How to Choose a Good Plumber or Plumbing Company
Check Plumber Ratings on BestPlumbers.ca
If you live in one of the Canadian cities covered by BestPlumbers.ca, check our plumber ratings to get an idea of who the good plumbing companies are in your city to choose from. This should save you a whole lot of time and increase your chances of hiring a quality plumber that you are happy with.
Another great way of finding a good plumber is to check with a local building contractor. If you know a local contractor you can also ask them who they would recommend. They’ve likely dealt with a lot of plumbers and probably have strong opinions about who they like and who they don’t like.
If neither of these options works for you, check with friends, neighbours, relatives, or work colleagues in your area who have been homeowners for many years. They may have had good and bad experiences with a number of plumbers and can help you narrow your search.
Is the Plumber Licensed and Experienced?
It is very important to only work with a licensed plumber. Find out if the company you are looking at only employees licensed plumbers by check their website and asking them on the phone. You should also ask the plumber who shows up on your doorstep to show you his license. He should be carrying it with him. The last thing you want is an inexperienced and poorly trained plumber making mistakes on your house (it happens). Click here to learn more about what it means to be a licensed plumber in Canada.
While any licensed plumber can probably do a basic plumbing job or emergency repair for you, some plumbers tend to specialize in certain kinds of jobs. So if you have a very specific project that needs to be done, it may be beneficial to look for a plumber or plumbing company who specializes in that kind of work.
Is the Plumbing Company Insured?
Before hiring a plumber, confirm that they are registered with your province’s worker’s compensation board (WCB) and that their registration is in good standing. This will protect you financially if they are injured while working on your property.
If you hire a general contractor or handy-man to do plumbing work on your home, this may void your house insurance – especially if your home is damaged due to the work that they have done. For instance, you may not be covered for water damage if your home is flooded because you had an unlicensed worker doing plumbing work.
To find out what your insurance policy covers and doesn’t cover, or if you need to notify the insurance company of any major work you’re having done, read your policy carefully. If you have any questions, contact your insurance provider for clarification. It’s best to ask all your questions before you allow anyone to start working in your home or business.
Do They Offer a Warranty and Guarantee Their Work?
What do you do if you pay a plumber to make a repair or install a fixture and then discover a problem after the plumber has left? Will you have to pay the plumber to come back and fix the problem they should have fixed the first time? Many of the best plumbers typically won’t charge you for something like this because they stand behind their work – they guarantee it (for a certain period of time). Find out what kind of warranty and guarantees a pluming company offers on the work you want done. A good company will often guarantee their labour for a period of time and either provide a guarantee on anything they install or provide you with a warranty.
Make sure that you understand what your warranty means. Is it a manufacturer’s warranty that just covers the replacement of the appliance or fixture – meaning you will have to pay a plumber to remove the faulty item and install a new one? Or is the plumber offering you a warranty that will cover the installation of a replacement fixture or appliance if the one you are installing now fails? Don’t assume. Ask questions, and if you’re not comfortable with the answers, shop around and see what other plumbers have to say.
Check Plumbing Ratings & Reviews Websites
Reading a plumber’s website along with their best reviews from their most satisfied customers can leaving you feeling good about any guy with a wrench, but that doesn’t mean he’s a professional plumber (he’s probably just a model posing for the picture with a wrench). Use our plumbing company reviews to explore a plumber’s worst ratings on Google Places for Business, Yelp.ca, and HomeStars.com. Good ratings are a dime a dozen – they’re easy to get – and often they’re meaningless. What is meaningful is the number of dissatisfied clients who have left bad reviews on these ratings websites. Read the reviews from unhappy customers and decide if you think they are just complainers or if they have a legitimate problem with the company. Everyone has bad days – including plumbers, and you can’t please everyone. So it’s normal to see a few bad reviews. However, what can be very revealing is how the plumbing company handles the bad reviews. Do they appropriately respond to the bad review and offer to do their best to make the problem right or do they not respond to negative reviews or respond but not address the unhappy client’s concerns?
In larger Canadian cities (metropolitan areas with more than a million people) we have found that Yelp.ca seems to be the best site to find legitimate company complaints followed by Google Places and then HomeStars.com. However, Yelp.ca has a filtering system that unfortunately sometimes filters out these reviews so that they are hard to find (a link to these filtered reviews is found in gray text below the unfiltered reviews).
You can also use our company ratings pages to scan companies’ Better Business Bureau ratings and see the number of complaints that have been filed against them in the past 3 years. Regardless of how big a company is they should have very few complaints with the Better Business Bureau if they are a top notch company. It’s easy to assume that larger plumbing companies will have more complaints filed against them because they have more employees, while this can be true to a certain extent our research has shown us that sometimes this isn’t true at all. Across Canada a number of very large plumbing companies do not have any more complaints than their smaller competitors. In our view it all comes down to how much the company owner, President, or CEO values customer service. If they insist on top notch service from their employees, they will get it and they’ll rarely have complaints.
Get a Few Quotes
It’s usually a good idea to get three quotes and find out what’s included in the quote: see what they are charging for labour, materials, and any additional charges. Additional fees can really add up. Fees companies charge can include a fee for providing a quote, a dispatch fee, a fee for traveling to your home, higher fees for overtime outside of normal business hours, and fees for specialized equipment that may be necessary to complete your job.
You’ll also want to find out if the plumbing company charges by the job or by the hour. Good companies can use either method, but we’ve seen uncompetitive companies take advantage of people using both methods as well. If price is important to you, make sure to get a number of quotes because prices quoted from company to company can vary greatly.
For some jobs it may be difficult or impossible for a plumber to give you a quote over the phone. They’ll need to take a look at the place you need the work done.
Don’t assume that the lowest price is always the best. You often get what you pay for. A plumber’s rates should be fair and competitive, but you won’t know if the first plumber you call is competitive until you get a couple more quotes.