Living and thriving in the 21st century means that most of us have never had to figure out life without indoor plumbing. This is a convenience that we have learned to take for granted, but, in reality, getting water to run smoothly through pipes entails a large amount of practical engineering knowledge.
Whether your new home needs an emergency repair or you are planning a large-scale remodel, hiring a plumber requires a bit more due diligence than simply calling the guy with the biggest ad. Put together by trusted plumbers in Midlothian, TX, here are four basic things to check before hiring anyone.
1. Are They Trained, Certified, and/or Licensed?
Depending on where you live, requirements for licensure and certification for plumbers may vary greatly, as will the consequences of not respecting them. Nowadays, all U.S. states, with the exception of New York and Kansas, have some sort of licensure or certification program in place. Usually, a license will mean that said plumber has either passed an exam or completed a certain amount of hours of training.
As a potential client or employer, it will be up to you to check the legal requirements in your area. This is particularly important in states like California, where homeowners are liable to steep fines if they hired unlicensed contractors. Even if you live somewhere else or can claim ignorance, hiring an unlicensed plumber will most likely void any warranties on the supplies used, and should something go wrong, you will be left with little room to complain or ask for refunds.
If you live somewhere without mandatory licensure, it never hurts to simply ask the plumber where they trained; they should have a trade school or apprenticeship certificate, at the very least.
2. What Kind of Insurance do They Have?
Depending on the complexity of the task at hand, any plumbing job will carry a certain degree of risk for both the contractor, the workers, and your property. Any accident or injury suffered by the contractors will legally be the responsibility of the property owner, so make sure the plumber has a worker’s compensation insurance policy in place.
If a pipe or faucet breaks during the job, the resulting flood could damage your appliances or lighting fixtures, or require professional sanitation services. Working with insured plumbers will mean you won’t have to foot the bill for such accidents.
If the plumber you hired does not work by himself –either because he sends other people or he just has an assistant – then you will need to ensure those workers are covered by the insurance as well.
Make sure to get, at the very least, a policy number and the name of the insurance company. Most plumbers will offer full information regarding their coverage and liability limits.
3. Can They Offer Referrals or Recommendations?
Unless you were directly recommended a plumber by a friend or colleague who has worked with them before, you’ll need to check the plumber’s past work history. Most normal past clients are naturally hesitant to offer their name and number for strangers to call without notice, but any experienced plumber should be able to offer at least two or three names.
Even relatively new plumbers should be able to tell you if they have trained or worked under someone else before.
4. How are They Quoting You?
Offering free, no-strings-attached quotes is now the standard practice for all sorts of contractors, plumbers included. If you are hiring emergency services, you may not have time to get the standard three quotes to make sure you are getting a competitive (but not suspiciously low) price.
However, if you are planning a full bathroom remodel or a more extensive repair job, you should definitely get several quotes. You’ll also need to ensure you are not comparing apples to pears by asking specifics about the estimates provided:
1. Is the quote just supposed to cover workmanship or are materials included? Which brands and suppliers are being quoted for?
2. Are you being offered a flat fee for the whole job? Are there any provisions for unexpected extra costs or mishaps?
3. What are the payment conditions for this quote? Will you have to make an initial deposit and pay the balance upon completion? Are there any other milestones? For larger jobs, are payment plans offered? Make sure to never pay everything upfront!
4. Does the price have any warranty attached to it?
Most people may be capable of unclogging a toilet in a pinch, but higher-end repairs or brand new installations will require the services of a knowledgeable plumber. If you are working with someone for the first time, the proper screening will save you headaches and money in the long run.
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