From time to time, you may find that you need to hire a plumbing company. Many people feel apprehensive when they have to hire plumbing companies simply because they do not know where to start. Knowing exactly what you need to do when hiring plumbing companies will ensure that the process is easy.
Understanding the basics of plumbing and knowing what questions to ask can help you feel more confident hiring a plumber. Knowledge is power when it comes to hiring contractors. Learn the basics and beyond about plumbing contracting, and never fear having to call a plumber again.
Key Elements to Hiring Plumbing Companies
There are a few key elements to hiring a plumbing contractor that you need to know. The first is to choose the type of plumbing company that fits the problem. Second, make sure the plumbing company is fully licensed and insured. Third, make sure that they have the right experience.
Most people do not realize that plumbing companies are specialists in managing plumbing problems for different types of properties. They also do not realize that plumbers do not just fix pipes. They offer a range of services, including heating, air conditioning, appliance hook up and repair, and more.
Exactly What Does a Plumbing Contractor Do?
Most people think of a plumber as someone that can unclog drains, repair a toilet, or replace leaky pipes. While it is true that the aforementioned are all things that a plumber can do, plumbing services are not limited to those tasks.
Plumbing contractors provide a wealth of services, some you may not even be aware. Here is a list of services that most plumbing contractors will provide:
Installation of gas lines. Need to hook up your gas fireplace? A plumbing contractor is an expert to call.
Appliance installation. Dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, and more can all be installed by a plumbing contractor.
HVAC services. Heating and AC systems can be installed and maintained by a plumber.
Of course, they also install piping and plumbing systems, manage your sewer system, fix plumbing problems in your home or commercial property, and install plumbing fixtures. Some plumbers offer even more services.
Many plumbing contractors, especially commercial plumbers, offer maintenance agreements to keep all your plumbing, appliances, and fixtures in top-notch shape. Both residential and commercial plumbers play a critical role in ensuring the infrastructure of your property stays functional.
Understand the Different Types of Plumbing Contractors
There are different types of plumbing contractors that specialize in different areas. For example, most plumbers are the experts you will call for heating and cooling installation (HVAC). However, not every residential plumber can manage commercial heating and cooling installation and maintenance.
There are commercial plumbing contractors that are experts in dealing with commercial property. If you need commercial property plumbing help, you will connect with a plumber specializing in commercial property needs.
Residential plumbers specialize in keeping the plumbing systems and appliances in your home in great shape. For example, residential plumbing services are the experts to call when you need water heaters replaced or repaired in your home.
Of course, some plumbers offer added value services like electrical services on top of the regular plumbing services. Again, even the plumbers who offer added value services will also focus on residential services or commercial services.
Your first step in navigating plumbing services is knowing which plumber to call. Do you need commercial plumbers, or do you need residential plumbers? Which type of property do you have? Once you answer that, you have the answer as to where to start.
Commercial Plumbing Contractors
Commercial properties are like residential properties in that they have similar requirements from the plumbing. However, similarly does not mean the same. There are different challenges that a commercial plumber must deal with. For example, a multi-level commercial property needs commercial water heating. Making sure that hot water can reach every floor is something that a commercial plumber can manage.
Commercial properties come with other unique plumbing challenges that require the expertise of a highly skilled commercial plumber, including:
Managing potentially thousands of feet of piping. A commercial plumbing contractor is part mechanic, part plumbing expert, and part detective. Finding where the problem exists when you are dealing with thousands of feet of piping takes expertise.
Fighting gravity. Commercial plumbers are experts in water pressure. They know how much pressure it takes to get water to that top floor, no matter how high the building is.
Manage many moving parts at once. If you have an expansive commercial property, there are likely many drains to manage, tons of piping to manage, and many other parts that all depend on each other to make up your plumbing system. The right commercial plumber can manage them all.
For commercial properties, it is always a good idea to have a maintenance agreement in place. The sheer size of the amount of plumbing in a commercial building is reason enough to have a maintenance plan in place. A maintenance agreement can help to protect your piping, appliances, and heating and air conditioning system.
If you are opt-in for a commercial property maintenance agreement with a plumbing contractor, you may have other protections like commercial flood damage repair if something does go wrong. Plumbing maintenance agreements can wind up paying for themselves.
When hiring a plumbing contractor for the commercial property, you want to check to ensure they are experienced and have a proven track record. Of course, always check for licensing and insurance as well.
Residential Plumbing Contractors
Residential plumbing contractors do the same thing that commercial plumbing contractors do but on a much smaller scale. Like commercial plumbing contractors, residential plumbing contractors are often heating contractors as well.
Residential plumbers are the experts to call when you need appliances installed that require a water line when you need gas line repair or installation, when your drain is clogged, when your main drain line is having problems, and when you need HVAC repair.
Residential plumbing contractors also offer maintenance agreements. Maintenance agreements can include things like annual inspections, HVAC maintenance, discounts on services, and more. It can be a worthy investment to have a maintenance agreement with a plumbing contractor for your home.
Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Plumbing Contractor
Whether you have a commercial property plumbing issue or a residential property plumbing issue, the process of hiring a plumbing contractor is the same. There are some key questions you should ask to ensure that you are making the right choice.
Due diligence in the early stages of hiring a plumbing contractor will ensure that you get the services that you deserve. Before we get to the questions, there are some basic things you should look for when you are deciding which contractor is right for you.
We touched on the importance of choosing a contractor that is fully licensed and insured. You must always start by checking licensure. Every state has its own requirements for a plumber to become licensed. Typically, the requirements are a combination of formal education and apprenticeship before the licensing exam can be taken.
Licensing is important because it ensures that the plumbing contractor understands the local codes and rules for plumbing. It also is a protection for you. If something goes wrong and you are using an unlicensed plumber, the liability falls squarely on your shoulders. For example, an unlicensed plumber installs your gas fireplace, and then there is a fire. Your insurance company can refuse to pay out the claim because you used an unlicensed plumber.
Licensing is a must, as is insurance. A plumbing company needs to be insured. Why, you ask? That’s simple. If something goes wrong at your property because of the plumbing contractor, how do you get reimbursed if the plumber is not insured? What if the plumber is injured on your property and they are not insured? Insurance is a must.
Once you have narrowed down your options to the licensed and insured plumbing contractors, there are a few questions you will need to ask:
Do you have experience with my problem? Just like with every other service provider, there are no blanket services that are provided. In other words, some plumbing contractors may be experienced in HVAC issues, and others may not. Some plumbers can easily manage the main drain clean out, and others may not. You get the idea; you have to ask whether they can handle your problem.
Are you available? Frankly, plumbers stay busy. There are not a whole lot of licensed, insured, and experienced plumbers out there. Prepare yourself to potentially have to make a few calls before you can find a plumber to manage your issue.
Do you have any references? While past performance is not a sure-fire prediction of future performance, it is a good indicator. Ask for references, then call them. Far too many people do not take the time to really learn about the contractor they are considering.
Of course, you will also want to discuss pricing. We address pricing below. It is perfectly fine to add more questions to your list. Any plumbing contractor that is a professional will not mind entertaining your questions; as a matter of fact, they will welcome them.
The more questions you ask, the more confident you will feel in hiring a contractor. The plumbing contractor should provide you with information about how to stop that leak until they can get there or what to do to minimize damage when appliances break down.
Getting Quotes For Services And Comparing Them
In some cases, you may not have time to make a lot of price comparisons for obvious reasons. For example, when a pipe bursts and you are faced with an emergency. Other times you will be able to compare price quotes. When you can, you should.
There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when comparing estimates for the work you want to be done. First, be wary of a too-low price. A lot of people base their hiring decisions on the lowest possible price. Unfortunately, the lowest price does not always mean the best value.
An experienced plumbing company knows its worth. They will not undercharge for a project. When you are comparing prices, look for the best value. How do you determine what a good value is? It would help if you are looking for the following things:
A good warranty. A good warranty is a good value. If something goes wrong, you want to know that the contractor will return and make it right.
The added value. Some contractors will bring added value to the project. For example, some plumbers offer electrical service, which means you can get more than one service under the same contractor.
Specials and discounts. Some plumbing contractors will offer deep discounts for special groups. For example, if you are a veteran, there may be a veteran discount.
In other words, when you are making decisions based on price, you want to look at the complete picture. You want to take into account exactly what you are getting for your money. A good warranty, the added value, and special discounts all have to be considered.
Also, keep in mind that low pricing can mean inexperience. Weigh your options carefully to ensure that when you are hiring a plumbing contractor, you choose to provide the quality services you need.
You now have all the basic information you need to make informed decisions about hiring a plumbing company. You should feel confident and be able to make the right choice for your plumbing needs.