How to Avoid Low-Quality, Uninsured Plumbing Services

Crew Chief Gabe Pipe Spy Oakland

Many of us remember an old auto repair commercial that goes “Pay me now, or pay me later.” The same principle applies to plumbing services and repair. The message boils down to “You can pay now to get the job done right, or you can pay twice: once in an attempt to save money and then once again to get the job done right.” As we all know, paying a little more upfront is always cheaper than paying an unqualified, likely uninsured repair company who does not fix the problem. 

So what’s the easiest way for homeowners like you to ensure that the plumber you hire is ethical, licensed, and qualified to do the work you need completed?  

Plumbing License and Certifications

First, review the plumbing company’s qualifications, certifications, and areas of expertise. Compare their specialty area and skills with the work you need done. Examples include unique considerations of your property (hillside, wooded, urban, municipal, etc.) as well as any special plumbing fixtures you may have, including sinks, washers, bathtubs, toilets, sump pumps, storm drains, hot tubs, and private sewer lateral. Find a plumber who has experience solving the problems you face with your plumbing system. 

Another time-honored way to find a reliable plumber is through word of mouth. Ask friends, colleagues, neighbors, and real estate agents for a contractor referral. The experience of these people will reveal much about a plumber’s integrity and competence..

Next, interview potential plumbers before you encounter a problem with your plumping system. This way, you’ll have already have a relationship with a plumbing partner should you experience an emergency leak, clog, or pipe burst.

Ask potential plumbers about their plumbing service history and company details: Are they Licensed & Insured (Work Comp and Liability)? Are they certified (BBB, Diamond Certified, special fixtures)? Do they offer Free Estimates? Do they charge per hour or per job? Is there a Service Guarantee? Will the worksite be left clean? What is their response time? How long have they been in the business? Do they have the skills to service any special plumbing equipment you have in your home? In addition, you can check customer reviews on Google and Yelp.

Once you have all the facts, you will have a easier time determining which plumber is prepared to meet your specific needs and provide the utmost service.


Before a plumber starts any project, municipal permits are required to ensure the work complies with the local code and ordinances. Only licensed plumbing contractors are allow to apply for permits. Unlicensed plumbers are not permitted to acquire permits without possessing a contractor license issued by the state of California. Without valid permits, any plumbing work performed is subject to legal enforcement, including fines and and a legal order to remove or reverse any work that was completed – at the expense of the homeowner or business owner. 

Modern day plumbing installation and repair requires extensive knowledge and experience. When you’ve reached the end of your abilities with a wrench, it’s time to call a qualified plumber: Pipe Spy, Inc.

Contact us now at (510) 465-3000.