Hiring a Plumbing Contractor
We take a lot of the things for granted in today’s society.
We turn on the faucet and clean drinking water comes out. We flush the toilet and the waste disappears. The plumbing that makes all of this possible requires a highly skilled professional, a Licensed Plumbing Contractor.
Tips on Hiring the Right Plumbing Contractor for You
Selecting the right plumbing company can take the stress and worry out of your repair needs, whether they are large or small. Proper plumbing design is a science. Providing adequate water pressure and keeping various toxins out of your water lines are only two of many concerns a plumber must address when designing a system.
Why You Should Hire a Plumbing Contractor
From hooking up gas connections to keeping sewage from contaminating drinking water, a licensed plumber is needed. That’s why a licensed plumber MUST have years of experience and pass rigorous tests before they are approved for a license. In Idaho, licenses are issued from the Idaho Division of Building Safety (dbs.idaho.gov) after rigorous testing and continuing education is completed.
Too often, landlords and building managers create health hazards when they use unlicensed people to do the work of a licensed plumber. When getting price quotes, remember that the least expensive quote will not always cost you the least amount. Shoddy, unlicensed plumbing can come with a high price; leaks that ruin floors and ceilings, life threatening illnesses from polluted water, even destruction and death from explosions caused by improper gas connections.
Unlicensed people can charge less because they might not have the proper insurances and may not file the necessary paperwork with the Department of Buildings. If something goes wrong, you will be the one left with the problem. In addition, building owners can face fines when work is not properly permitted and completed by a licensed plumber.
The next time you need a plumber, remember to ask for their license. Don’t take a chance with your health, your property or your life.
What To Look For
- Ask to see the state license – All plumbers, including sub-contractors and journeymen, are required to be licensed by the state.
- Check proof of insurance – For your own protection, check proof of both workman’s compensation and general liability.
- Business stability – Find out how long the company has been in business and how long it has been at its present location.
- Building codes – In certain municipalities you’ll need to see that all building codes are met.
- Price – When looking for a reliable plumbing company, you cannot simply rely on hourly rates. Plumbing companies’ billing systems vary.
- While some will charge according to “time and material”, other companies will charge a “flat rate”. When you get an estimate from a company, be sure to ask what will be provided for the price quoted. Recognize that there are several variables in developing the price.
- These include:
- Time that it takes to complete the installation or perform the repair.
- Quality of the fixtures.
- Number of fixtures.
Remember, the company quoting a low rate may not necessarily be the right company for you. Some plumbing companies may offer low hourly rates, but then charge additional “equipment fees” for certain tools needed on the job. Ask if there are any additional charges for equipment, truck or trip costs. Basically, when evaluating quotes, be sure you are comparing apples to apples.
- These include:
You may also need to consider that most companies charge a higher rate for overtime, weekends, holidays and emergency calls. These charges vary from company to company.
Also ask about the types of fixtures and pipes that are to be installed. Make sure you are comparing similar quality products when seeking estimates. It is not uncommon for companies to require a
deposit for special orders on fixtures.
- If you are purchasing products yourself to be installed by a plumber, check with your plumber first. Many will not install customer-purchased products. If the plumber will install customer-purchased products, check the quality of the product. Look for an approval stamp, such as the Uniform Plumbing Code stamp (UPC). The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) also places stamps on products. These stamps are similar to the familiar UL approval on electronic products. You should also make sure the product is right for your building and meets all codes. Remember, if the product fails and the problem is not with the installation, then you may have to pay for the removal of the item.
- It is common to receive a warranty on the services provided. This may include 30 days on stoppage and as many as 90 days on installation. Be aware that material may have a longer warranty than labor. For example, a part may be under a warranty for five years and the labor for only one.
- Check for membership in trade organizations, such as the local chapter of The National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors and the Association of Master Plumbers. Companies who participate in these organizations are more likely to keep up-to-date on new regulations and codes.
Tips on Performing Your Own Work
- What is a permit? A permit grants the holder authorization to perform specific construction and/or installation work. Permits are assigned a unique document number which is required when requesting inspections and approval of the work.
- The person applying for the permit must be the owner of the property at the time of the application. You (the owner) must personally perform all of the work. The owner is not required to be licensed for this work. This applies to primary or secondary residences only. PLUMBING PERMITTING ONLY – If you own the residence, but lease or rent the house to another, you must hire a plumbing contractor to purchase the permit and perform the plumbing work.
- Inspectors are not permitted to design a system for you but they will be happy to answer questions regarding safety standards and national codes. NOTE: Only qualified contractors and inspectors have the training and experience to give proper advice on safety standards and national codes.
- An inspector may, during reasonable business hours, re-inspect or test any installation. If at any time the inspector finds violations of safety standards or national codes, you will be notified of the corrections to be made.
Hiring a Professional
- Idaho statutes require that any individual or company performing Electrical, HVAC or Plumbing work in the state obtain the required licenses.
- If you, as the owner, choose to hire a contractor, you must verify that the contractor is properly licensed with the Division of Building Safety.
Contractors are required to obtain permits in their name. Contractors may not legally perform work under a property owner (homeowner’s) permit.
P.O. Box 9793
Boise, ID 83707
TVMPA is the association representing Plumbing Contractors in Boise, Idaho and the surrounding area.