Assessing the Skills of Plumbers


Hiring an expert for a repair job may mean that you don’t have to deal with the leaky pipes or a backed-up drain, but you still have some work to do as you assess the skills and reputation of plumbers. To ensure that the person you hire for the job is qualified and dependable, evaluate professionals carefully prior to making a hiring decision.

Get Recommendations

Word of mouth can be a powerful force in helping you hire professionals to work on your home. Speak with neighbors, friends, and family members to get names of plumbers they have used successfully. Optimally, the names you receive should be for professionals located in your local area, working in the general trade to enable them to handle a variety of issues that may arise in your house.

Training and Skills

Experts working in this field can have different levels of expertise and training. Each state has different training requirements, so this will vary depending on where you live. The person you hire could be an apprentice who is still in training under an experienced professional. Typically, education programs require that trainees work as an apprentice for a specific length of time to gain experience. You might also hire a journeyman, which indicates that the person has satisfied the requirements of the apprenticeship. An expert at this level has passed an exam and holds a state license, but limitations are in place regarding the type of work this person can perform. A master plumber is another option. The professional at this level has satisfied both the requirements of apprenticeship and journeyman, advancing to the master level. This person may have an advanced degree and training, and passing an exam is also necessary. Typically, professionals at this level must demonstrate expertise and participate in continuing education.

Check Licensing

Each state has specific requirements for licensing. Contact your local state licensing board to find out the requirements for professionals. As you consider various experts, always inquire about the status of licensing. It’s also possible to check individual state licensing lists to ensure that professionals are included in these lists.

Questions to Ask

Interview plumbers prior to making a hiring decision. Ask each person about experience and training. Request at least two or three references of satisfied clients, and contact these people to learn about their level of satisfaction with the expert. Find out about licensing, insurance, and bonding to ensure that the person you hire has the credentials and insurance necessary for safety. Get detailed estimates of the work to be performed so that you can review the expenses involved. Find out how and when payment is expected.

After checking references and comparing estimates, you should be ready to move forward with hiring a plumber. Having an expert that you can trust and rely on will simplify your life as a homeowner. When issues arise, you will know exactly who to call to fix the problems and restore your system to working order once again.