How to get the best work out of your plumber

Even in a plumbing emergency, investigating the plumber you’re about to hire is essential. It should only take an hour or so, and could save you a lot of time, money and stress in the long run.

This is how to get the best work out of your plumber.

  • Be specific and set out a detailed, clear brief when requesting quotes.

    Ideally, you want to get at least three quotes from different companies. Do be warned that some plumbing companies will significantly strip back the amount of work they’ll do to offer you the lowest quote but this can result in a temporary fix to your problem and you’ll end up having to fork out more cash to fix it properly several weeks or months down the line. If a company quotes you a higher price than the others, ask why, as you may find that they are providing more time or assurances for the job.

  • Don’t expect a quote over the phone.

    Some plumbing companies prefer to assess a job in person before they provide a quote in order to get the price 100% right. If you receive a quote over the phone, you could be in for an unwanted surprise when the plumber shows up and asks for more money once they realise the extent of work required to complete the job.

  • DO demand to see ID.

    When a plumber is standing on your doorstep, it’s no time to be shy – you must ask to see your plumber’s ID. The type of ID you’ll need to see will depend on the job you’re hiring them to do; for instance, if you’re having a boiler inspection, you’ll want your engineer to have a Gas Safe Register ID card to prove they are qualified to carry out the work safely.

  • Get at least two references.

    Recent research shows that customers prefer to hire a trader on recommendation from friends or family, but this is not always possible if you need to hire someone in an emergency or if you have found the firm independently. Online review websites such as Checkatrade or My Builder are alternative resources you can use to read about the experiences previous customers have had with a firm, or you can visit their Facebook and Twitter profiles to see how they are interacting with their customers.

  • Ask how long the trader has been in business for.

    In theory, good companies last whilst rogue companies swiftly disperse. Of course, this is not always the case, but if a company has been around a while, it may reassure you that they’re less likely to disappear on you.

  • Does the trader offer a guarantee?

    Good plumbers put their money where their mouth is; if they’re confident in their work they may offer you a guarantee or money back if you’re unsatisfied with the job. For instance, WPJ Heating provides customers with an eight-year guarantee on all Worcester boiler installations and a seven-year guarantee for Valliant boilers.

  • Only use established firms.

    If the company doesn’t have a fixed address or telephone number, be wary. You want them to be fully traceable in case something does go awry, so if they’re only willing to give you a mobile number, you may wish to look elsewhere.

  • Get all quotes and contracts in writing.

    This will legally protect you in case something goes wrong.

  • Pay upon completion, not in advance.

    Although it’s reasonable for a firm to ask for a deposit to cover any materials that may need to be bought in advance, most professional plumbing companies won’t expect you to pay off the job in full until the work is complete and you’re happy with the results.

  • Consider setting a penalty fee.

    If you’re getting extensive work done, you may wish to set a penalty fee to compensate should the work overrun.

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