Choosing a Plumber You Can Trust

Posted: 11/07/2014

You caught your toddler playing in the bathroom… and now the toilet is overflowing. Where did the hand towel go? And the spare rolls of toilet paper? And your son’s shirt?

Time to call a plumber! But that’s almost as daunting and trying to fish your son’s shirt out of the toilet. Plumbers are expensive and we all have that fear that they’re going to tell you far more is wrong than really is. Or charge you an arm-and-a-leg per hour…. And who knew it took two hours to unclog a toilet?!

Hopefully our tips will give you a little more piece of mind so you can make that call before water starts seeping through the floor.

First and foremost, anyone you consider for a plumbing gig needs to provide you with verification of their license. This isn’t a typical request, as most people don’t think to ask. You can first try looking up the plumber’s name in the Missouri Professional Registration Search. But there are basically three levels of skill: apprentice, journeyman and master plumber. Apprentice is what you want to avoid because, as one might assume, these are folks in training.

A journeyman’s license means that apprenticeship is complete. According to the Missouri Revised Statute for plumbers, applicants for a journeyman’s license must be at least 21 years old and have at least five years experience as an apprentice under a master plumber. A master plumber must be at least 25 years old and have at least three years experience in the field with a journeyman’s license.

What You Need to Ask For
There are a few items that you should request – in addition to licensing proof – to make sure your plumber is legit and will charge a reasonable rate:
  • References – Ask for them and then actually contact them to see what they have to say. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out reviews online, but remember that most people only get online to complain, not appreciate, so it’s an unbalanced ratio.
  • Estimate – Be sure to get your estimates in writing.
  • Insurance – Ask for insurance verification and clarify what it covers.
  • Payment Schedule – If you’re hiring a plumber for a bigger job, such as a renovation, ask for the payment scheduled in writing so you know how much will be due from you and when.
  • Office Address – There are many great reasons for a company to have a post office box, but this is also a way for fake contractors to take advantage of people. Ask where their office is located and verify that it’s actually there.
Other Important Items
As you look at plumbing companies, you may also want to consider the services they offer as part of your assessment. For example, plumbers that offer 24/7 services or guarantee a fast response time sound great, and are sometimes necessary, but a often very expensive. HA Construction recommends that you not use these companies outside of an emergency situation.

Often, the way that a plumber dresses and conducts himself – and even the condition of his work truck – say a lot about his reliability and the overall experience you’re going to have. A plumber that puts time and energy in appearance means that his company is important to him.  

Also, cheaper doesn’t always mean better. Everyone is on a budget these days, but it’s probably better to go with the master plumber that charges $75 an hour than the journeyman who just got his license and charges $50 an hour – because you may end up spending far more in the end if they don’t get something right.

Who We Recommend
While we absolutely encourage you to support any locally owned plumber service, HA Construction has working experience with and highly recommends the following companies: