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7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Plumber

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Commercial Plumber


As with any contractor you ask assistance, there are practical things you need to set before the work begins. Here are common questions to ask your commercial plumber:

Commercial plumber fixing the sink

1) Are you a licensed commercial plumber?

This is the big one. Do not forget to ask this question, and don’t just take the plumber’s word for it. Many operate without a license, but many house owners assume most plumber needs to have one, so this question is always need of asking. Being licensed means the plumber is registered with a governing body at the state or local level.

What’s the problem with a good commercial plumber who is not licensed? His work may not pass inspection, and you’ll have little chance because you chose to hire him despite that fact. Always ask.

2) Is this the total cost?

Most licensed plumbers offer free estimates to customers — be careful of any who want to give you one over the phone, however. Some will come to check out the job before they begin work. Once your prospective commercial plumber has had a chance to look over the task and gives you with a number for cost, ask if what he has quoted you already includes materials, labor and a contingency for any posible needs. Some estimates look great on paper but only has the basic cost of materials and will greatly change as a job progresses.

3) Is this an hourly or flat rate?

Many commercial plumbers make clauses into contracts that say customers will bear any reasonable costs to complete work. When asking for an estimate, be sure to ask if the total you’re being quoted is flat rate — one that won’t change because of labor costs — or if the plumber is using an hourly rate, adding the cost of materials. The problem with this option is that while materials are a fixed price if the job runs long, the cost will go up while you pay for labor. Be sure you know what you’re getting before you sign a contract.

4) When do you want payment?

Always ask when the commercial plumber needs to be paid, and how much of the complete cost he wants upfront. If the plumber asks for 100 per cent of the cost before the task starts, walk away. Some use a system of “milestones”: Once a certain piece of work is done, you will be forced to pay a certain percentage. Others use time: After a given number of weeks, you will pay a certain amount of the provided cost. Milestones are often better since payments are given out upon the end of certain tasks. Time payments can work, but if the plumber works slowly, you may be paying too much for too little.

5) Who’s doing the work?

Professional plumbing companies usually employ more than just one plumber, and for bigger projects, they may use a team of laborers. Always ask if the plumber providing you with the quote is the one doing the job. If he says no, ask who will be doing the job and what level of experience and qualifications the individual has. If you feel uncomfortable with the answer or if the plumber can’t provide information, you may want to keep looking.

6) Do you clean up your mess?

This looks like it should have an obvious answer, but some plumbing companies don’t clean up when they’re done, leaving a project with old parts, boxes for new materials and a big, dirty mess. Always ask if cleanup is part of a quote, and if not, ask why. Some plumbing companies may charge for cleanup as an add on after completing a job, and the cost may be worth it — but never forget to ask.

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7) What if something breaks?

Before signing any contract, ask what kind of assurance or warranty comes with the plumber’s work. Some will assure to come back within a year and check any problems; some will provide service only on certain fixtures in a bathroom or under certain conditions if a leak suddenly occurs. Be sure that any kind of assurance or warranty is in writing, and that the plumber is bonded and insured.

While getting a commercial plumber can be a difficult task, asking these seven questions will help make sure you get someone who knows what they’re doing, does great work and won’t leave you with a half-finished job.