What You Need To Know About Local Plumbers In Your Area
We conducted a market test on over 30 suburbs on various plumbing jobs and we were shocked to learn the difference in the cost of jobs that were very similar in nature (to the tune of $200+). It’ a significant difference an in this economy, the money is better off in your pocket than someone else’s.
If you are looking for a local plumber in your area, it pays to understand how this happens and what you can do about it.
Why Do Different Plumbers Charge Different Rates For the Same job?
In short – because they can. Before we go into this I must advise that there is a large majority of plumbers that are honest and perform high quality work. The problem is that those plumbers who tend to rip off customers by excessively charging, are difficult to spot. We would like to think everyone is honest right? Unfortunately that’s the sort of mentality that they prey on.
How Can You Prevent Being Excessively Charged?
We have come up with some tips that you can take to prevent being ripped off by a plumber:
1. Be upfront and ask about the price. Keep in mind that the plumber who is the cheapest is not necessarily the best. Knowing what the quoted price is before the job starts will give you peace of mind when the plumber arrives. A tip here is that over the phone, most plumbers will give an approximate costing or state they they will “have to come and have a look”. In these situations just ask what the average price would be to get a ballpark figure.
If you allow a plumber to come and quote on a job you are more likely to go with them for the job even if the price has been inflated. This is the exact type of mentality that those rip off tradies prey on. Protect yourself and consider asking the following information prior to allowing any plumbers out to the property (if it is an emergency, skip to the last point).
2. Ask if the plumber has experience in the job you require. This may seem like a silly question but a plumber who specialises in replacing hot water systems, may not have sufficient experience in locating a blocked pipe underneath the house or a pipe that has been affected by tree roots.
It pays to ask and if you don’t you might find that is costs you more either upfront, or in the long run when you have to hire someone else to replace the insufficient repairs that were performed. You may also want to ask for a reference so you can verify the work. Unless this is major work, this is usually not done.
3. Ask the plumber if they are licensed and request a license number. You can check to see if their license and certification is current here. Now, you might think that this is trivial and I have come across people who simply will not do this. Most people will be fine however, in our study there were two cases of plumbers who were not licensed and one without workers compensation insurance. Where does this leave you? Exposed is the short answer.
If you hire a plumber who is not licensed (be sure to check this online as it’s just as no doubt fake ID’s are available to the few who use them) then any faulty workmanship is not covered by insurance (even your home insurance excludes faulty workmanship).
You would have to pay for any further repairs out of your own pocket. To further this, if the plumber is injured at your premises and does not have appropriate insurance, you could also be liable for this.
Although rare, it can happen. A minute of your time to verify the plumber can help prevent these circumstances. Ignore this warning at your own peril.
4. Ask for a written estimate. If the plumber won’t give you one this may be a sign that this is not the right plumber for you. There is protection in most states for consumers who are charged a certain percentage above the written estimate without signed consent.
By getting a written estimate, you have peace of mind that you have at least a ball park figure without any nasty surprises.
5. Ask for the estimate over the phone for emergency repairs before they are called out. Be prepared to pay extra as you will be paying for driving time, emergency rates as well as the cost of the parts. This can often be a shock but you need to keep this in mind. We wouldn’t suggest shopping around at 2am….it may be best to go with a plumber you have used before or a recommendation family or friends but if you have done your checks previously, this will help with the worry of a rip off emergency plumber.
If you take the above precautions, you will better your chances of getting an honest and reputable plumber perform your work at a competitive price. In the end, a little bit of work will save you time, money and un-necessary headaches in the long run.