Plumbing is a profession we don’t spend time thinking about until a leak springs in the bathroom. And there are apparently a lot of leaks to plug, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates plumbing jobs are growing faster than average. It may be easy to find a plumber, but it’s not as easy to find a good plumber. A bad plumber can leave you worse off than when you started. Here are some questions to keep in mind when you go looking for someone to repair your pipes.
Are they registered with the state?
In most stages, plumbers must be licensed with their state. It’s not required in six states, including New York, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. There are a few reasons for regulators to be invested in plumbers. If a plumber does their job wrong, they can do more than just mess up your toilet or sink. They can also contaminate the water supply.
If your state doesn’t require registration, you can still ask about a plumber’s credentials. Reputable plumbers won’t be offended. If you live in a place like Wyoming, then you’re in one of the states that doesn’t require licensing. But you can still call a company like Marvs residential plumbing and ask them about their certifications and experience. Designations like master plumber and journeyman plumber still mean something.
How are their reviews?
Reviews are important, but it can be hard to know how important. There’s evidence to show that we give more weight to bad reviews than good ones, even if the bad reviews mention things that aren’t relevant. If you read a review that gives someone one star because rain delayed the project, it’s fair to wonder what else the plumber could have done. Plumbers are talented, but they can’t exactly control the weather.
You should still read reviews, but you shouldn’t necessarily be concerned about one or two negative ones. In fact, someone who writes in a style that’s over-the-top is likely not as trustworthy as someone who writes a relatively calm account of what went wrong. If someone says the plumber cursed them out and stole their dog, you should be suspicious.
Reviews are like a lot of things: you need to look for patterns before getting too concerned. If several reviews mention a problem with a plumber named Steve, then it’s fair to wonder if Steve should be employed there. Also, be on the lookout for reviews that mention unfair or shady billing practices. It’s not right for companies to quote you one price at the beginning of the project, then double it for no reason when the project is over.
Are they insured?
Plumbing projects can be dangerous for both the homeowner and the plumber alike. It may not seem dangerous, at least not unless you’re a plumber by the name of Mario who is trying to rescue a princess. But plumbing accidents can still happen.
That’s why you should ask if your plumber is insured. Insurance will protect both sides if something goes wrong. If they say they have insurance, ask them what kind of insurance they’re carrying. General liability insurance is important, but so is workers compensation insurance.
Most states require businesses to carry workers compensation insurance. If your plumber doesn’t have that, it’s a red flag. Among other things, it could mean that a worker who is injured at your house will feel like they have no choice but to hire a personal injury lawyer to pay for their medical bills. That may sound like a far-fetched scenario, and chances are the project will go off without a hitch. But it’s always better to ask questions ahead of time for your own peace of mind.