For most of us, we don’t think about calling a plumber until something goes wrong. Maybe it is the furnace going out in the middle of a cold winter night or the toilet backing up all over the bathroom floor. Whatever your emergency, it’s stressful to try to figure out who to call at that moment. Instead, why not do some research ahead of time, then in the heat of the moment you can reach out with confidence.
Here are some tips so you can prequalify a plumbing company.
Are They Licensed and Insured?
In Alaska, plumbing and HVAC licenses are required and are monitored by the Department of Labor, Labor Standards and Safety, Mechanical Inspection Section. Problems happen to even the best companies, so a professional plumbing company should carry insurance to cover any damage that may occur.
Are They Available?
When there is an emergency, and you need a plumber, it seems like it is never at a convenient time. So find out if the plumbing company has technicians that can show up whenever the pipes burst, even if that is 2 am. This may seem silly, but also check to make sure you can talk to a real person when you call in, even in the middle of the night. Getting an automated message when you have no heat and it’s -10 degrees is not something you want to deal with.
Do They Offer a Customer Guarantee?
The plumber you want to work with is the one who puts you as the customer first. You don’t want the shady one who shows up, does crappy work and then you can never get a hold of them again. Look for the local plumbing professional who offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Are They Local or National?
There can be benefits to both the local guys and the big national chains. However, we’ve found that often the local guys are the ones who can respond quicker, can keep costs down with lower overhead, and are more friendly.
How are Their Online Reviews?
If you can get a referral from a friend who has already used a particular plumbing company, that is great! If you are starting from scratch in your search, be sure to check out a company’s online reviews. Keep in mind there are always bound to be a few negative reviews, after all, it’s impossible to make everyone happy. What you are looking for is more positive reviews than negative, and the best sign is if the company has respectfully responded to the 1 and 2-star reviews.
Are They the Experts?
Check out the company’s website. Do they have a blog that offers helpful information about the industry and best practices? This shows they care enough to take the time to offer education to the public and are confident in their place as experts. Also, give them a call. Do their staff know what they are talking about?
Will They Give You an Estimate?
Probably all of us have heard a horror story or two about plumbers who won’t offer a number until they have come out to take a look, for a fee of course. Then the final bid comes in much higher than the original numbers. There are plumbing businesses that offer free estimates and work hard to honor those estimates. So ask if they do free estimates and find out what their policy is on additional work. Will they get it approved before they do the work and charge you?
The time to find your plumber is before you are in the middle of a crisis and need help NOW! We would encourage you to do a bit of research and be confident in who you are calling before the emergency strikes!