How to find a local plumber
Moving has many challenges including finding service people, especially a good local plumber, to help keep your new home in Brewer, Maine running smoothly. Finding a good local plumber before an emergency strikes can make the difference between minor damages or a total catastrophe. When finding a local plumber your first resource could be the previous home owner. If they had a local plumber you could ask who they used and how they felt about their service. But what if they didn’t have a plumber or didn’t like the plumber they had? Here are some important questions and considerations when searching for a good local plumber.
If you have family or friends who live close by, ask for a referral. Ask if the company or plumber provides emergency services, as we all know emergencies rarely happen during regular business hours. Still research the referral they may or may not be a fit for you. If you don’t have family or friends close by, use the Internet and search for “Local plumbers near me” read the reviews, both the positive and negative ones. Pay attention to how the owner or plumber responded to the negative reviews. Was the issue resolved, did the company respond compassionately or defensively. These would be a huge consideration when choosing a local plumber. Also use the Better Business Bureau, on the BBB website you can look up the rating for a company.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any business relationship. Your first contact with the local plumbing company or plumber will help you determine the likelihood of a good fit. The initial contact can be a huge clue as to the level of communication you can expect if you become a client. Where they courteous or curt, do you feel like all your questions were answered or not? These are some things to think about after your conversation.
Licensing and Certifications:
All states require some form of licensing or certification to become a plumber, be sure to ask for their license number and verify it. Your State’s government website has a “verify a license” tool, easily accessible via a web search for <Maine (or your state) plumbing license lookup>. The tool is easy to use and will verify the plumber’s license! Ask if all their employees have a license and if you can request a master plumber if you feel the job requires their expert knowledge. A master plumber has years of experience and even though their hourly rate is generally much higher than a journeyman’s rate they could save you time and money with their extra knowledge.
Insurance and Bonded Company:
You should ask about the type of insurances they hold. As a business they are required to carry some form of liability insurance to cover you if there is an issue. They should also carry Workers Comp Insurance to protect their workers from any injury they incur. If they don’t have workers comp insurance be aware that you will be held responsible for any and all injuries that happen while working on your house. The next type of insurance is bonding. Bonded means a bonding company has set aside a certain amount of money in the event a customer files a claim against the plumbing company. The state holds control of these funds not the plumbing company. You should check to verify they are actually bonded as well.
If you choose a company that isn’t bonded and insured and something happens while they are on your property you accept all the responsibility for any injury or damage. It’s not worth taking the risk for a cheaper rate. You could ultimately lose everything because you chose a company that was uninsured and not bonded.
Emergency or After Hours Service:
One very important consideration when choosing a local plumber is; Do they have an “on call” service? Do they provide assistance when an emergency arises at 2am on a Sunday morning? Most companies will only take on your emergency if you are already a customer. It is recommended that you schedule a routine service call to establish that relationship. Walk through your home, take note of any leaky faucets, low pressure in your shower head or sinks, drains that are not going down well, etc and call to set up an appointment. This will establish your relationship.
Rate comparison may be the most confusing aspect of finding a local plumber. There are many variables to a rate. Some companies have a flat rate for a certain service and an hourly rate for others. It’s important to find out as much as you can about how they bill to avoid a shock after a service call. Ask the following questions:
- Do they bill for travel time?
- Do they have a minimum charge rate? IE will they bill you for an hour even if the tech is only there for 30 minutes
- How do they bill if it goes over the minimum time? Some bill by the 15 minute increments after the first hour and some in 30 minute increments.
- What is their rate for a master plumber, a journeyman, or an apprentice?
- What is the emergency rate? Most places have a different rate for emergencies
- Can I request a certain plumber? This is important if it’s not a single person business.
The average range for the hourly rate goes from $45/hour to $150/hour. The higher end of the rate scale is for the master plumber or the emergency rate. Remember the hourly rate is only part of the equation for your total bill, included will be travel time(if charged), materials, parts and supplies if used.
Finding a good local plumber can take a little time but when an emergency does happen you will be glad you made the effort and are already a customer. One call and your plumber is on the way hopefully before any real damage occurs. If the unthinkable does happen remember to use self storage while the damage is being repaired!