Looking for the right plumber can be a challenge especially when your local ares is heaving with tons of plumbing companies out there.
It doesn’t help when there are loads of different types of directories and rate my builder type websites.
So what do you do to find the right plumber. You could go into Google and search for “find a plumber near me” or “plumbers near me” or any other search term. Yes this can can give lots of results but sometimes the ones at the top might not be the best or have even cheated the way to the top of the search results using SEO (search engine optimisation) fake reviews etc.
We recommend that you read the reviews showing on the the MAP results, however dont just look at the top 3 that show, start to look at the companies 5+ down. These ones are more likely to have honest non fake reviews.
Choosing and using a plumber
There has been a rash of reports in the media recently of plumbers charging their unwary customers thousands for the simplest of jobs. How can you make sure you won’t be the next to fall victim? Sandra Haurant reports
We’ve all heard the horror stories about cowboy plumbers who swan into the homes of the vulnerable and spend three minutes changing a dodgy washer (and another 57 reading the paper) before presenting them with a gargantuan bill.
While it’s by no means the case that all plumbers are con artists, the sad fact is that the well-documented shortage in skilled professionals has left the market open to unscrupulous people who are all too happy to prey on unwary customers, leaving the reputation of the trade in tatters. So if your boiler’s sprung a leak and you’re ankle-deep in water, how can you make sure the person who comes round to fix it is capable of doing the job without charging over the odds?
It goes without saying that recommendation is the best route, but with good plumbers so hard to come by you might not find anyone else in your area who can put you in touch with one. In that case you’ll have to track one down yourself.
Assuming you have the time to search – if your toilet has begun to spew its contents everywhere in the manner of a small volcano, you may not want to hang around – your first port of call should be the internet. The Institute of Plumbing, a registered educational charity working on “improving the science, practice and engineering principles of plumbing”, has a directory of registered plumbers that is searchable by postcode. On the other hand, if water levels are rising fast and you need help before the rest of the street is flooded out, pluck a handful of numbers out of the Yellow Pages or try one of the directory enquiries services.
Once you have your numbers, start calling people up. Before you even agree for them to come and see what work you need doing, however, you need to get a few things straight over the phone. The Office of Fair Trading suggests you:
· Find out how long they have been in business and whether they have premises you can visit (an established plumber is less likely to disappear half way through a job).
· Ask them for references and find out whether you can view any similar work they may have done.
· Find out whether they have insurance to cover your property (and that of your neighbours).
· Ask whether their work is guaranteed, and if so, whether the guarantee is insurance-backed – meaning that if they go out of business the work is still covered.
· Find out whether he or she is a member of a professional trade body such as the Institute of Plumbing or the Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors (APHC). These organisations require their members to stick to a code of practice and offer recourse if anything goes wrong. And don’t take the plumber’s word for it: contact the trade body in question to check that they really are registered.
Again, if the work is desperately urgent you may not have time to visit any premises or see examples of work, but it is still worth making sure the plumber is properly qualified. No matter how good they sound over the phone, however, don’t be tempted to choose the first plumber you call. If you are in a rush, describe the problem in as much detail as possible and try to get a firm idea of how much it is likely to cost to fix it. Call at least three or four plumbers and compare prices. Inquire about call-out charges and hourly rates as well as the price of parts and equipment. If you do have time, ask a handful of qualified plumbers to come round and give you a written quote for the work.
Unfortunately, there are no published guidelines to tell you how much a plumber can charge, which is why it is so important to get a variety of quotes. The APHC warns against using plumbers who demand 100%, or a large proportion, of the fee up front. You may well have to pay a deposit – after all, you can’t really expect them to shell out for all the fittings for your new bathroom before you’ve given them a penny – but the amount has to seem reasonable. Again, a lack of printed guidelines means you need to use your common sense. Agreeing a price before the work commences is the best course of action.
As for what you can expect of a plumber, the OFT advises that you insist on a written contract in order to establish this from the outset. This should include, at the very least, a clear description of the work to be carried out, the price agreed (attach the plumber’s quote), start and finish dates for the work (making it clear if the finish date is particularly important), and the details of any guarantees. Keep notes, too, of the work as it progresses, just in case anything goes wrong. However, you do have basic rights under the law which apply even if you don’t have a contract in writing. You can expect any work carried out to be done so with reasonable care and skill, finished in a reasonable time, and done at a reasonable cost.
Another good reason to choose a plumber who is a member of the APHC is that their will be guaranteed – should the he or she go out of business before the job is completed, another member plumber will be contracted to finish it. However, the guarantee only stands if the first plumber did everything by the book, so it is important to familiarise yourself with APHC’s code of practice to and to make sure your plumber sticks to it.
If, at the end, you are unhappy with the work and want to complain, start with the plumber. Put your complaint in writing, explain exactly what is wrong and what you want them to do to rectify the problem, and specify when you want this to happen. In many cases, they will come and sort out the trouble: their reputation is worth more than a few hours’ work.
If, however, they are not willing to put matters straight, you will need to take it further. If the plumber is a member of one of the trade organisations, go to the relevant body follow their complaints procedure. They will act as an intermediary and attempt to resolve the issue. If your plumber is not a member of one of these associations, make sure you keep records of all conversations, especially regarding costs, put everything in writing, take photos of bad work and keep track of dates.
If all else fails, you can take your plumber to court. You may need to get an expert to back up your complaints, and you could find you have to pay for this service. Read our legal expert Alan Wilson’s article on the small claims court process to find out what this will entail and for advice on how to get through it successfully
If you need a Glasgow plumber contact
Plumber Glasgow 24/7
0141 473 6863
101 Maxwell St Glasgow G1 4EP