local plumbers questions

5 Questions to Ask Local Plumbers

There’s an old saying that goes something like: “You don’t know what you don’t know”.

If everybody’s thought process would start by applying that one thought, many mistakes could be avoided.

With that in mind, when you decide you need to call a local plumber in Yes! Plumbing’s market area for plumbing service, what do you think you should ask to insure your experience will be exactly what you expect it to be?

There are certain things you absolutely don’t want to ask as there are a few (maybe many) plumbing companies out there who are hoping you ask them just those questions so they can “bait” you with just the right canned answers.  We’ve covered that scenario in other articles so won’t beleaguer those here.

So what should you ask when scheduling a call?  Here’s a handy list to save you time and aggravation.

1. What is Your Service Area?

The first thing we suggest you ask is “Do you service XYZ town?”. Why?  When your search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, etc., serves up a list of companies when you enter the search terms “local plumbers” or “plumbing service near me”, you are certain the company you called services your area, right?  Not so fast.

We’ve actually received several calls from folks who live in states thousands of miles from our service area because their search engines referred them to our 800 number thinking we were a company of the same name in another state.  The callers wasted about five minutes explaining the problem and talking with our CSR before coming to the address portion of the call scheduling sequence only to find out that, instead of a local plumber, they were provided incorrect info by their search engine.

Asking this question insures you can save having to waste 5 minutes of your time for nothing.

2. What is Your Warranty on Repairs?

Once you know you can get service, ask about the warranty on repairs.  Ask if it is a warranty or a guarantee (hint—guarantee is the right answer).  

If it’s a guaranty with ”restrictions apply” or if it’s a warranty save yourself some time and walk away right there.  Really reputable companies are not afraid to back their products and workmanship with a guarantee.

At Yes! Plumbing, we provide you with a written 100% labor and material guarantee for 2 full years on all repairs.  It’s the industry only and leading 2 year 100% unrestricted guarantee.

3. Do You Employ Unlicensed People Who Do Plumbing?

Third, ask, “Do you employ any unlicensed people who do plumbing?”  This is important—ask only in this exact way. If you ask “Do you use licensed plumbers?” they can answer “Yes” as long as even one of their guys is licensed.  They may have 5 other guys who aren’t.

If you ask the first question, you will know for sure if they are an ethical plumber if they answer “Yes.”  

How can that tell us if they are ethical?

Because it’s against the law for any plumbing contractor in Illinois or Indiana to send any worker to do plumbing work on your home or place of business unless the employee (not the company) is licensed by the respective State.  

Even apprentices have to be licensed by the State. As a matter of fact, plumbers are the ONLY trade in which every worker has to be licensed by the State. (No, electricians, carpenters, painters, drywallers, tilesetters etc.—do not have to be licensed. Only the contractor has to be licensed in those trades and they only need be licensed by the city in which they are working.). So if they use unlicensed guys—definitely unethical.

4. Where Can I Find References for Your Quality of Work?

Read their online reviews

We suggest the fourth question should be “Where can I find references for your company’s quality of work?”  Expect to be referred to outside sources of references, not references generated or emailed from the company.  Places like the BBB website and Google should be good sources for these. They only accept postings which can be proven that are not posted by “insiders” and are never  “filtered” by the host company (like the ones on Yelp- based on whether or not the company pays them for advertising on their website).

Look for a good sample of ratings posted (at least 20 or more on each website) to insure you are seeing a large enough sample of customer reviews to make them statistically valid.  Newer companies might have less (less than 1 year old).

Clarify the type of work you need

Once satisfied that you have avoided a “fly by night” experience, ask the representative if the company actually does the type of work you need to have done.  For instance plumbing companies usually do not have septic pumping trucks. Some plumbing companies don’t work on tankless water heaters (of course Yes! does).

How long have you been in business?

Oh, and how about the longevity of the company?  Yes! Has been a local plumber of choice for over 25 years.  Will your plumber be there tomorrow to service your needs?

Are you available during a specific time?

If you determine that the local plumber can service your needs, ask them if they are available when you need them.  At Yes! you can schedule same day appointments from midnight (night before) to 5PM the same day for service the same day (if not fully booked up by the time you call of course, so earlier is better). And for the next day scheduling a live operator will answer the phone 24/7.

Do you charge by the hour?

Another important question is “Do you charge by the hour?”  Note this question does not ask “How much?” The important point is to avoid companies that charge by the hour, regardless of the rate.  Allowing those types of companies into your home is like giving someone a blank check and telling them to just take as much as you want.

You want a company that charges by the job and, further, has a printed price book from which ALL the prices (not just some) for each and every repair are derived.  That way you know positively 1) you are paying the same price as your neighbors for the same job and 2) It doesn’t matter if you get the slowest plumber on earth because you already know the whole price.  

So it doesn’t matter if it takes him 2 hours or 2 days to complete your repair. With the flat rate up-front pricing company you (and they) have to focus on quality, not “milking the clock” to get the most money out of you as possible. Of course, Yes! Plumbing has been using the printed up-front price book system for over 25 years.

5. Can You Fix the Problem in One Service Call?

Lastly, ask if the company can fix your problem at the time of the original service call.  You don’t want two appointments unless you have a special order exotic faucet from Tim Buk Tu.  At Yes! Plumbing our trucks are stocked with thousands of parts and pieces so 99.9% of the time we can make your repairs without ever leaving your home or business. And if we do have to leave to get parts from our warehouse or supplier, there is never an extra charge.

Finally, once you are happy with all the answers you received you can give your information to the agent to get your service call scheduled.  

When you are in need of a local plumber that meets your strict criteria for quality and ethical operating procedures, call Yes! Plumbing anytime.  If you have questions, just ask!

For more information on hiring plumbers, read our guide on finding and hiring the best plumbing company!