June 29, 2010

10 Tips for Hiring a Plumber

As a homeowner, I understand the frustration of having to call in a professional.  How much will it cost? Will it set me back financially this month?  You want the job done right without it costing you a small fortune.

Here are a few tips for hiring a plumber:

1.  Get references.  Word of mouth from friends, church members, co-workers, and family is a great place to start.  If someone likes someone, or if they don’t, you’re sure to hear about it.  Ask around.

2.  Search for reviews.  Use a free website such as servicemagic.com or a paid service such as angieslist.com.  I have also found other reviews online just by doing an internet search.

3.  Give as many details as possible about the problem.  Where is the leak?  What kind of pipes do you have?

4.  Ask if the plumber charges for travel time.  For some plumbers, their time starts when they walk in the door.  Others  may charge when they get into the car.  It’s good to know if you’ll be paying extra for their commute.

5.  Ask if the plumber will have the parts on hand.  Does the plumber keep a supplied truck or will he need to make trips to the hardware store.  Will you need to pay him for these extra trips?

6.  Is there a minimum charge?  Just like going to the doctor’s office, some contractors have a minimum rate and that includes a certain amount of time, such as 30 minutes.

7.  Inquire about insurance.  Many contractors have their own insurance which will cover them in case of injury or damage to your property.  Find out if they have insurance.

8.  Find out their credentials.  Does the person have any accreditations?  How long have they been doing this type of work?

9.  Try Craigslist.  If you’re a real cheapskate (like me) you might want to put out a “help wanted” ad on Craigslist.  Some professionals may not like this advice, but here goes . . . Unfortunately, times are rough for the self-employeed.  Put an ad on Craigslist, tell in detail what the repair issues are, filter through the responses based upon credentials, estimates, etc.  You’ll be surprised at the responses you will receive from this ad.  Some may even offer to come out and give a free estimate.  People are looking to work.

10.  Consider hiring a professional to work after hours.  Perhaps you know of someone that works for a major company.  Many times these individuals will moonlight on the weekends to make some extra cash.

Do you have any tips for hiring a plumber?

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