5 must do’s before choosing a plumber

Owning a household requires constant maintenance, indeed this applies to your plumbing as well.  But when it comes to resolving a particular plumbing problem, you really need to pay attention to who you appoint as your contractor. Here is a basic  5 must do’s before choosing a plumber

Understand the call out charge and hourly rate

  • Understandably, this is the first question everyone asks when calling a plumber.
  • Looking for a company with the lowest hourly rate and call-out fee may not always be the best option.  Companies  charging a higher call out and hourly rate are generally those that have been around for some time, and will continue to be around because they understand costing and quality of service – especially after sale service.
  • Other companies compensate a low hourly rate with the use of NON-SABS approved products and untrained employees. Competent qualified plumbers are hard to find and are the core of any plumbing business.
  • General rule of thumb – Don’t go below the average insurance hourly rate of approx. R445 for a call out and R350 per Hour (These are bare minimums, any company offering lower than this will not be in business for very long).
  • Reputable and registered plumbing companies spend a substantial amount of money and time on making sure that the staff that they employ are competent and proficient in what they do.
  • Larger companies will have higher overheads but have more competent staff to respond timeously in any situation and have the resources to provide the employees with the correct equipment and adequate training. All overhead expense incurred by a plumbing company have to be recovered through the hourly rate charged.
  • The best way to go about selecting which plumbing company to use would be to make sure the company (at a minimum) passes these basic tests:
    • Company is registered with the PIRB (Plumbing industry registration board)
    • They have comprehensive insurance cover.
    • They have some sort of social media footprint.
    • They employ qualified plumbers

 Check plumbing companies’ credentials.

  • Make sure the plumber is licenced and carries the full insurance that protects you and your fixed assets in case of an accident. Use of online media can help obtain references and reviews.
  • Check out the plumbing companies’ website. This is the modern plumbers’ most important point of reference – If they look after their reputation they will look after their website!
  • Visit:  www.pirb.co.za and do a quick search on whether or not your plumber is registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board.

Being part of a registered organisation is of utmost importance for the recourse which a client is assured of in the case of defective workmanship etc.

Be prepared for the plumber’s arrival.

  • Often the easiest step which is overlooked is whether you have taken the time before the plumbers’ arrival to write down what the plumbing concerns are and which areas they are in.
  • This can be given to the plumber on his arrival and can be used as a step by step instruction of what it is you require the plumber to attend to.
  • It often happens that the instructions are miscommunicated at some point through multiple phone calls– This leads to call backs and potential disputes. Clarity is key!


  • Expect to pay upfront, or on site – Established plumbing companies are not shy to get paid!
  • This industry relies on timeous payment for the services they have delivered. An immediate cost has been incurred by the plumbing company to provide a service which was requested by a customer.
  • If the customer is satisfied with the work carried out and the job is complete, payment should be made immediately. The customer should at this stage be rest assured that the plumbing company is only a call away, should a further problem arise.
  • Remember, a good plumber has the workmanship guarantees in place, so you should feel comfortable to be able to call them back.

Calling a plumber back

  • Be careful of calling the plumbers back for an unrelated issue – This can and probably will cost you an additional call out.
  • A good plumbing company uses a job card system that is signed by the customer – Insist on understanding what you are signing for, this will ensure both parties are on the same page at job completion
  • Invoices should match your copy of the job card – Check it and reconcile!
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