When your toilet backs up at 2 a.m., you’ve decided you’ve had enough of your dripping kitchen faucet or you decide to remodel the master bath, you probably think that any plumber will do. And if you have good DIY abilities for minor fixes, you may have been able to forgo calling a plumber. But when you need one, you need to know that not all plumbers have the same level of education, skill and commitment to professional conduct and ethics. This is why you should hire a certified plumber.
What is a certified plumber?
In the state of Florida, a plumber needs one of two licenses to do business: a certified plumbing contractor’s license or a registered plumbing contractor’s license. Certified plumbing contractors are able to work statewide; registered plumbers are only allowed to conduct business in the locale that they are registered in. Businesses and employers must possess the statewide certified plumbing contractor license.
A certified plumbing contractor has obtained a passing score on both parts of the Florida State Construction examination – which consists of the Business and Financial Management Exam and the Florida Plumbing Contractor Exam – and meets the following additional qualifications:
- Is at least 18 years of age.
- Meets the educational/experience requirements.
- Is of good moral character.
- Pays all applicable fees.
- Obtains workers’ compensation coverage.
- Demonstrates financial responsibility.
How to find a dependable plumber
If your home is new or relatively new construction (or, again, you’re handy in the DIY department) you may not have had need for a plumber’s services. But when an issue does occur that’s beyond your experience and comfort zone, you should have a dependable “family” plumber you can call to handle basic repairs – such as leaky faucets, clogged pipes, etc. – as well as emergencies.
Speaking of, it’s a good idea to establish a relationship with a plumber before that 2 a.m. toilet backup! An emergency is the worst situation for calling a plumber for the first time. As Danny Lipford, writing for This Old House recommends, “If possible, hire him to do nonemergency repairs or fixture installations during normal hours.”
Your search will probably start with Google. If so, most plumbers will be on Google My Business, which provides basic information about the business, along with customer reviews. If you want additional information and reviews, visit Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and Yelp. The Better Business Bureau is also a reliable resource for learning about a plumbing company’s professional reputation.
Visit the plumber’s website. The license number of reputable plumbers will be prominently displayed on the website – as well as on service vehicles. In Florida, the prefix for a certified plumber is CFC, followed by a seven digit number. For those exercising extra caution, visit the website of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DPBR), go to the DPBR Services portal and enter the license number. To view additional information about the business, click on the result. Any complaints or disciplinary action will be listed.
While certified plumbing contractors are required to have current workers’ compensation coverage, also confirm that those you contact carry liability insurance.
In addition to reputation, also consider the following:
- The plumber’s proximity to your house (for emergencies).
- Availability/responsiveness to emergencies.
- General availability. You want a family plumber you can schedule to perform routine repairs and maintenance within a reasonable timeframe.
- Clear communication – the plumber is up-front about the work to be done – including the timeframe and cost – answers your questions respectfully and has an overall professional attitude.
- Punctuality – sometimes jobs take longer than expected, and emergencies come up, but you want a plumber who respects your schedule and arrives on time or within the service window given.
In addition to a family plumber, you may need a plumber if you remodel your home or build an addition. Both types of projects require a general contractor who typically hires, coordinates and oversees the work of all the trades involved in the job. A homeowner may act as their own general contractor, but this is a highly complex role that most people lack the experience and time to do correctly. When it comes to the expense of a major remodel and all the things that can go horribly wrong, it’s far better to hire a pro!
As many general contractors have tradespeople they work with on a regular basis, your family certified plumber may not be involved in the remodeling job. When discussing your project with the general contractors you contact to bid on your remodel, ask which tradespeople they use, and why they work with those particular individuals or companies. Then check out their reputations for yourself.
What to ask before hiring a plumber
As with any tradesperson who will be performing work on your house, be sure the plumber you hire is experienced, qualified and reputable. HomeAdvisor offers an informative article on questions to ask – including the following:
- Proof of license, insurance and registration.
- Experience – has the plumber or plumbing business been around long enough to have seen and done it all?
- Method of payment – including financing options, if applicable.
Hire your plumber with confidence
Our master plumbers at Adams and Son Plumbing believe the more you know about basic plumbing care and maintenance, the better you’ll be able to recognize when it’s time to call a professional to prevent even more serious damage and major expense. We’ve proudly served Central Florida homes and businesses with the highest level of quality and experience for over 60 years. We are family-owned and operated, and all of our plumbers are state-certified master plumbers. Contact us to get – and keep – your home’s plumbing in top repair.