By Laura Foster-Bobroff, Networx
Chances are you need a plumber in your life on a regular basis. Plumbers not only take care of common household repairs like leaky pipes and clogged drains, but some are also responsible for maintaining heating and cooling systems. Some specialize in commercial or residential projects, or in a particular type of plumbing application, such as natural gas lines or fire suppression systems. While the majority of plumbers are reputable, the plumbing industry has its fair share of sub-standard contractors who employ shady business practices. Here are the most common problems and recommended cures to prevent a leaky wallet.
Trick #1: Inaccurate Estimates
“Inaccurate estimates are the most common way a plumber can get more money out of you,” says plumber Dave Buteau of OnDemand Plumbing located in Concord, New Hampshire. He admits, “The hardest part of the job is convincing a potential customer that a low-ball quote is probably not an accurate reflection of the work involved.” Buteau says he charges flat-rate fees for standard work and gets calls regularly from people complaining about plumbers who quote them the lowest price, but end up charging twice as much for “additional work” in the long run.
Cure: Unless you’ve got an emergency situation, take the time to get several quotes and make sure the scope of services is clearly outlined, so you aren’t comparing apples to oranges. Get clarification if a contract is not clearly spelled out, and don’t be shy about asking a plumber why a price is higher (or lower) than everyone else’s price. Most of the time, quotes at extreme ends reflect inaccurate estimations of labor time.