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Contracting Tips

This page contains helpful information about using another plumber or plumbing contractor. 

While we'd appreciate your business and know we'll provide you with superior service and excellent value, we want to make sure you get your plumbing job done right, to your satisfaction, without any surprises.  So if you decide to use another plumber or plumbing contractor, the following are some things you may want to consider and questions you may want to ask them before they start work.


Many plumbers will quote you an hourly rate for their services, but does that really tell you anything?  What you really want to know is, "How much will it cost to fix the problem?"  While an hourly rate might seem to provide a rough estimate, there are too many variables to make an hourly rate a useful estimator of costs.  These variables include: the exact nature and extent of the problem, the skill level of the plumber, the cost of materials, collateral problems, and related work.  So if the plumber you're considering will only give you an hourly rate, here are a some questions you should ask.  Just CLICK on a link below to get more information on that question.

Licensed & Insured


Ask for the contractors license number and proof of general liability and worker‘s compensation insurance.  Most people do not realize that the homeowner can be held financially responsible if an uninsured worker gets injured while working in a home.  Also make sure they're giving you a California Contractor's License number and not just a city business license number; anyone can get a business license, but only a qualified plumber can get a contractor's license.

On the flip side, in some states where licensing is required, a homeowner is not obligated to pay for any work done by an unlicensed contractor.

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Are There Travel Charges?


Time spent picking up parts not stocked on their service vehicle are typically charged to the job. Additionally, some companies may charge for the time it takes to get to the job in the first place, depending on how far away it is. 

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Who Will Do The Work?


Who will be doing the work?  Will it be a master plumber with many years of experience or a young apprentice with less than a year of experience?  Who does the work has a lot to do with how much you end up paying when rates are quoted on an hourly basis.

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What is their availability?


Most plumbers or plumbing  companies can't pinpoint their time of arrival closer than "morning” or “afternoon." This can get expensive if the homeowner has to take off a full or half-day of work.  Progressive companies can many times pinpoint within an hour or two when their plumber will be at the door.  If he or she does get delayed, these companies will call with an updated time of arrival.

Another useful gauge of a service firm's value is if there is even anybody available to answer the phone, let alone these questions.  Many contractors try to do business by using answering machines, promising to return calls at some undetermined time. This isn't much help to someone who needs an emergency repair right now.

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Do They Offer A Max Cost Guaranteed?


Most contractors will not be able to give a straight answer to this question.  However, there are a few progressive contractors who do quote exact prices, guaranteed, once they perform a diagnosis.  They will usually charge a modest up front fee for the diagnosis, though many waive the charge if they get the job.  Nonetheless, it does remove the some of the cost uncertainty of job done by the hour.

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Is The Work Guaranteed?


Finally, and maybe most importantly, does the plumber offer a written guarantee for their work?  How long is the guarantee?  Does it cover the cost for them to replace a defective part or component (e.g. a leaking faucet), and will they replace the defective component with a new one, or will you be missing it until the manufacturer replaces it?


If the problem persists or reappears after the plumber leaves, will the company come back to fix it at no extra charge and how soon?  Most companies will answer affirmatively to this question, but guarantees their labor for only 30 days and callbacks often tend to be their lowest priority.

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California State License Board (CSLB)

California Contractor's License # 732839

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