This guest post was written by Jody Costello, [Pre]modeling Authority/Consumer Advocate and founder of ContractorsFromHell.com.
When it comes to hiring a plumber, more often than not it’s because something has gone wrong – very wrong. As in, the water heater is no longer supplying you with that precious heated water (and cold showers are not what you’re needing right now!) Or, the toilet is constantly running or running over causing you distress and damaging your floors. Then there is the dreaded “bursting pipe” that threatens structural and electrical damage to your home not to mention costly repairs. And in those homes with basements – a pool of gallons of unwanted water. Or it could simply be that standing in a tub full of water when you’re showering is just becoming annoying and frankly not a good sign.
Of course, preventative maintenance would likely address these issues before getting to the point of exasperation or desperation, but many homeowners tend to believe that until it’s broken, no need to pour money into what’s working. I know, faulty thinking, but that’s how it is with many of us.
I can say this from personal experience when last Thanksgiving our water heater decided to call it quits and shocking cold showers were all we could get. Thankfully, we have a great plumber we’ve used for years and of course, he gave us an earful of stories of folks (like us) who should have been on “maintenance watch” with our water heater. There were signs that we just ignored, such as the length of time it took the water to heat up along with bursts of cold water when hot is what we were dialed into.
With that said, many folks who find themselves in similar situations don’t always know a good plumber and have to shop around. And if you’re in a hurry to get things back to normal you may not choose the best person for the job. Needless to say, finding a good plumber before hand and keeping his information handy when you do need help is the best way to go. But just as with any other contractor, you need to ask a few questions and determine certain criteria. The following are some points to consider:
1. Always select a plumber who is licensed, insured and bonded. Ask for proof of licensing and insurance. Verify this information with your states’ licensing agency as well. You want to make sure that the license is active and no complaints have been cited.
2. Obtain 2-3 bids if possible. You don’t want to find out after the fact that you spent too much money unnecessarily. Ask questions on anything you don’t understand.
3. Get a written estimate that details the cost of the project including materials and time to complete.
4. Ask how their rates are calculated. Is it hourly or do they charge a flat rate for the project? Most charge hourly but don’t assume anything – ask!
5. Be sure to inquire if he charges a service call fee. You don’t want to be charged if the plumber is not going to do any work for you.
6. Ask if he has done work similar to what you’re looking to repair or replace. The last thing you want is choosing the wrong person for the job which will only end up costing you more down the road.
Finally, you should consider every detail and not just cost alone. Quality service is what makes the experience a pleasant one and good workmanship is a must, especially when it affects the integrity and functionality of your home.
Bio: Jody Costello, founder of ContractorsFromHell.com, is a Pre-Renovation Coach who takes the mystery out of hiring the right contractor, staying in control of your remodeling project and avoiding a remodeling disaster. You can learn more by visiting her “Home Remodeling Bootcamp For Women”, an online teaching course.