Ever had a bad experience with a plumber or any other type of contractor? It’s no secret that there’s certainly some bad apples out there. Whether it be shady business practices or just straight-up bad onsite work, it gives a bad name to the word “contractor.” Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, homeowners need to be aware of these practices and know how to spot them before hiring a contractor. Having been hired to fix shoddy work from other contractors, we’ve gained an in-depth understanding of what you should be looking for in the initial bidding stages. Keep in mind that even it’s a small job, a plumbing miscue can lead to a domino effect of other issues. With that said, this week we’re going to walk you through what you should be looking for. While we will direct this towards hiring your next plumber, all of these concepts can be applied to other contractors, such as patio companies and electricians!
How much do they want up-front?
This applies more so towards bigger projects, but is certainly a relevant topic for certain circumstances. With that said, in these cases where it’s a plumbing project that may take a week or longer, the plumbing company may ask for a deposit before getting started. If this happens, I wouldn’t recommend paying anything over 15-20%. If you pay them more than this, you run the risk of them either doing a rushed job with poor quality or simply taking your money and disappearing. In either case, if they ask for a large percentage up-front, this should immediately set off a red flag!
Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
This is another one that may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many plumbers don’t have these! If a plumber is missing just one of these three credentials, then I strongly recommend avoiding doing any work with them!
👉 Licensed – In terms of licenses, this means that they have passed the appropriate tests/education and basically know what they’re doing!
👉 Bonded – By being bonded, this actually protects you, the customer, from unethical business practices.
👉 Insured – As for insurance, you want to make sure they have workers’ compensation and general liability coverage. Due to the physical nature of plumbing work, this is a big one. Otherwise, if someone gets hurt on-site, you may be liable!
Be on the lookout for the up-sell!
Have you seen ads promoting an install, like a hot water heater, that is much lower than every other quote you’ve received? On the surface, it may even seem too good to be true! Knowing what the industry average is for certain projects like this, I’ve seen ads pop up on my Facebook feed for prices that don’t even cover the direct cost of goods sold. This is certainly a head scratcher, until you understand the methodology behind it. By offering the cheap up-front cost for that one product/service, this is what allows them to get their foot in the door. Once in, they’ll probably ask if they can check out your faucets or sump pump too. Then, if something isn’t perfect there, that’s where they’ll be able to get your money! It’s an old sales trick that’s seemed to stick around for years!
Do they offer any type of warranty?
The purpose of a warranty is pretty straightforward. It pretty much shows that you believe that your work will hold up and the homeowner won’t be faced with the same problem a few months down the road. So, simply put, you’re going to want the plumber that you hire to have some type of warranty. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, like 5 years. To give you a frame of reference, our team offers a 1-year warranty on all service and parts. This applies to everything but drain cleaning, which seems to be about the norm amongst experienced companies. However, back to the different type of warranties. For some plumbing companies, you’ll notice that their warranties vary based on different stipulations. For example, if you provided the parts and the parts failed later on, many will not warranty the labor. Conversely, if they installed it incorrectly, then that responsibility would fall on the plumber. Just make sure there’s no gray area when it comes to the warranty and you’re fully aware of what’s covered!
What do their reviews look like?
In today’s market, reviews are gold and provide prospective buyers with so much information about a company before finalizing a purchase. Think back to the last thing you purchased off Amazon? I’m going to take a guess and assume you browsed through the reviews on a few different products before making your final decision. Now, when you go to hire a plumber, you’re going to want to look at the number of reviews, quality of these reviews and the frequency of them. The frequency is an important one to keep in mind. You need to make sure they’re consistently getting positive reviews, not just 10 all at once or even companies that have a lot of reviews, but haven’t received one in a few months!
Are they easy to get ahold of?
Communication is something that often gets knocked when referencing poor contractors. They tell you they’re going to show up at a certain time, but then never show up. Or even worse, when you trying reaching out to them to get an estimate, they never return your calls. With plumbing being such a time-sensitive area, most projects are going to require immediate attention. The longer you wait, the worse the problem usually gets. With this said, you’re going to want to find a reliable plumber in your area were emergency to strike. All in all, if it takes 2 or 3 attempts to just talk to a real person, you might need to look elsewhere for a quality plumber.
Want a quality plumbing company in Kansas City? 😉
Now that you have all of this criteria, do you feel like your current go-to plumber is the right choice? If they don’t meet every single one of the questions above, then I would definitely recommend looking elsewhere. Particularly in a large area like Kansas City, there are plenty of reliable plumbers out there to offset the shady ones! Our team services everywhere up north, including North Kansas City, Parkville and Gladstone, as well as throughout the Johnson County area. Don’t hesitate to reach out for any of your plumbing needs. We’re always happy to help!