Did you know many people who advertise in Illinois as “Licensed, Bonded and Insured” Plumbing Contractors are actually no such thing? In a recent suburban newspaper publication advertising under the heading plumbing contractors, it was obvious that over 50% of the companies offering services were not licensed to do plumbing in Tinley Park, Orland Park, Mokena, Homewood or any of the other cities included in the Illinois circulation of the paper.
This article won’t get into the “how” this is happening when there are laws on the books to prevent it, but it will give the consumer the “how” in “How do I know if my Plumber is the real deal?”
First, check the license number in the ad.
Illinois law requires Plumbing Contractors to provide their license number in ALL advertising (even on their trucks). Here’s the secret—plumbing licenses in Illinois start in two ways. The number will start with 055- or BC. BC is a license only valid for the contractor to work in Chicago while the 055- is good throughout out the State (except Chicago). Licensed contractors who work in Chicago and other areas of the State have to have both. What if a contractor is making up a look-alike number? Go to this link and you will be able to verify his license without ever making an appointment or phone call to come out.
Second, when the plumber arrives, ask to see his license.
This is NOT a contractor’s license, but either a State or City of Chicago plumber’s license issued to the individual standing in your doorway. If he says he left it at home, or in his other pants, etc.—SEND HIM PACKING. Just because the contractor is licensed does not mean he’s paying licensed plumbers (as required by law) to work for him. This is the second form of deceit which can lull you into a false sense of security. All you will get is low quality, unlicensed work.
Third, Verify They are Insured!
If you decide a contractor has checked out so far, before you schedule, ask his office to have his insurance agent send you a copy of his insurance certificate. (Having the agent do it instead of the contractor precludes any modification of the certificate with photo shop, etc.) once you get the certificate, look to make sure it has at a minimum, commercial general liability coverage, automobile coverage and workman’s compensation coverage. Workman’s compensation insurance is required by law. Also – if a Plumber doesn’t have proper insurance, anything they do on your property could actually come back on YOU! You don’t want to take that kind of risk, so make sure they are properly insured for their – and your – protection.
Fourth, ask if they guarantee their work in writing.
When it comes to actually delivering on their promises, most people won’t uphold their verbal commitments unless it’s in writing as well. All good plumbing companies will have their guarantees in writing to show you, and aren’t afraid to put their money where their mouth is! We’ve all been in situations where we wished we would’ve gotten something in writing. Even having these to show you gives you that extra “warm & fuzzy” feeling that they will back up the work they do & make sure you’re happy with the end result.
Yes! Plumbing is committed to the education of our clients and potential clients in the ways to insure they can find and hire qualified licensed plumbers to protect the health of their families.
For independent verification of our quality clients can check out our reviews at the Better Business Bureau website here.