If you've ever needed the services of a professional plumber you understand how important it is to hire a plumber who is professional and can do the job right the first time. When plumbing jobs are needed they are by their very nature an emergency, so you don't have time to interview plumbers or take bids on the job. What is far more important is to have the name and phone number on hand of a plumber you know you can trust.
Local Business Reputation
Obviously, the first thing to look for with a reputable plumber is the proper license according to local code requirements. They likely have advertisements, even if it as simple as a graphic design of the company name on their truck. Even if your friends and neighbors have never worked with the plumber you hire, they will have heard his name before and recognize it as someone who has been active in the community. Additionally, everybody knows a few vulgar jokes about the plumbing trade, a professional ignores such jokes and approaches the job the same way any other professional would begin a job in their given trade.
Professional License and Attitude
Any locality will have a number of adequate handy-men who are capable of conducting basic plumbing work, and they often charge less than the licensed plumber. The reason being that they don't have to cover the expense of ongoing classes to maintain the licensure, they often don't have the proper insurance required of a licensed plumber, and therefore they aren't up to date with the latest code requirements. There are also specialty tools which are too expensive for anyone other than a specialist to own. Often the specialty tools aren't even required to fix the problem at hand, but in fact are necessitated by code simply because they allow the plumber to maintain sanitation requirements. Having heard that statement, no homeowner can argue against having to pay a little extra for a licensed plumber instead of letting a local handyman conduct the job.
Range of Abilities
The best way to assure you have a great plumber available when you need him is to go ahead and have small jobs done. Have an efficient shower head installed, have an toilet replaced, put a goose-neck faucet on your kitchen sink. The cost is negligible and you'll have a relationship with a great plumber should an emergency arise.
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