Selecting an experienced plumber can be a challenging task. Making the right choice for your project can consist of a lot of factors and you’ll want to know how to screen for the best service you can find.
Dealing with underground plumbing issues often requires a fast response. You want a company that is reliable and can communicate effectively so that you get the information you need to make an informed decision.
There are many types of plumbers specializing in various niche categories (i.e. trenchless sewer plumbers, general interior plumbers, HVAC plumbers, storm system and leak detections plumbers, etc.) so before you start your calls to local service providers, you’ll want to do some research to find companies that will be a good match for your project.
Every sewer project presents it’s own challenges, so you may want to make sure you have a few basic details on hand about your property – so the plumbers you call have a good sense of the problem and can determine exactly what you need.
Finding out if you have a sewer cleanout and where it is located is one of the most helpful details you can know when you call a sewer professional. While a knowledgeable technician will be able to walk you through a conversation about your project, there are still items specific to your property that you will want to share:
- Are you experiencing backups inside your home?
- Does your property sit on a slope?
- Have you received a notice from the City or Sanitary District?
- Do you have a hard deadline to get the service completed?
In the preliminary stages of your selection process, it’s best to have some knowledge of your needs, so no time is wasted when you talk to service providers.
Now that you’re armed with the details of your project, it’s time to do a little investigation. Don’t worry. This step won’t take long. Use verified sources such as Diamond Certified, BBB, Yelp, and Google Reviews. These will help you weed out those companies that aren’t licensed and dio not offer a warranty on their work. Choose three or four companies, read some reviews, and start making calls.
Once you get on the phone, you’ll be asked to describe your issue. Weave in a few key questions during this exchange. You can find out a lot about the company and how they will take care of your project by gauging their willingness to answer questions.
Use our guide to help you obtain information that highlights what each plumbing company can offer and how their policies may differ. Remember, price is not the only factor in choosing the best plumber for the job. Estimates you collect should show pricing in itemized line items.
The ten most important questions you’ll want to ask each plumber:
1. Are you a licensed sewer contractor?
Never assume the plumber has a license. Verify the license on the State of California’s website and save yourself money plus the headache of failing expensive compliance inspections.
2. Do you have insurance for home or commercial projects?
Proper insurance will cover any incidents caused by the company on your property.
3. Do you offer a warranty for the work you complete?
A solid warranty ensures that any work performed by the company is guaranteed and that they will come back to fix problems caused during the repair without additional cost. For Pipe Spy this is typically a period of three years.
4. Is the estimate for the total cost?
Many plumbers offer free estimates, but beware of anyone who provides them over the phone. In underground sewer projects, engineers can run into unforeseen complexities with adjacent utility lines, changes in the composition of the ground material, poor sloping, and other challenges that can cause your estimate to increase. Be sure to schedule a sewer video inspection to minimize the chance of increasing costs.
5. How long before you can begin my project?
The best plumbers in your area will undoubtedly have a two-week minimum for starting projects. Some weeks that turnaround time will be faster and during the busiest time of the season it may be slower. Have a start date in mind if you have a deadline to meet for completion of your project. A good plumber will work with you.
6. Is trenchless sewer replacement right for my property?
Not every project is suitable for the use of trenchless technology. Properties situated on rocky terrain or near sandy beaches may require traditional sewer repair. Ask your sewer estimator about what’s best for your home or commercial site.
7. Do you get the permits and inspections required by the city code?
Pipe Spy is always happy to do all the footwork for your project. We know all of the city gatekeepers and can often get the permits needed for your project with minimal delays. Be wary of companies that cannot offer this service to you: it may be an indicator that their city accounts are not in good standing.
8. Who will perform the work?
Professional sewer contractors often do the work in teams. At Pipe Spy we have small work crews that can typically get projects done in one day. We assign an estimator who acts as the point of contact and the account manager, so the process is as seamless as possible.
9. Do you clean up after the project and restore concrete or pavement?
Sometimes plumbing companies have to sub-contract for work in the public right-of-way because their license only covers plumbing basics. Pipe Spy carries licensing for engineering and general contracting as well as plumbing. All restoration is handled by our own work crews. This makes for a more efficient workflow and a faster completion time.
10. When do you expect payment, and how shall I pay?
Always find out when your plumber would like to receive their payment. Some will invoice you within a few days of completion, and others will require payment upon completion of services (the same day the work is finished). With technology at our fingertips and so many options for payment available, it would be strange to think that a company would take cash or unsecured online payments. Steer clear of technicians asking for cash payment at the work site. Pipe Spy employs a secure online payment option for credit/debit cards and accepts check by mail with a fair processing time.
No matter how you “pipe it,” choosing the right sewer plumbing contractor for your project can be challenging. But with this practical cheatsheet, you’ll be able to accelerate the decision making process and choose the right plumber for your home’s specific needs.
For more information on sewer line replacements visit Pipe Spy online at www.pipespy.com.