Over the years the traditional time and material, plus travel, method of pricing plumbing service has been gradually replaced by the flat rate system. As plumbing systems and practices have become more modern and universal and traffic has become more of a factor in travel time, it has become prudent and possible to give a customer an upfront price for a conventional, predictable job. Replacing water heaters, pressure regulators, etc. are generally priced before the work begins. A respectable plumbing company should have no problem discussing prices over the phone. Beware of companies that will not and insist that a technician be sent to your home to evaluate the situation. Many of these “techs” as they are nowadays referred to, instead of plumbers, are more schooled, experienced and proficient in the technique of salesmanship than in the plumbing trade. It is a good idea to ask what qualifications the company’s requires for its technicians. They should be well versed in new construction as well as repair and service work.
Be aware that the costs of yellow page advertising, liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, trucks, equipment, rent, gasoline, office personnel, health insurance, truck stock and many other costs must be factored into the final price. It costs a lot of money to put a qualified journeyman plumber at your door and plumbers must charge accordingly to stay in business.
A good rating with the Better Business Bureau is important. Even more important is the length of time the company has been in the area and customer recommendations if available. Word of mouth is still the best way to find any good service company. Years of good service translate into respect within the community. These plumbing companies will depend less on advertising,, which is incredibly expensive, and continue to work for the same customers over and over, slowly adding their referred friends, neighbors and relatives over the years. They will usually have plumbers who always treat your property and its contents with the utmost care and respect.
Another important factor is to be sure they use quality materials; a job done with poor materials may actually cost you more in the long run. A good company should do its best to keep demolition and its resulting repairs to a minimum.
If a company meets the above requirements and also comes with a cheerful attitude and a clean efficient personal touch then you have found a winner. Consider these intangibles when choosing your plumber for your next project; many times they turn out to be more important to the final result than the bid price.
Gary R. Tanner
Owner – Town and Country Plumbing