In the absence of skilled plumbers, most households would be in trouble. Given how much use the average family’s kitchens and bathrooms get, occasional plumbing mishaps are unavoidable. Whether these issues constitute minor inconveniences or pressing emergencies, a professional touch is likely essential to fixing them. While a skilled plumber can be an invaluable ally, not all plumbers are created equal. Although some plumbing professionals are extremely courteous, knowledgeable, and obliging, others leave quite a bit to be desired. To help ensure that you don’t wind up with the latter, keep an eye out for the following red flags the next time you find yourself in need of plumbing services.
Lack of Licensing or Insurance
It’s easy to see why cost-conscious homeowners often do business with unlicensed plumbers. Since they tend to charge less for their services than their license-holding contemporaries, people on a tight-budget are liable to view this decision as a no-brainer. While it’s true that you may wind up spending less upfront, hiring an unlicensed plumber may cost you more money down the line. For starters, the quality of their work is liable to be far less dependable than that of a licensed plumber, which may ultimately facilitate the need for additional repairs. Secondly, since unlicensed plumbers are less apt to sign a contract in advance of beginning work, there’s no telling how many hidden fees will be added to your final bill.
Furthermore, plumbers who lack licensing generally lack insurance and bonding, as well. This means that you’re likely to have trouble getting them to cover any damage they cause throughout the course of their work. As such, this serves as yet another example of how going the unlicensed route can actually prove to be more expensive than hiring a licensed plumber. So, before committing to do business with a plumber, request to see proof of licensing and insurance. If they refuse to provide it, you’d be wise to take your patronage elsewhere. If you’re unclear on how to find plumbers in your current locale, simply open up your preferred web browser and do a search for “plumbers near me”.
Insistence on Being Paid in Cash and/or Paid Upfront
While wanting to be compensated for one’s hard work in an expedient manner is perfectly understandable, most licensed plumbers won’t require you to pay for a full job upfront. The more ambitious the project, the more amenable a plumber will be to deferring payment until work has concluded. That being the case, if a plumber insists on being paid in cash and/or being paid in full before work even commences, this should be taken as a warning sign. This may indicate that a plumber is accustomed to clients being unhappy with the quality of their work and canceling payments. Additionally, an insistence on cash payments is often a sign that a plumber lacks licensing and/or insurance. Even if the price you’re being offered seems too good to be true, you should put the brakes on the transaction if upfront cash payments are a prerequisite.
Negative Online Reviews
Having easy access to consumer feedback is among the digital age’s most convenient perks. Detailed customer reviews for virtually every business and independent contractor can be found with ease with a few simple clicks. Not only do many prominent search engines feature easily-accessible consumer feedback tools, there are also a plethora of helpful websites and message boards dedicated to reviewing small businesses. So, if you’re curious about what former clients think of a certain plumber, simply enter their name in your favorite search engine to find a bevy of reviews. Needless to say, if the bulk of the feedback you come across is negative, you should pass on this particular candidate.
As any longtime homeowner knows, periodic plumbing mishaps are inevitable. Sure, an abundance of caution can dramatically limit the number of plumbing problems your household faces, but certain issues are simply outside of your control. When dealing with problems of this nature, it pays to have a reliable local plumber in your contacts. So, if you’ve yet to acquaint yourself with a seasoned plumbing professional, you’d be wise to get on top of that. Just remember to watch out for the various red flags discussed above when exploring your options.