What Kind of Questions Should You Ask a Plumber?


When faced with a plumbing emergency, whether an overflowing toilet, clogged drain, leaking faucet or any other plumbing-related job, as a homeowner, you may be quite tempted to employ the services of a plumber before doing your due diligence and getting important information about them.

This could be a disaster, where you may be left with an unfinished project or a shoddy job that will end up costing more in terms of expensive repairs. So, before hiring a plumber, here are a few important questions that you must ask.

Do You Have a License?

This is a very important question to ask the plumber, especially if your state needs licensing. Ensure that the plumber you hire has all passed the tests required to obtain a license, which makes them qualified to fix your plumbing issue right away.

The license ensures that the plumber has the know-how and can diagnose the issue correctly before starting on the job.

It also ensures that the plumber knows all the building regulations and codes and will work using the proper tools and equipment, safely. Without a plumbing license, the plumber may end up doing a shoddy job not consistent with the building codes, which can make your plumbing project illegal.

What Is Your Specialty?

Finding out the plumber’s specialties ensures that they are the best person for your specific plumbing job.

For instance, a plumber specializing in repair and servicing jobs may not be the best for remodeling your bathroom. So, finding the plumber’s specialty and what they do best is the best way to ensure that your plumbing job is done properly.

Who Will Be Doing the Work?

Check with the plumber you plan to hire if they will do the work themselves or if they will be hiring subcontractors or helpers to do the job. If they are hiring someone else to do the work on their behalf, then check the experience and credentials of the subcontractors or helpers.

You don’t want the person who will be doing the plumbing work to have less experience or training as this can have an impact on the quality of your project.

Do You Have Insurance?

Apart from having a plumber license, the plumber you hire should have insurance, which is an important part of their credentials. Insurance is especially important in the event of any accidents or mistakes.

A plumber having liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance can take on the risks of the job without you having to worry about the plumber defaulting and you having to pay any unexpected costs out of your pocket.

Insurance also protects you from being legally responsible in case the plumber is injured in your home when taking care of a plumbing job.

What Is the Estimated Total Cost of Fixing the Plumbing Problem?

Always be wary of the cost estimates that you get on the phone. A good plumber will typically visit your home to see the plumbing problems and analyze them before giving you an estimate of the total cost to fix the plumbing issue.

An experienced, professional plumber will also include the cost of any parts required for the repair. Check with the plumber if the estimate they have given includes the labor cost, as well as the cost of the parts.

Does the Plumber Charge Fixed or Hourly Rates?

When you receive the estimate of cost from the plumber, clarify the same to prevent any nasty surprises later on when the job is completed. If the rate is an hourly rate, then check with the plumber how long the job will take to complete.

The greater the qualifications and experience of the plumber, the better it is as it will allow the plumber to give you a correct estimate of time to complete the plumbing job.

Some plumbers charge for travel to and from the job and this can become rather expensive, especially if the plumber is very far away from your home. So, ask if the plumber will also charge for the travel time and to get a clear idea about the cost of the plumbing project, ask for a detailed breakdown of the fees along with the total cost.

Do You Offer Any Warranty on Your Work?

Any type of plumbing job should come with a guarantee and it is best to choose to work with a plumber who offers a warranty on their work. In case there is any problem with the initial problem itself or with the service provided by the plumber, they should be willing to make repairs or replacements for a period of at least 30 days after the plumbing service is provided.

If the plumber cannot provide a warranty for any reason, then they should inform you about this in advance. However, if the plumber will not back up their work or provide a reasonable explanation for why they cannot do it, then look for another plumber who is willing to guarantee their work.

Can I See Some Credentials and References?

Typically, a good plumber has a lot of experience and jobs under their belt and if a plumber does not have 3-5 good references from clients probably does not have sufficient experience to handle certain types of plumbing tasks reliably.

Before getting any quotes or signing a contract with a plumber, check their references personally. Ask people how the plumber’s work is and what it is like to work with them. Check review websites for reviews and testimonials about the plumber’s services and what their clients think of them.

Apart from references, the plumber’s credentials are also quite important. While credentials may not represent the quality of workmanship of the plumber; however, it shows their commitment to the trade.

These also show that the plumber is well versed with modern plumbing techniques and practices. And, being a member of the BBB (Better Business Bureau), local contractor organizations and plumber unions help to reveal their commitment to the trade.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, now that you know what questions to ask before hiring a plumber for any plumbing project, by asking these questions, you can hire the right person to complete your job and have your plumbing job completed professionally, reliably and in time.

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