How to Find & Hire A Low-Cost Plumber in Your Area
- 26 - 03 - 2019
- By Heritage Plumbing
Whether you have a flooded basement or some other form of emergency plumbing job, finding a good plumber in your local area at a reasonable price can be challenging. There are several things to consider in advance before determining whether or not a plumber is a good fit for you and your plumbing situation.
To find the best plumber in your area, it’s a good idea to first learn how to go about pre-qualifying potential plumbers before bringing them on board.
What Kind of Plumber Do You Need?
Before seeking out the best plumber for your needs, it’s important to know what type of plumber you actually need. There are plumbers that specialise in different areas of plumbing and those who handle all-round basic plumbing repairs. There are also commercial plumbers and residential plumbers.
In any case, narrowing down the type of plumber that you need is the first step in seeking out the best plumber in your area at the most economical price possible.
To assist you with your efforts, below is a list of questions that you should consider asking a potential plumber to determine which one is most suitable for you and your typical plumbing needs.
1. Referrals and Word of Mouth
Believe it or not, but referrals and word-of-mouth are still the best forms of advertising there is. Starting with your family and friends, you can receive honest and detailed information about a plumber than you could obtain by performing general research on your own. Most people who work with plumbers typically use the same one for many years. They can give you the inside scoop, yet also let you know about some basic things that may be important to you.
Some of those things to be aware include specific information about the plumber’s knowledge and skills, whether or not they specialise in a certain area, how long it takes them to perform their jobs, how well they work under pressure and their general overall performance.
2. Use Local Online Directories
The use of local online directories is another great resource for finding plumbers in your area. Not only do they make you aware of which local plumbers are available, but they can also show you which plumbers specialise in different areas and provide you with reviews.
3. General Research
After getting referrals by word-of-mouth, you can also perform your own research by going online and checking out a potential plumber’s websites. That way you can learn even more information about the plumber and their areas of specialty, along with any testimonials that they may have been published by customers.
Part of finding a good plumber is finding one in your general vicinity. Most people who are seeking out a plumber is in need of one right away. They do not plan on waiting for a plumber for a long period of time because they have an urgent plumbing job that requires immediate attention.
Local plumbers are also familiar with some of the most common plumbing issues that arise in your area. In addition to that, most are also familiar with some of the common building and plumbing codes in the local area as well.
To find plumbers in your local area, you can also consider checking out a few online directories as well as your local hardware store. They are known for having a list of plumbers that they can refer to business owners and residents in the local area.
5. Know the Difference Between Low-Quality Plumbers Vs High-Quality Plumbers
It’s important to know whether or not you’re dealing with a professional high-quality plumber versus a low-quality plumber. Each of these types of plumbers is of a different calibre and their performance is likely to differ too. For example, a higher quality plumber most likely has:
- Years of experience;
- A plumber‘s license;
- A certification;
- Insurance; and
- Is bonded.
These items are important because several other components must be in place first before the plumber can officially operate in Australia. Here’s what we mean. If a plumber has a plumber‘s license, he or she first has to undergo a series of testing, including a background test, fingerprinting, as well as testing on his knowledge and skill set to obtain his State license. If a plumber does not complete these tasks, it’s important to keep in mind that you certainly won’t get what you pay for; and you may be dealing with a lower caliber plumber if they have not obtained made the effort to become licenced.
6. Get Several Bids
Once you know whether or not you’re dealing with a lower caliber plumber versus a higher caliber plumber, then you should set your expectations accordingly.
When it comes to receiving quotations or bids in response to a tender, if a plumber is licensed and bonded, that would justify the cost associated with his or her work. The plumber is probably a lot more knowledgeable about using the best techniques, materials, and tools needed to provide clients with top quality plumbing services.
Once you begin to receive quotes from multiple plumbers, you may notice a huge difference in price. If a plumber offers an exceptionally low price compared to all the others, that may not be such a good thing. It may also suggest that their work is also going to be of poor quality as well. Or, they might know a cheaper and more effective way of completing the task.
When receiving bids and quotes, be sure to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. What this means is that you should get quotes from plumbers who are licensed and compare those or get bids from plumbers who are not licensed and compare those. But it’s not a good comparison when you mix the two.
7. Do They Guarantee Their Work and Offer Warranties?
Although you may be in need of a good local plumber at a reasonable price, you certainly want a plumber who guarantees their work. If not you could end up paying more in the long run. For example, if you hire a plumber because he or she offers to perform services at a low price, there may be some other components missing – he or she may not guarantee his or her work. This is important should problems occur after the plumbing services have been performed. If this occurs, you may be charged a fee again.
However, those plumbers who guarantee their work are confident and stand behind what they do. They can do this because they provide quality plumbing services and use quality parts and techniques. Typically, plumbers who have a license and are concerned about the delivery of their own services will take the time to provide good quality plumbing services that you will be pleased with. They are so confident in the outcome of their work that they offer a guarantee.
When looking for plumbers in your local area, you should also look for those who guarantee parts and materials that they use as well. This is also very critical because you only want quality parts that will last in your property.
8. Continued Education
One additional perk that plumbers can add is ongoing and continued education. Not only does this allow them to hone in on their plumbing skills, but it also allows them to bring the latest techniques, tools, and knowledge to the job site. This is important because as new plumbing problems arise, it may have an impact on plumbing codes, technology, techniques and so forth. This is an added value that your local plumber can offer you now and into the future.
9. Avoid Waiting Until You are Faced With a Plumbing Emergency
One of the worst ways to determine whether or not you’re hiring the best local plumber is to hire one when you are in an emergency state. When you are faced with an emergency, you basically want a solution to your problem right away without the extensive planning. In cases such as this, you will likely settle for any plumber that comes along. This means the first plumber who answers the phone is the one who gets the job. This scenario is not ideal. In cases like these, plumbers are normally not pre-screened or pre-qualified to take on the job.
If you are faced with a plumbing emergency, you should have already had a plumber in mind and lined up in advance. Finding a local plumber before an emergency strikes is the best way to do the necessary research and due diligence to find a plumber that you can establish a long-term relationship with.
10. Don’t Hire the First Plumber you Call
As indicated above, you should never hire the first plumber you call for a plumbing job. This can be avoided when calling several plumbers before emergencies take place. Plumbers tend to take advantage of those who are in a dire situation. They tend to increase their prices or recommend services that aren’t even needed. Take your time and perform the research necessary to find the right plumber for you.
11. Do They Use the Latest Equipment?
Plumbers that use the latest equipment is an indicator that they are aware of what’s going on in the plumbing industry. Tools, equipment, machinery and technology change all the time. Plumbers who are aware of these changes will deliver effective services to customers. This is extra value that they can add to their services.
12. Find Out If the Plumbers in Your Area Requires a License
Remember, despite our discussion above, not all regions require plumbers to carry a plumber’s license. Before bringing on a plumber, make sure you check with the local authorities to confirm whether or not he is required to have a plumber‘s license. If so, ask to see a copy of your plumber’s license or some other identifying document before bringing a local plumber on board. Some may only be required to carry a certain kind of license based on the type of work they plan to perform according to State government rules.
13. Plumbers Insurance
Before hiring a local plumber, make sure he or she has adequate insurance to cover his work. As a general practice, all business owners should carry some form of business insurance to reduce the financial risk associated with errors that take place when performing plumbing services.
There are different types of insurance that are available, including those that protects the plumber, his or her business owner and the customer.
In most Australian states, public liability insurance is mandatory for licensed plumbing contractors. However, in Victoria, there are cases where additional requirements must be met. In any case, there are insurance products available to cover additional damages and neglect, plumber’s tools and equipment and the loss of income.
14. Get Written Estimates From Multiple Plumbers
Sometimes it’s difficult for plumbers to provide you with an estimate; especially if it’s a sight unseen. A better option would be if a plumber came to your site location beforehand and provided you with an actual estimate after having performed an assessment of your plumbing situation.
When getting an estimate, make sure it is in writing. It should be an official estimate as opposed to one that may change by the time the work is performed.
When requesting a written estimate, make sure the estimate includes the following:
- Actual plumbing repair services that are taking place
- Approximate time of how long it will take to perform the services
- Whether you’re being charged a flat rate or an hourly rate
- An estimated cost of material, tools and other items needed to complete the job
- The payment terms
- The payment methods
It’s important to get a quote of the actual repairs that will be taking place to avoid being overcharged for services that you did not approve. However, there are times when a plumber may notice additional work is needed after the job has officially started. Although, the quote should be based on plumbing work that has already been assessed.
Have the plumber provide an estimate of how long he or she thinks it will take to perform the services. This is important especially when you are being charged by the hour. Most experienced plumbers can provide a rough estimate of how long it will take to perform plumbing services that they’ve performed in the past. So there should be no major surprises because taking this approach reduces overbilling.
Another critical component is finding out whether or not the plumber charges a flat rate or by the hour. When you are being charged by the hour, there are many factors that could extend the amount of time that the plumber spends on the job. This is why it’s important to get an estimate of how long it may take for the job to be completed. If you’re being charged a flat rate, you will want to know what that amount is as well, along with the specific job that you are being charged for.
The plumber may determine that additional tools, material or other items are needed to complete the job. All anticipated costs should be included in the estimate whenever possible.
Finally, the payment terms should also be included in the quote. Some plumbers require an upfront deposit, whereas others collect the full balance at the end of the services. Be sure to get clarity on the payment terms as well as the payment method.
Once you’ve been provided with a written estimate, save it so that you can compare it to the final bill once it’s been issued to you.
15. Memberships and Trade Associations
When you are seeking out a good plumber in your local area, another important sign is whether or not the plumber is a member of a union or a local or national trade associations. Anytime a business owner takes the time to join a trade association, that’s an indication that they are serious about their craft, aware about maintaining a positive reputation and staying up-to-date and connected with the industry.
Trade associations feed plumbers the information they need to be cutting-edge, to remain in compliance, and have access to the latest tools in the industry and more.
Don’t overlook a plumber’s trade affiliations. It is an indicator that you are working with a serious plumber who is committed to doing everything possible to ensure he or she offers the best plumbing services.
16. Find Out How Long They’ve Been in Business
How long a plumber has been in business also provides an indication about their level of commitment and their level of experience. When seeking out a local plumber you may feel a lot more comfortable knowing you’re working with a plumber that has been in the business for many years. This is also a sign that they’ve been faced with multiple plumbing challenges and have the resources and the knowledge to address them as they arise.
Hopefully, the tips provided above will help you find a local plumber for your business or residence. Remember, if your plumbing problem requires certain skills and a certain area of specialty, be sure to seek out plumbers who have that training or additional certification in the area your require. Also, don’t be shy about asking all the questions necessary to learn as much as you can about potential plumbers before bringing them on board.
Do you already have a local plumber in the Australian area that you are satisfied with? If so, feel free to share any additional tips that you may have or additional steps that you have taken to locate the plumber that is most suitable for your needs.
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