Tips for Choosing a Quality Plumber
The best time for choosing a plumber is prior to a plumbing emergency. Unfortunately, when people are facing an emergency, they have very little time – if any – to research a plumber. A leaky toilet or a wet basement ceiling (because of a broken pipe upstairs) requires urgent attention.
First of all, talk to a homeowner friend or acquaintance you trust. Most people, at one time or another, have used a plumber and can recommend someone with a good reputation.
Try talking to a contractor or builder too if you know one. These people deal with plumbers on a regular basis and often have well-formed opinions about various local plumbers, the quality of work they do, and how competitive they are in terms of pricing.
A Simple Plan: Services
Also speak to the real estate agent who helped you buy your home. Most agents will be happy to help their former clients.
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When you call a plumber, unless after business hours, don’t simply leave your name and contact number on their answering machine. If a child picks up the phone, be suspicious. While reputable plumbers can work out of their homes, usually in rural areas or small communities, most of them are professional enough to use a software receptionist or at least take calls themselves.
When talking to the plumber, ask for their license number. Don’t be shy – just say you’ll turn the claim into your homeowner’s insurance agent and that they require it.
Also remember to ask if they have insurance, and ask for proof. The best plumbers are human too, and they can also accidentally damage plumbing structures or systems. They can even end up injuring themselves unintentionally, so you want a plumber who has worker’s compensation as well. If you or anyone in your home is harmed in any way, that should be covered by their liability insurance.
Of course, before the job starts, you have to set things straight regarding the price. Reputable plumbers will give you a written estimate or at least an estimate with a maximum price, except when the problem concerns the interior of a closed wall or ceiling. In a scenario like that, the plumber may not quote a firm bid until he has actually evaluated the condition of the affected structures. This is when you might have to ask for a “worst-case scenario” price.
Finally, make it a point to check if the plumber provides a service warranty. If they can’t guarantee their own work for a reasonable period, they are a waste of your money and time. Except when your pipes and fixtures are already too old, a reliable plumber will always return to solve any problems he may have failed to detect, or those that may have come up after his first visit.