Many people try to avoid calling a plumber. Although most plumbers are hardworking, honest professionals, you are right to be concerned about the few scam artists that are trying to overcharge you. So, just calling for a plumber can make you feel uncomfortable.
The following information provides four tricks sneaky “plumbers” use. Make sure you know how to recognize these tricks and you will be ready find a good, reputable plumber.
1) Working uninsured and without a license
An uninsured and unlicensed tradesperson will charge lower fees. If you hire them, you are taking a huge gamble.
Most localities require insured and licensed contractors to work on properties, even if some localities do not require a permit. This is different from do-it-yourself homeowners who may do renovations or other repair work on their homes, but there are still limitations to this type of work. For example, if you are performing electrical, plumbing, or structural work, you need a licensed professional.
If you hire an unlicensed person to do the job, you have no recourse if something goes wrong. A building inspector might require you to remove the old job and have it done again.
When you hire a plumber, ask for their identification, proof of insurance, and a state license. Check with your state licensing department and/or state insurance commission to validate insurance and licensing credentials.
2) Estimates without assessing the job
There is no way a plumber can genuinely estimate the price and time for a job they have not seen. Never accept a quote if the plumber has not done an in-person inspection. Also, make sure you get any quote in writing.
Although a plumber cannot give you a quote without assessing the job, they can tell you what their minimum charge is and if they have an hourly rate. They can also give you a general idea how much it will cost for simple, predictable plumbing jobs. Unclogging a sink or replacing a showerhead are among types of jobs that are usually easy to estimate. However, even simple jobs can become more time consuming and complicated depending on the circumstances.
3) Lowballing the quote.
When a quote is unusually low, this should attract your attention. This is usually a sign something is wrong.
Plumbing is often expensive and the price can vary depending on the contractor, so it is difficult judge the appropriate costs. For example, clearing a drain clog might range between $75 and $250 depending on the contractor you call. By collecting several quotes, you will have a general idea how much the job should cost.
A major scam in plumbing is a low estimate that does not include the labor required to complete the job. You will be stuck in a tough situation when you need to pay additional money to cover the labor required to actually complete the job.
4) Arriving uninvited
If a “plumber” shows up to your home uninvited, call the police. They might try to persuade you to hire them or let them inside your home. This is a red flag that it is a burglar who is trying to look inside your home and check out your belongings.
Unfortunately, scammers target many people, especially elderly homeowners. Do not allow anyone inside your home you do not know or did not invite for yourself.