Important Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Plumbing Contract
Household plumbing problems can cause anxiety and stress for many homeowners. Leaking pipes, water back-up, clogged drains and drippy faucets are not only annoying, but they often lead to more serious plumbing trouble such as water damage and mold. In a perfect world, we’d all have a reputable, trustworthy plumber on call any time of the day or night. But what if you don’t have that magic plumbing number taped to your fridge or printed on a business card stowed handily in your wallet?
If you’ve decided that you need to bring in a professional to work on your home’s plumbing, there are some important areas to cover with your plumber before you sign a plumbing contract.
- Get Prices Up Front. No one likes to be surprised by hidden plumbing fees and additional plumbing charges. A good plumber will provide a complete estimate free of charge before beginning a plumbing project and will get your approval for any unforeseen fees that pop up as plumbing work goes on. Generally, you can expect to pay for hourly labor, parts and travel time; extra charges are almost always tacked on for emergency service. Keep in mind, though, that cheaper isn’t always better when it comes to plumbing. The best way to keep plumbing costs under control is to get a ballpark number up front.
- Choose The Right Plumber For Your Job. Plumbers fall into two general categories: those who work on emergencies like burst pipes and water back-up, and those who do installation and renovation. Hiring a plumber who doesn’t have experience doing the kind of work you need done is like flushing money down the drain. Make sure the plumber you hire is qualified to do your specific plumbing job; for example, even the trusted general plumber who never fails to come to the rescue when you have a plumbing emergencies might not be able to manage a bathroom remodel.
- Do Your Homework. All reputable plumbers are licensed, adequately insured and certified; every state has a set of standards that these plumbing professionals must adhere to in order to do business. Don’t rely on your plumber’s word, either. Check with your local regulating organization to make sure the plumbing company or contractor’s license and certification are current; ask about insurance policy coverage details; and get a list of references. A good plumber will provide this information (and more) willingly and will encourage you to do a background check before signing a plumbing contract.
- Get Everything in Writing. An honest plumber will provide a written estimate containing details of service fees, labor charges, cost of parts, and any other costs associated with your plumbing job. This simple piece of paper can not only help you budget, but will also prevent you from sticker shock and price gouging once your plumbing project is finished. A plumber who won’t give you this information in writing is probably not someone you want to hire.
Remember…once you sign a plumbing contract, it is binding. Take some of the panic out of plumbing repairs and installation and future plumbing problems by devoting a little extra time to finding the right plumbing professional for your job BEFORE you put your signature on the paper.