How to choose a plumber

The best time to choose a plumber is before you have a plumbing emergency. Unfortunately, most people facing an emergency have very little time to research a plumber. When the toilet flushes a leak or the roof of the damp basement of a broken pipe on the top floor, finding help is imperative.


  1. Call a well-known homeowner whose opinion you trust. Most homeowners at one time or another need to hire a plumber and can advise you on one with a good reputation.
  2. Try calling a builder or contractor, if you know one. Contractors often try plumbing and generally have well-formed opinions about various local plumbers, the quality of their work and the competitiveness of their prices.
  3. Talk to the real estate agent who represented you when you bought your home. Real estate experts often recommend plumbers and other subcontractors to their clients. Because most agents want to keep you as a repeat customer, they will be happy to recommend a plumber to you.
  4. Avoid leaving your name and phone number on a plumber’s answering machine unless you are calling after hours. Also, be wary of a child answering the phone. Although reputable plumbers can work outside their home in small communities and rural areas most plumbers who have been in business for a while answer their own phones or have a receptionist.
  5. Request a Plumber’s license number before hanging up. If you feel nervous about it, tell him that you are going to convert the claim into his owner’s insurance agent and that is a requirement.
  6. Ask for a price before work begins. Most reputable plumbers will give you an offer, or at least a budget with a ceiling price. The exception is when the plumbing problem occurs inside a closed wall or ceiling. In that case, the plumber may be reluctant to quote a firm offer until he sees the magnitude of the problem. In this situation, they ask for a “worst case” price.
  7. Consider the plumber’s warranty service before hiring you. If he cannot guarantee work for an acceptable period, he must send up a red flag. If you do not have very old fittings and pipes and your house needs extensive plumbing work, a good plumber will come back to fix a leak or a problem that was your mistake.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take the time to find a plumber before an emergency occurs, if possible.