Murphy’s Law dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It will be inevitable that you as a homeowner will need to hire a professional plumber to solve a plumbing issue. From clogged toilets and common water heater leaks to blocked drains, there are plenty of issues that can catch you unaware. If left unfixed, these problems can blow up, sometimes literally, and lead to a more expensive crisis.
On the off chance that you have a perfect plumbing system, you might still want to increase your home’s resale value through a bit of renovation. Upgrading your plumbing fixtures to a more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly system is a sure bet for a higher home appraisal. You will need the help of a plumbing professional to make some good recommendations and install your new fixtures.
That said, looking for a professional plumbing contractor should not be done in haste. With plenty of candidates available for the job, it is important to do your research and vet potential contractors thoroughly before sealing a deal. After all, your home is likely your most significant investment. You do not want an unreliable contractor do to a botched job that could cost you more than a simple plumbing job should. Here are some tips on how you can vet plumbing contractors.
1. Get recommendations from friends and online reviews
One of the best ways to find the best plumbers in your area is to actually ask around for recommendations. Word of mouth is still a powerful thing in home repair and improvement jobs, especially plumbing, and social media recommendations and online reviews have actually amplified it. A relative, neighbor, friend or work colleague who had their pipes fixed will likely give you an honest assessment of the work of the plumber they hired. And if they had a good experience, then you know that their glowing review will be based on facts.
Like such assessments, internet reviews and social media recommendations are a great source of information about the best plumbers near you. Searches for sites such as Yelp and Google plumbing reviews aggregate user experiences you can use in your search for the best plumbers in your area. If you are in a pinch and don’t know where to start, visit these sites and list down some of the plumbing contractors that are reputable and have good ratings.
2. Verify if the contractors’ licenses are valid
One of the most important things that you need to ask a plumbing contractor is if they have the proper license to work in the state. Along with many home improvement and construction jobs, plumbing is actually a regulated profession. Most U.S. states require plumbers to show their expertise by passing a licensure examination to protect residential homeowners. If a plumber does not have a license to show, you need to think twice before hiring them.
In the state of Texas, contractor licenses are handled by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations and you may check a contractor’s license through the TDLR License Data Search. Make sure you do your due diligence to ensure that the plumbing job is in capable hands. *In some parts of the country, service work for certain typical plumbing tasks can fall to an HVAC company due to state licensing as pointed out by Smart 72.
3. Ask if the contractors are properly insured
Like all construction jobs, a plumbing renovation or repair has a risk of injury for you, the contractor, and a third party. There is also the risk of damaging your or another party’s property. For this reason, it is essential that the company doing work for you has the necessary insurance that can protect you from potential issues should an accident happen.
In general, plumbing contractors need two types of insurance—liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation provides medical assistance in case an injury happens to the contractor on the job while liability insurance protects the contractor from claims against their work.
4. Talk to previous customers
Another good way of vetting plumbing contractors is to look at their work history and talk to previous clients. Your questions need to center on whether they are overall satisfied with the contractors’ work. Ask if there were any mistakes during the job and if there was, how the contractor resolved it. Finally, ask if they recommend the plumber to other customers such as yourself.
5. Examine the quotes for the job
Most plumbing professionals will give free estimates for the job. Use this opportunity to look at how they break down their pricing. Ideally, they will give you a list of materials and their prices along with the labor costs. Make sure that what you see is what you get and confirm it with the contractor multiple times. This ensures that you will not deal with hidden fees and other payment issues in the future.
Doing your due diligence and research before hiring a contractor may seem like a chore. However, the effort you put into looking for recommendations and asking the right questions can lead to the right plumbing professional. Give us a call today.