How to Choose a Plumber?
When you need to call a plumber, it’s usually an urgent situation. You may have an overflowing toilet, a leaky tap or a burst pipe. If you have an emergency plumbing issue, you want to know who to call right away.
It’s best to have the contact details of a reliable, local plumber on hand to call when you need them.
Ask around for referrals to a reliable plumber or plumbing company that friends or colleagues have used. It’s always best, if possible, to use a plumber that has been recommended to you.
We’ve put together a checklist of what to ask a plumber for before hiring them.
- How do you charge – a flat fee, per hour, or by service type?
There are a few different ways a plumber may charge for their services, so it’s good to understand the options before you call them. Some plumbing companies have a set rate for specific service types. In this case, it’s hard to compare apples to apples because it’s not always clear-cut. One company may charge for travel time while another may include it. Some plumbers charge by the hour. This is tricky because most homeowners don’t know how long a particular plumbing problem should take to fix. Other plumbers may charge a flat fee per call-out. The problem with that is they may only need to be onsite for a short amount of time, but you’re getting a flat fee that they also use for longer repair jobs.
There is no right or wrong answer here, but this question reveals how transparent and detailed they are with their customer service.
- Do you provide a quote or an estimate?
The difference is that an estimate is just that – an estimate – and you’ll likely end up paying more. On the other hand, a quote usually itemises what the stated fee includes.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more details. If you receive just a proposed price, ask what is covered and what is not covered. If they provide you with clear details of their labour rates, materials charges, travel or petrol fees, any exclusions, etc, that is usually a good indication of how transparent they are. It also shows a good eye for detail that you want in a plumber.
- Do you offer an emergency service?
The devil is in the detail here. Many plumbers will say they offer a quick response time, but you want to know how their emergency service differs from their regular service. What is their usual response time (for a blocked toilet, for example) versus an emergency service call-out for the same issue? What is the difference in cost for that type of service?
- What are your standard hours of service?
Make sure you understand the difference between their opening hours, their after-hours service, and their emergency service. Your leaky tap may not be an emergency, but if you call them after-hours and they offer to help, they may sting you with an after-hours charge that you weren’t expecting.
At Sumich Plumbing & Drainage, we always let customers know if there will be additional fees for after-hours help or emergency plumbing help.
- What kind of insurance do you have?
They should be insured, and they should be able to explain what is covered. If they cause damage on your property, whose insurance policy covers that, theirs or yours? If they injure themselves while working on your property, whose insurance policy covers that?
You should only use a fully insured plumber with public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance if they have a team working with them.
- Do you have any testimonials or customer reviews?
It’s always helpful to read feedback provided by past clients. There will be details worth knowing that you haven’t thought of, so these reviews are always helpful. It’s also important to read how the company responds to any complaints or negative feedback.Do they reply professionally? Do they offer to remedy the problem? Are they interested in a quick buck or a long-term, helpful and professional relationship with their customers?
- Do you perform the work yourself, or do you use subcontractors?
Many companies quote on the job and then farm it out to subcontractors to do the work they can’t do – they either don’t have enough staff, or they’re not qualified or experienced in certain areas. We recommend you use a company that performs the work themselves. This ensures consistency of quality, and it makes it easier to resolve any concerns if you need the plumber to follow up or come back. If, for any reason, an insurance claim needs to be made for damage or injury on the job, a third party subcontractor may also make this more complex.
You may not ask all of these questions, but it’s helpful to know what factors to consider before hiring a West Auckland plumber. Look for some of the answers be on their website or social media business pages (only hire a plumber who has an online presence).
For any other questions you can’t find the answer to, feel free to call them up and ask. They should be forthcoming in their information and want to help.