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BBB Tips: Hiring a Plumber - KOAM TV 7

BBB Tips: Hiring a Plumber

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The Better Business Bureau gives some tips when it comes to hiring a plumber.

St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 15, 2018 – Whether a consumer has a plumbing emergency or a planned project, finding the right professional for the job is a crucial first step. Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers a few considerations to keep in mind when hiring a plumber to take on a project.

First, consumers should do their homework. BBB offers BBB Business Profiles of plumbers that show how long a plumber has been in business and how many complaints – if any - have been filed against the company and how the company has responded. The BBB business profile includes a rating from A+ to F, with F being the lowest rating BBB gives to any company. Some profiles also have customer reviews that rate their experience as positive, negative or neutral.

Next, all estimates should be read carefully. There are many variables in pricing for a plumber. Check if the estimate is a flat rate including materials or if materials will be charged separately. Make sure it is clear what the estimate includes. Check for things like quality of fixtures and number of fixtures and analyze large differences in quotes. Also ask about equipment fees and see if there are extra costs for equipment, truck or trip costs. Ask if the plumber will use drop sheets or service mats to protect the home during the work, and if the cost of cleanup is included in the estimate.

Also, if consumers buy their own fixtures, they should check with the plumber first to make sure they are willing to use custom parts. If consumers do choose to buy their own products, they should look for items with the Uniform Plumbing Code stamp or approval from The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). If the product fails, you may be responsible for removing or fixing it, not your plumber.

Lastly, consumers should be sure to review warranties. There might be warranties for both products and the plumber’s labor available. Parts and labor warranties may not cover the same period of time. Plumbers will likely need to comply with manufacturers’ specifications so warranties remain valid.

Tips for Hiring a Plumbing Contractor:

Look at Credentials. A plumber hired to do any type of work or repair should be licensed and insured. This might limit liability to a homeowner if the plumber is injured on the job. Check the plumber’s credentials with the Board of State Examiners before hiring. Find out the expiration date of the license and insurance, and how long they have been a licensed plumber. If more than one plumber is working to tackle the job make sure each plumber has a current license and insurance.
Get Three Estimates. When a larger job needs to be completed, get at least three different estimates. Compare the prices carefully; the lowest estimate may not be the best bargain. Keep in mind, plumbers with greater experience may charge a little more for their work. Understand how the plumber plans to charge for the job being done. It may be a flat rate for all work or the plumber may charge an hourly labor fee.
Look into References. Ask the plumber for a list of references where they have previously completed work. Contact a few of the references to ask if the final cost was as estimated, if the job was done on schedule, and if the quality of the job has held up since the work was done. Try to contact one of the references that had a similar job done as the one being requested.
Get a Written Agreement. A contract should provide specific details of the job and should include: description of the job, materials needed, cost of the materials and labor, completion date, and any type of permits or inspections that are needed. Work out a payment system that pays the plumber according to how much work has been completed. Never make the final payment before the job is fully completed to satisfaction. Save a copy of the contract in case it is needed for future reference.

BBB Scam Tracker is a great place to research and report scams. For more advice on or to find BBB Business Profiles of businesses or charities, call 888-996-3887 or go online to bbb.org.

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.

St. Louis area media contacts: Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), cthetford@stlouisbbb.org
Shellie Kreter, PR & Communications Director, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), skreter@stlouisbbb.org
Don O’Brien, Investigator, (314) 584-6785, dobrien@stlouisbbb.org
Rebecca Phoenix, Investigator, (314) 584-6727, rphoenix@stlouisbbb.org

Columbia media contact: Michelle Gleba, Columbia Regional Director, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), mgleba@columbiabbb.org

Cape Girardeau media contact: Joey Keys, Cape Girardeau Regional Director, (573) 886-8965, jkeys@capegirardeaubbb.org

Quincy media contact: Mara Clingingsmith, BBB Quincy Regional Director, (217) 209-3972 or (217) 242-6272 (cell), mclingingsmith@quincybbb.org

Springfield media contact: Stephanie Garland, BBB Springfield Regional Director, (417) 380-5074 or (832) 472-9722 (cell), sgarland@springfieldbbb.org

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