Most home occupiers never give thought to an emergency plumber until one is needed. In an emergency, every minute counts, so you should ask the questions in this article before hiring a plumber to avoid surprise fees and to protect yourself.
Prior to hiring an emergency plumber, take the following points into account: Licensing, Insurance, Response Time, Fees, Warranty, Parts & Permits.
Ask the emergency plumber if he or she is licensed in your state. All licensed plumbers have to pass written exams at Tafe and do an apprenticeship, so you will know that they are knowledgeable about their trade. An apprenticeship typically takes an emergency plumber 4 years to complete.
Do not confuse a business license with a plumbing business license. A business license simply means they are able to run a business in Australia. A business license does not mean the emergency plumber is qualified and completed the necessary requirements.
A plumber should carry both worker’s compensation and Liability insurance. Worker’s compensation covers the emergency plumber and employees in case of an injury. Without this insurance, the homeowner could be responsible for medical bills and other associated costs.
Liability insurance pays for repairs and damages as a result of the emergency plumber’s actions. If the plumber causes damage to your home while fixing the problem, this insurance policy will typically cover the cost of the damages. If the plumber does not carry liability insurance, the homeowner or occupier is responsible for damages.
Plumbers without liability and workers insurance are often cheaper because they do not have to pay hefty premiums. However, the savings are minimal compared to the cost of an injury or accident and this is often illegal.
Ask the emergency plumbing business how soon they can fix the problem. Emergency plumbers are on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, but if they have to drive a long distance to get to your home, response time will be delayed. If you have a water leak, extra response time can lead to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. If they are a few hours away, ask if they can refer an emergency plumber closer to your home.
Inquire about hourly charge out rates and see if the plumber can give an estimate over the phone. Most plumbers will not give an estimate without seeing the problem, but you can ask for a ballpark figure for your particular problem.
Most emergency plumbers also charge a service call in addition to the hourly rate and parts. This charge applies if they come to your household whether they fix the problem or not.
Inquire to what forms of payment they will accept. Some plumbers take credit cards, but others will only take checks or cash on invoice.
Inquire about the warranty on both parts and labor. The manufacturer typically covers the warranty on parts. The plumbing service should warrant its work for a period.
Ask if they keep most common parts stocked on their truck or if there will be trips to the store. If the plumber must go to the store to get parts, ask who pays for the emergency plumbers time.
If permits are needed, will the plumber obtain them? Most plumbers will arrange the permits because they are familiar with the process and know the procedure.