Many people don’t think about the quality of a plumbing professional, until their kitchen sink backs up or the shower pipe bursts. When an emergency situation arises, any plumber is a good plumber, but when you’re looking to hire one on short notice, there are several questions you should ask him. |
The first thing you need to know about the candidate is whether or not he has a license and insurance, and if he’s been state certified. If he says he is, call your local licensing board to make sure that everything is current. Also, check with both the licensing board and your local Better Business Bureau to find out if there are or have been any recent complaints filed against him. Ask for a copy of his insurance policy, and find out if he also carries both workman’s compensation and liability insurance as well.
Once you have verified that the individual is properly qualified and insured, find out how long she has been in business. If she was not referred to you by someone you feel comfortable with, ask for the names of three to five people she has done work for in the past. Find out what type of job she performed for the previous customer. Was the work done on time? Did she keep the project within the customer’s budget? Was she on time, courteous and thorough? When the work was completed, did she leave a mess behind, or take the time to clean up afterwards? If the plumbing professional is hired through a company, check the track record of the business: how many complaints were filed against them, for what and what actions were taken against the establishment.
Finally, ask about the plumbing professional’s rates, the types of materials he uses and any guarantee he provides. You can get a fair idea of hourly rates by calling around to different companies, but find out how his rates are calculated. Ideally, you should request a free home inspection beforehand, but in an emergency situation, this is not always possible. Review the written estimate carefully. Does he automatically try to save money by using low-quality materials? If he provides brand names of some products, check to see if they allow the homeowner to benefit from the protection of a manufacturer’s warranty. You should find out in advance what will happen in the event there is a problem after the work is completed. If the project requires a permit, find out who is responsible for obtaining it, to avoid later complications.
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