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Leaky taps, burst pipes, and new installations instantly make us think of plumbers. But did you know that different plumbers are often specialised in different tasks?
Not many people are aware of the variety of tasks that they can do. You may think contacting a local plumber is the logical step to take when you need emergency services, but it may not always be the case.
Emergency plumbers perform different services compared to contract plumbers. Being aware of this could save you from unwanted delays and trouble. Although most plumbing contractors are equipped to perform emergency services, they may not always be available to help you.
If you plan on hiring a professional for the first time and are wondering what the right questions to ask them are, look no further. We have prepared a list of questions that can help you and your plumber understand each other’s needs better.
Let’s get straight to the questions!
Although this may seem obvious to most people, you may be surprised to know that many people forget to ask new plumbers this vital question. Before hiring someone new for the job, ensure that you ask them about their license. Doing this has several benefits which we will talk about in a moment.
Firstly, a licensed professional is more likely to be able to diagnose and fix all types of plumbing issues. Most plumbers require a current, working license that they can get after going through specific government testing. This helps us qualify them as a state or a regional plumbing contractor.
Moreover, taking recertification tests enables them to be up-to-date on building and local codes. Hiring an unlicensed plumber can cause significant issues as they may provide inconsistent or shoddy service that is non-compliant with the state, local or national building codes.
Furthermore, in certain places, it is illegal to get serviced by unlicensed plumbers. Your plumbing project can likely get shut down or fined without specific permits due to unlawful plumbing practices.
Having a current license is imperative; however, insurance is just as important for a plumber. Before hiring a new plumber for your home or office, it is essential to ask whether they have insurance. This will give you peace of mind and an added security in case accidents or injuries occur.
Moreover, having insurance can protect you against theft or damages, even if they occur rarely. It is best to stay safe so you don’t have to worry about defaulting or paying unnecessary and unexpected costs from your own pocket.
Unfortunately, many people often forget to ask about service charges and are left with an unexpected bill at the end of the day. Although all plumbers do not charge a service fee just to visit and inspect your home or office, some of them may.
Typically, the service charges they ask for are non-negotiable. Plus, many plumbers will ask for a fee to come over to your location and inspect the issue first. Be sure to always ask about this service charge beforehand, so you are not stuck with unexpected and hidden costs you did not sign up for.
Surely, you won’t want to hire an inexperienced plumber who will do a substandard job. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, always ask them for at least three references before hiring them for a job. Moreover, you must check the authenticity of the references directly to get genuine feedback about their service.
Besides, you must also ask for the plumber’s credentials. This will give you a better understanding of their professional practices and whether the techniques they use and the services they provide are in line with modern building practices.
Once you have these pieces of information about the plumber’s insurance, credentials and licensing, you need to ask the same about their service contractors. Keep in mind that many plumbers hire other service contractors to do their work or assist them.
If this is the case with the one you’re looking to hire, you have to check each of the service contractors’ credentials, license and insurance. This will give you an added assurance and reliability about the plumbing project being undertaken at your home.
You may not realise how important this question is – till you face a plumbing emergency. Unfortunately, most plumbing emergencies cannot be put off till a later stage as they can cause immense damage to your home.
Ensure that you ask the new plumber whether they perform emergency plumbing services or not. Furthermore, ask about their typical response time so you can keep them as an emergency contact.
Remember that the sooner you fix a plumbing emergency, the lower damage and costs you will bear.
Fortunately, most reputed plumbers have an adequate stock of parts that are required for most plumbing projects. However, if your home or office building has certain imported or scarce parts, they may have to source them elsewhere.
They will likely charge an additional amount for the trip to a hardware store to get these parts in this situation. It is also possible that they have to specially order the parts from outside your region, which will add up in the final cost of your project.
Before hiring a plumber or signing a contract, make sure to have this conversation with them. It is vital to ask about their charges for extra parts that they may not have in stock, so you don’t end up with an unexpectedly inflated bill at the end.
It is apparent that most people would like to hire the best plumbers for important jobs. However, they may not be available locally. If this is the case, they may charge an additional amount for their travel time, especially if they are covering a long distance.
Although it is advisable to hire a local plumber or contractor, it may so happen that you find a reputed and experienced plumber outside your area. Before signing a new contract, ensure that you ask about their additional charges for travel time and initial inspection, as it can save you a lot of money in the long run.
As we mentioned in the beginning of this guide, you will find various plumbers who specialise in different tasks. While an emergency plumber may be able to provide certain tasks, a contractor may not provide the same – and vice versa.
Furthermore, although most plumbers are qualified for a range of tasks, having a specialisation can make all the difference in the end. If you are looking for specific plumbing projects that require accuracy, precision, and a special skill set, it is best to ask them about it.
If they are not comfortable with the task at hand, they can help you connect with another professional, who specialises in the tasks you need done. Specific tasks like remodelling and custom installations may require a special skill set that all local plumbers may not have. Hence, it is essential to find out what kind of jobs someone excels at and hire them accordingly.
Typically, you will come across two types of plumbers – those who offer emergency services, and those who don’t. Although it is not compulsory that the one you decide to hire offers 24/7 service, it is advisable to have an emergency plumber at hand.
Most plumbing emergencies can be hazardous if not taken care of at the earliest. A leaky faucet which can be fixed in five minutes can lead to overflowing and flooding if kept unattended – as such, finding a good emergency plumber is imperative.
It is a good idea to ask them whether or not they offer 24-hour service, as they may be able to provide you with the kind of emergency plumbing services you require.
Although there is no such thing as “too many questions” in the service industry, don’t end up scaring away potential plumbers by interrogating them too much!
The questions listed above are some of the most common yet most important to ask a new plumber. Moreover, finding an experienced and reputed professional from among dozens, if not more, can be a tough job, especially when you are in need of emergency services.
It is best to have at least one emergency plumber’s contact information at hand so you can use it when required. That said, when looking for special plumbing projects like remodelling and renovation, it might be best to hire someone who specialises in these tasks.
Hope this helps, good luck!