You’ve got a busted pipe in your house. Water is leaking all over your basement. You shouldn’t try to fix it yourself; one wrong move could make things much worse. Who are you going to call? Before you start dialing, here are some things you should know about calling a licensed plumber near you.
In the most basic terms, plumbers work with pipes. These pipes can be for water or gas. A professional plumber can do anything from unclogging your toilet to tracing the source of a leak that reeks. Of course, getting this right takes years of time and experience.
Word of mouth can be one of the best ways to find a reputable plumber. Online listings such as LocalProBook can also help you find the right plumber for your problem. It always helps to find a plumber that is close to you and has a good reputation. Some plumbers may charge you for the time it takes to get to your house!
Plumbing licenses vary significantly by state. As a rule, however, licensed plumbers must take an exam to obtain a license. A prospective plumber must start as an apprentice for at least 4 years before attempting to get a journeyman license, meaning that the person has the training, experience, and technical know-how to qualify as a plumber. They need at least four more years of job experience before getting a master’s license.
License requirements vary across states. In Louisiana, an apprentice might be as young as 16; some states have different time requirements for the master’s license. Kansas doesn’t require people to have a license to fix pipes! The tiers may be a little different, but generally speaking, all states have “apprentice,” “journeyman,” and “master” plumbers.
While these licenses change the moment you cross state lines, your plumber should still be able to tell you if they are an apprentice, journeyman, or master. If they can’t answer, you might not have a pro. When in doubt, your state’s Department of Public Health may have a listing of licensed plumbers.
Much of the time, the exact amount you pay will vary with the problem. Plumbers charge, at minimum, for time. If they need to buy a new part, they may also charge for that.
According to this video by DP Marketing, there are two basic pricing schemes for plumbing services: flat-rate and T&M, or “time and materials.” Smaller plumbing businesses often use T&M; as DP Marketing describes it, “it’s gonna take me two hours to do the job, I’m gonna have this much in parts, and let’s throw in 20, 30, 40% on profit, and that’s my price.”
Flat-rate prices, on the other hand, use a book of set prices to determine what you will pay. This is smart, especially if the plumber wants to grow their business. All service businesses, including plumbing, will have high and low seasons; having things at one rate helps cover those differences, as well as taxes, etc. Clever plumbers will use flat-rate pricing so that they can stay afloat in slow times. DP Marketing describes this as “the only way, the best way, and it is the simplest way to help guarantee that you have cash flow on hand.”
As per this video by Roger Wakefield of "PlumberHow", one can expect to pay 325 - 400 dollars across the country for plumbing jobs. But he also adds that there can be a lot of fluctuation: “I know plumbing companies that charge as much as $650 an hour. I also know plumbing companies that actually work, still, for 100 dollars an hour.” This is why your plumber’s reputation should be considered when choosing; is this person’s work worth 600 dollars?
It’s worth noting that the states that pay the most for plumbers are Alaska, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey—an eclectic bunch. The price varies not only with time and labor but also area. Remember that most plumbers have to be certified to work at all, and a lot of that has to do with on-the-job experience!
Always ask your plumber if they use a T&M or flat rate pricing method. Also, don’t forget to ask if they do free appraisals!
Do the same things as you would for looking up a regular plumber. We have listings for emergency/24-hour plumbers on LocalProBook, but you must look for those keywords. The rates may or may not be the same as usual; middle-of-the night-jobs can cost twice what a plumber usually asks!
You can find a professional plumber who works on gas near you using the same methods as a regular plumber. The licenses are different, as is the pricing. You may have to ask if your local plumber also does gas. Many plumbers charge by the foot instead of the hour or part for gas line repairs. Depending on how faulty your gas line is, you could be paying a little or a lot!
When your pipes are bursting, it’s imperative to find a professional who can fix that as soon as possible. When you use a source like LocalProBook, you know you’re getting licensed plumbers with good records. Remember that plumbers have a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Make sure you are getting what you pay for and try LocalProBook.com today!