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What You Need To Know Before Hiring A Plumber

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

Whether we like it or not, if you’re a homeowner, you’ll need to hire a plumber at some point. Hiring tradespeople is part of home ownership, especially if you live in an older home. Don’t just roll the dice when you need to hire a plumber or any tradesperson. Whether in person or over the phone, have a checklist of questions for your plumbing company. Consider it an interview of some sort. 

It’s Obvious – We’re Not The Same 

Before you start your search, there are some things to consider when hiring a plumber. First, it’s obvious not all plumbers are the same. For example, some plumbers work out of their homes and are a one-person band. Others are supported by a larger plumbing company and are under the strict supervision of the owner’s contractor’s license. Some companies specialize in commercial or residential plumbing services. Some answer their phones while others don’t. 

Some Plumbing Companies Are One Dimensional

Then you have some companies that specialize in drain cleaning, and that’s all they do. Sometimes, if you call a company that doesn’t have the equipment to complete your job, they farm it out to another company without you knowing. It’s important to know the company you’re working with. Another thing to consider is the type of job you’re contracting for. For example, are you trying to clear a basic drain? Or are you installing a gas line in your backyard? Again, you should have experience on your side for major plumbing jobs.  

Hire A Plumber That's Not Out For A Quick Buck

Does Your Plumbing Company Charge For Estimates Or Provide Them For Free? 

There are two schools of thought when requesting an estimate: 

  • First, the company needs to come to your home to see the job before providing an estimate. They usually have a small fee to come out, but it gets waived if they complete the job. This is common with plumbing companies with a staff and a location. They do this for two reasons. First, they cannot match an estimate from a plumber working out of their home, and for those consumers looking for the lowest price, they cannot match it.
  • Second, plumbing companies have learned from their mistakes, including giving an estimate over the phone. Every plumbing job is unique, and when a plumber arrives, to their surprise, it was not as described. However, small plumbing jobs such as drain cleaning can get quoted over the phone.

The Second School Of Thought

  • Your plumber or plumbing company will give you a quote over the phone. These are usually small companies. In most cases, you’re both rolling the dice. It’s not unusual for a plumber to start upselling because the job was not as described. 

Do You Have A Contractor’s License?

Ask your plumber if they are a California-licensed plumbing contractor. Ask for their company name, personal name, and contractor license number. You can check the status of a license right from this link. The check takes less than a minute, and you can also find other information, such as how long they’ve been in business, licensing, insurance, bond, and workers’ compensation insurance. In addition, the California State License Board (CSLB) has a wealth of information. Some consumers may think they are prying to ask these questions; however, any licensed contractor with a perfect record will appreciate you asking. Big B’s Plumbing number is #986152.

Do You Provide Workers’ Compensation Insurance For Your Employees?

Did you know if someone enters your home uninsured and they get hurt on the job, you may be holding the bag, or at least your insurance carrier will be? Your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover any injury as long as it results from negligence or carelessness. So if you have a licensed plumber with a helper, the helper must be covered under workers’ compensation. Their CSLB profile can tell you if they are licensed correctly. 

Ask Your Plumbing Company If They Run A Background Check On Their Plumbers

Think about this you are letting a complete stranger in your home and, in some cases, around your family. Some plumbing companies say they do this to appease potential customers, but they have yet to do it. For example, Big B’s Plumbing used a third-party company called to run sex offender and criminal background checks. In addition, every plumber has a QR Code on their pictured id badge for any homeowner to verify.

When does your plumber want payment? 

If you have a plumber that wants any form of payment before the job is complete, move on. Your plumber is compensated when the job is done. If they backtrack on their request, still show them the door. An exception is a kitchen or bathroom remodel, which gets negotiated before the job starts. 

Do You Charge By The Hour Or Flat Rate?

Either is fine, but both have their drawbacks. For example, if your plumber is hourly and the job drags on, you could be holding the bag. But, on the other hand, if your plumber charges a flat rate, you’ll know exactly what you’re paying for upfront, and if the job goes over, then it’s on them. However, both scenarios have their pluses and minuses. 

Does Your Plumber Guarantee Parts and Labor?

Ask your plumber or plumbing company if they guarantee parts and labor for work completed. Know what the guarantee is on labor and what the warranty is on parts, such as a new water heater or water pressure valve, etc. Here is a basic guideline for a guarantee from your plumbing company; however, everything will depend on the job type. Drain cleaning is usually a 30-day guarantee for cabling and a  90-day clog guarantee on hydro jetting. Water heaters have a six-year manufacturer’s warranty and one year on labor. You can always ask your plumber if an extended warranty is available. Home repipes typically come with a five-year guarantee on labor. As we stated, these are basic guidelines.

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Ask Your Plumber or Plumbing Company If They Have Military or Senior Discounts

If you’ve served or are serving our country, ask for a discount on your plumbing services only because you deserve it. Let’s stop here for a second. I hope this doesn’t sound like another sales tactic to get more business, although it probably is to a point. First, however, we want to THANK YOU for your service. As I write this blog, something just came over me when I started thinking about your courage, dedication, and commitment to our country. So, yes, we want your business, and yes, we appreciate your service.  

If you’re a senior citizen, ask for a senior citizen’s discount. Most young people don’t know how seniors have shaped our country with their grace and wisdom. They volunteer their time and energy, and without knowing, they breathe life into the next generation. 

Do You Have First Time Customer Discounts or Coupons? 

Everyone wants to save a few bucks. Ask your plumbing company or plumber if they offer first-time customer discounts.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

4 thoughts on “What You Need To Know Before Hiring A Plumber”

  1. I like your suggestion to ask about guarantees for specific parts such as pressure valves. My sister mentioned she wants to hire a plumber for drain cleaning services since the sink in her bathroom became clogged over the weekend. Your suggested questions should help her evaluate and compare different plumbers for the job!

  2. Thanks for mentioning that your plumbing company should guarantee parts and labor. I’d like to talk to a well water company about getting a well installed in my yard. It’d be good to hire a local company who has experience working in the area.

  3. You made an interesting point when you mentioned that a plumber needs to come to your home before offering an estimate. I want to have the toilet in my master bathroom replaced as well as some of the piping. Having a plumber come to my home makes sense because they will be able to help me know what kind of toilet I should purchase.

  4. I liked that you suggested asking a plumber if they offer a guarantee and warranty on parts and labor. As you said, water heaters have a one-year labor warranty. Our water heater has been making unusual buzzing sounds since this morning, so I am planning to have it repaired by a professional. I want to be confident that the repair is going to be completed properly, so your tips are helpful.

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I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Vill M

Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
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Jeremy T

Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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Crystal M

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