If you go through life without ever having to call a plumber, consider yourself fortunate. But for the rest of us, how do you know the plumber you hired is on the level?
Let’s get this out of the way: most plumbers are reputable, competent, and possibly even a joy to work with. But then there are those other plumbers…
We’ve all probably heard of someone having a bad experience with a plumber. Just like with any profession you’ll find con-artists, incompetents, and plain old apples that have fallen off the shelf and rolled around on the grocery store floor.
The trouble is what if you hired him or her? And how can you know?
There are a few things to look for in a plumber before hiring him or her or at least halting the work of one you may have already given the go-ahead to.
- Know your plumbing company. Does the company or individual have a solid reputation with customers? If you don’t have a recommendation from a friend or relative, it’s beyond easy to find online reviews of local plumbers. One or two negative reviews among many shouldn’t concern you, but if they have none or more than a just a few, you might want to skip contacting them.
- If the job calls for a permit, don’t skip it. Yes, permits incur extra costs, but they protect you and the plumber. If your plumber is telling you he can get by without one, fire him immediately. You can be setting yourself up for extra cost and legal action against you from your town.
- Not everything has to be replaced. Repairs are possible on your plumbing fixtures. If your faucet is obsolete or the toilet is approaching its golden anniversary, then replacement is probably a good option. Repairs do tend to be cheaper, however, and you’re sending less stuff to the landfill.
Don’t be afraid to push back against a recommendation for replacement.
- Second opinions are acceptable in medicine, why not plumbing? If we hear bad news from a doctor, the smart thing is to get it verified from another source to eliminate mistakes. If your home or business is calling for something beyond a standard repair—patching a leak in your sewer line for instance—get a second or third opinion on the problem.
You might not only save money on a lower estimate, but you may find out the problem was not a problem at all.
- Clothes make the plumber…sort of. We are told judging others is wrong, especially on their appearance and there is wisdom in that. However, if the plumber you called shows up in a soiled shirt, looks like he hasn’t combed his hair in a month, and reeks of controlled substances, you may want to say the leak has been plugged by angels and you’re no longer in need of his help.
- Know that crooks do wear plumber’s uniforms. Occasionally, you’ll hear stories about someone who, because of sewer problems, hired a company to put a camera in the sewer line and were given a grim diagnosis. When in reality the guys played pre-recorded looped footage of tree roots in the owner’s sewer and claimed it would costs thousands to fix when the scope of the problem was smaller and cheaper.
Review #1 and #4 before accepting a high estimate.
- Cutting corners isn’t always cheaper (in the long run). Going with the cheapest solution to your plumbing problems isn’t always the best. If you lack the time or the skill set to solve your issue, why wouldn’t you try to find the best fit for your problem? Good plumbers deserve fair wages. Finding the lowest-priced plumber, doesn’t mean you won’t be calling him or her again in two or three months for the same problem.
Here’s to a leak-proof home or business for you!