It’s every home-owners worst nightmare – having a maintenance issue and then being ripped off by the plumbing service company completing the job. In a recent news story by A Current Affair, a local Sydney plumber was investigated for charging inflated prices and even damaging property.
This is the kind of news that puts the entire service industry at risk because of dodgy operators giving good plumbing companies a bad reputation. Don’t despair, it may feel like you don’t know where to start when choosing a plumber, but there are some ways you can avoid unscrupulous operators.
1. Plumbing license
First and foremost, check that the company you’re looking into hiring is licensed and carries full insurance to protect not only your home but the surrounding homes in your area. Having a licence ensures the company has gone through the minimum standards required to be legal operators in your region. There can be different requirements in different states also.
2. References and online reviews
You have the right to ask them for a reference, and it’s a good idea to get more than one. Also be diligent in reading the online reviews, not just their website reviews which could be made up. Read their Facebook and Instagram page and Twitter feed and see how they interact with their customers through comments and reviews.
3. Time in Business
While common sense tells us, the longer you’ve been in business, the more reliable a business must be, it’s not always the case. Some business who overcharge have been in business a long time, but it’s a good idea to know how long they’ve been around in your area. Often the longer they’ve been in business, more people will have known about them and could recommend them.
4. Get multiple quotes
There’s no reason not to shop around, especially if your job is a fairly standard one and not an emergency. However, when doing so, make sure you are comparing similar companies. Some plumbing companies are based on lower prices, and they start at a low hourly rate and then tack on extras with more time required, and others charge higher fees but guarantee the job is done on the day. So, it’s in your best interests to make sure you ask the right questions as to what the quoted price includes so you can make the best comparisons.
5. Get a guarantee
Most plumbing businesses will have some guarantee in place but find out precisely what that entails. Plumbing businesses are built on their reputation as it’s such a competitive market.
Questions to ask are:
- Is it a money-back guarantee, and what does this entail?
- Is the guaranteed limited?
- Is the guarantee written on your quote?
Over the phone quotes v’s onsite quotes
Getting a quote over the phone isn’t necessarily the best way to determine quality. Some plumbers will prefer to assess some jobs onsite so they can give you the most accurate quote possible. Some jobs may run into further complications which can’t be foreseen over the phone, so it’s often in the plumbers and customers best interests to get an onsite quote for more complicated jobs.
Ask neighbours and locals for a referral
Sometimes people in your local area will have some referrals from past plumbing jobs they’ve had completed which they are happy with and can recommend a good plumbing business. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways businesses stay successful year-on-year, so don’t be afraid to ask your neighbour, friends or colleagues for a recommendation.
Associations and community groups
This may seem like something that isn’t necessary. However, small businesses need the support of their local community to thrive. Check to see if they are involved as members of trade associations or business associations. Also, if they sponsor any school events, little league teams or contribute to community fundraisers which are all a good sign. This shows they invest in their local community, and it’s a good sign that they have a trusted reputation.
If a company can be transparent in displaying information about who they are, how long they’ve been in business and what qualifications their staff have it’s a good sign they’re not hiding anything. When a company’s website displays information about their team, it’s a sign they take pride in who they employ and most likely have less staff turn-over as a result.
Murphy Plumbing offers prompt and reliable solutions for residential and commercial customers in the Hunter region. If you need an emergency plumber, or just require some general plumbing assistance for your home or business, give us a call!