If you’re a new homeowner, or simply new to the experience of hiring a plumber, you’re going to want to make sure you do your homework, ask important questions, and hire the best plumbing company for the job. After all, if you invest in shoddy work, it’ll only come back to haunt you when the plumbing system fails before it’s supposed to.
Whether having a hot water heater replaced, a leaky faucet, or emergency service, when you ask the following questions of a potential plumber, their answers will help you get a sense of whether or not you would be comfortable hiring a particular plumbing contractor. Here are some good questions to ask:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you offer free quotes or have upfront pricing?
- Do you clean up your work area and any soil tracked into the home during your plumbing services?
- Do you have an hourly rate you work by, or do charge by a flat rate?
- What size jobs do you handle?
- Do you offer night and weekend services?
- Do you work on residential and commercial jobs?
- How were you trained and how many years of experience do you have?
- Are you a Master Plumber?
- Are you a member of any professional associations?
- Are you a licensed plumber and do you have any specialties?
- Do you have any references that I can call?
- Do you offer a warranty?
What to Consider When Hiring a Plumber
When hiring a plumber, there are several things that you want to take into consideration, such as whether they give written warranties and if certain projects require permits and building codes to be followed to perform the plumbing job correctly.
You want to hire a good plumber, someone who can give you a reasonable estimate of how long the project will take, and if there are options for different materials, you’ll want them to readily explain them instead of automatically quoting the most expensive one.
An experienced plumber can often diagnose and perform the right plumbing repair the first time and can often avoid having to come back out again and again for the same plumbing issues. A plumbing professional will be able to look at your plumbing needs and provide you the quote for plumbing work you need to correct your problem – not just give you a quick fix with the hope to come back out and sell you on a larger plumbing project.
Reputable plumbers know that workmanship matters, if it’s a long-term plumbing project or a plumbing emergency, and using reviews and asking the right questions can you find a qualified plumber.
Be Aware of Common Tricks
One of the best things any homeowner can do is develop a relationship with a local plumber, such as those at A-1 Septic & Sewer Services, Inc. The next best thing they can do is know where the main water line in their home is and how to shut this line off. Shutting off the water can help save money for two reasons. First, it can prevent expensive overflows and leaks from occurring before you can bring your trusted plumber in to look, and second, it allows you the option to solve your minor plumbing problems without a plumber.
If you find yourself in need of a plumber, be aware of some common schemes that are used to bamboozle a customer into paying more than they need to:
- Starting with a low bid, to begin with, and then refusing to complete the job until more money is paid
- Refusing to use a contract, which then allows the price of the repairs to inflate for anything not paid upfront
- Encouraging panic by revealing that immediate action needs to be taken using a costly repair
- Using low-quality items while charging for high-quality ones
- Planting evidence around the home that suggests a serious plumbing crisis when there is none present
Questions to Ask the References
When you do contact the plumber’s references, you’ll want to ask them a series of important questions, such as, “Were you happy with their work?”, “Did they solve your plumbing problems and clean up when done?”
You’ll also want to know if the job was completed on time if there were any unexpected expenses, if they would use the plumber again, and lastly, you want to ask them, “Would you recommend the plumbing company to your friends and family?”
The True Cost of Hiring an Unlicensed Plumber
When you go with a “cheap plumber”, there may be a low sticker price, but that is for a good reason. With an unlicensed plumber, you are likely going to get work that does not meet your city’s plumbing codes, nor international building code. Not only could you face fines for this down the road, but your family’s safety could be jeopardized by this substandard work.
As it is, an unlicensed plumber’s quick fix may not even work in the short run. Even worse, you could be left with a plumbing disaster on your hands. Think of all that could happen if an inexperienced plumber tinkers with your water line, gas lines, and septic systems, etc. Licensed plumbers get a lot of business from being called in to repair the work done by a cheap plumber.
If you work with someone who is unlicensed, you are working with someone who is not a contractor. This means that if they make a contract with you, it will not hold up in court. If an unlicensed plumber runs off with your money before they finish the job, a court cannot help you if you sue that plumber. You will only be left with legal fees on top of everything else. In fact, that plumber can sue you. If they are doing work without a license, they are probably uninsured as well. If they or one of their workers gets hurt, you could be on the hook for their medical expenses. This also means that any damage they cause to your property is not insured either.
What It Takes to Be a Licensed Plumber
In many ways, the training and education it takes to be a licensed plumber are akin to getting a Master’s degree at a university. Even after years of experience, a plumber will have to pass a plumbing exam, proving that they know how to install, maintain, and repair literally “any plumbing system”, according to the licensing information provided by Kansas City’s government site. That means that a licensed plumbing technician has demonstrated that they have proficient knowledge of plumbing fixtures, water supply systems, isometric analysis, fuel gas, sanitary vents, specialty plumbing, and so much more.
Licensed plumbers will also be insured. This means they have workers’ compensation insurance and that they carry insurance for any damage inflicted on your property. Licensed plumbers drive in company vehicles, wear company uniforms, have a good reputation, and clearly know their job. They will also have real, legally binding contracts.
When you experience a problem with your plumbing, you need to know that you are working with a reliable Kansas City plumber, one whose quality work will give you peace of mind and save you money. At A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc., we offer emergency service, even on the weekends or in the evening. Contact our office today to get a quote for any issue you face with your plumbing.
We hope this list helps. If you would like to ask our Kansas City plumbers these questions, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call!