Selecting a good plumber.
So, you have a plumbing issue that needs immediate attention from a plumbing engineer but there are hundreds of plumbers and plumbing companies to choose from.
How do you select a good plumber or a plumbing company that you can rely on to do the job to your expectation and give you value for your money?
Well, you my dear reader are in the right place. This article is specifically written for you, to help you find the best plumbing company for the job. And i have also highlighted some tricks and tactics used by some dishonest plumbers and plumbing companies. Start your engines, its not a short read.
Shop around first, don’t rush I know you may be a bit desperate and in need for plumbing services ASAP, and time to shop around may be unavailable. But trust me, this is a step you can’t overlook. And here’s why.
If you don’t shop around, how on earth will you know if the quote first given is standard and competitive, if you are dealing with a credible person/company or just a scammer, if they will offer quality services, if they are even licensed, among many other things. That’s why doing a bit of research is inevitable.
Ask for referrals Undoubtedly referrals might be the best way to find service professionals. Ask your friends, relatives, neighbors even co-workers. These are people you trust and you are sure won’t misinform or mislead you in any way. If they were satisfied with the services they were offered, they would most definitely like you to have the same quality services, right?
Apart from them you can still ask for referrals from other service professionals like your electrician, gardener, painter among other contractors from related fields. It’s kind of automatic, that if these professionals have been in their respective industries for a reasonable amount of time, you would expect them to at least know a few plumbing contractors they come into contact with while working right?
Some websites like Yell.com, mybuilder.com, plumbingperspective.com and bestplumbers.com will also offer referrals for good plumbers as well as other contractors. The good thing about these websites, since they are trusted and are honest about their ratings and reviews, is that they know the industry and can differentiate a diamond from a cubic zirconia. They know all the tricks and tactics of the trade and can’t be cheated easily.
Compare quotes By now you have done some searching in the phone directories, on the internet and also asked around for referrals. You have a number of possible contractors who seem fit for the job. Now call these contractors, tell them of your situation and inquire to get a quote – it will most probably be a rough estimate. A fixed quote is given at the scene, not over the phone. Why? Because description might not be specific and the real job may take less or may be more resources to finish. Either way somebody is going to loose money. And again this is one of the rule of the trade and needs to be followed.
If you have called 3 or 4 of these contractors, you should now have 3 or 4 quotes. Compare them. Now you can see the one that charges high, one that charges and also average.
Remember expensive doesn’t always mean quality. You see, we are conditioned to think that higher price equals quality. This is not always the case. And many companies and individuals (even in other industries) make use of this assumption and use it to their advantage. And the end results are always disappointment and regret for the buyer. And am also not saying cheap is good, not at all. You get what you pay for, remember that.
If price is a factor, you can’t afford to skip this step. The standard but competitive quotes should be worth considering. But most importantly don’t go for the first company you are referred to or call. It’s that simple.
Check the plumbing company or the individual plumber
Here’s where you turn into an investigator. But what do you look for? My answer? Everything!
Are they fully registered and licensed, how many years have they been in business, what do they specialize on, do they have a physical address, what are people saying about them, what do online reviews say, are they insured, do they stand behind they services etc.
The plumbing company should definitely be registered and fully licensed, meaning they are qualified and competent to be offering plumbing services but most importantly the plumber who will do the actual work. It all goes down to the plumber on the ground. Sure the plumbing company may be fully licensed and everything, but keep in mind plumbing jobs are not that constant. So in a high season a company may need some extra plumbers in order to meet the high demand. That’s where some plumbing companies take shortcuts. They may call in extra hands but these so-called plumbers may not be qualified or even licensed to do any plumbing work. And by chance they happen to send such a incompetent “plumber” to your doorstep. You wouldn’t want a non qualified plumber repairing or installing things that they know little or nothing about. Would you?
Also check how many years they have been in business. The more a company has been in business the more trust people have in it. It also implies they have experience and have a big client list. Otherwise they would be out of business. But slow down friend. Is it always the case? Certainly not. We all know of many companies that “say” they have been in the industry for years but in reality they have just gotten in to the industry. It’s quite sad, keeping in mind the buyer might not know if it’s true or not. One way of the knowing this might be doing what I highly recommend in my next point.
Search for online reviews. It’s common sense that if a company has been around for years, you expect people to have something to say about it right? But I would like to give a heads up when you go looking for reviews. Good reviews are sometimes not authentic. Meaning some might just be manufactured. And it’s true; you have seen the “paid” reviews on big websites like Amazon and the others. But also the negative ones are also to be scrutinized with consideration. You will find some are just complainers. While the rest might be real negative real-life experiences, i would suggest you be considerate, because the last time i checked these companies are run by people and people make mistakes and have “bad days”. Just use your intuition and little common sense.
Then look for what the plumber company or plumber specializes on. Some are full service plumbing companies some are not. Here you will have to make a choice. Some may choose to focus on repairs only, bathrooms and drains, others Gas systems and drains, other only gas and heating systems, the choice is yours.
Then look if they have a physical address or are just “two men and a van business.” “Two men and a van business” and “half briefcase contractors” are everywhere these days. Half briefcase contractors are contractors are contractors who look for a job first then go look for a team to do the job. They, just like the two men and a van business, won’t have a physical location and probably won’t be licensed. And these are the guys who will always ask for payment under the table without a receipt in order to cheat on their taxes. Always insist on a written contract. Be careful, these guys are neither licensed nor insured contractors, though they charge lower prices you don’t have guarantee of any sort. Who will you go to if they do a crappy job and damage is caused to your premises? Your insurance company certainly won’t cater for that. You will bare the entire burden.
Speaking of guarantees!
The plumbing company or the plumber should stand behind his services. Something like a free service in case of future breakage is enough. Or free equipment replacement in case of any faults. This is to make sure that you won’t dig deep into you pockets to fix something you knew was in good working condition.
Insurance is another thing that can’t be overlooked. In case of any occupation injuries, you will not be reliable. And if the plumber should cause any damage to you property or your neighbour’s property while working, you don’t pay a dime, they do. Always ask if they are insured plumbers or plumbing companies, it’s for your advantage.
See examples of previously completed work
This might be a little hard to achieve but if it’s possible, well and good. So if you’re thinking of doing something like installing a new contemporary bathroom, which is a bit pricey, you can take the time and visit the locations that the plumber you are thinking of hiring has done a similar job before. And if it’s a quality job that meets your expectation, then you can then choose to hire them. Don’t always trust pictures, if you have the time, try to visit the various location the plumber has previous worked (of course by first notifying the owner of your visit) to see the quality of their work.
I am 100% sure you won’t look for all the above when selecting a plumbing company. And it’s quite understandable. You may not have the time and let’s face it, it’s quite a chore. Undoubtedly true. My advice? Look for the really vital factors in a plumbing company or a plumber. That is, license and insurance, a physical location, a binding contract, an competitive quote/bid and a warranty. If the other information are easily available, I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t be aware of it.
But before you go searching for plumbers or plumbing companies and asking for quotes and what not. I think I you should beware of some tricks plumbers use.
- Giving low quotes so the deal sounds good. But after the job is finished they charge a hefty fee that wasn’t discussed earlier on. So insist everything be put on paper before work begins. This will protect you from additional charges.
- Using generic names. Like “plumbing services” when they pick up your call. These are scammers; they wouldn’t want to get caught. They scam people so much that it would be risky to use they own name. So they keep changing it. Or not using one altogether.
- Dispatching more than enough workers. This will drastically affect the charges and the invoice you receive won’t be the one you expected.
- Another tactic is excessive advertising. Not that it’s bad. But who do you think pays for it? Of course, the customer. So such plumbing company will charge higher which the customer assumes equals quality. Getting visibility is not cheap and somebody has to pay for it.
- Wasting time. Plumbers will charge per job or per hour. Whichever a plumbing company or a plumber prefers, is not a problem provided you are charged fairly. If they charge per hour, they might choose to take longer than expected to complete a job just to be paid more. If they charge per hourly basis, discuss the job specifics, like when the job will begin and when it will end. If it happens to take longer than the agreed duration you won’t be obligated to pay extra. Some jobs are simple estimate. I mean how long does it take to fix a sink?
That’s about it. I hope this article was helpful. Why don’t you let us know that by commenting below, we always appreciate your feedback. Has a plumber ever used a trick on you? Also share with us, help others not fall victims of such trickery.
But before you go looking far for a plumbing company, we as Plumber HQ are a full service Plumbing company in Bristol with team of experienced plumbers in Bristol on standby as you read this ready to offer their plumbing services and give you free advice and consultation. Call us now.