Questions to Ask Before You Hire Plumbers in Ontario

Posted by on November 07/2022 | 0 Comments

How To Choose The Right Plumbers in Ontario

Nowhere in Canada is safe from issues like clogged drains or burst pipes, certainly not Ontario. Living in Ontario is amazing, but nothing ruins a great day more than leaking water lines and faulty water heaters. It’s hard to enjoy life anywhere when those problems plague your property.

Fortunately, Ontario’s property owners are never far from professional solutions for their plumbing systems. Unfortunately, finding a company that has reliable service isn’t easy.  There are many plumbing companies across Metro Vancouver. Not all of them offer the same quality of service — or solutions for people on the North Shore.

Hy-Pro Plumbing & Drain Cleaning is always here for all our neighbours, not only with outstanding plumbing repairs, but also with professional advice. Our top tip is that you look for a professional plumber before you need one. If you’re already being affected by low water pressure or another emergency, don’t worry. Take a breath to calm yourself, close your main shut-off valve, and follow our second-most important tip: always ask questions before you hire a plumber.

Whether you need emergency plumbing repairs or routine drain cleaning, asking questions is important. Getting more information will help you hire the right company, so you never have to worry about amateur, unlicensed, poor-quality repairs and you always get the benefits of exceptional service in Ontario.

1. Are You Licensed?

Working with unlicensed trade professionals is inadvisable. A licensed plumber is always a better option, even for a basic drainage issue. Ontario’s licensing systems are put in place to protect you and unlicensed workers are not qualified for serious plumbing work. They definitely can’t complete approved solutions for emergency plumbing issues. The services of an unlicensed plumber are essentially equivalent to DIY plumbing jobs, and they come with all the same problems.

If your plumber doesn’t have a license number or doesn’t want to prove it, simply look for someone else. There are many plumbing companies that serve Ontario. Someone with a license will serve you more safely, effectively, and reliably.

2. Are You Insured?

In addition to a plumbing license, your plumber also needs insurance. Every Ontario resident has the right to request proof of insurance, and all Ontario plumbers should provide that proof upon request. If they won’t do that, seek help from a different company.

Why is Insurance Important?

Insured professionals are covered against accidental damage and injuries. If you allow an uninsured professional to work in your home, you could be left with a bill for accidental damage. In the worst-case scenario, you might be held accountable for accidental damage or injuries that occur as a result of those uncovered repairs.

3. How Long Have You Been a Plumber?

Ontario’s most experienced plumbers are the best professionals for fixing everything from faulty plumbing fixtures to major leaks. Professionals who’ve been working for longer have more specialized, esoteric knowledge, which means they have solutions for everyday problems and unusual issues. Every local trusted plumber has a pedigree that dates back for many years.

How Much Experience Should They Have?

There are several stages of experience for every plumber in Ontario. Most apprentices work for four or five years before they apply for a license. At the end of an apprenticeship, plumbers have the option to get their journeyman license if they want to become a master plumber. Most journeyman plumbers work for another five years on average, so most master plumbers should have at least ten years of experience, if not more.

4. Will You Provide an Upfront Estimate?

It’s not easy to give an estimate over the phone, but most Ontario professionals do give phone estimates for simple jobs like clearing a clogged drain. Providing an estimate for more complicated situations usually requires an in-person visit to get a clear view of the problem. In either case, you should expect an honest, upfront estimate before any work begins, so you know exactly what you’ll pay. That estimate is as essential for drain cleaning services or clearing clogged toilets as it is for emergency repair work.

Do They Put Their Estimate in Writing?

You probably won’t get a specific estimate before your plumber arrives — and if you do, it might not be accurate — so don’t be afraid to request a detailed price break-down after your plumber has had a chance to examine your property more closely. That detailed list is especially important for a bathroom renovation and other larger projects, where faucet installation fees are easily lost among other costs.

5. Is Your Work Guaranteed?

If you schedule an appointment to replace your water heater with a new tankless water heater, you should expect that new machine to work well for a while. Unfortunately, accidents happen and mistakes are made. Nobody in Ontario is perfect. Sometimes replacement parts are made with faults. Even luxury fixtures fail from time to time. That’s why you should confirm that your plumber has guaranteed service — and guaranteed parts.

Many modern hot water heaters come with a warranty to protect you against unusual failures, and most skilled plumbers in Ontario provide guaranteed parts and work for the same reason. That guarantee protects you from paying more for repairs or parts that fail shortly after a plumber leaves. It’s also a clear indication that those professionals have confidence in their ability to complete effective service — and that they use solid parts.

6. Are You Available for Emergency Services?

Not all Ontario plumbing situations are an emergency, but there is one common factor that affects both smaller issues like a leaky faucet and larger issues like a leaking hot water tank: time. The longer you wait to get help for an emergency plumbing repair, the more likely you are to pay more — for everything from monthly utility bills to catastrophic water damage. That’s why emergency availability is so vital for a potential plumbing company.

Whether your water heater fails at noon or your sewer line ruptures at midnight, you should expect the same rapid, effective repair service from a Ontario plumber. A serious plumbing issue could occur at any hour. An emergency plumber should also be available 24/7. The best companies provide that anytime service at no extra charge, so you never have to worry about paying more for an emergency repair.

7. Do You Offer Routine Drain Cleaning Service?

Drainage service is essential for every homeowner and business owner on the North Shore. Over time, all drain lines fill with soft blockage. If that blockage isn’t cleared out regularly, it could burst out instead. Every plumbing system needs a little maintenance to avoid both minor issues and major complications. Professional drain cleaning is essential for avoiding all those situations.

Signs You Need Drain Cleaning Soon:

  • Slow drains
  • Frequent clogs
  • Gurgling toilets
  • Smelly sinks
  • Standing water
  • Wastewater backups

8. Do You Have Testimonials?

You should look for reviews, testimonials, and referrals before you call any Ontario plumbing company. Google reviews are a great place to start. You could also check social media websites and other local business listings for reviews. Online reviews aren’t as good as referrals you get from friends or family, but they’ll help you make a better choice for plumbing service than simply picking the first company you find.

Unfortunately, not every plumbing problem affords an opportunity to spend time doing online research. Plumbing leaks and other difficult plumbing issues require quick solutions. If you aren’t able to look for reviews or testimonials yourself — or if you don’t manage to find any — it’s never a bad idea to ask a licensed plumber if they have testimonials or referrals from previous satisfied customers.

Any Ontario business owner with superior service should be happy to share referrals and reviews from their previous customers. Be cautious around a plumbing company that refuses to share their reviews or point you toward their testimonials. A lack of honest, objective testimonials is almost as bad as an abundance of negative reviews.

9. Do You Wear Boot Covers?

This is a pretty basic question, and the answer is important for establishing that your plumber will treat your Ontario home with care, but there’s another reason you should ask about boot covers, clean-up, or some other basic principle: customer service.

Plumbers might be trained to fix pipes and install faucets, but they should also have outstanding customer service and excellent communication skills — especially if you’re hiring them for something more complicated than drain service.

If you’ve been asking all the questions in this list, then you’ve probably already had an opportunity to evaluate the customer service of plumbers in Ontario. Consider how they’ve answered your previous questions. Was their answer clear? Did they actually answer your question, or did they dodge it? Clear, consistent communication is important.

10. Are There Any Additional Fees I Should Know About?

If you’ve already secured an upfront estimate, that’s a good start toward knowing your full cost, but don’t hesitate to pry further about additional fees or charges. Our team always provides a full, upfront estimate and our prices never change, but some emergency plumbers in Ontario charge more for service after-hours or on the weekend.

Trip fees are also an important consideration across the district of Ontario. A company from Waterloo, Cambridge, Hamilton, Oakville or somewhere further away might charge a travel fee or trip fee to visit your home. Trip fees are more common with appointments that take someone out of their normal service area, which is just one more reason why it’s important to hire local plumbers that regularly serve property owners in Ontario.

Other Potential Additional Fees:

  • Call-Out Fees: These are minimum service charges added on top of all additional services from plumbers and many other trade professionals. Much like a trip-fee, a call-out fee covers the amount of time it takes for someone to reach you as well as additional associated fees like mileage and vehicle maintenance.
  • Commercial Plumbing Fees: The plumbing systems in commercial properties are more complex, and the solutions for fixing them require more specific expertise and advanced techniques than a standard residential plumbing service. Those specialized commercial services come at a higher cost.
  • First-Hour Rates: Some Ontario plumbers who use an hourly payment structure charge a flat rate for their first hour. After the first hour, their rates usually decrease, so you might pay more for that first hour of service than you do for the subsequent time they spend on your property.
  • Flat Rates: Some plumbing companies have flat rates for every service, rather than an hourly fee, while other companies mix their payment structure. Your chosen plumber might charge flat rates for common services like cleaning a drain pipe but then charge an hourly rate for something more complicated like sewer repairs.

11. Do You Clean Up Afterward?

This might not be your top priority, but it’s a good thing to know about before beginning your project. As you can probably imagine, a lot of debris could be left behind during an appointment for unclogging a kitchen sink, replacing buried pipes, or snaking a utility drain. That’s why you should find out if your plumber is willing to clean up afterward.

Most Ontario trade professionals strive to leave a home exactly as they found it, but that’s not always possible. All professional plumbers in Ontario should clean up any sewer debris they pull out of your pipes, but don’t expect them to clean sludge, sewage and water that appears before they arrive. Few plumbers are equipped to take care of major water cleanup services.

You should also know that if it’s necessary to remove sections of your drywall or dig a trench for the purpose of completing repairs, your plumber probably won’t fix that associated damage. Plumbers are experts when it comes to every pipe and plumbing fixture, but they typically don’t provide drywall repair or landscaping services. That additional damage might be a necessary step for your plumbing repairs, but you’ll probably need a separate contractor to fix any major property damage.

You’re Ready to Hire a Plumber in Ontario!

Now you know all the important questions to ask a plumber. The best time to call a Greater Vancouver company, such as Hy-Pro Plumbing & Drain Cleaning, is right now. Our pros have years of experience fixing pipes and completing many different types of plumbing projects.  We proudly serve Southwest Ontario and nearby areas!

If you need to hire a plumbing expert right now, call now or contact us online.  We are licensed, insured, and offer anytime service at no extra charge!

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