When You Need To Hire A Plumber

When You Need To Hire A Plumber

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Do you need to hire a plumber? Make sure that he has a plumbers license, workers compensation insurance and has been referred by someone you trust.

Do you need to hire a plumber? Make sure that he has a plumbers license, worker's compensation insurance and has been referred by someone you trust.

A few years ago our family moved to a new area of the country, far from the familiar roots of our New Jersey neighborhood. Within the first month we realized that one of the outside gardening spigots was sealed and, in order to get water running again, we would need the services of a plumber.

When you’re living in familiar territory finding a handyman is a snap: you call upon people you know, likely folks you grew up with, see regularly at church, or at your kid’s activities, etc.. In a new area you don’t have that  kind of familiarity with people, but should you let your fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages to find your service person? That’s one option, but I prefer to get a referral from someone who has used their work in the past.

To find a trustworthy plumber consider asking a neighbor for a referral. Personally, I’ve found that the people who live in a neighborhood the longest have a ready list of plumbers, electricians, and other service people at the ready. But, I’ve also learned to stay in contact with our real estate agent who is one of the best connected people in our town.

I insist on using only those plumbers who have a state plumbers license and, if the work that they will be doing on the home is extensive, I ask for proof of workman’s compensation insurance. Most plumbers have their state identification number posted prominently on the side of their trucks, but I prefer to see a copy of the actual license.

Rates vary with plumbers, but not all that much. However, if you call a plumber on the weekends or at night, expect to have to pay double or more for an emergency. Try to get a flat rate for their work instead of being billed by the hour too.

Most plumbers insist on working with the parts that they choose. That Moen faucet you found at The Home Depot may be what you want and you were able to get it for a good price, but plumbers usually will only warrant their work if they purchase the part themselves. Besides, plumbers get professional discounts which can usually beat your best deal at the home improvement store.

Finally, before the plumber leaves your home, inspect their work. Look for leaks, make sure that valves turn on and off with ease, and that their work area was left broom clean. If a problem arises and you didn’t check the plumber’s work before they left your home, they may not be liable for damages.

If you cannot get a referral from a neighbor or real estate agent, call your local Better Business Bureau  and ask them for the names of several plumbers in your area. The larger the job, the more bids you should get (I recommend three) giving you a better chance of finding a plumber who will do the work satisfactorily and at a price you can afford.

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Comments

  1. FunAdvice
    FunAdvice 17 December, 2008, 17:01

    Some great advice, especially the asking a neighbor part. I hate hiring outside help for home improvement, especially with finances the way they are these days. Chances are referrals may get you a discount as well =)

  2. Matthew C. Keegan
    Matthew C. Keegan Author 17 December, 2008, 17:28

    FunAdvice, I’m with you. I’ve gotten completely skittish about using anyone new and have delayed less pressing projects until I’ve investigated vendor work previously done.

    As far as the discount goes, that would be great — I also don’t expect to have to pay fuel surcharge when gas is below $2 per gallon too.

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