Know Your Plumber Part 2

Hello again!  In my last plumbing info article, I talked about the two different types of plumbers and the pluses and minuses of using each.  I also revealed my opinion on the best kind to go for to deal with most plumbing issues.  In this article, I am going to tell you how to make sure you are getting the best value for your plumbing dollar.

This article is going to focus almost entirely on up-sellers.  These are complete plumbers, and the true plumbing professionals will be in this group.  There are a LOT of impostors though, so I want you to know how to tell the difference.  You want a professional working on your plumbing.

How to tell a plumbing professional from an impostor.

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Plumbing Professional

The first look when you open the door should tell a lot.  His pants may be a little dirty from working all day, but his uniform shirt should be clean.  His hands and face should be clean.  If you seen his truck, is it fairly clean and look well maintained?  A true plumbing professional will always do his best to show himself as a professional.  You cannot trust someone who cannot take care of himself to take care of your home.

Listen to him talk about how to solve your problems.  Give him a small problem to discuss, and you will know if he sounds knowledgeable and capable.  Give him a small plumbing problem to fix and observe how he approaches it, how he works, etc.  Does he keep his area clean? Is his work clean?  Does he respect your home?  Is he comfortable with you watching him work?  These areas are all very important.  If he cannot pass these tests, he is not the one that you want doing other work.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of plumbers out there that will pass all of these tests.  Unfortunately, the majority of plumbers will fail it.  The fact of the matter is that you want a true pro.  Regardless of what you may think, a true pro will not charge any more money than an impostor! An impostor actually thinks he is a pro, so he will charge accordingly.

How to find a true professional plumber.

Finding a true pro is actually easier than you think.  Do some research online.  Look at company reviews.  Stay away from “he fixed my problem in 15 minutes for only $50”, unless you want an in and out tech (see previous article).  Look for: “he was able to find…”, “he found…”, “he thoroughly…” and so on.  These are the companies that teach their plumbers to be thorough and look for long term solutions.

When you find those companies, you call them to schedule a service call.  Do NOT ask them for their rates!! That is the worst thing you can do.  If they advertise free estimates, that is all you need to know until you talk to them in person.  Most companies that advertise free estimates will not quote you over the phone anyway.  You want to get the best plumbers from these companies to meet with you, so that you can match the dollars vs the value that they are offering.  Here is how you do it:

When you call a plumbing company to schedule service, you want to let them know about your problem and whether or not it is urgent.  Give them your best understanding of it.  Let them know that you are looking for more than a quick fix (if you are).  If you have had problems with other plumbers in the past, it is okay to share that.  Don’t talk bad about the other plumber, but make sure you let them know that you want a good job done. These companies will see you as a great opportunity and they will likely send one of their best guys.  That is what you want.

How do you deal with the plumber once he shows up?

The first step is to follow the guidelines above to tell if he is a pro or an impostor.  You won’t always be able to get him started on something small, however.  What do you do then?  Simple – you collect estimates.

I always recommend that you start with small jobs and build a relationship with a plumber that you will use forever.  If you have not been able to do that yet, you do not let a plumber do any major work without collecting at least another estimate or two.  Not only do you want to make sure you are not being overcharged, but you want to pick a pro.  Trust me when I say that getting a job done cheaply when you know it can be done better will cost you a LOT more in the long run.

If you do have a small job that you can let the plumber start right away, that’s fine.  Just be ready for him to come to you for the “bump”.  The bump is the bigger scope of work that will give you additional benefits.  There is nothing wrong with him doing this.  It is actually what you want, as long as he is being straight forward about it.  Here are some tips for you to use when dealing with the “bump”.

  • If your gut tells you to think it over for a day or so, listen to your gut.  It is probably telling you the truth.
  • Ask if it NEEDS to be done today.  This will give you an idea of how honest he is (very few things NEED to be done today).
  • Make sure you understand EXACTLY what is being proposed and the benefits of it being done.
  • Weight the benefits vs. the expense.  Is this repair going to be worth the money it costs to get it done?
  • Make sure you are getting the right plumber for the job.  If you feel someone else can do a better job, hire them.

When it comes right down to it, money always seems to be a major contributor to the process of making decisions about your plumbing.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as you factor in the long term costs as well.  Never ever choose a plumber because they are the cheapest.  You may get lucky once or twice, but it will cost you more in the long run.

If you find the information on this site useful, please spread the word!

3 comments to Know Your Plumber Part 2

  • Nice written , informative article . thanks

  • Larry

    If you need to find a licensed professional plumber in your area, please call **number omitted by admin** for one of the largest selections.

    • Doing a google search for this number gave me no results, except to posts with similar comments in craigslist, and the like. If you want exposure for your company, there are better ways to do it than by spamming comments. If you need help, please use the contact page and send me a note with your details. I would be happy to give you a quote for promoting your business.

      Thanks!
      Steve

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