10 Tips to Help You Find A Good Melbourne PlumberCat McCarthy
How to choose an honest and reliable Melbourne plumber
Need a Plumber? It’s always a need and never a want unfortunately, don’t worry we won’t get offended. Plumbing maintenance is a necessity that most of us will need assistance with at least once in our lifetime. There is a plethora of plumbing companies out there, but that just makes the choice even harder; it’s like having thousands of options to choose on Netflix, and still not finding anything to watch. Another episode of Explained it is…
We’ve created a 10-point checklist for hiring a Melbourne plumber to help you differentiate the Marios from the Luigis.
- Is your Plumber Licensed and Insured?
Recently we spoke about the importance of licensing and insurance in the world of plumbing, and why only qualified plumbers can perform plumbing works and not handymen, Airtaskers etc. An unlicensed plumber or amateur tradesperson has no public liability insurance for any plumbing works. Public liability insurance can only be attached to a valid plumbing license from the VBA. It’s called illegal plumbing if an unlicensed plumber conducts the works. How can you check a plumber is licensed? Click here, which takes you to the Victorian Building Authority’s Practitioner Verification tool. Just type in your plumber’s name (this will be the plumber of a solo operation or company director of a small business) and search. Unlicensed means no insurance if something goes wrong.
- Are they a Master Plumbers Association Member?
While not compulsory, Master Plumbers Association members are committed to the betterment of their industry. There are no cowboys allowed in this association; we all have a common interest in assisting them in their goal of creating and maintaining a strong, respected and sustainable plumbing industry. Members must be both qualified and licensed, which is another due diligence check when choosing a plumber. They have a handy Find-a-Plumber tool to find a qualified and insured plumber in your local area.
- What are Their Reviews Like?
Would you eat at a restaurant with a google star rating of 1? Google Reviews are a good place to start when determining a plumbing company’s quality, reliability and general trustworthiness. Anything above 4.5 with a total of at least 20 reviews and you should expect to receive a good service. Does your plumber not have google reviews? Try search ‘plumber name + reviews’ and there should be another platform set up for reviews (Trustpilot, Product Review etc). No reviews available? This could either be a brand new company, a company relying solely on word of mouth marketing or a company hiding their online presence…
- Have they got a Local Reputation and Company History?
We’re big advocates of supporting your local community. Using a local plumber has many advantages. They usually live in the area so their reputation is important to them. We’ve lived in our home for over a decade and started our business in the garage and spare room; when some of your clients are literally your neighbours, you ensure you provide quality works because you have to show them your face every day! External companies servicing Wyndham but are based in the Mornington Peninsula don’t have the same skin in the game and aren’t personally invested in the community. Plumbers based in your local community can also attend site a lot faster due to location. Local plumbers are often recommended on local community Facebook pages, and you can use these platforms for feedback and reference checks on your chosen Melbourne plumbing company. A company with a long or well-known history in the community shows they have well established business processes, and have gained their client’s trust.
- Do they have an Online Presence?
Not all businesses have a Facebook page or website. Some of these businesses operate purely from word of mouth and/or have an established client list and aren’t open to new clients. The advantage of choosing a plumbing company with an online presence is that it provides an extra layer of security for you; if they are prepared to have a Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Website, they are confident in their reputation and quality of their work and are happy to provide their contact details on these platforms. These platforms deliver ‘social proofing’ of a business and can endorse the reputation (and even existence) of a company.
- Can they give References?
If you’re investing in a bathroom renovation, you’ll be parting ways with a significant chunk of your hard earned savings. Why not ask your chosen plumber if they can get permission from, and provide the name of, a recent client that wouldn’t mind a phone call to provide a reference of their works? An easier way that doesn’t involve a potentially awkward phone call is by asking for photos of previous similar works. Plumbing companies will often have a photo gallery on their website/Facebook page showing past projects that can give an indication of their capabilities.
Another great way to audit your chosen plumbing company’s reputation is to see if they have won any awards. If a company is recognised for their quality service by an external business or association, they would’ve needed to prove they are deserving recipients by undergoing due diligence (testimonials, financial history, insurance details, license details etc).
- Are they Open and Transparent with their pricing?
I recently discussed some sneaky tactics inherent in our industry just to get a foot in the client’s door. My personal favourite is when they say $0**** callout fee with all of those pretty little asterisks, and once they are there they’ll upsell to you the same way a ravenous bear devours a salmon jumping upstream; ruthlessly, and when the poor bugger least expects it.
Make sure your chosen plumbing company is upfront with all pricing, providing either fixed price quoting (new toilet installation, new tapware, bathroom renovation etc) or a set hourly rate for tasks that take varying amounts of time depending on the severity (drain unblocking etc). Like most things in life, if something sounds too good to be true, it often is. When comparing plumbing companies and their quotes, always make sure you’re comparing apples with apples; ensure all inclusions listed are identical.
- Do they have Values?
This isn’t essential of course, but often businesses who have set core values or principles prioritise their employees. Happy employees organically create happy clients, just ask Richard Branson. Plumbing companies with values are more inclined to also give back to their local communities in the form of sponsorship, volunteering etc as they have publicly committed to being socially responsible businesses. Again, is this essential when choosing a plumber in Melbourne? Not necessarily, but a company with publicly promoted values, particularly if one of the values relates to the client, is one that clearly values a happy, lifelong client.
- Is Customer Service a priority?
This one is easy to determine; when you give them a call do they answer? If not, do they return your voicemail within the hour? The day? At all? If you are constantly chasing your plumbing company to return calls, give you an estimate or schedule in your plumbing job, customer service may not be their strength. If customer service is not a priority before a job commences, what will it be like during the works? Or even worse, if there is a problem with the works?
Sometimes plumbing estimates and quotes do take time; bathroom renovations and roof leak investigations for example require site visits and often there can be a waitlist depending on the time of year and demand for the service (bathroom renovations are very popular in the lead up to Christmas, and roof leaks are more inherent after a storm). Make sure your chosen plumbing company communicates an estimated time you should expect to receive your plumbing service quote.
- Do they have Consistency in their Branding?
Finally, if you book with a company named ABC Plumbing and XYZ Plumbing turns up, you should be asking questions. Some companies do this if they own a number of domains and business names (I just did a search on a plumbing company recently featured on A Current Affair and they have a whopping 36 different business names attached to one ABN!).
At McCarthy Plumbing Group we’re proud of the local reputation we have built in the local Wyndham and Hobsons Bay communities. Our plumbers all wear branded uniforms and drive branded Utes, so you know if you call McCarthy Plumbing Group, you can expect a McCarthy Plumbing Group plumber to attend your home.
I hope this checklist has provided some assistance in choosing a Melbourne plumber; you could probably delete ‘plumber’ and insert any tradesperson you’re after; they’ll all have similar due diligence checks. We’re lucky to have some great plumbing companies who service our local area, so you shouldn’t have much trouble ensuring you find one that ticks off all the above. If you’re after assistance with your plumbing (and we pass the above test😉) please give us McCarthy Plumbing Group a call on 9931 0905 or email email@example.com.