What We Look for In Plumbing Services
There are many important factors to look at when deciding which plumbing company to trust with your home, your time, and your money. Here are the factors we use in our ratings system to find the best plumbers in every city across Canada:
How long has the company been around? Are they a fly-by-night operation that’s just interested in making a fast buck, or do they do good enough work to have stayed in business for 10, 20, or even 30 years? Our ratings take this into account and assume that longevity speaks volumes about a company as long as it doesn’t have too many complaints.
How is a plumbing company perceived by the communities that they serve? Do people tend to speak favorably about them, or have a lot of people had lousy experiences with them? The Better Business Bureau can be a good place to look to get a rough idea of how the company is doing in the community. If a lot of people are upset with them or if there is some question as to the quality of their service, the company will have a lot of complaints against them or will have a less than perfect rating. Unfortunately, in the Canadian plumbing industry there is no industry professional association to hold plumbing companies accountable and punish or discipline companies who take advantage of consumers. In Canada the best institution we have for this is the Better Business Bureau. Plumbing companies can choose to hold themselves accountable to the Better Business Bureau by becoming accredited by the bureau. Only when they are accredited can the Better Business Bureau punish a company if they misbehave by revoking their accreditation. Because we have seen this happen many times, we see the Better Business Bureau as having an important role to play in uphold a community standard.
Customer Online Reviews, Ratings, & Comments
While a company may have a fairly clean history, be accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and have the Better Business Bureau’s highest rating, does that mean that they have the most satisfied customers who believe they have gotten the best value for their money? Of course not. This is where the ratings and reviews of former clients provides value. Everyone knows that plumbers aren’t cheap, but how do you know who is the most likely to provide you with the best value? In the plumbing industry pricing is a huge issue. Some companies claim to provide the best value by only charging a flat rate for each job while others claim that approach is a rip off and charge by the hour. Other companies charge travel fees, call out fees, and overtime rates while still others don’t charge any of these extra fees. So who’s right? We think the customer is. At the end of the day, a company’s customers will have a sense of whether or not they were fairly treated and received good value for their money. We think that online ratings and reviews can reflect this reality as long as there are enough of them, they are managed by a reliable website, and plumbers don’t pad their reviews by sending volumes of their happiest clients to review sites. We have found the most reliable public sources of client ratings and reviews in Canada to be Google Places for Business (Google Maps), Yelp.ca, and Homestars.ca. None of these rating services are perfect. However, after reading through thousands of reviews and ratings on hundreds of companies across Canada on close to a dozen rating websites, we’ve concluded that these three rating sites are typically the best and most reliable.However, we all know that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. The same is true with plumbing company ratings and reviews. Through research and testing, we have developed a number of methods to identify when we believe plumbing companies are manipulating their online ratings. Our rating for each company takes this activity into account and often penalizes companies for it so that we can recommend the best companies who are straight forward and don’t play games with people’s trust.
Commitment to Quality
How firmly does a company stand behind their work? If they don’t do the job right the first time, are they going to come out and fix it on their own dime, or are they going to charge their client a second or even third time for their mistake? We think it’s important that plumbers provide a satisfaction guarantee to all their customers and a warranty on all their work. However, a guarantee and a warranty are both worthless unless a company consistently stands behind them and honours them. Our rating system attempts to identify and bring forward companies who both offer good policies like these and actually stand behind them.
Important Things We Can’t Verify
While we continue to push the envelope and add new factors to our rating system on a regular basis, there are many important factors that are difficult for us to verify. For example, is the plumber that arrives at your door licensed? How well is he or she trained? Is he or she bonded and insured? While these kinds of issues will often be addressed to some extent in the rating factors that we have listed above, these issues are very important and are something that you should ask the plumbing company or the plumber that you chose to work with to provide proof of.
What This All Means – The Bottom Line
Because we cannot cover all of the important factors you need to consider when hiring a plumber, our rating system is only designed to be a guide or starting point. However, based on our research of hundreds of plumbing companies across Canada, we are confident that any plumbing company that appears near the top of our rating list is likely one of your best bets to hiring a quality professional who is likely to provide you with good value for your money.