Tips For Hiring A Plumber
Taking your time to hire an experienced and reputable plumbing contractor is important. A home’s plumbing system consists of a complex system of pipes and fixtures that work together to provide clean water, safe disposal of wastes and more. Plumbing is a modern miracle and you want to make sure your plumbing system is in good hands.
Because a plumbing system involves home and public safety, its design is strictly regulated by building codes. Plumbers are regulated, licensed, and credentialed to ensure proper workmanship. Even so, there are factors to consider to ensure you get the right professional for the job. These include:
1. Proven credentials
By law, all plumbers must be licensed in the State where they work. Make sure their trade license number is included in their quote and when the plumber arrives at your home, visually inspect their plumber’s license. If your plumber is going to be doing gasfitting, they must have a separate gasfitting license or be endorsed to do that role.
For peace of mind, look for a plumber advertising themselves as a “Master Plumber”. These are members of a state-based Master Plumbers Association, who have access to the latest industry advice and expertise. You can also talk to family, friends, and colleagues about their experiences with plumbers and choose a plumber via a good recommendation. Reputation goes far.
Even the best tradie can make a mistake and should this happen, you want to know that they are fully insured to cover associated costs. Ask to see details of their public liability insurance. This will protect you financially in the event that damage or personal injury occurs.
The price of the quote is by no means ‘the’ determining factor when choosing a plumber, but it is important. Get several quotes, as prices and services vary considerably.
A plumber’s price should be fair and competitive and should give you a clear idea of the estimated total cost. Plumbers often have fixed rates for standard jobs like unblocking drains and installing hot water systems, but other jobs may be calculated on estimated hours.
#Tip: Don’t go straight for the cheapest quote if it means compromising on quality. All products used should carry the WaterMark Certificate, which ensures it is both safe and durable. A WaterMark Certificate is a “proof of quality” stamp that can save you in the long run - even if it means a higher upfront cost.
4. Written contract
Changing a tap washer or doing a small job doesn’t require you to sign a contract but if you’re renovating a bathroom, a signed contract should be in place. Your initial quote is not legally binding but a written contract is. Details should include the date, contractor’s ABN or other business numbers and contact details. If there are any aspects of the job that can only be estimated (or cannot be anticipated) this should be clearly explained in plain English.
When you get work done on your property by a fully licensed plumber that only uses high-quality WaterMark Certificate products you benefit from a full warranty. Your plumber should also be willing to give a compliance certificate after the job is done and a guarantee for workmanship over a respectable period of time (no less than 6 months).
Hiring in an emergency
Homeowners often respond to plumbing emergencies by hiring the first plumber they come into contact with or the first plumber listed on a Google search. This could result in a catastrophe.
If you’re hiring as a result of an emergency, have a list of questions at hand. Ten questions you should be asking include:
- Do you have a plumbing specialty?
- Is the quote the total cost for all services?
- Does the quote include labour and material?
- Do you charge a flat rate or by the hour?
- What payment arrangements do you require?
- Do you have proper credentials and references?
- Do you have a plumbing license you can show me on arrival?
- Will you be performing the plumbing services personally?
- Do your independent contractors have licenses?
- Do you have plumbing insurance and what kind of warranty do you offer?
What to avoid
As well as look for certain factors when hiring there are other factors you should try to avoid.
1. Upfront costs
A plumber should not be asking for upfront payment for services. On a big job, milestone payments are preferable, meaning you pay only once particular tasks are completed.
2. Blind quoting
A plumber also shouldn’t be quoting you for a complex job without physically inspecting the work. Without seeing the space, access, what needs to be done and what materials are required it’s near impossible to give an accurate quote.
3. Extortionate quotes
Just because a quote comes in that’s much higher than the others you received, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Higher quotes don’t always mean the highest quality workmanship and products - sometimes it’s a plumber trying to fleece you!
Why it’s important
The leak from a pipe fitting that costs less than a dollar can easily cause thousands of dollars in water damage, disrupt your household for weeks, and throw your remodel off schedule. That’s why hiring a fully licensed, highly qualified, and insured plumber is a no-brainer.
A drip or clog might not seem like a big deal and may seem like the job of a local handyman (or even DIY) but it’s important you know when to call in a pro. Plumbing isn’t difficult but it does require a lot of expert knowledge. Code requirements are just a small part - you also need parts knowledge and experience with the materials such as ball, gate, globe, and check valves.
Remember, the best way to find a good plumber is to ask questions. If you don’t ask, you don’t really know what you’re getting.