Hire a Trusted Plumber: Ask 4 Simple Questions

By HomeAdvisor

Updated May 28, 2019

Iron plumbing pipes

Hiring a trusted professional is key to the success of any project. Ask your plumber these four questions to ensure you’re hiring the right pro for your project. You may even save when hiring a plumber.

What license do you have and may I see it?

In addition to asking for their license, also ask if they have received a certification or updated training through a professional association. Avoid a plumber who doesn’t have the proper credentials. Unlicensed, unregistered or uninsured pros can make costly — and job-delaying — mistakes. If your pro hesitates before showing you his credentials, keep looking.

Find out more about state-by-state licensing requirements for contractors.

Do you have references?

A credible pro will be able to present examples and references to verify her past work. Always speak to your plumbers past customers before making a hiring decision.

Here are some questions to ask past clients:

  • Were you happy with the project?
  • Was the job completed on time?
  • Were there any unexpected expenses?
  • Would you use this plumber again?
  • Would you recommend this plumber?

Are you experienced with this kind of job?

Most plumbers can handle small jobs like minor fixture or appliance installations, leak repairs and clogged drains. But, for larger jobs, it’s important that your pro has the experience and knowledge to complete your project. Ask your plumber to provide examples of past jobs that were similar in size and scope.

Do you belong to any trade unions?

Unions ensure they meet minimum standards of practice and often provide insurance. Unions also offer members ongoing training courses and certifications. The United Associated union spends nearly $250 million annually on education.

Can I have an estimate in writing?

Also ask whether it is a firm estimate, a cap or just a ballpark figure. Most professionals don’t stray to far from any estimate they give.

  • Firm estimates are what you’ll pay, regardless of what time and materials are involved.
  • Caps represent a price cap the pro won’t exceed
  • Ballpark figures can change.

How do you expect payment?

For larger jobs, most pros charge per project milestone. If you’re working on a smaller project, most plumbers expect payment upon completion of the task. Never hire a pro who requires upfront payment.


  1. Frank Geiger, May 16:

    We have a leak in the bathroom on the scond floor and the ceiling in the laundry room(on the first floor) has stains from that leak. Don’t know where it is coming from. Could be the toilet, wash basin area, or the tub. I need someone to find the leak and repair it.

  2. Aloson, July 27:

    The hot water heater in my apartment leaked and my landlord had their handymen look at it and they determined the leak was caused by excessive pressure which caused the seal around the tank to start leaking. For months I’ve been submitting request for them to fix my garbage disposal because it was broken and caused my sink to constantly back up. Could this have caused the excessive pressure?

  3. Gloria, August 19:

    I asked the plumber you recommended for references and he said to “just look at the comments on HomeAdvisor. That is not the answer I need in order to make a decision. Nothing replaces talking directly with a person who has experienced the work.
    Do you think it’s enough to read written reviews.

  4. Gloria, August 19:

    I asked the plumber for references and he said to just read the reviews on your website. I don’t find that a satisfactory answer. I prefer to talk to and ask questions directly to the persons he has worked with. Do you think I should just accept that kind of response?

  5. Angela Wagner, January 26:

    My Oil burner won’t start

  6. Ellie Davis, June 7:

    I like how you mentioned that a great tool to hire a plumber is asking for references. By knowing their previous jobs and other people experience you will get the thrust to let him take care of the job that you need. There is nothing like a good recommendation to make sure you get the best option available for your projects or remodel.

  7. Mindy, August 20:

    How much does it cost to add a half bathroom to a room?

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