how to hire a plumber

How to Hire a Plumber: 6 Questions You Should Ask

The right plumber can make or break your home project. You want to make sure that you’re hiring someone with expertise, project management skills, and fair rates. So what should you consider when you’re planning to hire a plumber?

What To Look For In A Plumber:

  • Licensed and insured 
  • Quality reviews
  • Able to quote with a guarantee of satisfaction

Ask Friends or Family For A Referral or Search The Web?

You can technically do either. 

Keep in mind that real-life referrals might not come with all the information you need. For example, your friend’s plumber might have done a completely different job for them than what you need.

If you do go with the referral, it’s a good idea to look the plumber up online anyway. 

You can see whether they have a website with their expertise listed, whether they have reviews, how long they’ve been in business, and whether any complaints have been made against them.

Read The Reviews

Many plumbers and plumbing companies have online reviews. You might be able to look at their page on the Better Business Bureau website, or they might have reviews through services like Yelp, Facebook, and Google.

A quick glance at the star rating will tell you whether customers are largely satisfied or unsatisfied. 

Here are some questions you can ask as you read the reviews more in-depth:

  • What positive feedback did customers have?
  • Have any customers included pictures of their finished plumbing projects?
  • Did any customers mention a project that’s similar to the work you need done?
  • What negative feedback have customers left?
  • Are there any patterns of negative feedback?
  • Has the plumbing company made an effort to respond to negative feedback and fix the issues?

All of these components will affect whether or not you can trust the plumber. 

You want a company that has consistently good reviews with regards to customer service, pricing, efficiency, and quality of work.

Is The Plumber Licensed?

Most states in the United States require plumbers to be licensed before they can take on clients. Even if your state doesn’t, it’s better to get a licensed plumber. 

The license indicates that they understand the plumbing regulations.

The licensing requirements vary by state, but all indicate that a plumber has studied and done practical training for years. 

Some licenses are based on the number of years of work as an apprentice, and others are based on the number of hours of work in different aspects of plumbing.

It’s worth looking up your state requirements to find out what qualifications plumbers in your area have. 

If you’re unsatisfied with licensing requirements, you can broaden your search to plumbers with a decade of experience or specialization in a specific area.

Does The Plumber Have Insurance?

A plumber’s insurance is vital. It doesn’t just protect the plumber — it protects you, too. 

If anything goes wrong during a job, the plumber’s insurance company will cover the costs of damages. 

Without insurance, the plumber themselves has to pay those costs, and they often don’t have enough money to do so out of pocket.

Taking on a plumber without insurance is a huge risk. Depending on your location, it might also be illegal for a plumber to work without being insured. 

It’s the same principle behind why you can’t drive a car without insurance. You need to protect the other people around you in case of liability.

There are two kinds of plumber insurance that a good contractor should have.

Commercial General Liability

This is related to potential accidents on your property. If you end up with water damage or other damage to your property, the liability insurance will cover the costs of having this repaired.

Liability insurance also covers the potential injuries of plumbers. 

Though they do their best to be as safe as possible, it’s easy for accidents to happen when working with sharp metal and hot tools. Maneuvering in compact spaces with these tools isn’t always easy.

You need to be sure that the contractor has general liability insurance so that you are not liable for anything that happens on your property, be that accidental damage or an injury.

Workers Compensation

The other type of insurance is workers’ compensation. 

If a plumber does become injured and needs to take time off work to recover, workers’ compensation insurance will keep them afloat. These policies cover lost wages during recovery along with injury-related medical bills.

Can They Deliver A Quote?

Before the plumber gets started on the project, they should be able to give you a quote. You can ask several plumbers for quotes and time frames to compare the different options. 

Make sure you narrow down your choices to highly reputable contractors only.

One thing to keep in mind is that it’s difficult to trust a phone quote. For a plumber to get a proper sense of a project, they’ll need to take a look at your piping and living space.

You should also make sure that your quote includes the cost of parts, rather than just labor. Ask whether you’re getting an estimate of just labor costs, or both parts and labor.

Is The Job A Flat Rate or By The Hour?

You’ll want to ask whether the job is being priced at a flat rate or not.

With hourly work, the quote you get is an estimated cost. It includes the amount of time the plumber expects the job to take, along with any additional expenses like new parts. 

If the project ends up unexpectedly complicated, you might end up paying more than the original estimate.

Many plumbers do hourly work so that they’ll be compensated in case of those complications. If you do hire an hourly plumber, make sure you find one whose reviews mention efficiency. 

You want them to do the job as efficiently as if they were being paid a flat rate.

With flat-rate jobs, you and your plumber will agree upon a sum prior to the project.

Chances are, the plumber will add a little extra to their estimate as protection against unforeseen circumstances. But this is a good way to make sure you aren’t blindsided by the final cost.

Do They Guarantee Their Work?

It’s important to ask the plumber whether they will guarantee your satisfaction. If you find yourself unsatisfied by the final product, you will want to have repairs guaranteed before you need to pay.

This is another situation in which reading the prior reviews is helpful. You’ll be able to see whether customers are satisfied, and what policies the plumber has for fixing unsatisfactory work.

Overall, you want to make sure you hire someone who cares just as much about your happiness as they do about being paid.

Final Thoughts

Hiring a plumber doesn’t need to be intimidating. Even if you don’t know much about the profession, there are ways to narrow down your search.

After checking that the plumber is licensed and insured, the best way to narrow down your results is by reading reviews. 

You can get an accurate picture of a plumber’s experience level, competence, specialties, and customer satisfaction by seeing what their past customers have to say.

Try to have three to five contractors to choose from. Then ask them for price quotes and time frames for completion. 

This will give you the best range of options and let you get the most competitive pricing for your project.