Finding a plumber can be a tricky business. While the world is full of qualified, experienced professionals, it’s also got its share of rogue traders. Sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a challenge but, fortunately, there’s a multitude of tricks and tips that can help guide your search. If you need a few to get you started, take a look at our top ten tips on finding the right plumber.
1. Check their Credentials
Your plumber might go by the name Honest John, but is he really? People, plumbers included, are wont to lie if it means turning a dime. Regardless of how qualified and experienced a plumber claims to be in their ad, always ask to see proof of their credentials. And this doesn’t just mean taking a sweeping glance at their license (which, by the way, means they’ve met the minimum requirements to carry out the rendered services in your region). Always ask to see evidence of their insurance – if they mess up, or if something catastrophic happens to you or your neighbor’s house, you want to make sure you don’t end up footing the bill.
Embarrassing though it can be, it’s likely you’ll need to negotiate before finding the right plumber at the right price. Most professionals expect at least a degree of toing and froing on the price, and may even build this expectation into their initial quote. Unless you want to pay over the odds, be prepared for some haggling.
3. Ask Questions
Sometimes, it can be intimidating to ask questions, especially if your knowledge of plumbing begins and ends with turning the faucet on and off. But unless you want to be in for a nasty surprise somewhere along the line, you’re going to need to swallow your nerves and get on with it. Ultimately, the more questions you ask about them, their experience, their areas of expertise, and anything else that springs to mind, the happier you’re likely to be with your decision.
4. Shop Around
Regardless of how tempting it is to just go with the first quote you get, don’t. Shop around, although be sure you’re comparing like for like. As WikiHow notes, some plumbers have a habit of stripping their quote back to the bare bones to make it as attractive as possible. If you get a quote that’s vastly below the market price, question why it’s so low. Paying less now might mean paying more down the line, in which case it’s probably best to bite the bullet and get it over with. Similarly, if you get a quote that’s significantly above the others, ask why. It could be it includes work that’s not strictly necessary. You might even find the plumber’s willingness to slash their quote once they know what the competition is asking.
5. Look Them Up
We’re not suggesting you start following their every movement, but a bit of online staking pays dividends when it comes to hiring a plumber. We can all blow our own trumpet till we’re blue in the face, but when it comes to hiring workers who’ve got the potential to blow a hole in our house (to say nothing of our budget), it’s worth checking whether other people agree with their big claims. Ask to see at least two references, check out the social media accounts, and pop their name into google to see what comes up. You might be pleasantly surprised. You might not. But at least you’ll know what you’re dealing with.
6. Ask for Advice from the Professionals
If you own your own home, it’s likely you’ve had at least a few technicians, electricians, or other professionals pass through your doors at some point or another. If you liked their work and trust their judgment, don’t hesitate in giving them a call to ask their advice. As Morrissey Family Plumbing notes, people who work in the industry tend to have the best contacts- you never know, the plumper they suggest might even give you a discount if you reference their name in your inquiry.
7. Ask A Friend
Mecromoil.com suggests one of the best ways of finding a decent plumber is by asking your friends and family for their recommendations. At least a few people in your network group are likely to have engaged a plumber at some point, and at least a couple are likely to have been happy with their services. If you’re new to an area and don’t have any friends or family in the neighborhood, try knocking on a few neighbor’s doors instead.
8. Check How Long They’ve Been in Business
Longevity isn’t always a guarantee of great things, but it does help. Check how long the plumber or plumbing company has been in operation. If it’s 2 days, you might want to give them a miss. 10 years plus, and you’re probably onto a winner.
9. Consider How Well They Communicate
First impressions aren’t everything, but how your plumber communicates with you from the get-go speaks volumes. If they seem reluctant to answer questions, gruff in their replies, or short on the necessary details, move on. Similarly, if they’re eager enough to tell you how great they are but remarkably vague on the cold hard facts, they’re probably all mouth and no trousers. Open communication is going to be key throughout the project; if the signs aren’t there at the beginning, find yourself a different prospect.
10. Do They Have A Guarantee?
A plumbing project can be expensive… sometimes, even more expensive than you initially thought. Regardless of how good a plumber they are or how good a job they do, things can go wrong. Protect yourself from having to shell out if they do by asking your prospect what kind of guarantee they offer. Get them to confirm if it’s limited (and if it is, in what ways) and whatever you do, make sure you get confirmation in writing.