If you have a plumbing issue, you certainly need a professional plumber to give you the best resolution. The question is, while there are many plumbers out there, how do you choose a real, reliable expert?
Here are vital considerations to be made before you pick a plumber:
This is the most important factor of all. Ask your potential plumber if he is licensed, and he says yes, ask for proof. What’s with hiring an unlicensed plumber? His work may be rejected by inspectors, and you may have to redo the job all over again.
Insurance and Bond
For small project, you may not need an insured or bonded plumber, but for a big one, you certainly do. Both will keep you protected financially in the event of accidental injuries and property damage related to the work.
If a plumber tries to give you a quote over the phone, be suspicious. Professional plumbers will always take a look at the problem first before starting to work. Upon studying the quote, know if it already covers labor and materials, as well as a contingency. Some estimates look fantastic on paper until they skyrocket as the job continues.
Hourly vs. Flat Rate
When you ask for an estimate, inquire whether you will be quoted a fixed rate or an hourly rate on top of the cost of materials. One problem with the second option is that though the prices of materials are fixed, you’ll end up paying more if the project takes long to complete. In any case, sign the contract only if you’re sure you’ve understood everything in it.
Besides how much you need to pay, you should also know when you have to pay. Some plumbers go by “milestones” – when a part of the work is completed, you have to pay a certain percentage. Others charge by period of time – for instance, weekly, biweekly, etc. What you have to totally avoid is a plumber who requires you to pay the full quote at the beginning of the project.
It may seem automatic for plumbers to take care of the mess, but unbelievable as it may seem, some will actually just leave it for the homeowner to do the cleanup. Don’t forget to ask if cleanup is included in the quote, and if not, they should tell you why.
Guarantee or Warranty
Finally, some plumbers will promise to return after year and fix whatever problems show up, while others will only come back under certain conditions, such as leaks. The point is to have some kind of warranty or guarantee, and it must be in writing. Why should you trust a plumber who can’t even stand by his own work?