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If you need to hire a professional plumber, you want to hire the best in the business, someone who not only knows what he's doing, but treats every customer with respect and is worthy of a glowing review. While it's easy to recognize the work of a professional once you see the end result, how do you judge the merits of a plumber when he first starts on a job? Here are seven signs of a true pro:
1) Respect for your time
A plumber may give "ballpark" estimates for when he will arrive at your home, but true professionals often provide a more precise estimated time of arrival. If the plumber you've hired calls when he's running late or will be arriving early - even by just a few minutes - it's a sure sign he respects your time and his work.
2) Respect for your home
A plumber may spend six or eight hours a day working in your home, but you're the one who has to live there. A professional will respect your home by taking off his shoes when entering or putting plastic booties over his work boots before walking over your carpet. He will also take care to protect any of your property that could be damaged by his work, or he will ask you to move it. In addition, a true pro tidies up his work area at the end of each day, even if a homeowner won't be using the space. This kind of care for a customer's home bodes well for the quality of the work.
3) Arrives fully prepared
The plumber who has all the right tools on hand for a job from day one is a professional: the estimate he's done on your project plus his experience should inform his choice of equipment, how long he'll need to use each piece and what's best to bring on the first day. Complications in any plumbing job may require that new equipment be brought in. A professional doesn't make excuses and can always acquire what he needs in a timely fashion. If he can't, he is upfront with explanations.
4) Proud to show credentials
When you ask your plumber if he's licensed, bonded and insured, he should be happy to show you his credentials and provide a list of references who can attest to the quality of his work and service. Make sure that all documentation you see is current and valid, and when calling references, don't just ask about the end product but also the plumber's attitude, demeanor and timeliness.
5) Provides a clear estimate
Even before work begins, you can tell if a plumber is a professional by the kind of estimate he provides. It should be clear and detailed, including not only the cost for materials but also for labor. He should also be upfront about cost overruns and how he bills for any extra time or materials needed for your job.
6) Answers any questions you have
Whether it's a full bathroom remodel or a simple leak fix, chances are you'll have questions about the project. A professional plumber should not only be willing to provide answers; one mark of a true pro is the ability to take complex concepts and communicate them using layman's terms.
He should also be able to explain why he's choosing a particular method of repair - this is especially important in a world where many homeowners choose do-it-yourself plumbing and have some knowledge of the industry. Your plumber should always be open to discussing repair options.
7) Willing to correct any problems
Even the best plumbers make mistakes, and shouldn't have a problem correcting one if it occurs. If you notice an issue with your plumber's work, he should be willing to fix it or explain why what appears to be an error may actually be part of the plan. A true pro will always be polite and courteous, even if you're the one making a mistake.
Hiring a true plumbing professional is well worth the cost for the peace of mind you'll receive, and the seven signs above are easy ways to tell if you've found just another amateur contractor, or one of the best in the business.
Jan. 24, 2013
By Doug Bonderud, Angie's List Contributor