When it comes time to call a plumber, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right service for your needs. Plumbers can vary widely in what services they provide, how much they charge, and how responsive they’ll be both now and in the future.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to help you choose the right plumbing service for any repair.
Look for Licensing and Insurance
There are a lot of gray market plumbers available for hire. While some of them might do a good job, these aren’t the experts that most homeowners want to trust when a repair gone wrong could unleash a flood.
That’s why the first thing you should look for when considering plumbing services is whether they are licensed. Licenced plumbers are true experts who meet the strict requirements set forth by many states. For example, in California, licensed plumbers have apprenticed in the industry for at least four years and passed a state exam that proves they know their craft.
In most states, licensed plumbers are also required to carry insurance. That protects their business and you in case something goes wrong during a repair. If a plumbing service doesn’t clearly state that they have business insurance, be sure to ask.
Get a Quote
Just as no two homes are alike, no two plumbing jobs are exactly alike. That’s why most plumbing services offer pricing by quote only rather than simply listing out prices.
Quotes can vary widely depending on what plumber you talk to, so the best approach is to get as many quotes as you can. As you ask around, be sure to discuss why a plumber thinks your job will cost what it does. This is important for finding out exactly what the quote covers and whether the plumber thinks they may have to charge more if they run into any problems.
After talking to a few plumbers, you should have established a range of quotes and have a rough idea of what your job will actually cost. Even then, evaluating quotes can be hard and they’re not set in stone. Be sure to check out customer reviews to see whether a plumbing service has a history of coming in at its quoted price or whether it frequently presents customers with a higher price at the end of a job.
Check out Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are your best source of information about a plumber you’ve never worked with before. Are their quotes accurate and do they work on budget? Do they typically show up on time and act professionally? Will they go above and beyond to proactively fix problems and do their repairs last?
If you have time, read customer reviews in their entirety rather than just look at star ratings. Many reviewers offer stories about their experiences that can help paint a fuller picture of a plumbing service.
Ask about Emergency Responses
Plumbing problems don’t always happen at convenient times, and a burst pipe can fill your house with water in a matter of hours. Even if you only need a plumber for a routine repair right now, it’s worth finding a plumbing service that you can rely on for an emergency in the future.
With that in mind, ask prospective plumbers about whether they offer emergency responses. Will they answer the phone 24/7, or are there some limitations on the hours you can call with a problem? Do they charge extra for repairs that happen without warning in the middle of the night, or do they keep the same rates as normal?
Also consider whether you’re working with an individual plumber or a service with multiple experts. A company with several plumbers may have more flexibility to shuffle technicians around to respond quickly to an emergency.
Find Out What Services They Offer
In the same vein, it’s worth choosing a plumbing service that can handle any jobs you might need done in the future. If you hire a plumber that only works on faucets now, you’re going to have to start a whole new search for a plumbing service the next time you need to work on your hot water heater, for example.
Most plumbing companies have a list of services that they provide. Be sure to ask for it to see how comprehensive it is. If your home has any unique plumbing needs, such as very old pipes or high mineral content in your water, it’s worth asking specifically if that’s something they can help with in the future.
Make Sure They’re Professional
Above all else, having a plumber who is professional, courteous, and honest makes a huge difference in how stressful a home repair will be.
As you’re asking a prospective plumber questions about your home, the cost of repairs, and their services, take note of their responses. Do they go out of their way to explain terms and reassure you, or do they stick to plumbing jargon that most homeowners won’t understand? Customer reviews can help here as well. Most reviewers will note whether a plumbing service treated them with respect and acted professionally and back that up with examples.
Finding the Right Plumbing Service
Finding the right plumbing service can be stressful, especially if you’re doing it in response to an emergency in your home. While there are plenty of so-so plumbers marketing themselves, there are just as many experts who will treat you fairly and give you an honest quote. By thoroughly vetting a plumbing service before committing, you can find a company that you can rely on for all your future repairs.