Plumbers do many things besides unclogging drains and sinks. They also deal with heating, cooling, and sewage systems. There are plenty of dishonest people in every profession and plumbing is no different. Because many people don’t have an understanding of how plumbing works, they are opening themselves up to being conned by a plumber. A few things you can do to avoid plumbing scams are:
- Know ahead of time how many extra workers are need for your plumbing issue
- Ask about the materials the plumber will be using to be sure he is not using overly expensive products when less costly materials can do the same job
- Make sure you are getting an accurate cost estimate before any work is started
According to plumbers in Sydney, “Before starting any plumbing work, your plumber should price up your complete job and ensure you understand the full costs involved before he starts”
Is The Plumber Licensed?
Make sure the plumber has a license to operate in your state. Licensed plumbers are required to carry specific professional insurance to protect both of you in case of accidents. You should also ask to see their license rather than rely on a verbal response. In states that require a plumbing license, the plumber will usually be finger printed, tested for general plumbing knowledge, and have his background checked. This can give you peace of mind knowing that the plumber is an experienced professional.
Check Their References
Most of us barely buy a pack of gum without checking with others to see what kind they like. So why would we hire a plumber without knowing anything about his reputation, work ethic, and professional experience?
Ask friends or family members whose opinion you value if they can recommend a plumber. You can also ask the plumber directly to give you some references you can call. Try going online to look for reviews and ratings from a short list of plumbers you are considering hiring. People who have had negative experiences are more likely to post them online than those who have had good experiences. The more reviews there are the better.
It is also a good idea to find a plumber with good recommendations before you have an emergency situation when you won’t have the luxury of time to find the most qualified one.
Ask the Right Questions
While you are deciding which plumber to hire, be sure to ask as many questions as you can from each plumber you meet. Think about it like a job interview because it is one. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the details of your plumbing project. Don’t forget to ask about their insurance and licenses for your protection. Angie’s List says that a plumber should carry a minimum of $500,000 in liability insurance as well as workman’s comp.
Get an Estimate
Some plumbers will want to give you an estimate over the phone. This is not a good idea because it is difficult to evaluate the scope of a project without seeing it. If one plumber refuses to come to your home, you should move on to the next one on your list. Ask to see the estimate or contract in writing and read it carefully to make sure you understand all the costs. Ask questions to make sure there aren’t any hidden costs so that you feel comfortable moving forward.
Ask Your Insurance Company
Sometimes your insurance company is an excellent source for recommendations even if they are not paying for your repairs. Many insurance companies have arrangements with local contractors. They have a stringent review process that can work to your benefit. For example, some auto insurance carriers have agreements with glass companies. So if your windshield needs repair, the insurance company can recommend a company for you to contact.
Response Time for Emergencies
When you are checking online reviews or talking to references, be sure to ask them about the plumber’s emergency response time. Even if the plumber advertises that they provide 24/7 emergency services, you want to find out from someone who knows how long it took for the plumber to arrive.
If you do your homework ahead of time, do some research online, and ask for referrals, you will be able to find a reliable professional plumber that you can have confidence in hiring.