Are you licensed, bonded and insured?
You'll want to make sure that whoever is working on your plumbing understands current building codes and has expert plumbing knowledge. Ask to see their trade license number as well as their registered business number. Asking to verify the dollar amounts of their bonding and insurance is also standard practice. Bonding and insurance helps protect you as the homeowner from accidents, injury, damage to property or unpaid work.
How will you estimate this project?
Some plumbers charge by the hour and others will give you a flat fee for the project. When you meet with your plumber, walk through the scope of work and understand the costs of labor, materials, supplies, permitting or any other costs. Discuss the potential for unexpected costs like needing to repair drywall or other materials.
How long with this job take to complete?
A good plumber will know about how many hours it will take to complete a project and will also be experienced enough to know that some projects have unexpected problems. Your plumber should be clear about the hours he or she plans on working and let you know if evenings, weekends or holidays cost more. Your plumber should also have access to additional resources like subcontractors in the case the project extends beyond their area of expertise.
Will my water be turned off? Can I keep using the room you're working on?
Water is a necessary part of living in our homes so before the project begins, ask when the main water valve will be turned off and how that might affect the rest of the home. A good plumber will be aware that your family may need access to the room they're working in – request that your plumber stick to a schedule so that expectations are clear. Find out if your plumber needs access to the driveway or any other part of your home.
May I have names and phone numbers of former clients?
A quality plumber should be happy to give you a list of happy customers. When speaking with past clients, ask them about the scope of work done, how the plumber communicated expectations, how the client likes the completed work and if the client would use this plumber again.