If you've got a major leak on Christmas Day, you may be glad just to find someone who will fix it. However, if you're planning a costly renovation, take the time to interview more than one plumber before picking one.
When interviewing candidates, don't forget to ask about:
References: An experience plumbing company should be able to give you the names of recent customers in your part of town.
Estimates: Get at least three written estimates from three different plumbers. Documentation is often the best ammunition should things go wrong.
Licensed, bonded and insured: Nearly every state in the U.S. requires plumbers to be licensed through a state professional licensing agency. Requirements vary on the need for professional licensing bonds, but all plumbers should have insurance to cover accidents that may happen while on your property.
Payment schedule: On a big job, especially a planned remodeling, the service provider may want the customer to pay 10 to 15 percent of the cost up front and 50 percent paid before the job is completed – especially if expensive materials need to be purchased for the project. Make sure you know what is expected. If you're suspicious, contact your state's professional licensing board or contracting board to ask about local standards. Many states set limits on what is allowed to be paid upfront.
Where the company is located: Be cautious of contractors who give you a post office box with no street address or use only an answering service. Never hire someone who comes unsolicited to your door and can’t provide you proof of qualifications – especially if he or she pressures you to hire fast and pay cash up front.