The Devils in the Details
While most homeowners who have some do-it-yourself experience under their belt may be able to deal with most plumbing repair jobs they encounter, there will eventually come a point where all homeowners will most likely have to call in professional plumbers for some serious repair work. Repairing a leak, unclogging a toilet or replacing a garbage disposal are all simple enough but you do you do when one of the main lines to your home gets clogged? You start interviewing plumbers that’s what.
Not only can finding a good Cape Town plumber be fairly difficult but it’s also hard to compare and contrast different estimates because of the different ways plumber’s bill for their services. More on that later but for now let’s focus on the fact that you’re going to want to interview several plumbers and have them bid on your repair job. Having several bids to compare and contrast will give you a better chance of hiring a good plumber at a good price. You’ll be able to accomplish that by screening and qualifying the plumbers prior to having them bid on your repair job.
Screening plumbers prior to having them bid will help you ensure that you’re comparing “apples to apples” when looking at your various quotes. To qualify the plumbers I suggest you do a search online for their business name and look for complaints and reviews from past customers. You may also want to look for complaints with the hellopeter.co.za and your local building council. Point is you want to start separating the good plumbers from the bad plumbers and removing the bad plumbers from your list of viable candidates.
You’ll also want to check out the plumber’s website and see how long he’s been in business. You can also check for a local address and phone number. Does he belong to a plumbers body or any other local groups or organizations? Is he licensed and bonded? A lot of plumbers will list their license number on their website and if you have it available you may want to go ahead and verify that the license number is valid by visiting your building indiustry board website.
Whenever possible you’ll want to get referrals from people you actually know. Friends, family members and neighbors who live in your area can all be excellent sources for finding reputable plumbers. Make sure to ask them about their experiences with the plumber and about the quality of his work. You can also seek out referrals from the local home improvement store, general contractors, real estate agents and plumbing hardware stores in your area.
Finally the last thing I do to determine if I want a plumber to quote on my repair job or not is I call him and ask a few questions. Obviously you want to talk about the repair job itself and whether or not the plumber charges for coming out to look at your situation but here are some other important things to ask:
References – Ask the plumber if he has references that he can give you. You should contact the references about the quality of the plumber’s work and make sure to ask them about their overall experience with the plumber. End the call by asking if the y would hire the plumber again.
Insurance – The plumber should have some form of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation for any employees he plans on using on your repair job
Contract – make sure the plumber is willing to sign a contract
Hopefully after speaking with a few different plumbers you’ll have a much better idea of who you want to have quote on your repair job.
When it comes time to have plumbers come over to bid on your project and to submit bids you’ll want to take several things into consideration. One of the things you want to figure out which may be more complicated than you think is deciphering how the plumber will be charging you. Some plumbers have low hourly rates but you find out later that they’re charging you when they’re driving around looking for parts. And other plumbers have what appear to be high hourly rates but they only charge you when they’re actually working on-site in your home.
It’s important that you are aware of all of this when you’re comparing the different bids you collect because it can sometimes be hard to determine just how much the bid is for. Whenever possible ask the plumber to give you an estimate for the entire repair job and then ask him to break it down into labour and parts. That should make it a lot easier to compare the different bids you get from the different plumbers.
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