Ideally, hiring a plumber is a decision that should be weighed carefully. In most cases, however, this is done in haste mainly because we only hire a plumber when a plumbing emergency strikes.
Even then, you should not go ahead with hiring a plumber just because that person’s name is the first name you see in a directory. Your plumbing system is an integral part of the house, and you need to know that it is going to be handled by a qualified person.
We at Tradebusters get asked all the time how we interview and select the right plumbers to join our network. As with people from other trades, we have prepared a set of questions to ask before hiring a plumber. Here are ten of those questions, with the hope that they can be of help when you hire a plumber.
1. Do you have a licence to practise in this state?
Most Australian states require that plumbers must have a licence to practise in their profession. You can go online and visit government websites–listed below–to find out if the plumber you’re talking to is licensed to practise in your state.
2. Do you have any regular and repeat customers?
This is very important, because having regular and repeat customers is an indication of how good he is at his job. It would also be nice if you find out that his customers are made up of people from different sectors of society, from regular home owners to people in the real estate business or even other tradespeople like builders.
3. Do you have public liability insurance ?
No matter how skilled a plumber is, accidents can happen, which may lead to damage at your home or injuries or health risks to the plumber himself, or others. Therefore, you need to make sure that he has public liability insurance to cover job site damages and job related injuries or health risks- otherwise in a worst case situation, you risk being held liable.
4. How do you charge for your work?
For smaller plumbing work, many plumbers charge by the hour. Generally, their hourly rates should be somewhere between $60 to $90. In some cases, they may charge an extra fixed call-out rate. A fixed rate, however, is more preferable for larger and more complex plumbing jobs. Just make sure that they include a breakdown of labour and material costs in the plumbing quote.
5. What do you specialise in?
You need to know if the plumber you’re eyeing actually has the specific skills and experience to do the kind of plumbing work you require. Professional plumbers typically have various specialties. Some may be doing routine maintenance work all the time, while others may be more adept at doing major renovations week in and week out.
6. Do you charge extra for a plumbing emergency?
A plumbing emergency requires that it be dealt with immediately, regardless what time of day or day of the week. Since you need to engage a plumber outside normal working hours, and immediately at that, they will have to make an extra effort to reschedule other tasks. It would only be fair for plumbers to charge more for plumbing emergency services, so if the answer to the above question is yes, don’t fret. Just ask how much more they’re going to charge and make sure you get charged for plumbing emergency services fairly.
7. How long have you working as a plumber for?
Experience is a very important factor in deciding a lot of things, and hiring a plumber for your home maintenance or renovation project is no exception. Inexperience can be costly, especially if the problem is not addressed or worst still, greater problems are caused as a result. The longer a plumber has been in the profession, the better the chances that he has the qualifications and experience to fix your plumbing emergency and issues correctly and first time round.
8. Do you have a website?
In this day and age, a website is often a good indicator of the reputation of any plumber or plumbing company you are talking to. With a website, all the pertinent information you would need in hiring a plumber will be there, from their physical address to their terms and conditions. Some plumbing websites may even offer promos or coupons that you can certainly make good use of when it comes to hiring a plumber.
9. Can you give me references?
A good plumber is never too shy to share the names of clients you might know, because he knows he had been doing good work, and their former clients would only be too willing to endorse him. You may want to think about requesting this for larger plumbing jobs related to a new home plumbing system or a major building or renovation project. If a plumber refuses or fails to give you any references, then you should think twice about hiring him.
10. Is your work guaranteed?
Most plumbers offer guarantees for their work, but this can get a bit tricky. Let’s say for example the plumber noticed something about your plumbing problem, offered a recommendation, and you chose to ignore it to save money. In this case, the plumber won’t be offering a guarantee or a warranty for that job, knowing that the problem you chose to ignore could cause a problem in the near future. But if you select the right plumber, you can depend on him to come back and address any issues. This is why making decisions based on factors beyond cost is important.
We hope these questions help you with selecting your next plumber with care. If you would like help in hiring a plumber that is tried and tested in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or anywhere in Australia, and that has passed these questions with success, contact us at Tradebusters today.