According to a recent survey, there are over 14,000 plumbing companies in Canada. Among these numerous plumbing businesses are about 65,000 employees, many of whom are plumbing contractors and handy workers. Most of them can manage residential plumbing, industrial plumbing, repairs, and maintenance, but not all plumbing companies are the same.
From such a vast selection, how do you narrow down to one plumbing company when in need of plumbing services? How do you choose the right plumber, one that will provide you with honest, insured, and legally sound service?
There is a lot to consider when it comes to selecting the best plumbers to make sure that the job is done to your expectations and standards.
Here are the top 8 questions that you should ask a plumber before hiring. This will help you to find out the most suitable candidate to solve your plumbing problem.
1. Do You Have the Necessary Licenses and Permits?
Before you even begin discussing the job details, make sure that the plumber is licensed. Many plumbing contractors operate without a license. This leaves homeowners at much greater risk and could end up costing much more down the road.
Licensed plumbers are registered with the Ontario College of Trades are permitted to work in a specific area by abiding to a set of guidelines and codes.
Work from unlicensed contractors might fail inspections, and having already paid for the job, there is little you can do to recover losses.
Some plumbing jobs require a city permit to carry them out. Only a licensed plumber will be awarded a plumbing permit. Ask whether they are prepared to help acquire the necessary permits as well.
2. How Much Will the Job Cost?
The next thing you’ll probably want to know is how much the plumbing job will cost. The plumber should assess the price in person and make an accurate estimation of the cost. Don’t take anyone’s word over the phone without them having first visited the site.
Ask for a comprehensive estimate of the cost to avoid any surprises once the job is done. The figure should include the cost of labour, material, and a contingency for possible risks. Make sure the plumber is clear on any consultation fees or follow-up costs.
Check to see that every single detail has been accounted for on the quotation sheet. Make sure that nothing is overpriced and there are no hidden charges or unclear entries.
This is where you should also find out how long the work is expected to take, and when it can be done.
If dealing with a plumbing emergency in Ottawa, it is also important to ask about emergency rates - some companies can be much more expensive on holidays, weekends, and after business hours.
3. How Do I Pay?
Different contractors have different preferences when it comes to payments.
Some plumbers prefer to charge a flat rate on all jobs, while others opt for hourly rates. In some situations, the plumber may need a down payment before commencing work, and the rest after completion. In other cases, you just pay everything upfront or after satisfactory completion of the job.
Ask the plumber whether the labour charges are flat or hourly rates. This avoids confusion and lets you select the payment model that best works for the task at hand and for your financial situation.
In labour-intensive plumbing jobs, the contractor will probably charge hourly. For short straight forward tasks, most plumbers charge a flat rate.
4. Are You Insured?
It's crucial to find out whether the plumber is bonded and insured. Every legitimate plumbing company provides insurance to protect its workforce from perils of the job.
Insurance cover may also include unforeseen damages to property caused by the plumbing activities during and after the job.
If the plumber has no insurance, you may be liable for paying medical bills and other expenses in case of unfortunate injuring during work. This is not something that an uninsured plumber would advertise to clients, so it is your job to ask.
If you are unconvinced by verbal answers, you have a right to demand proof of insurance. Insist that the workers have at least a day's insurance, especially when working on dangerous projects.
5. Are There Any Warranties Available?
Ask about the kind of guarantees or warranties that come with the plumber’s work. Plumbing jobs often go wrong; find out whether the plumber is confident enough to stand by their work.
Warranties offer assurance and protect your plumbing investment.
Most plumbers offer routine checks on particular fittings under certain conditions every couple of months or annually. Whatever warranty is provided, make sure it is done in writing.
6. Who Does the Job?
If you are working with a small plumbing company, the same people who make the quotation are probably the actual plumbers. However, in some cases, the contractor may outsource the job to other plumbing companies.
Find out exactly who will be working for you, how many workers, and within which hours? More importantly, are they qualified?
Besides, you don’t want to invite strangers into your property without learning a little bit about who they are.
7. Will You Clean Up After Work?
Most plumbers clean after themselves at the end of every job. But some don't. The site may be a mess, littered with unused or broken material and equipment.
Cleaning up can be an expensive and unexpected expense. Ask your plumber whether they take care of the site after work. If not, you may need to make preparations to hire a cleanup service.
8. Do You Have Any Experience or References?
The kind of knowledge and skills that come with experience cannot be taught. Ask about the plumber’s experience in the current type of job.
A plumber who has been in the industry for a while should be able to provide references from previous jobs.
All this is crucial in sizing up the plumber’s abilities, credibility, and competence.
How to Hire The Right Plumber
Hiring a plumber can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look out for. At least now you have all the right questions to ask before you hire a plumber.
The goal is to get the most capable, trustworthy, and credible plumber and to prepare yourself financially and timewise to complete a plumbing project successfully.
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