may not be the first to cross a homeowner’s mind, but it can become a point of contention if left unaddressed. There are some companies that do not require their technicians to clean up after themselves, so it’s always best to ask whether or not clean up is included in their estimate price.
“Are You Doing the Work Yourself?”
It’s not always the person on the other end of the line that ends up doing the repairs. Larger plumbing companies often have multiple technicians on hand at any given time, and for larger jobs, some are even known to subcontract third parties to take care of the more laborious work. If the plumber you’re talking to is not the one doing the job, feel free to ask them about the experience and training of the specific plumber that will be doing the repairs.
“When Do I Pay You?”
You and your plumber should set clear expectations for when they are to be paid. Failing to do this could lead to major complications down the road. Depending on the size of your job and the plumber you choose, you may find yourself making one large upfront payment, a set of ‘milestone’ payments after a certain task is completed, or some other form of installments. Also, be sure to tell them your preferred method of payment before they start your work, as some plumbers may not certain forms of payment, like credit cards or bitcoin.
“Is This the Total Cost?”
You’d be right to be skeptical of a free, over-the-phone estimate, as the actual repair can end up being much more expensive than the one you described over the phone! Make sure to choose a plumber that will come to your home to inspect the problem in person. Even though this route might cost a few extra dollars, it could end up saving you hundreds in the long run. Be sure to ask if the price quoted in the estimate includes everything from the labor to the materials used. If not, a seemingly reasonable estimate could take an expensive turn fast.
“Do You Charge Hourly or Flat Rate?”
Most of the smaller plumbing repairs are usually covered in one flat rate fee – meaning that regardless of any extra expenses that came up during the repair, the quoted price will remain the same. Don’t be fooled though, there are some plumbers out there that will add conditions to your contract that charge the homeowner for any reasonable costs that might occur during the job, allowing them to charge you extra for anything from additional hours they spend on the job to extra parts that they had to buy.
“Are You a Licensed Professional?
This is the number one question you need to ask any plumber before allowing them to do work on your home. Most homeowners assume that plumbers need to be licensed to work, which is technically true, but in reality, it’s a fact that many plumbers operate without the proper licensing. Always ask for their license number and then verify it online to make sure that the plumber you hire has the experience and expertise to remedy your plumbing problem.
“What is Your Physical Address?”
A genuine trusted, and local plumbing company will have a physical address where it gets its mail sent, somewhere on its website. This is important because it gives customers a location to visit in case they have a question they’d like to ask in person or a problem they need to report.
“Do You Have Any References?”
Having references in the form of reviews on their website, past clients you can contact, or Google reviews and Yelp reviews is a great way to get a better idea of the quality of work that plumber does. Not only will these help you find a qualified plumber, but it will also give you a better idea of what that particular plumber’s area of expertise is.
“What Are Your Service Fees?”
Service fees usually stem from plumbing contractors coming out to your house to give you an estimate for your repair job. Usually, this fee is non-negotiable, so it’s better to know upfront how much they charge for an inspection before having them come out to you.
“How Long Do You Typically Take To Respond?”
This is especially important for anyone with a plumbing emergency since something as small as a five-minute delay could end up costing a homeowner thousands of dollars. Getting to know a 24-hour plumber is the best way to avoid something like this from ever happening to your home.
“What Are Your Specialties?”
If you need a water heater installed, and you know that one plumber specializes in water heater installations, and another one is really good at drain cleanings but doesn’t have much experience installing residential water heaters, wouldn’t it make more sense to go to the first guy? Yeah, we think so too. It’s best to know a plumber’s strong and weak suits to filter for one that better fits your home’s needs.
“How Much Do You Charge for Parts?”
Plumbers usually have a van equipped with any and all of the tools and parts they’ll ever need for a job. Rarely though, they find that they’ve come unprepared and have to rush off to the store to purchase a part they need to complete a job. “But who pays for this part?” you might ask. Well, hopefully, you’ve already discussed this before having the plumber come out to do the repair, and you know for a fact that it’s not you.
“Do You Offer A Warranty?”
Getting a warranty on the work that you’ve had done to your home is the only way to truly ensure that the job will get done right… even if it takes a few tries. What better guarantee of work can you get than a plumber agreeing to come back to repair a problem for free, should it ever arise again? It gives the plumber an incentive to get the job done right the first time, saving him the hassle of having to come back on his own dime.
“How Experienced Are You?”
You should try to choose a plumbing company that has been in business for at least a year or two. Not only does this make getting a warranty more reasonable, but it also tells you that the business has stood the test of time and has a better chance of providing you with a quality experience.
Finding the right plumber for your job can be tough – but it doesn’t have to be. By asking these simple questions, you’ll be able to get a better idea of who you are working with, what their experience is, and what they are capable of doing. Knowing what to ask and having an open dialogue with your potential plumbing contractor will help you screen for only the best – but if you’re still having trouble finding a quality plumbing, trying contacting a locally licensed plumbing professional for help.