Hiring a professional to perform plumbing repairs can be stressful and frustrating if you don’t know the right questions to ask. Because many plumbers specialize in specific repair, installation and maintenance services, it’s best to identify potential issues first so you can contact the most suitable person for the job.
Even if you’re planning to repair or replace a faucet, unclog a toilet or shower drain, or you’re planning to replace outdated plumbing in your bathroom, having a qualified plumber on speed dial is a great idea – just in case.
Here are five important questions to ask when hiring a plumber:
What Types of Plumbing Services Do You Provide?
Common plumbing issues include frozen, cracked or clogged pipes, sewer backups, plumbing parts repair or replacement, faucet installation and repair and plumbing system replacement. When searching for a plumber, ask is if the plumber performs specific repair, installation and maintenance services.
If the plumber doesn’t provide the services you need, they may be able to recommend another plumber in the area.
Are You (and Your Co-workers) Licensed and Bonded?
Never hire a plumber or other service expert to perform work in your home unless they are fully licensed and bonded. Ask for the plumber’s license number and credentials when they visit. Most states require tradespeople to be licensed and bonded before they can charge for their services.
If a plumber is newly licensed, ask questions about their work experience and training. Being newly licensed doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing – it just means that they may take a little more time to determine and fix the issue than a seasoned professional.
Plumbers with more experience tend to charge more for their services than those with less experience. If you want to save some money on repairs, consider hiring a plumber with less experience – the result will typically be the same.
Do You Belong to Any Trade Associations or Community Organizations?
Reputable, professional plumbers typically join trade associations such as the National Association of Home Builders, International Code Council or the National Kitchen & Bath Association to attend events and conferences, educational workshops or network with other tradespeople.
Belonging to a recognized national association, the local Chamber of Commerce chapter or the Better Business Bureau shows that the plumber takes pride in their work and that they plan to remain in business for a long time.
What Types of Guarantees Do You Offer for Plumbing Services?
Before hiring a plumber, ask what types of warranties and service guarantees they offer. For example, many plumbers use parts and materials with limited-time manufacturer warranties. In addition, some plumber offer to waive their fee if they need to return to fix ongoing issues.
When inquiring about warranties and service guarantees, you should also ask about special promotions, maintenance programs and other incentives for hiring the plumbing service.
Do You Charge an Hourly or Fixed Rate?
After the plumber completes their inspection, they should provide a detailed estimate. If not included, ask the plumber if they charge per hour or if they charge a fixed fee. Also, ask how long they expect the repair or installation to take.
When speaking with a plumber, take note of how they listen and answer your questions. If the plumber or customer service staff doesn’t know the answer to simple questions, provides vague details about their experience or cannot provide proof of their license and bonding, you should contact another plumber.
If you’re unsure about who to contact when you have a plumbing issue, ask your friends, neighbors and family if they have a trusted plumber they could recommend. Review the plumber’s website and social media pages to find customer testimonials that provide additional information about the plumber and their work.