When an emergency plumbing need arises, it can be tempting to accept the first available emergency plumber you reach. While this might take care of the immediate need, it can also lead to problems, especially if the plumber is less than reputable. Before hiring any plumber there are five questions you should ask.
1. Is the plumber licensed and insured and how much experience does he have? An experienced, licensed plumber will be better able to diagnose and fix your problem quickly and efficiently. However, even the best plumbers occasionally make mistakes. A reputable plumber will have insurance to cover the cost of any damages should that happen. Steer clear of any plumber that does not carry insurance.
2. How are the rates calculated for the emergency services? Do they charge an emergency fee and standard charges for the actual work or do they charge overtime rates for all off-hours work? If they do an emergency repair but additional work is required, will they deduct the emergency fees from the bill if you choose to hire them to do the additional work? Knowing the fee structure before the work is done will prevent any nasty surprises when you get the bill and help prevent unnecessary disputes.
3. Do the service trucks carry a stock of commonly used parts or will the plumber need to charge extra for going to buy parts after making the diagnosis? Will those charges include travel time or just the cost of the parts? Again, knowing ahead of time what you will and won’t be charged for will ensure that you aren’t hit with surprises on your bill.
4. Does your plumbing problem require an emergency visit or is there something you can do yourself to temporarily solve the problem, allowing you to schedule a normal appointment and avoid emergency charges? An honest company will put customer needs above their profits and be willing to tell you if your problem is something that can wait.
5. What is their normal response time for emergency calls? Obviously, you don’t want a plumber who takes 24 hours to return your call if your basement is flooding or your toilets aren’t working.
An emergency plumbing problem can be quite stressful, but taking the time to ask a few simple questions can ensure that you’ll receive good service at a reasonable price without adding any additional stress.
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