Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
When a pipe bursts or another home emergency hits, the last thing you want to worry about is if the person showing up to your door is not only a real plumber but also fully qualified and trained to do the task.
Organizations like AARP and shows like Dateline do their best to bust scammers, but when you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, your only thought is finding a solution.
Finding a handyman on Craigslist is much different than choosing a reputable plumbing company, but even then, how do you know for sure the person isn’t trying to take advantage of an unfortunate situation?
The solution usually comes in the form of hiring a trusted professional plumber the first time around.
Unfortunately, people can fall victim to contractor scams, are sold things they don’t need or receive unexpectedly high bills after the work has been completed.
To help you avoid these homeowner mishaps, here are some specific things to look for in trustworthy plumbers:
- Background checks
- Drug tested
- Established plumbing experience
- Receives continuing plumbing education
- Hiring policy focuses on ethical people
- Bonded and insured
- Reviews and referrals by other satisfied customers
- Prompt arrival
Many companies do not perform the full background check on employees due to higher costs. A comprehensive background check will include:
- Criminal search
- Sex offender search
- Terrorist watch list
- FCRA compliance
- Social security number validation + address history
- County courthouse criminal search
Before you choose a company, make sure they perform the above vetting on all of their employees. This adds a layer of protection for you and your home from lack of skill or potential scams. If you’ve done the proper research, you can feel comfortable about letting a professional plumber into your home.
Unfortunately, some people may just choose the least expensive plumber online without thinking of the overall consequences such as safety and expertise. If you’ve already hired someone or before you even make the first phone call, here are five quick tips to follow:
Make sure the business’s contractor’s license is up to date
Also, check to see if there have been any complaints or investigations from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Reputable Contractors pay a lot to keep their licenses up to date, which makes it hard for them to compete against those who don’t. In the end, hiring unlicensed contractors harm the homeowners and end up costing more money in repeated visits, time and repairs.
A good plumber will be happy to answer and ask questions. Not only because it’s part of the job, but because not asking appropriate questions could lead to further repairs and repeat visits. An experienced, professional plumber will offer suggestions and options. It’s a good idea to know what the plumber is trying to accomplish and the plan of action for getting the job done. Also, ask for a written estimate of the work to be accomplished.
Stop the work, if necessary
If, at any point, you feel uneasy, stop the work or service and follow up with the company or supervisor. Feel free to repeat steps one and two.
Don’t be afraid to say “no”
You are the customer and have a right to ask questions and see credentials. Don’t feel pressured to let someone into your home that you’re uncomfortable with, or to let that person perform the work if you’re not sure it’s right.
Keep valuables out of sight
Pay attention to what is happening when contractors are around the house. The more aware you are about what is happening in your house, the more you will notice when something is missing or doesn’t feel right.
The best way to avoid feeling uneasy is by reading reviews you trust and talking to people you know personally for referrals.
You can count on the quality of service and trustworthy plumbing technicians when you contact Ben Franklin Plumbing, where every employee has a background check, is drug tested and receives weekly plumbing education, along with meeting the other requirements in the checkpoints at the top.
To find out more or to book an appointment, call 602-282-5007.
About Linda Stanfield
Linda Stanfield has been offering plumbing services across the Valley for 31 years. She is the only plumber in the state to have won the BBB Ethics Award three times. As a plumbing leader in the valley, she can also be found on TV and YouTube sharing and helping consumers with their plumbing needs.