So you’ve finally decided to get that faucet replaced.  The one with the chrome finish that turned green about two years ago.  The one you have in mind is beautiful and you call a plumber you found online or maybe in the Yellow pages.

He charges you 400 bucks for the installation including all the parts you didn’t realize you needed when you bought the faucet at the Cheapot Depot. You are happy as a pig in the mud hole. It looks great and doesn’t drip like the old one.

The problem doesn’t happen until 2 years later when you are awakened by the sound of water spraying loudly.  You trace the source of the water to a water supply tube that was installed with your new faucet.  It has burst and there is a steady full force spray of water flooding your home.  Damage to flooring and drywall is in the thousands!  You later find out from your insurance adjuster (after your 1000 dollar deductible) that the supply tube in question did not meet code and commonly bursts.

How did this happen, you wonder? The plumber’s ad said he was licensed bonded and insured.  You call him but his number is disconnected.   Your insurance company says they want to “subrogate” the claim.  What the heck is that?

To avoid this common scenario and the myriad of other problems that can creep up and bite you by using the wrong “contractor”, utilize the following procedure.

1) Find out if the plumber is licensed.  Insist on seeing his personal (not company) plumbing license.  If he left it at home on the desk, left it in his car at work, forgot his wallet etc., show him the door.  Real licensed plumbers carry their licenses at all times just like you carry your driver’s license. (Yes! Plumbing employees will show you their licenses without being prompted)

2) Examine the Contractor’s license of the employer.  This will be issued by the State.  You can also check with the State licensing authority to see if the contractor has a valid license.  If none is found, show him the door or cancel the appointment.  It is estimated by some sources that over 80% of the Plumbing ads in the yellow pages or on line contain bogus statements about licensing insurance and bonding claims.  (Yes! Plumbing employees will show you a copy of our State licenses without being asked).

3)  Examine the certificate of insurance from the contractor doing your work. It should contain Liability limits, vehicle limits, an umbrella coverage limit and most importantly, workman’s compensation coverage.  Did you know if you hire a friend, acquaintance or relative to work in your home and he or she gets hurt, they can sue you and take your house and garnish your wages or retirement income to support their family?!  When covered by “comp”, they are not allowed to sue you.  They can only deal with the State commission overseeing the claim.  (Yes! Plumbing will show you the insurance certificate from their insurance company without you even having to ask).

4)  Ask to see the written warranty.  A common 2 year warranty in the industry covers parts for 2 years and labor for only 30 days.  Not much of a warranty, huh?  (Yes! Plumbing covers all repairs for a full 2 years, 100% labor for 2 years and 100% parts and materials for 2 years.  Pumps and water heaters carry much longer guarantees).

5)  How long has the plumbing company been in the area?  Sure there are some good companies that are very professional, but longevity means the plumber has done the right things for a long time and is a definite plus when choosing a legitimate and upright contractor.  (Yes! Plumbing has been in business in the Illinois and Indiana area for 24 years, including service in cities such as Munster, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Mokena, Frankfort and many many more of the South & Southwest suburbs of Chicago.)

6)  Ask the contractor to show you the price for the work from a preprinted Flat Rate Book.  Too many times people are scammed by unscrupulous characters who size up your house, car and bank account before scribbling a price on an invoice from the office supply section at the local department store.  Or worse yet, they charge by the hour and always underestimate the time it will take.  Then you get a bill for twice or more what you were expecting. (Yes! Plumbing utilizes only a National Flat Rate Price guide so our clients pay the same price for the same job regardless of which plumber does the work or how long it takes).

7)  Does the plumber charge extra to go get parts for your job?  (Yes! Plumbing utilizes fully stocked trucks so 99.9% of the time we never have to leave the job to get parts.  And on those rare instances when we do have to pick up parts or have them delivered from our warehouse, there is never a charge).

8)  Does the contractor have live people 24/7 to answer the phone and talk to you?  If they don’t you’re less likely to be able to get a hold of someone in the event there’s an issue with your plumbing work. (Yes! Plumbing’s call center is staffed 24 hours a day, 7days a week, 365 days a year).

This list is a good start to insure that you are dealing with a licensed legitimate business and not some scam artist flying under the radar because he knows that he can get by with it. Yes! Plumbing clients from Homewood to Crete and from Dyer to Schererville know that they will get consistent high quality at the best value every time they call (708) 847-7045.

Make sure that you do, too.

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