We think we speak for everyone when we say that no one wants to experience a plumbing emergency, much less an unexpected one. However, in times of need, having the know-how to hire a plumber can certainly help keep your stress levels to a minimum.
It’s bound to happen at some point, too—a leaky pipe here or a flooded water heater there. Even if there is no actual problem, having a plumber check in on your house for some maintenance will help you avoid minor issues that can eventually result in expensive repair costs.
That being said, it’s also important to know what to ask a contractor before you go ahead and hire them. Not all plumbers are alike, and it’s up to you to find the most skilled one to fit your needs. To help you, we’ve outlined the top 10 questions you should ask a plumber before making an informed decision if you’re living anywhere from the Boston and Cape Cod areas.
1. Are You a Licensed Plumber?
First and foremost, ask if they’re an officially licensed plumber. While the state of Massachusetts allows unlicensed plumbers to operate, their scope is pretty limited. As such, it’s essential to look for a plumber that is licensed to take care of any plumbing issue.
Additionally, unlicensed plumbers may also provide a less-than-stellar job that will end up costing you more in the future. As such, make a better investment by hiring a licensed plumber.
2. Are Your Services Bonded and Insured?
In addition to carrying an official license, a plumber must also be bonded and insured. This is because while an expert plumber can perform the job without any hitch, there are simply instances when the contractor fails. In such cases, a bonded and insured plumber may be able to cover the damage.
By hiring an insured and bonded plumber, you are also buying security along with some peace of mind.
3. Do You Provide Estimates Over the Phone?
Here’s an important tip when it comes to talking to a plumber over the phone: make sure they provide you a ballpark estimate depending on what you described to them. The plumber should then tell you the exact price after they make a proper assessment of your property.
This tells you if a plumber is experienced and trustworthy or not, as an inexperienced/unlicensed one will already give you a price before seeing you properly in person.
4. Do You Have Any References?
When you can, ask your potential plumber for references, as this is an excellent way to gauge their overall skill level and service. It’s also a great way of checking a plumber’s reliability. Were their previous clients satisfied? Was the plumber easy to work with? Was the plumber quick to arrive during a plumbing emergency? What did you like most about working with them? And what did you least like? These are some of the questions that you want to be answered when going through references. Walk away from any plumber who can’t supply you with at least three to five references.
Additionally, you can also look at online testimonials and review sites for more information. You can even check in with the Better Business Bureau if you want to dig deeper.
5. How Do You Charge? Flat Rate or Hourly?
Before agreeing to any contract, it’s a good idea to confirm whether your plumber charges a flat rate or by the hour. While it’s not always the case, remember that plumbers paid by the hour may be less efficient as working longer hours means higher pay for them. It’s also possible for hourly plumbers to withhold information until you need to pay for their service for a few more hours than what is first agreed upon.
On the other hand, flat rate plumbers will charge you the same no matter how long it takes. Having a flat rate also makes them work more efficiently, making them what we recommend. Additionally, some plumbers will also charge for travel time, so ask if yours is the same. To get the best idea of how much everything will cost, it’s a good idea to ask for a breakdown of all the fees.
6. Do You Specialize in an Area of Plumbing?
Just like other professions, a plumber may specialize in one area of plumbing. As such, it’s essential to find a plumber that is capable of fixing your problem. Not all plumbers are alike, and some are more capable in certain areas than others.
If it’s a basic issue, then a general plumber will do just fine. Otherwise, look for someone who has the experience and skills to resolve your specific problem. Should you require such help, our professionals at Blue Bear Plumbing are well-equipped to handle all sorts of plumbing issues.
7. Does Your Work Come with a Guarantee?
If a plumber is officially licensed, then their work should come with a guarantee/warranty. For example, a plumber should be willing to come in for additional repairs or adjustments for any problem related to the initial service at least 30 days after it’s been provided.
And while a warranty can’t always be provided, a good plumber should still back up their work and provide a guarantee. Otherwise, look for someone else who can give you that peace of mind.
8. What Times Do You Operate?
When looking for a plumber who will be your “regular,” don’t forget to ask about their hours of operation. Some plumbers work around the clock seven times a week, while others only follow regular business hours. And while there’s nothing wrong with this, having a trusted professional you can call during an emergency will save you from headaches in the future.
Alternatively, you can also check whether they offer services after regular business hours if they’re not operating 24/7. Usually, these services come with a fee, so it’s helpful to know how much extra you will be paying when you need their assistance.
9. Do You Provide Cleanup Services?
It’s normal to assume that a plumber will be cleaning up after themselves once they finish the job. However, it’s something you have to ask of them specifically.
This is because, in many cases, cleanup isn’t included in the rate, which means that it will be your job to clean the mess made afterward. As such, it’s important to ask if cleanup is included in the contract. If it isn’t, then you can ask if they charge any extra for it.
10. Will You Give Me Advice on How to Avoid Future Plumbing Issues?
Part of being a good plumbing service is making sure that you leave your customers with the know-how to prevent future repairs.
As such, your plumber should finish by giving you instructions and general tips on how to maintain your plumbing and prevent any more problems in the future.
If you live anywhere between the Boston and Cape Cod areas and require any plumbing service, please contact us. We here at Blue Bear Plumbing provide a 24/7 emergency service and are committed to providing nothing but quality plumbing and HVAC services, and you may reach out to us today for more information.