9 important questions you need to ask before hiring a plumber

9 important questions you need to ask before hiring a plumber

Whether you’re stuck with a leaky faucet or you’re thinking about remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, knowing how to hire a great plumber is always going to be helpful. If you’ve never hired a plumber before, hiring one for the first time can be a bit complex. But you don’t need to worry much, since asking these nine questions will ensure that you hire a plumber who knows exactly what they’re doing, and does a great job overall too.

Are you a licensed plumber?
This is probably the most important question you have to ask any plumber. And remember, do not just take their word for it. Many plumbers are working with a license, but homeowners have a misconception that all plumbers out there are licensed. So, this question is always worth asking. Several states in the country require plumbers to be licensed, however, the requirement of each state differs. So, you must be familiar with the licensing requirements of the state you live in.

Also, you can search for the plumbing company’s license number on the state government websites to verify the plumber’s license status. This ensures whether your potential plumbing company is legitimate and licensed.

What is the total cost of your plumbing services?
You don’t need to hire the very first plumber you speak with. It is recommended that you get estimates from a couple of them. Many plumbers only give you an estimate after they have physically looked at the problem to be fixed. However, there are a few common tasks like installing a water heater, that are quite straightforward and easy to quote. But it is still essential that you get the estimate from the plumber in writing. Most reliable plumbers freely provide customers with written estimates.

When you’re reviewing the estimates, make sure that you ask them if the price quoted is the total cost. The final price must essentially include the cost of all materials and labor costs. It is also important that you discuss any potential problems that may arise while doing the job, and what to expect from the cost standpoint if the unexpected happens.

Is the quote an hourly rate or a flat rate?
For some plumbing tasks, like installing a water heater, the work is quoted at a flat rate. That means, the quoted price is the final price, and it won’t vary because of labor expenses.

Sometimes plumbing services add a clause in the contract stating that the homeowners will bear any reasonable costs that occur while completing the job. If the clause is in the contract, it simply means that the plumber is charging an hourly rate in addition to the total cost of the materials. If the job runs longer than the estimated number of hours, the homeowner is required to bear an increase in the price of labor. So make sure that you know everything from a financial standpoint before you sign the contract.

Will you be doing the work?
If you’re hiring someone from a small-scale plumbing service, the plumber who prepares the estimate is likely the one who will complete the job. However, large companies have dozens of employees, so there is always a chance that a plumber giving the estimate might not be the one who will do the job. In this case, ask that person about the details of the training and experience level of the person assigned to complete the task. It is always good to be aware of the person who will be doing the job. A reputable plumbing company acknowledges your concerns and gives you all the necessary details.

When is the payment due?
If you’re just getting a simple plumbing problem fixed, you need not worry much about setting up a payment schedule. But if the job is extensive, like a remodel or something similar, it is best to clear all the payment queries you have with the plumbing services.

For many plumbers, the common upfront payment is about 10-15% of the total cost and 50% when the work starts. Always make sure that you’re aware of the payment expectations before you hire a plumber. It’s also a good idea to know how your plumber expects to be paid. In case your plumber does not accept a credit card, you will have to make arrangements for the cash. While most plumbers accept cards, knowing this beforehand is always better.

Will you clean up once the job is done?
Plumbers generally clean up the entire place after the job is completed. They take away all the old parts and old equipment. But in case they don’t give any clean-up service, you can be in trouble because of the huge mess of empty boxes and discarded parts left for you to clean.

But you don’t need to worry about this if you’re ready to pay some extra money. Some plumbing services provide a clean-up for an additional amount that is excluded from the work they were hired to do. If you’ve had some major repair work, then you can choose to pay the extra money, or you can even hire a clean-up service like 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

What if something breaks after the job is done?
It is wise to inquire about the kind of guarantee or warranty that comes with the plumber’s work before signing the contract. While some plumbing services offer to visit you within a year to check if there’s any problem, others only fix certain types of plumbing problems. Always ensure to take all guarantee or warranty in writing only.

Are you bonded and insured?
It is important that the plumber you’re hiring is bonded, and has the right insurance to cover any accident that might happen while performing the job. This is one of the reasons why you must never hire a non-licensed plumber.

Do you have any references?
You don’t need to hesitate to ask a plumber for references. A good plumber should ideally be able to give you the names of the homeowners he has worked for in your area. At the same time, it is good to remember that one person’s poor experience doesn’t necessarily mean that you will face some problems too. As you may already know, the more information you have, the easier it is for you to make an informed decision.