Most water main and sewer problems occur out of nowhere, requiring a time sensitive resolution. The average homeowner will search online or contact a friend for a referral of a plumber that they have used in the past. One common misconception is that all plumbers are the same, and any plumber can handle all types of water main and sewer problems. This assumption continues to cause additional frustration, confusion and worst of all, thousands of dollars in additional cost.
Replacing a water main or sewer line is a specialty trade. Approximately 1% of all plumbers hold the required license and bond with NYC to install new pipes from the property, to the city pipes in the roadway.
3 questions to ask a plumber before hire:
- Do you have a license to install a water main or sewer on the outside of the house? It is important to research the license number and make sure he/she is not using another plumbers license. It is common to try and save a few dollars by hiring a non-licensed plumber however; there is no guarantee that the installation has been completed properly, as well as the possibility of the “plumber” disappearing in the middle of your job.
- Are all of your workers skilled tradesmen? It is important to make sure that all of the field workers are skilled tradesman. It is common for a company to hire illegal immigrants that are willing to work for minimal dollars. It is possible for this type of worker to work hard however; it is safe to assume that they are not aware of the technical side of your new water main or sewer installation. One wrong move upon installing the new pipe can lead to a future problem, or thousands of dollars to have the installation completed the right way.
- How long has your company been in business? The total years a company has been in business speaks for itself, especially when a company is working with New York City on a daily basis. If a company has been in business for an extended period of time and has a strong rating with the Better Business Bureau, it is safe to assume that your job will be completed to the highest standards possible. You should always be sure to research the company name and pay attention to the possibility of a name change over the years. When a company has to change its name, it is usually not for a good reason and may be a result of illegal operations in the past.
It is important to be aware of a plumber who is going to serve as the “middle man” in-between the homeowner and the company who is going to perform the installation. A middle man is only going to add additional cost to your job as the homeowner now has to pay a premium for dealing with two companies, and may not even be aware. You should always make sure that the company you have signed a contract with is the company that is going to perform the work. You should ask questions along the lines of:
- Are the trucks going to have your company name on them?
- Is the installation going to be performed by employees of your company?
- Do you have a license and bond with NYC or are you using someone else?