How to Choose the Right Emergency Plumber
Anyone who’s ever been stung by a rogue trader knows what a stressful, expensive experience it is. One of the big issues with finding a good plumber is that more often than not, the reason we need a one is because we’re in the middle of an emergency. Maybe the boiler’s broken down and it’s minus 1 outside, or the pipes have burst. We just don’t have the time to thoroughly research our options. It’s all too easy, in desperation, to panic and dial the first 24 hour number we see. Doing this can come at a high price though and we can find ourselves paying dearly at a later date. Unscrupulous plumbers are fully aware of the fact that we’re desperate and they’re not afraid to exploit it.
If you’ve recently moved to an area, this can also be a time when you’re the most susceptible to rogue plumbers and tradesmen because you’ve yet to find the ones you can trust. So, if you find yourself lumbered with a plumbing emergency, first things first, don’t panic! There are ways you can protect yourself from the cowboys. Here’s how ;
Do Your Research
Speak to Friends & Family
Researching reputable plumbers to contact in an emergency may not be front of your mind in the warm summer months when broken down boilers and frozen pipes seem a world away, but being prepared is half the battle when it comes to avoiding dodgy tradesmen. Talk to people you trust - friends, family, co-workers, about who they have used and been happy with. There is no better recommendation than word of mouth. Speak to plenty of people you know and take note of the names that come up, for future reference.
Check Out Trade Bodies & Directories
The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) is the trade body that represents commercial and domestic plumbing business, from one man bands to large contractors. They have been around for the best part of a century and work towards helping both plumbers, with advice and support, and consumers with the peace of mind and high quality, professional workmanship.
You can search their database of approved plumbers on the APHC website.
The government backed Trustmark is a scheme that helps consumers find reputable local tradesmen. Each business that signs up is independently assessed, through site inspections and financial checks. They must meet strict criteria in order to be approved. If you choose a Trustmark contractor and have a dispute with them about work carried out, there’s a clear procedure you can follow to help protect you. The scheme offers a good deal of peace of mind.
Be Wary of Vague Contact Details
A trustworthy plumber running a professional business must be able to provide you with full address and landline details. Be very wary if they just give a mobile. This can speak volumes about their level of professionalism and trustworthiness.
Agree Terms in Advance & In Writing
It’s important to get a clear quote and detailed breakdown of the work to be carried out, to avoid misunderstandings and unexpected charges down the line. Don’t pay upfront, only once the work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard. Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean best, it can be a false economy and cost later on.
There are also lots of online directories that can help you make your choice, such as Rated People and Checkatrade which offer customer reviews and a search facility, where you can find tradesmen near you.