How to Choose a Plumbing Company

Not all plumbing companies are created equally, and before you choose a plumbing company for your next project you should read this:

There are basically two types of plumbing companies: small-scale family-owned plumbing companies, and larger-scale oriented corporations.

The large companies are usually well known because of their catchy radio ad jingles, tv commercials and newspaper and direct mail advertisements. This is one of the primary reasons they are generally more expensive than the smaller mom and pop plumbing company.

Corporate plumbing companies tend to be more expensive also because their plumbers and technicians work on commission — and that encourages them to oversell you on goods and services that you may not actually need. In essence, many corporate plumbers are salesmen whose first priority isn’t fixing your clogged drain for the lowest price possible — it’s improving their employer’s bottom line.

Many times when you’re gathering estimates for a particular project their prices will be twice the price of a smaller company. They may even show you their price book, to show you that they aren’t overcharging you!
Don’t be fooled. A plumber’s price book only tells you what his company charges; every company’s book is different.

Commission-based sales aren’t the only reason larger corporate plumbers are more expensive. They also have to deal with overhead issues that smaller family-run businesses don’t, like maintaining large truck fleets and paying for worker’s comp insurance.

The next time you’re looking to find the right plumber at the right price, be sure to follow these tips:

1.When possible, get references. Nothing beats a word-of-mouth recommendation. Before getting any contractor estimates, make sure to ask your friends and neighbors if they have a preferred plumber.
2. Get a minimum of three estimates. Knowledge is power, so always get at least three estimates before agreeing to have any work done. Otherwise, you may end up paying a lot more than you need to.
3. Avoid plumbers who advertise on radio and television. Those ads cost big money. That means higher prices for you. Speaking of ads:
Beware of misleading ads. Larger plumbing corporations often use website and phone book ads featuring a random family photo to give the impression that their company is a small family-owned business.
Focus on small family-owned plumbing businesses. Smaller family-owned businesses have lower overhead, and they usually pass the savings on to their customers. They also don’t work on commission — so you’re less likely to be oversold on services you don’t need. Typically smaller advertising budgets also make self-employed plumbers more dependent on repeat business and word-of-mouth, so customer satisfaction is paramount.
4. Ensure your plumber has a contractor’s license. Licensed contractors are required to complete work in compliance with state mandated procedures that are designed to protect us from shoddy workmanship and potential serious health issues resulting from improper plumbing practices.
5. Check out your state contractor’s web site to verify the status of any licensed plumbing company, including any registered complaints and ownership details.
6. Get an itemized parts estimate and then comparison shop. Plumbers usually get their parts from wholesale outlets not open to the general public. The parts are usually comparable in price — but sometimes they’re not.
7. Coupons and discounts don’t guarantee competitive prices. Plumbers will often try to lure you in with coupons or the promise of a price discount.
8. Schedule work on weekdays. Plumbers charge a premium for working weekends, holidays, and after hours, so avoid those times if you can.
9. Be certain that you’re getting a licensed plumber for your project some larger companies use Apprentices and/or technicians and charge you as if they’re licensed and certified professional plumbers.
10. Check out the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission’s website for a list of plumbers in your area that are licensed and certified to perform plumbing services in our area. http://www.wssc.com
Just remember, no matter when you schedule your plumber, tell him to keep his price book in the truck.