Questions Should Always Be Asked Before You Hire A Plumber?
Whenever you hire a contractor there are a few things you should take into consideration. Having an open conversation with your potential plumber will not only set the tone for the job, but it will also help you make an informed hiring decision. Here is a list of questions and things to consider before signing the contract:
Are You a Licensed Plumber?
This is probably the most important question you can ask. Most states require plumbers to be licensed, however, each state has different requirements so it’s important that you know your individual state’s licensing requirements.
Many state governments provide a contractor license search on their website. This feature will allow the homeowner to enter the contractor’s license number to verify the license status. By checking the license number you’ll be able to verify whether the contractor you are considering is legitimate and licensed.
What is the Total Plumbing Cost?
Don’t hire the first plumber you talk with and get at least 3 written estimates. Most plumbers will give you an onsite estimate after physically looking at the job. As you review the estimate, be sure to ask if the price quoted is the total cost. All parts and labor should be included. Discuss any potential problems that may arise and what to expect from a cost standpoint if the unexpected occurs.
Will You Be Doing the Plumbing?
Chances are if you are working with a small plumbing company the plumber who is preparing your estimate will also be completing the job. However, many larger companies employ multiple plumbers and another person may do the work. Although, this is not necessarily a problem, it is something you should be aware of upfront. If someone other than the person preparing the estimate is doing the work, ask for details about their training and experience.
When Is Payment for Plumbing Services Due?
If you are just doing a simple job, most likely you won’t need to worry about setting up a payment schedule. But for more extensive jobs, such as remodels, you’ll want to know the terms up front. Many plumbers require a down payment upfront, and a percentage once the job is started. Be sure to know the payment expectation before you make a hiring decision.
Is the Plumbing Quote a Flat Rate?
For many plumbing jobs, such as installing a water heater, the job is quoted as a flat rate. A flat rate means that the quoted price won’t change because of labor expenses.
Sometimes plumbers will add a clause into their contract that states that the homeowner will pay any reasonable costs that occur while finishing the job. In this case the plumber will be charging the homeowner an hourly rate in addition to the cost of parts. If the job runs longer than expected, the price of labor will increase as well.
Many contractor’s clean-up after themselves and haul away any old parts, including old water heaters. But if they don’t provide clean-up, the homeowner could be left with a huge mess. Empty boxes, discarded parts, and even your old water heater could all be left for you to clean.
Some plumbing services offer clean-up for an additional fee above and beyond the work they were hired to perform. If this is the case you may choose to pay the additional fee, do the cleanup yourself, or hire a clean-up service.
Is Your Plumbing Guaranteed?
Guarantees vary between plumbers, but you should always find out the specifics before signing a contract. Make sure that whatever is verbally promised is in writing and file it away in a place where you can find it if you ever need follow-up work done.
Are You Bonded and Insured for Plumbing?
Make sure the plumber is bonded and has the appropriate insurance to cover any accidents that might occur. Never hire a non-licensed plumber.
Do You Have Any Plumbing References?
Don’t be afraid to ask for references. A reputable plumber should be able to provide you with the names of other satisfied customers who he has worked for in your area. It is also likely that there are references available online. Keep in mind, that one person’s poor experience does not necessarily mean that you will have a bad experience. But the more information you have, the better informed you are to make a good decision. The time to do your research is before you hire a plumber.