We really hope that you’re not reading this blog post about finding a great residential plumber because your kitchen sink has already sprung that proverbial leak! In the event that you are, read on, but read on quickly! However, if you’re a forward-thinking homeowner with preventative plumbing maintenance or construction in mind, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax. Regardless of your situation (honestly, we’re hoping for the coffee scenario), we’re happy to share a few tips for finding a great home plumber in your neighborhood.
1. Find a Plumber You Can Trust
Okay, this seems pretty self-evident. But how, exactly, do you go about finding a plumber you can trust? First, ask for recommendations. Ask your family and friends, bring it up at your next neighborhood association’s meeting or post a comment to neighborhood social media pages. Ask your circle of acquaintances what the plumber did for them and why they are willing to recommend them. Think about how their responses align with the kind of work you have in mind.
Once you have your list of candidates, hit the internet. Look at the plumber’s or plumbing company’s websites to make sure they’re licensed, have expertise in the areas you’re looking for and present themselves professionally online: investigate the Better Business Bureau ratings, and read reviews from reliable sources like Google, Yelp!, Angie’s List or Yellow Pages.
Finally, call the three residential plumbers that come out on top and see which of your finalists blows you away.
Asking the Right Questions:
Sometimes, recommendations just won’t work. For families who are not only new homeowners but also new to the neighborhood; family and friend connections may not be strong enough to tap for home plumbing recommendations. If you’re on your own and starting from scratch, here are seven great questions to ask any professional residential plumber:
Are you licensed?
This is a biggie! If you ask no other questions, you must ask this one. In fact, ask and verify by checking sources like the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List. A licensed plumber is registered with a governing body at a state or local level and is therefore accountable for its work.
What will the total cost be?
Most professional plumbers offer free estimates, it’s just part of doing business. If a plumber wants to give you a “quick” estimate over the phone, beware! In-person estimates are going to be far more accurate. Once you have what you believe to be an accurate estimate, make sure you understand what’s included in the estimate (materials, labor, and a contingency for unforeseen problems).
Is this an hourly or flat rate plumbing project?
Make sure you know whether or not your estimate is a flat rate (one that won’t change, regardless of how long it takes to complete the work) or if your plumber is using an hourly rate plus materials. Obviously, this one is tricky: if the job runs under, you’re golden. If it runs long, your costs are going to climb skyward.
When do you expect payment?
Don’t let yourself be surprised by the money issue and while you’re at it, confirm the types of payment they will accept. If a plumber asks for full payment up front, run away! However, depending on the size of your project, some may ask for payment once certain project milestones have been completed. Others will ask for full payment upon project completion.
Who’s doing the work and how do you vet your employees?
Ask the plumber who is giving you the quote if they’re going to be doing the actual work. If not, find out who will be. Often, larger, established professional plumbing companies employ several plumbers or plumbing teams. Make sure that your plumber is licensed and that all of their teams are led by licensed plumbers. Many companies require their employees to pass regular drug and background tests as well.
Who takes care of the mess?
This is one of those questions that seems unnecessary, but it’s an important one. There’s nothing worse than writing a check and then cleaning up after your plumber’s mess. Always make sure that cleanup is included in the quote.
What’s your guarantee?
What if something that’s supposed to work, doesn’t? Before signing a contract, ask about the guarantee or warranty. Then, make sure it’s in writing!
2. Gather Your Plumbing Estimates
For big projects, try to get several estimates. Compare the pros and cons of each provider: the lowest bid may not be the best one! Quality and experience may cost a little more, but it’s worth it in the long run.
3. Get it in Writing
A good contract should provide specific details of the job, cost of materials and labor, expected date of completion and whether or not permits and inspections are required. Make sure that the payment schedule is clearly noted, and remember, never pay until the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
Don’t ignore those “little” leaks because finding a great plumber seems intimidating. A part that costs pennies, may save you thousands in the long run. Just follow these simple tips, and you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your home plumbing needs.
Need a fast, accurate quote? Contact Parthenon Plumbing today, we’ll do it right!