When hiring a contractor in any industry, it’s a good idea to find out a few things before the project starts. The following questions are crucial to ask a plumber before you hire them, and here’s why.
1. Do You Have a License?
The important part plumbers play in keeping the water supply clean has resulted in license requirements for contractors in most states. This helps homeowners confirm the quality and drinkability of their water. While every state should require contractors to obtain a license, not all do. Always ask if you can see a license because numerous plumbers conduct business regularly without actually having one. If they are licensed, that means that the individual will be registered with the state or locale that you can contact to verify.
If a plumber seems great but isn’t licensed, an inspection might not pass, and you could end up with common plumbing leaks or an unfinished bathroom. You can also check to be sure a plumber is licensed by calling your state’s licensing agency. Waterborne illnesses are deadly, and it’s not optional to have clean water. If a contractor is not informed about potential health issues, there could be serious ramifications.
2. What Will Be the Total Amount?
The majority of plumbers will give their customers a free estimate, but only if they come to the job site to see how much work there is before starting. It’s a good idea to be skeptical of receiving a quote without having anyone come out. After a plumber gives you a quote, find out if labor and materials are included, plus a contingency for possible issues. Some companies offer low estimates initially because they only list the expense of materials.
Don’t pay upfront, but it’s normal if the plumber requests payment as the job shows signs of progress (whether they are invoicing by time or job milestones). Hourly payment structures aren’t as popular because the customer can end up paying more than they should.
3. How Experienced Is My Plumber?
Larger companies typically have more than one plumber on staff, and they might assign several contractors to one project if needed. It’s okay to ask how much experience the plumbers working on your project will have, and those who have had proven success and have collected references over time might be the most reliable.
4. What Happens If Someone Gets Injured or Something Gets Damaged?
Hopefully, the company has insurance so that you aren’t held liable financially for fixing any damage or paying for medical expenses if there end up being any unforeseen circumstances. There should be insurance for each plumber who will be working in your home, which is carried out by the company.
Be sure to find out if there is any warranty or guarantee for the work. If not, you might want to keep looking because some companies do promise that they’ll come back if any issues arise within one year. However, others will only return (for free) only under specific conditions, like if a leak occurs. Try to get a copy of the warranty or guarantee in writing.
5. How Long Do You Anticipate This Project Taking?
As long as the contractor is relatively sure about the estimate, you should feel more confident in signing an agreement. Contractors with more experience are typically able to estimate jobs more accurately than those who don’t, but sometimes, there could be more damage than what can be determined due to walls or flooring that’s in the way.
If there is uncertainty regarding how much work needs to be completed, an additional agreement should be made (this is known as a ‘time and materials’ contract). Or, find a contractor who can complete the job in the amount of time that works for you.
In summary, though hiring a plumber can be intimidating, ensuring that they have experience and will complete the job from start to finish is essential. Knowing what the total sum will be upfront will also help you prepare. Also, never discount the value of your contractors having insurance because you don’t want to have to foot the bill for something that’s not your responsibility.