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10 Do’s & Don’ts to Consider When Hiring a San Francisco Plumber

Jul 25, 2014 | Plumbing Advice, San Francisco Plumbing

Retaining the services of a good plumber in San Francisco isn’t like ordering a pizza to go. With a pizza, if you find the crust is soggy or the chef scrimped on the provolone, you just make a mental note to avoid ordering a pie from that establishment in the future.

But when it comes to selecting the right plumber to make repairs or install new lines into your kitchen, baths or laundry room, there’s a lot more at stake than a slice of pizza.

For instance, you probably didn’t know that amendments to San Francisco’s plumbing code span 25 pages! And that’s just the changes to the existing code. Slipshod work might fly in an adjacent city, but in San Francisco, if the plumbing work isn’t done per all the applicable codes, it will most certainly be identified in an inspection at some point and have to be ripped out and redone.

And that’s going to cost a San Francisco property owner a lot more than a crummy $16.50 medium-size pizza.

Below we offer 10 do’s and don’ts that address common misconceptions, concerns, and apprehensions you might have about hiring a plumber in San Francisco. We suggest you take a look at them before you pick up the phone and call a plumber:

  1. Do verify the qualifications of the person proposing to complete a specific service. For instance, a water heater specialist might not be the best person to replace your sewer line.
  2. Don’t forget to have the proposed work outlined in writing, detailing all of the items you have gone over in your consultation — and any contingencies.
  3. Do listen to what is being said and what that means to you. Go through all of the “what if” scenarios and possible outcomes before you agree to having any work done. Find out what options you have in the quality of products installed and possible options that allow you to decide on good, better, or best when applicable.
  4. Don’t dismiss the importance of references. And be sure to contact those references and specifically ask about the experience those customers had. Also be sure to check reviews on the Internet. Remember that the algorithm used on sites like Yelp can remove both good and bad reviews from plain sight. For this reason, always scroll to the bottom of the plumber’s reviews and click on the “other reviews that are not currently recommended” link, which allows you to all reviews, not just the ones Yelp thinks are in your best interest.
  5. Do ask a lot of questions and then carefully examine the answers being given to you. You should always have a good grasp on the project and understanding of what the plumber intends to do. Are permits required? Who will be the installer? Don’t leave any stone uncovered.
  6. Don’t neglect to verify the company you’re hiring is licensed and has general liability insurance that covers their work in San Francisco. If the person performing plumbing work in your home is not the owner of the plumbing company, you need to verify that the company itself has active workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance can easily be verified by going to the Contractors State License Board website.
  7. Do remember that if an accident does occur and you have not verified the plumbing company’s insurance is active, you may find yourself as a liable party in a lawsuit.
  8. Don’t just skim over a bid. Instead ask as many questions as are needed to identify what you are actually getting and any contingencies such as warranty on products and labor to be addressed.
  9. Do ensure the plumber you hire sticks to the agreement and is respectful of your home.
  10. Don’t forget to take digital pictures and save them along with any other pertinent documents that might be relevant after the work has been completed.

By following these steps you will likely have a very good idea of what is involved in your project and increase the chances of experiencing a good outcome to the project.


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