How to Find the Right Plumber
Like a good lawyer, tailor, contractor or mechanic, a good plumber is one of those people everyone needs on their side. But unless you know a guy who’s been working for your parents since the ’80s and you’d trust with your life, chances are, you need a little help finding the right one.
Here’s a basic rundown of all of the steps. Find the right plumber and you’ve got someone on your side when everything goes wrong (think major water leaks) or before (spotting a problem before it happens).
1. Is Your Plumber Licensed?
This is the first and the biggest question you need to ask. Bear in mind, every state has its own unique regulations and some do not require a license. But in most cases, having one is essential to operate as a plumber. Before you begin your search, use this handy list of state licensing agencies to see what your state’s requirements are, then check if the plumber you’re considering is licensed.
2. Do They Have Insurance?
If being licensed in your state doesn’t require insurance, it’s best to check if a plumber is insured. This way, you’re protected in the case of any major problems arising as a result of the work they’ve done. The last thing you want is a major home water leak coming as a result of shoddy work by a plumber leaving you unprotected.
This insurance may also come in the form of a bond that’s required as a part of the licensing process (you can check your state’s requirements to see if this is required there). Functioning a bit like insurance, that bond is designed to compensate you up to the value of the bond in the case of any malpractice or fraud on their part.
3. Ask for Plumber Recommendations (Including Online!)
One of the best ways to get in touch with a really trustworthy plumber is to find out who your friends and family trust. So ask around, talk to your neighbors and see who they recommend. Then keep asking around – just do it online this time. Websites like Angie’s List, Trusted Traders, and Home Advisor are all great resources.
4. How Long Have They Been in Business?
One way to tell if street food is going to be delicious and not leave you sick is to see if there’s a line. Fortunately, there’s an equivalent in the plumbing world. Vendors who leave their customers hurting generally don’t stay in business long. If a plumber has been around for decades, chances are, they’ve had some satisfied customers. Look towards more established plumbers as a source of confidence.
5. Do They Have a Warranty or Guarantee?
If a plumber is not willing to give a warrant or guarantee for both the parts they’re using to fix your problem and their labor, you can safely move on. A good plumber should be proud and confident in their work, so they should be more than willing to offer such promises. In general, a one year warranty of guarantee is fairly standard.
6. How Much Does Your Plumber Cost?
Obviously, you’re going to look at your plumber’s prices, but this step actually goes much deeper. Look to a few plumbers and get estimates for the same work, so you know the ballpark of what you’re dealing with. Be sure to get flat, fixed quotes for the work. You’ve heard of shady mechanics cheating customers by charging much more than expected: Plumbers can do the same thing, so be wary.
But don’t focus too much on the lowest price. Take all these other steps into consideration as well. You could very well be better off paying a little bit more for a higher quality plumber in the long run. Consider what you’re willing to pay for a better job, better service, and a better overall experience.
7. Can They Provide You With References?
Lastly, you can always ask a plumber for references, other customers they’ve had for a long time and who can vouch for them. If they can’t provide you with any references, that should be a huge red flag! However, if you’ve followed the previous six steps, this shouldn’t be the case.
Worried About Home Water Leaks?
It should go without saying that preventing home water leaks is far better than worrying about hiring the right plumber to fix them. So consider investing in an automated water leak detection system with automatic shutoff. Such a system can prevent water leaks by shutting off your main water before any damage is done.