Plumbers provide a service, but the end result is a little more important than nailing that perfect haircut or getting your latte order just right. You probably have a favorite hairdresser and coffee house-and you probably found them after much trial and error. When it comes to plumbing, you can’t afford the luxury of choosing the wrong plumber. One oops and your drains might never be the same again.
There are three major things to consider when hiring a plumber: Reputation, experience and customer service. A great place to start is word of mouth, whether it’s a friend’s recommendation or a slew of positive online reviews. If others have had a good experience with a plumber, there’s a good chance you’ll have the same. When poring over those recommendations and reviews, here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
1. Licensed, Bonded and Insured
This trifecta might vary from state to state, but you need to make sure any plumbing contractor you hire holds accreditation or licenses for your particular state. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a world of financial hurt. This is something plumbers should be upfront about, and they should have proof ready to hand over. If they “can’t find it” or try to talk their way out of it, move on.
A plumber shouldn’t have to be in business long before they can drum up a few testimonials. A great plumber has a few customer reviews featured on their website, or at the very least can deliver some upon request. It’s wise to get the contact information of their references and actually check them out. A plumber’s cousin might really be the person behind those “glowing” reviews.
3. Experience with Your Issue
It doesn’t matter how many bathroom faucets a plumber has installed if what you need is a water heater replaced. Most plumbers who’ve been in the business a few years have experience in almost everything. If you have a unique problem, it’s worth seeking out a plumber who’s tackled it before. It all comes down to years of experience.
4. Respect for Your Home
You’ll have to trust your gut instinct (and the reviews) for this one. Depending on how big the project is, the plumber you hire might be in your home for a few days or even weeks. You, your family and your home deserve to be treated respectfully, which means the contractors clean up after themselves and sticks to the agreed upon schedule.
5. The Latest Tools and Technology
The degree of “high techiness” might vary depending on how in-depth your project is. For example, a pipe camera can be a great tool to see exactly what’s causing that clog, making the fix faster and easier. Is it the MIA Barbie head or a wad of toilet paper? Different problems call for different un-clogging approaches.
6. Impeccable Customer Service
Customer Service is a little bit different from respect for your home-this is solely respect for you. It’s not just the contractor who should deliver superior customer service, but his entire company. You should feel welcome and respected when you talk to the receptionist, and it should always be easy to reach someone via phone or email.
The relationship between homeowner and plumber isn’t something you should rush into blindly. Research your options before an emergency happens. Having a professional in your corner is a must for peace of mind and fast, quality fixes.
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