Ideally, there would be plenty of time to consider the qualities of a good plumbing contractor before an emergency requires you to hire one. Whether you are remodeling, maintaining, or repairing plumbing fixtures and lines, it’s a good idea to have a roster of contractors that already meet your requirements. That way, you won’t have to make a quick and ill-considered decision under the pressure of an emergency.
License and Insurance
Any plumber on your list should be happy to verify that they are licensed in your state and fully insured against damage and injuries. They should be willing to provide a certificate of insurance that identifies the type and amount of insurance they carry.
Some plumbers specialize in different areas. A sewer and water main company may be experienced and qualified to perform outdoor, underground work that requires excavation, but may not handle indoor leaks and installations. Ensure the plumbers on your list have performed the kind of work you need before you enter a contract with them.
Communication and Transparency
You can often tell from the first phone call whether the plumbing contractor communicates clearly and well. Be wary of vague, jargon-filled chatter—a plumber should be able to clearly explain what they will do and how they’ll do it, as well as how much the project may cost.
Reputation and Punctuality
Always check references to find out if prior clients can confidently say that the contractor showed up when they said they would and completed the work within the estimated time frame. Watch out for stories about plumbers that provided only one team member, who then bustled around ineffectively for an hour or more before calling the “expert” to help identify and solve the problem. If the problem was that serious, the novice should have called for reinforcements within the first 15 or 20 minutes, instead of continuing to bang around with no result, all on your dime.
It’s frustrating to find that a plumber has taken your appliances apart or dug a hole in your yard, only to later tell you that they have to order a part which will take days or weeks to arrive. Ask prospective contractors how they stay prepared for various issues and how long it usually takes them to obtain necessary parts. In most cases, when dealing with a sub-surface water main and sewer contractor, all materials should be stocked and ready for installation.
Health and safety concerns go beyond booties and gloves. They also include wearing masks and other personal protective equipment such as hardhats, using tools properly, and training staff to keep themselves safe. Good plumbing contractors will be happy to answer questions about how they train their staff to avoid injury and protect your home and health when working on your property. A Licensed Plumbing contractor is also required to work under DEP, DOT OSHA, and DOB guidelines, which each provide a specific set of safety rules the contractor must follow.