How to Find a Good Plumber (That You Can Trust)

A plumber at work in a bathroom

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July 5, 2023

You don’t want to wait until you have an emergency to start wondering how to find a good local plumber. That’s when you end up hastily using the first plumber you find on Google that’s local – and possibly ending up in more hot water than you already have flooding your bathroom floor!

No, it’s always best to have a plumber on hand – one you can trust and know is good at what they do.

That’s why it makes sense to start doing your research before that pipe bursts or the wonky bath tap refuses to shut off etc.

So, if you want to find a plumber you can trust. Well, read on…

Do You Need a Plumber or a Heating Engineer?

Plumbing and heating engineers can be one and the same. That’s because many plumbers are also qualified heating engineers, which is handy if the water leak is due to an issue with your boiler.

But, if you just have a drip, leak, problem with the pipes or any issue with the plumbing system that isn’t related to the boiler then it’s a reputable plumber, rather than a heating engineer that you should call. You won’t need the additional expertise a heating engineer has so it should prove less costly.

A woman stood under a leaking roof

A heating engineer can fix boilers and central heating systems within your home or office. They will look at boiler servicing, repairing and installing chimney flues or inspecting gas fires.

As such, they should be registered on the Gas Safe Register. This is a list of gas engineers legally certified safe to work on boilers and other gas appliances so you can ensure they are competent in the industry and will carry out the work in line with current government stipulations.

Where to Find Good Local Plumbers

There are many ways you can look for local plumbers, try the following to find someone who is trustworthy, reliable and won’t rip you off:

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Simply send us an enquiry and we will match you with a list of trusted plumbers that are perfect for the job you need doing.

Online Directories

There are a number of online directories available these days to find tradespeople. The trouble is, tradesmen aren’t always verified on them – the plumber or plumbing companies have simply paid for an advert or listing.

And the plumbers listed on the front page are the ones who have paid a premium (they’re not necessarily the most popular in your area).

There are often reviews attached to these listings but you can’t always be certain that these are genuine testimonies from customers (even negative reviews can be from another plumber looking to discredit the competition).

Review Sites

Review sites list testimonials from previous clients. The trouble with these, like online directories, is that the testimonials aren’t necessarily verified.

Some of the recommendations or criticisms are even anonymous, which completely misses the point. Again, take these reviews with a pinch of salt – unless you know a testimonial is 100 per cent genuine.

You don’t even know if a review on the company website is the real deal unless you contact the administrator and ask to speak to whoever left it. In other words, taking reviews at face value could result in you contacting a cowboy plumber and lining yourself up for a whole host of trouble.

Facebook Groups

You could ask how to find a good plumber on your village or town’s community page on Facebook. Here you will often get people recommending someone local and outlining briefly what work the plumber did for them. If a lot of people recommend the same one then, chances are, he or she is probably worth contacting.

Ask Other People

Word of mouth is a great recommendation. Ask around to see if your friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours etc have recently used a plumber they liked the work and service from. That way you know the ‘review’ you get is genuine. And, if they are local and available, then you’ve hit the jackpot.

Ask Other Tradespeople

Tradesmen often work together on one project and get to know each other’s work that way – as well as their way of working. If you already have a tradesman you trust, such as a favourite builder or joiner, ask if he or she knows a plumber whose work they value.

Because you’re a valued customer of that tradesman he’s hardly likely to recommend his brother who has just qualified or his best mate, rather he’ll want you to continue hiring him so the chances that you will end up with a cowboy plumber are extremely slim.

Trade Associations

Many people when wondering how to find a plumber will go to a trade association to see if there are any local members listed. That’s because trade associations tend to have an element of trust about them.

This is in the sense that members are verified in how they deal with customers and their work is inspected. There’s usually also a code of practice. That’s not to say that only the good plumbers are listed here. There are some exceptional plumbers who simply choose not to join a trade association.

The two main trade associations for reputable plumbers are The Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors (APHC) and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).

6 Tips for Choosing a Good Plumber

A bathroom tap

There are a number of recommended checks you can make to ensure your plumber is ‘kosher,’ as they say. As well as avoiding anyone who comes to the door ‘off the bat’ and asks if you want any plumbing work done, you should always ask for an invoice and receipt on payment.

In other words, avoid salesmen who turn up unexpectedly without an office address and who ask to be paid in cash. Other areas to follow up on include:

1. Ask for identification

Your chosen plumber should be able to produce a driver’s licence, passport or some other form of photo identification for you to check that he or she is who they say they are. A trade association membership card is another plus point.

2. Check Their Experience and Accreditations

What qualifications do they have to show they know what they’re doing i.e. a City and Guilds certificate or some other industry accreditation? How long have they been working for? If they have years of experience then they probably know what they’re doing and how to deal professionally with clients like yourself.

3. Read Their Reviews

Yes, you can’t always tell if reviews are genuine. But it is still worth reading through testimonials on a few sites that the plumber’s name comes up on.

Check what past customers have said about his or her quality of the work, how they communicated (i.e. were they repeatedly having to chase them up) and whether or not it was a good experience.

If there are a lot of negative reviews then it may be worth looking to find a different plumber in your area.

4. Check Previous Work

There shouldn’t be any problem with asking to speak to a previous client of the plumber. That way you can check if a review is genuine and maybe even go along and see the work for yourself.

This is particularly invaluable if you plan on getting him or her to carry out the same work for yourself. Ask the plumber for a contact name and number.

5. Ask People That Have Used Them

Maybe your neighbour or a friend of a colleague has hired the plumber you are planning to use. If so, there’s no harm in giving them a call and asking how they found his or her plumbing work.

Ask too whether they would consider hiring that plumber again. This says a whole lot more than any online review.

6. Get Quotes to Compare Costs

Don’t just jump in and take the first plumber’s quotes – even if you do like him or her and they come with lots of positive recommendations. It’s always worth shopping around since prices can vary considerably – even if they are all local plumbers.

Three is a good number of quotes to have. Don’t just base your choice on price though, compare what you’re getting for the money.

Getting Quotes – Questions to Ask

When asking a plumber for quotes there are certain points you definitely want ironed out. You’ll want to know when he or she can start, for instance, and how long they expect the job to take them.

Will they clean up after themselves once finished? What about removing the old plumbing etc. if that’s necessary? Do they charge by the other or is it a day rate? Perhaps it’s a fixed-price job?

You’ll certainly also want to know:

What is Included in the Quote?

It’s essential to find out exactly what the quote entails. For instance, when you get a quote, ask if this is all the work that will be carried out.

In other words, there won’t be any ‘additional work’ listed at the end where you will be expected to pay more. Some plumbing companies aren’t always upfront about ‘hidden costs’ but this way they have no choice but to list everything.

Knowledge of Building Regulations

Check that the plumber you are considering going with is familiar with the local authority Building Regulations.

That way the job he or she is doing won’t have to be abandoned after a neighbour complains the work has broken planning guidelines.

It also means that you won’t have to worry when a council inspector comes to check that the plumbing in your new extension etc. has been carried out correctly.

Public Liability Insurance

When looking to find a good plumber, always ask before they start the job, if they have public liability insurance. That way, if something goes wrong with the work – or the plumber abandons the job halfway through for whatever reason – you will be covered i.e. you won’t lose your money.

The majority of plumbers who are signed up to a Trade Association will have this as it’s a stipulation of joining.

Get a Detailed Quote in Writing

Always get a quote in writing so that if there is any quibble at a later stage it’s all there in black and white (or on the screen). So, get your plumber to write out the quote on paper and send it to you, or produce an electronic version via email which you can later print out if there is any dispute.

The quote should contain time scales, cost, whether or not you or the plumber will provide the materials and whether there are any penalties if the job runs over. Make sure it has contact numbers and an address on it for the plumber.

Finding a good plumber who is skilled and provides excellent customer service isn’t easy but it is possible if you follow our guidelines above.

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