What You Need to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber

Establishing a good relationship with a local plumber is essential for any homeowner. Here are a few questions to ask to determine if they're a reputable pro.

By Benjamin St. Jacques


If you’re a homeowner, then you’ll most likely be searching for a professional plumber at some point. Establishing a good relationship with a plumbing professional in your area can be invaluable. Whether it’s a leaky faucet, a stubborn clog, a broken water heater, or a major pipe replacement, your plumber can handle it all.




However, trying to find any kind of reputable home improvement professional can be a challenge, and this is especially true when it comes to plumbers. There are probably dozens of local plumbing contractors you can choose from. Some of them are probably great and some of them may just be looking to take advantage of naïve homeowners. How can you tell the difference?


Here are five questions to help make sure that you hire the best plumbing professional in your area:


1. Can I see your license?

All states require most home improvement professionals to get and maintain licenses, plumbers included. If your plumber has an up-to-date license, then you know that he is trained in the latest techniques and safety standards. Plus, you’ll be sure that he will only use pipes and other materials that meet the latest building codes. By hiring a local plumbing contractor that’s fully licensed, you can rest assured that he has the knowledge and skills to fix your plumbing issue.




2. How many years have you been in business?

If a plumber has been serving your community for over 10 years, then odds are you’re talking to a top-quality plumber. There’s just too much competition out there, so if a plumber isn’t very good, he will be out of business quickly. Plus, a long-time local plumbing contractor knows relevant facts about your town, like areas prone to flooding, the average age of homes, the workings of the town’s sewer system, and typical plumbing found in homes. That kind of knowledge only comes with years of experience.




3. Can you provide references?

The best way for you to find out about the quality of a plumber’s work is to ask previous customers. Any plumbing professional in your area that has been in business for a while should be able to provide you with references upon request. If he can’t or will not, then definitely look elsewhere.




4. Can you give me an estimate?

Once a plumber looks at a potential job, then he should be able to provide an accurate estimate. The rule of thumb is to get three estimates. Be wary of any estimate that’s much lower than the others. It could mean that the plumber is planning on cutting corners or using poor quality materials.




5. Do you hire subcontractors?

Your plumber may hire a subcontractor to do the job, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s common for many certified home professionals to use subcontractors. However, you do want you plumber to be upfront about his use of subcontractors, and to be responsible for the work they do. If you’d rather have the plumber personally do the work, then let him know.




If you’re looking to hire the best plumber in your area, then start by asking these five questions.


If he gives honest, straightforward answers, then you know you’ve found a local plumbing contractor that you can work with for years to come.


Images used with permission, courtesy of www.dreamstime.com and www.bigstock.com

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