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Mar 14

What to ask a plumber before hiring them?

Most people don't know the first thing about plumbing, but that doesn't stop them from calling a plumber when their toilet backs up or water pipe springs a leak. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common and can be frustrating for both parties involved.

Fortunately, there are some things you should ask before hiring any professional to do work on your home. These questions will help you get an idea of how knowledgeable the plumbers are about the job they're bidding on, how much experience they have in installing new systems versus repairing old ones, what type of warranty they offer (if any), and whether or not they'll be able to easily access your property without damaging anything else in the process.

So before you start dialing every plumber in the phone book, take a look at the following questions and consider whether or not you'll need to ask them before making your final decision.


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Are you properly licensed and insured?

Licensed professionals should be licensed by the State Department of Professional Licensing, which means they've all got to abide by the laws set forth by the state governing their specific job title. For example, all plumbers need to obtain general plumbing contractor's licenses through the state no matter where they live or work because it guarantees that they know how to do their jobs well without posing any harm to either themselves or others around them. An unlicensed plumber runs the risk of being dangerous as well as committing if he tries bidding on contracts without the proper licensing.

Additionally, all plumbers must carry liability insurance in case anything were to happen while they're on your property or working on one of your plumbing systems. If you ever want to be reimbursed for the damage that was caused by their actions (or lack thereof), then this is something you'll need to ask about before hopping onboard with any potential contractor.

Signs you need a plumbing repair

Are there any service charges or hidden fees?

If a plumber charges $50 per hour and it will take four hours to finish the job, what happens if he finishes it in only two hours? Will he still charge you the full amount? The answer should always be "no" because no matter how long it takes them to complete the work, they should only get paid for the time they're at your property and not a minute more. If they don't, then consider it a red flag and ask them about their service charges/hidden fees before hiring them.

Will you be able to provide me with references?

Referrals are great because you can call up people who've used the plumber's services in the past and find out what it was like dealing with them firsthand. Of course, this usually works best if you know someone else who's had similar plumbing issues that needed to be resolved, but it will still give you an idea of just how reputable these contractors are.

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How long have you been in business?

While age isn't the only thing you have to consider when choosing a contractor, it's one of the most important factors. The older they are, the more likely it is that they've established themselves as someone who can be trusted without any doubts about their character or ability. Again, this won't necessarily tell you how good they are at what they do, but it does say something about their reliability and professionalism overall.

Do you have any problems with your current customers?

Everyone has complaints from time to time (even the best plumbers), so make sure you ask them about these before committing to anything or handing over your hard-earned money. You don't want to work with anyone who's got issues keeping up on payments or tends to ignore phone calls when they're in the middle of trying to resolve a problem. This is especially true if you plan on being their customer for quite some time, so don't be afraid to ask about anything that seems questionable to get an accurate overview of what it would be like working together after signing your contract.

How much do you charge?

This might seem like a no-brainer since all plumbers are going to have different rates depending on where they work and how well established they are, but at the end of the day it will come down to your budget. If you're struggling with money issues, then make sure you keep this in mind before asking any contractor what they charge for their services because it's not fair if you're going to waste their time just because you can't afford a better plumber for whatever reason.

Signs you need a plumbing repair

Will you come out and give me an estimate if I ask?

Some contractors might not have the free time or simply don't feel like it while others will be more than happy to accommodate your request even if they already have a client scheduled for that day. However, it's always best to err on the side of caution and get any estimates in writing from multiple companies before making your final decision because this will help you make sure that no one is trying to take advantage of either your limited knowledge, lack of research, or desperation for getting everything fixed as soon as possible. At the end of the day, this means you'll have a much better chance of avoiding any problems that might come up down the road.

Leaks between the ceiling joists

– You might notice that you have leaks in your home that are not easily identifiable problems like puddles of water on the floor or discolored patches on the walls, where floors meet walls or ceilings. Generally, these types of leaks happen behind bathroom fans, which will drip water down into the insulation layer between the joists of your ceiling where no one can see them without crawling under there themselves. It is difficult to detect this type of leak until they get worse because it doesn't present with obvious signs right away, but just know that this type of issue can get out of hand quickly!

Where do you stand on price-matching guarantees?

Since this is always going to be relative to other companies who are offering similar services, it's best if you ask the person you're interviewing what kind of guarantee they have before signing anything so that you can make sure no one else will be able to offer a better deal for whatever it is that needs fixing (water heater issues, burst pipes, etc.). If their only response is something like "it depends" then move on because it might take months or even years before you finally realize that they aren't holding up their end of the bargain. This is especially true when dealing with large plumbing companies who don't even bother to get back in touch with you once the job is complete so be wary of anyone who claims they can beat a guaranteed price without providing any sort of proof.

Signs you need a plumbing repair

Can you provide me with a list of references?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's surprising how few people take this step before hiring a contractor, so ask them if they have a list of previous customers that you're free to contact as long as you do it within an appropriate time frame after signing your contract. At the very least, try to find out if there are any complaints against them or issues that weren't resolved by getting in touch with some past customers and asking for their input. In most cases, if they do have a list of references then you should take the time to reach out before making your final decision because this will give you some insight into what was done and how it ended up working for everyone involved.

How much experience do you have?

If they're giving any kind of vague answer like "enough" or "lots", then this is another way of saying that they don't want to share anything about their qualifications, so be wary of companies who are unwilling to provide extensive details about their background. On the other hand, if they can prove to you that they've been in business for at least 10 years without any serious complaints, then there's no reason not to trust them with your plumbing needs.

What happens if I'm not happy with your work?

Although you might not need to ask this question, it never hurts to know before paying for their services so make sure to take the time and understand how each plumbing company handles customer satisfaction as well as escalating any complaints that aren't resolved in a timely fashion. Since every situation is going to be different, let them know that you're willing to put everything on hold if they don't meet your demanding criteria and call back at a later date only after they've done everything possible to earn your business.

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