Tips on Hiring a Plumber In The Greater Milwaukee Area
Are you a Milwaukee homeowner, a landlord, or a property manager? If you are either of these people, then you must spend time, energy and effort in finding the best professional plumber in your area.
While a few minor plumbing issues can be resolved as do-it-yourself projects, most plumbing problems should be referred to experienced plumbers. These issues include the installation of new plumbing systems, repair and replacement of parts, and renovation of old plumbing systems, such as in the case of bathroom remodelling. These projects require the expert knowledge and skills of professional plumbers for cost-efficient and result-effective outcomes.
When you undertake plumbing projects on your own, you will likely have a flood of issues to tackle, literally and figuratively. Your house can be flooded with water and sewage. Your renovation costs can increase tenfold because of the additional damage. Your frustrations with all of these new problems will affect your daily disposition.
The bottom line: You will get the best value for your money when you hire an experienced Milwaukee plumber in resolving plumbing issues in your property. You can also avoid the physical effort and mental frustrations that come with unsuccessful do-it-yourself projects.
#1 Hire Even Before Problems Start
Avoid looking for a reliable Milwaukee plumber at the last minute, such as when your bathroom faucets have major leaks or when your toilet has overflowed. Keep in mind that establishing a good professional relationship with a reliable plumber requires time from considering his credentials to evaluating his workmanship.
Even before any plumbing issue arises in your property, be sure to look for a reliable plumber. You will have more time to check on his license, insurance and references; interview him about his work schedule, fees and approach; and evaluate his work. You will also get his quick attention when you have already established a professional relationship as a regular client prior to a plumbing emergency.
Think of it: You are taking considerable risks for a botched job with an emergency plumber that you have not previously interviewed, or checked his references, or agreed on a fee for the job.
#2 Ask for the License
Most states in the United States require plumbers to secure formal education and training in the profession, secure and hold a license, and comply with laws pertaining to it. A few states, such as Kansas and New York, do not require plumbers to hold a license. So, be sure to check for their Wisconsin licenses.
Since Wisconsin does requires a license, your first step is to ask for the pertinent details of his valid license – the issuing authority, validity period, and license number, among others. You should check with the issuing authority about the plumber’s status (i.e., a member in good standing) in the organization.
If you live in a state does not require a license, you should check with government authorities about formal complaints filed by consumers against the plumber. Your best bet is the Better Business Bureau of your state.
#3 Look at the Insurance Policy
Milwaukee Plumbers should have insurance coverage as stated by law. Ask about the types of insurance and their coverage that the plumber has for his business. These are the most important insurance coverage for plumbers regardless of the project being considered:
• Public liability insurance pertains to the financial coverage in case the plumber or his staff causes losses, damages and injuries, even death, to a third party (e.g. you, as the client, or your property) during the course of a job. The losses, damages and injuries can be caused either by negligence or accident.
• Workers’ compensation insurance refers to the financial coverage necessary to cover part or all of the medical costs and lost wages of an employee who has become injured or ill on the job.
The insurance coverage is not just for the protection of the plumber but for your own protection, too.
#4 Inquire About Length of Time Serving The Milwaukee Area
While you should also consider plumbers who are relatively new in the business, you must consider the length of time that the plumbers being considered have been in business and serving Milwaukee residents. The more experienced the plumber is, the more likely that you can expect satisfactory to excellent work. The longer the plumber has been in business, the more likely he has established a good track record among his clients and colleagues.
#5 Consider the Pricing Structure
Ask each of the plumbers being considered for a retainer agreement about his pricing structure, such as the fees for basic services and additional charges for specialized jobs. Inquire about the inclusions and exclusions for each of the basic and specialized jobs so as to reduce the risks for misunderstandings about fees.
Be sure to compare the pricing structure between 2-3 plumbers before making your choice. While fees are not the sole consideration in choosing a reliable plumber, these are also an important factor especially when you are on a budget.
Fees will vary depending on the plumber’s expertise, geographical area (Milwaukee, Franklin, Brookfield, Shorewood, etc), and type of job, among other factors. In general, you can expect to pay:
• $45 to $65 per hour for basic plumbing services, such as installing new traps and repairing leaks, in addition to parts
• $70/hour and up for drain lines
• $125/hour for sewer lines
Add more dollars to the hourly rate for weekend and night jobs. Some Milwaukee Plumbers have been known to ask for $100 for the call alone and $75 per hour for the services.
With such fees, you are beginning to appreciate the importance of hiring the best plumber for your money!
#6 Get an Estimate
Get at least three cost estimates for comparison purposes. Be wary about an extra-low estimate as it can be a sign of false advertising (i.e., baited with low fees and provided with poor work through cutting corners or defective parts).
Look over each of the cost estimate. You should check that it clearly states the jobs to be done and the charges that apply to each job. Your main goal here is to ensure that there are no hidden charges, no surprise fees, and no false advertisements. Your vigilance can mean the difference between getting the best value for your money and the plumber getting the best of your money.
#7 Ask about Warranties
The most reliable plumbers provide their clients with warranties on their work for both labor and parts. Look at the warranty terms before making your choice especially when the work involves expensive labor and parts. Consider warranties lasting up to a year.
And if a plumber refuses to provide satisfactory warranty, move on to the next plumbers.
#8 Read the Contract
Many plumbers have stock contracts on hand. You should take the time to read the stock contract, discuss certain provisions affecting your interests, and make the changes, when necessary. You may even ask your lawyer to peruse the contract for these reasons, especially when the project involves thousands of dollars in labor, materials and parts.
If a plumber also refuses to provide a written contract, move on because its importance cannot be overemphasized. A written contract will protect mutual interests, reduce the likelihood for misunderstandings, and set realistic expectations between the parties.
The written contract should have the following elements:
• Full name and contact information for both the plumber and client
• Complete project scope detailing the work (i.e., who will perform what)
• Detailed list of materials to be used
• Payments schedule
• Permits required (i.e., what and who will secure)
• Proof of license, bond and insurance for the plumber
• Warranty information
• Transportation of materials, cleanup, and safety, among other relevant matters
Of course, signing the contract should be done by both parties preferably with witnesses present when you have made your choice.
#9 Check the Client References
Ask each of the plumbers being considered for client references for jobs performed in the Milwaukee area. You should check with these past and present clients regarding the workmanship and work ethics of the plumber. Your questions should always pertain to the professional conduct of the plumber, not his personal conduct, since you want to avoid sticky legal issues, too.
Ask your family and friends for references to the plumbers with whom they have previously worked with or presently working with, in addition to the client references. The more positive reviews for a plumber, the more likely that he will work well with you on your planned projects.
#10 Look for Positive Traits
While your primary considerations when hiring a reliable plumber should be professional credentials, reputation and record, you should remember that you will be working with him for the duration of the project. You should ideally be able to get along well with him in terms of his friendly, courteous and respectful approach at work.
Indeed, the importance of interviewing prospective plumbers cannot be overemphasized. During the interviews, you will be able to determine the plumber’s professional credentials, reputation and record as well as his personal traits in relation to work. You can then make a smart choice about the best plumber for your projects.
When you have found the best plumber, your best course of action is to get his contact information and establish a professional relationship as early as possible. Your property’s plumbing system will be in good hands from here on.