Questions You Should Ask Your Plumber Before Hiring

Posted in: Plumbing

Questions to ask a plumber before hiring

Plumbing problems can send a homeowner into a tailspin, and when you are faced with a plumbing emergency, you are not in the best position to make a well-informed decision about who to call when the water hits the fan, so-to-speak.

Ideally, a homeowner should have a relationship already established with a trusted plumber so that there’s no doubt who to call when something goes awry.

To that end, we’ve got a few key questions you should ask a prospective plumber during the interview phase when things are calm and you have time to evaluate the professional with whom you will eventually entrust your home’s plumbing should an emergency take place.

Does Your Firm Have Current Licensure?: This is a simple one. The state of Illinois requires plumbing professionals to carry licensure and certification. So if your plumber can’t produce one, hit the road, Jack (or Jacqueline). Licensure is verifiable with the state issuing agency so check it out before you let anyone at your pipes.

Do You Have Liability and Workman’s Comp Insurance? This one’s a little less simple but just as important. You don’t want your plumber and their representatives causing damage to your home that they can’t cover. Ample liability insurance protects you, the homeowner, when the unexpected happens and more damage is done than repair. Workman’s Compensation insurance comes into play when those in the plumber’s employ step onto your premises and risk on-the-job injury.  You may be liable if that injury at your home was not covered by the plumber’s insurance.

Don’t risk making a bad situation worse. Simply verify liability and worker’s comp insurance before the job begins and you’ll rest more easily.

How Long Have You Been in Business?: It’s very important to examine any prospective plumber’s work history. You will want to find clients who can vouch for their track record. If they haven’t been in business long enough to develop one, look in a mirror because you will end up being that client. If you want to take a risk on an unproven contractor that’s certainly up to you. Just know that that’s the situation you’re getting into.

Can you provide a written estimate in advance of all work?: A written estimate is only an estimate but it gives you a ballpark figure that tells you where your project might fall in terms of costs.

But don’t stop there. Ask if their rate is hourly. Ask how overtime is computed and ask about parts. You’re bearing the cost for parts so you get to decide the level of quality that goes into your home’s plumbing and pipes. Ask where these parts are coming from and make sure you do your homework so you know that the costs you’re being shown are what you should be paying.

Will you provide a written guarantee?: A plumber that won’t provide a written guarantee might not be too sure of his or her own abilities so why should you? Ask for a written guarantee and that any changes from the plan be documented as well before the work is done. Document new pricing and estimates of time of completion so that the work does not balloon out of control with little or no notice and you’re not on the hook for added charges you never anticipated or discussed.

Will you supply references of your past work?: Always ask for references as to the quality of any plumber’s work before  they begin any project in your home. And follow up with each one to get the skinny on their work history. Additionally, you may want to check with the Better Business Bureau for any  complaints filed by their customers.

You don’t want to travel a thorny path that’s already been well trod by people all to willing to warn you in advance. Performing your “due diligence” in advance and finding a plumber you can trust before things go haywire in your home will keep you from making hasty, panic drive decisions when they do.

Over time, a plumber who knows your home and understands your priorities is a greater asset than you know. Take the steps necessary to find a quality contractor now and you won’t be behind the eight ball should immediate repairs be needed.

 

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