Top Tips for Saving Money When Using a Plumbing Professional

Christian Rigg
Plumbing Services
As a homeowner, sooner or later, you’re probably going to need to call a professional plumber. While you may be able to handle smaller fixes on your own — like unclogging the kitchen sink or replacing a ballcock — you’ll want a professional for more complicated problems. Hiring a plumber is a good way to make sure the job gets done right, which will save you time and money later on.

Top Tips for Saving Money When Using a Plumbing Professional

Fortunately, hiring a plumber doesn’t have to be an expensive and stressful ordeal. In this guide, we’ll look at how you can save money when using a plumbing professional, without sacrificing on quality or durability.

Learn More About Your Upcoming Repair or Project

One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting a fair quote is to understand the basics of plumbing. There are lots of how-to books to help you get acquainted with the trade, and the internet is a great source for gaining some basic plumbing knowledge. A basic understanding of household plumbing can be acquired in just a few hours and will serve you for years to come.

If you have a specific project or repair you need done, take the time to learn about the problem and the different possible solutions – a quick search online will usually do the trick. Don’t hesitate to write down a few questions for your plumber: they’ll be more willing to take the time to explain your options to you, and less likely to inflate their rates or try to sell you on extra services.

Think Long Term

Think of hiring a good plumber as an investment in the future. After all, you get what you pay for. As plumbers become more experienced, their rates tend to go up to reflect their increased knowledge and skill set, so don’t just go for the lowest rates. Instead, look for a plumber that balances reasonable rates with lots of experience and a good track record.

The problem with hiring a cheap plumber, who’s inexperienced or uses poor materials, is that you’re more likely to have to call them again later. The plumbing in your house gets a lot of regular use, so if the job’s not done properly, it’s going to be a problem later on. Plus, a small problem today can turn into a big—and expensive—complication later on if not fixed properly. It’s much better to spend more now to save in the long run.

Ask Around or Use an Online Service

There’s almost no better assurance of a job well done than speaking to a plumber’s previous clients. Since many of your neighbors and friends will have contacted a plumber in the past, don’t hesitate to ask around for referrals. Some questions you may want to ask include: Was the plumber straightforward and professional? Were there any hidden fees or unexpected costs? Why did you choose them? And most importantly: Would you call them again?

That being said, there are lots of great online services that leverage a large user base and knowledgeable employees to vet and compare plumbers for you. They act as a middle-man, making sure you get affordable, upfront pricing, and checking plumbers’ credentials, including identity, criminal background check, and state business filings. This way, you can be confident that the plumber and their company are in good legal and financial standing.

Go Local

Plumbers spend a lot of time on the road going from job to job and need to work this into their payment plan. As a result, if you can find a good, local plumber, you won’t have to pay as much in service charges. This is especially important on longer projects or major repairs. For a one-day job, paying a little extra to have a good plumber come in from out of town may be worth it, but for longer projects, all that extra time on the road will cost you.

Furthermore, different communities and regions have different building codes and plumbing challenges. These can be related to natural phenomena, like the presence of groundwater, height above sea level, or the amount of corrosive contaminants or minerals in the water, or to choices made during construction. Neighborhoods are often developed all at once using the same contractors, so the same problems tend to come up.

A local professional is more likely to have worked on plumbing that’s similar to your own and to be familiar with the particularities of your region.

Get Written Quotes and Compare

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few plumbers, you’ll want to get a detailed quote from each of them. This will allow you to compare between services, and also lets plumbers know that you’re shopping around. If one particular plumber is more expensive (or cheaper) than the others, ask them why. This is where having educated yourself will come in handy, as a good plumber will be happy to discuss the technical details of their pricing with you.

If the plumber isn’t willing to commit to a specific cost, they can offer you an hourly rate instead. As the repair or project progresses, you’ll have a clearer idea of the overall cost.

Purchase Your Own Materials

It can be cheaper to purchase materials yourself, rather than through a plumber. As part of learning more about your upcoming repair or project, take a look at what kinds of materials are needed and at what price. Bathroom fixtures, for example, are often cheaper when bought directly from a plumbing store.

Before you go out and buy anything, though, discuss this with your plumber. Many plumbers prefer to supply their own materials — not necessarily because they want you to pay more, but because they’re familiar with the product and know them to be reliable and of high quality. Their own insurance may require it, and they may only be willing to guarantee your satisfaction if they can be sure of what they’re installing.

Once You Find a Good Plumber, Stick With Them

If you’re happy with the service, ask if they’d be willing to take calls from you in the future. This will help you avoid having to go through the whole process again, and you’ll be confident knowing they’ve already provided you with excellent service. Having a professional and reliable plumber that knows the particularities of your house and plumbing is an invaluable investment in the future of your home.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to find a reliable plumbing professional with fair pricing, saving costs in the short and long term.

Christian Rigg
Christian Rigg is a freelance writer who’s spilled ink on everything from finance and technology to data science and Ancient Roman pottery. Born and raised in Canada, he currently lives in the south of France.