How to Hire Plumbing Contractors

By HomeAdvisor

Published March 8, 2021

plumber installing pipes in a new build

© Lisa F. Young –

Plumbing contractors are trained professionals. They’re able to tackle complicated plumbing jobs beyond the capabilities of even the most enthusiastic DIYer.

Hiring the right plumbing contractors involves:

  • Reviewing qualifications
  • Confirming insurance and licensing
  • Comparing costs
  • Interviewing prospective companies

This guide outlines everything you need to know to hire a plumbing company, from comparing quotes to checking credentials.

Use HomeAdvisor’s extensive directory of plumbing services to find the right contractor for your project.

On This Page:

  1. How to Vet a Plumbing Contractor
    1. Qualifications of the Right Plumbing Contractors
    2. Interview Questions to Ask
    3. Cost of Plumbing Services
    4. Contract Requirements
  2. Plumbers vs. Plumbing Contractors: What’s the Difference?
    1. Services Offered
  3. How to Use HomeAdvisor to Find a Plumbing Contractor

How to Vet a Plumbing Contractor

Although we’ve prescreened the plumbing contractors featured in our directory, you’ll still want to vet them yourself.

Learn about our service professional screening process.

Follow this process when reviewing candidates for hire:

  1. Research and compare local contractors. Check out reviews and ratings for each candidate to learn about their reputation.
  2. Interview all candidates. Provide them with details about your project and ask specific questions.
  3. Compare written estimates. Ask for written, itemized estimates and compare their fees. Remember that cheapest isn’t always best.
  4. Check references. Candidates should be able to provide references from recent clients. Be sure to follow up on references and ask questions about their experience and satisfaction with the pros.
  5. Sign a written contract. Once you’ve picked your preferred contractor, they must provide a written agreement for you to sign.
    1. Keep in mind that this will require a down payment, usually 25% to 50% of the project’s cost.
  6. Be on the lookout for scams. Avoid services that want you to pay for the entire project upfront. Don’t work with contractors who don’t provide detailed proposals and want to rush into a project.

Qualifications of the Right Plumbing Contractors

Most states require local plumbing contractors to have a license and insurance policy. Don’t hire any professional or company that does not meet the required criteria.

Check their credentials. Ensure they have all the right permits for performing replacements, installations, repairs and alterations. Permits and licensing regulations for plumbing contractors vary by state. Learn about the requirements in your area with our state-by-state licensing requirements guide.

Make sure their insurance is valid and covers the whole scope of your project, too.

Questions to Ask a Plumbing Contractor

When deciding on a plumbing contractor, ask plenty of relevant questions to ensure they’re up to the job. Even when you get a referral from a friend, it’s still essential to talk to the contractor yourself.

Be open and detailed with prospective plumbing contractors. Before the interview, write down as much detail about the job as you can to give the interviewee all necessary information. This ensures they get a clear idea of the scope of the job you’re hiring for, letting them give accurate bids and answers to your questions.

Interviews should cover everything, including safety, budget, experience, insurance, and permits. To make things easier for you, we’ve put together a list of questions to ask plumbers before you hire.

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Cost of Plumbing Services

The hourly rate for plumbers ranges from $45 to $200 per hour. Projects typically cost between $175 and $450. The national average cost for hiring a plumber is about $320, while top-end projects cost about $900. Prices vary based on location, time spent and job complexity. Other variables include emergency callout fees and replacement parts.

As we’ve noted above, make sure you get written estimates from shortlisted contractors. And don’t be afraid to negotiate to get a better rate.

For individual projects, be sure to use our plumbing cost estimator. For example, you can quickly check the cost of installing new pipes or the cost of repairing a clogged drain. This makes it easy to compare bids and select the best.

Plumbing Services Contracts

Contracts should include:

  1. Total cost
  2. Project scope
  3. Responsibilities of both parties
  4. Description of work
  5. Completion date and/or milestones
  6. The right to stop the project
  7. The right to withhold payment
  8. Remedies for breach of contract
  9. Change orders
  10. Warranties
  11. Damages and liability limitations
  12. Unusual circumstances and acts of God
  13. Signature of both parties
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What’s the Difference Between Plumbers and Plumbing Contractors?

plumber from a plumbing company under sink installing pipes

© Monkey Business –

Plumbers and plumbing contractors are easily confused. While there may be some overlap, there are some significant distinctions.

Plumbers are your first call for basic services, such as:

  • fixing water leaks
  • replacing faucets
  • unclogging drains

Smaller jobs and everyday tasks like these are perfect for an independent plumber.

Plumbing contractors handle significant maintenance and installation projects during a remodeling or building project. For example, they:

  • replace or remove faulty septic systems
  • replace pipework
  • install your water heater system

A plumbing contractor tends to be a company that hires professional plumbers. During major works, your general contractor will likely recommend or bring in a plumbing contractor they’ve worked with before.

Services Plumbing Contractors Offer

Plumber Services Plumbing Contractor Services
Unclogging drains and toilets Plumbing system installation
Fixing leaky pipes and faucets Plumbing system maintenance & inspection
Addressing low water pressure Sewer line repair & replacement
Water heater issues Waterline repair & replacement
Fixing clogged garbage disposal Water heater repair & replacement
Drain cleaning Trenchless sewer line repair
Leak detection Water heater installation
Faucet replacements Sprinkler system installation

Available services differ between plumbing contractors. Some offer general plumbing services for new builds and remodels. Others specialize in specific niches like heating installation, drainage or pipework.

How to Use HomeAdvisor to Find a Plumbing Contractor

HomeAdvisor’s plumbing contractor directory makes it easy to find local licensed and screened contractors.

If you’re ready to hire a plumbing contractor near you, click the orange button. Enter your zip code and answer a few questions about your job. We’ll connect you with trusted professionals.

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