Plumbing services are probably not something you spend any amount of time thinking about when things are running smoothly. Unfortunately, when trouble does arise, it usually happens suddenly and requires immediate attention. Having a plumber you trust in your contacts can be a real-life saver when something goes wrong, as crisis mode is not a very good mode to be in when you are shopping for a new service provider. Nevertheless, whether you’re already in a fix or are hoping to stay one step ahead of the game, here are some tips for finding a plumber you can trust.
1. Make consumer reviews your friend
Finding a plumber is not what it used to be. Combing through the phonebook to try and determine which advertisements seemed the least sleazy is no longer part of the process. There are so many relatively well-regulated and moderate consumer review platforms online that chances are you can get a pretty good idea about who is trusted in your local area. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that particularly irate or excessively glowing reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. You want to look for reviews that are purely based on a plumber’s professional performance, ability to show up on time, and reasonable price list. Reviews that seem to be fueled by personal feelings or extraordinary circumstances are best ignored.
2. Ask about licensing and insurance
Although rules about licensing and insurance do vary, there should be some sort of regulatory body in place regardless of where you live. These licenses are also usually regulated by an organization that keeps track of any complaints of problematic behavior in the industry. Don’t be shy about asking whether or not the company you are contacting has their paperwork in order. It is also important that the plumber you mire has a reasonable amount of liability insurance and an up-to-date workers’ compensation policy.
3. Know what you need before you call
Before you call and start asking questions though, make sure you have answers prepared for the questions that the plumbing service company is likely going to ask you. Before you pick up the phone and dial, make a list of the specific plumbing issues you want to be addressed. The more information you can provide them with, the better. This includes the make and model of any of your plumbing equipment, any past issues, and when and by whom the last service was done. The more information you can provide upfront means the less time the plumber will have to spend figuring it out on their own, ultimately saving you money. If you really have no idea what the problem is, at least go in with a list of symptoms so that they can at least make a hypothetical diagnosis over the phone.
4. Ask about rates and be aware of added costs
Although it can be difficult for a plumber to provide a full estimate over the phone, it is possible, that if you are able to give them some sense of the problem, that you should receive at least a ballpark estimate. Professional plumbing service will have standard rates that they charge for specific issues, so it is not unreasonable for them to tell you this information upfront. Of course, without assessing the problem in person, it is still possible that something else could pop up, so be reasonable. Also keep in mind that you should expect to pay more on evenings and weekends, and in the event that some plumbing fixture needs replacing, you might be able to save money by purchasing it elsewhere on your own.