Plumbing is rarely exciting. It works well for years, faithfully fills, flows and flushes. But if you get constipated or a pipe of water leaks through your ceiling, the excitement can become more than you can handle. Even if you are stressed out, don’t panic and choose a number that you will remember over a radio jingle. Big advertising budgets don’t mean great service. Instead, take a few minutes to find a plumber who will do the job for a fair price.
Boston Consumers’ Checkbook surveys of local consumers found some excellent plumbing outfits in the area. Some of the companies rated by Checkbook were rated as “superior” by at least 90 percent of their customers surveyed. Fortunately, many of the service providers who best rate the quality of their work are also among the cheapest.
But as you’d expect, Checkbook has also found that there are plenty of plumbing outfits that will delight you: More than half of the customers surveyed rated them poorly overall, with reviews often including words like “cluttered”. unprofessional, “incompetent”, “rude”, “messy”, “no-show” and “dishonest”.
Here are some tips for hiring a plumber. Full information, including ratings of the local plumbing for quality and price, can be found at Checkbook.org/PatchBOS/plumbers. Checkbook offers readers free access to the installers’ ratings until March 25th.
Now that you’ve identified high quality, reliable companies, you need to consider price. To rate companies for the prices they offered, Checkbook’s undercover buyers called the companies and requested price quotes on certain plumbing jobs. The prices for the same work varied dramatically. For example, prices for the delivery and installation of an InsinkErator Pro Series 750 garbage disposal ranged from $ 350 to $ 750. And to deliver and install a Bradford-White RG250T6N
50 gallon gas water heater, prices ranged from $ 1,100 to $ 1,800.
If you have a large renovation job – for example a new kitchen or bathroom – it is especially important to receive several offers. Not only is a large amount of money at stake, but the percentage price fluctuation for such large orders is greater than the fluctuation for smaller installation orders. Checkbook’s undercover buyers recently received offers for a full master bathroom remodel, priced between $ 26,000 and $ 61,000.
The message is clear: even with small orders, it is worth looking around.
Unfortunately, while it is quite easy to get quotes for installation or remodeling, it is often difficult to get accurate prices for repairs in advance. It’s best to give a few companies a call – start with those that Checkbook.org values quality and price. Then-
- Give a detailed description of your problem.
- Ask each company how they calculate their working rates (minimum fee and what is included, price per hour after the minimum, etc.).
- Try to get an estimate of how long it usually takes to get your job done.
- When the plumber arrives, check the wages that you received. This eliminates misunderstandings and can improve the accuracy of the timekeeping.
- Delete the area. You don’t want to pay a plumber $ 150 an hour to remove trash from under your sink.
- Don’t let conversations with the plumber interfere with the job. While it is important to understand what the plumber is doing, there is a reasonable limit. Remember the plumber is on the clock until he or she writes down the ticket.
For renovation work you will receive a contract that includes the following:
- A fixed price for all work.
- Exactly what you want to do, including make and model numbers of all devices. And those who break open the floor, cut holes in the wall, mend the floor and walls, hang up the washbasin, do the carpentry, drag away rubble.
- Location of fixings and where the pipes run. Sometimes a few inches can make a big difference in the difficulty of a plumbing job. Unless you have specified exactly what you want (ideally in a sketch or blueprint), you may encounter great resistance if you want your sink to be installed just a little to the left to make room for a trash can.
- That the contractor will obtain the necessary permits and inspections.
- When should the work start and approximately how long should it take?
- Warranty. A guarantee of at least one year should be granted on material and workmanship for renovation work.
- Arbitration clause. While this request may put some companies off, a company that is used to heavy work will see it as a potential cost saving for both parties in the event of a dispute.
- Payment schedule. Companies that allow you to withhold a significant portion of the price of an installation job until completion say they are confident they can please you. And you also get the leverage to get the company to do the job right when you are dissatisfied.
Boston Consumers’ Checkbook Magazine and Checkbook.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing consumers with the best service and the lowest prices. We are consumer endorsed and do not take money from the service providers we rate. You can access plumbers reviews on Checkbook for free until March 25 at Checkbook.org/PatchBOS/Plumbers.