Hiring a good plumber is not always an easy task. There are several factors that make this industry a tough.
First, you have the fact that lots of plumbing issues require immediate attention, or can be considered emergency problems. This means that you don’t always have the luxury of waiting to get estimates from a bunch of different plumbers.
Second, the barriers to calling oneself a plumber are small. People don’t necessarily need a lot of fancy equipment or tools to start a plumbing business. Therefore, individuals that have fixed a few toilets and sinks can try to trick you into believing they are a highly skilled and trained plumber.
Finally, plumbers are not always on a pre-set schedule. As discussed above, they are in an industry where customer emergencies can pop up on any given day. Therefore, they can often be tough to nail down for specific times and can also be late to preset appointments.
So what do you do when you need to hire a plumber?
• Ask your friends and neighbors to see if they have had good or bad experiences with local plumbers. Simply knowing that another person has had a good experience with a company prior to calling them lessens your chance of hiring a problem.
• If you have a large job, call a few companies to look at your problem. This will help you determine fair market price for your job. This does not mean you should always go with the lowest price, you should go with the company you feel most comfortable with and who you feel will fix the problem correctly. A cheap quick fix can cost you more money in the long run.
• Ask if the company charges a fee for your service call. Some plumbers charge a fee for coming out and giving an estimate. You can ask them to waive this fee if it is determined that there is actual work to perform (this is of course only if you hire them!)
• Always use a licensed contractor. If they are not licensed and they are advertising that they fix plumbing problems for a living you have to wonder why they don’t have a license!
• Ask if the company has insurance. Make sure this fact is stated somewhere in your work contract, even if they have to write it in. You take a risk of liability when you use companies that do not carry insurance. If your plumber floods your house and doesn't have insurance you could be left holding the bill!
• Ask if the plumber's parts & labor come with guarantees. Make sure you get these in writing.
• Always get a statement of work performed in writing. Keep this filed away.
Good luck with your plumbing needs!
More information on this effort can be found at Hiring Plumbers in Raleigh-Durham or anywhere