Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times of the year for residential plumbers. It would appear that gravy, mashed potatoes, turkey bones and other items from the great feast have a tendency to do really bad things to a plumbing system.
Clogged drains and backed up pipes make sense when you consider the holiday meal preparation, cleanup, and plumbing systems being pushed to the limits.
Last year, Better Business Bureau (BBB) received over 7,261 complaints nationally against plumbers. Complaints included billing issues, customer service problems, and repairs not being completed properly.
Your BBB urges consumers to do their research before a clog or major plumbing emergency happens. This allows you to call a plumber with confidence since you have already investigated their qualifications. Here are some things to consider in your search:
- Get a list of recommendations from family and friends, or go to checkbbb.org to find accredited plumbers in your area. Visit a business’ BBB Business Review at bbb.org. You can view how they handle complaints, read customer reviews, find details about their business history and use the Request-A-Quote feature to get estimates directly from the business.
- Investigate credentials. A plumber hired to do any type of work or repair should be licensed and insured. Verify the plumber’s credentials with the Texas Board of Plumbing Examiners before hiring.
- Request references. Ask the plumber for a list of references where they have previously completed work. Contact a few of the references to ask if the final cost was as estimated, if the job was done on schedule, and if the quality of the job has held up since the work was done. Try to contact one of the references that had a similar job done as the one being requested.
- Get three estimates. When a larger job needs to be completed, get at least three different estimates in writing.
Once you have found a plumber you feel meets your expectations, be sure to:
- Get a written agreement. A contract should provide specific details of the job and should include: description of the job, materials needed, cost of the materials and labor, completion date, and any type of permits or inspections that are needed.
- Establish a payment method. Understand how the plumber plans to charge for the job being done. It may be a flat rate for all work or the plumber may charge an hourly labor fee. Never make the final payment before the job is fully completed to satisfaction. Your contract should have payment information in it, including a schedule for payments. Save a copy of the contract in case it is needed for future reference.