— By Nelson Salas —
Commercial vs. residential plumbing: A business owner’s guide to hiring the right professional.
Nowadays, navigating the plumbing world has become increasingly easy. Referral sites such as Angie’s List, Craigslist, Offerup and Thumbtack create numerous opportunities to locate a plumber in your area. The issue isn’t finding a plumber more so than hiring the right plumber for the job. Here are a few things to consider to ensure you find the plumber that meets your commercial needs.
Don’t Assume Every Plumber is Equal
Residential plumbers have the skills and know-how to handle most problems in the home. Still, if you encounter an issue at work, you need an expert who can handle the size, scope and variety of issues presented by a commercial plumbing system.
Commercial plumbers have experience in larger plumbing pipes, specialty fixtures and complex drain configurations. Commercial plumbing systems also deal with a higher volume of use than a residential plumbing system would deal with. An experienced commercial plumber will also be able to diagnose plumbing problems quickly, as they will have likely seen similar issues many times. And, in a retail space, quickly diagnosing and repairing a plumbing issue is critical to protect the property from costly damage.
As a business owner, choosing the right plumber means safeguarding your business. While residential plumbing usually involves a standard 8-hour workday performed five days per week, commercial plumbing often takes place at any time of the day. Commercial plumbing issues can be unpredictable, so it is important to hire a plumber who offers a wide range of 24-hour services.
Choosing the Right Plumber to Meet Your Needs
Now that we have some perspective on the factors that separate commercial and residential plumbers, it’s time to delve deeper and ask the necessary questions to help you hire the right company for the job:
- Is the plumber up to date on the various codes and requirements in commercial plumbing and septic services?
- Is the plumber available to answer your call when you need them most, even after hours or on holidays? There’s a big difference between having the staff and equipment to handle a domestic incident and being ready to respond to a full-scale plumbing emergency in a retail complex.
- Is the company a full-service provider? The plumber you are searching for should be able to do more than unclog your drains and fix a leak. Ask if they also provide services such as diagnosis and checkups, installations and upgrades, and system maintenance and cleaning.
- Is the company licensed, bonded and insured in your state? A reputable company will put its license number on their commercial vehicles, business cards, websites and all advertising so that customers may check with the State Licensing Board to check the validity and review any actions against the company.
- Do they have a good reputation? A good reputation in commercial plumbing is something all customers should consider. A 5-star reputation is ideal, but when looking at an overall star rating, be sure to read the reviews. Review feedback will give insight into the successes of the company as well as common problems. If the reviews all mention the same thing, it is something that is likely a common occurrence, and conversely, if a one-off report says something no one else mentions, it might be less valid.
- Longevity: How long has the plumber or plumbing company been operating in the community? If the plumbing company has decades of experience, a solid reputation, and carries all of the necessary licenses and insurance, it is a no-brainer. For newer plumbing professionals, ask for references. Whatever the case, look into the business and their years of experience. If they cannot produce any referrals or history, they may not be a good fit for a big commercial plumbing opportunity.
- Warranties: All commercial plumbing should come with standard warranties. On most service and repair jobs, a labor warranty is standard and documented before work. Professional plumbers will also use high-grade plumbing parts and supplies, which come with industry warranties as well. Ensure that all pieces come with a warranty from a manufacturer and ask the company what the warranty includes.
— Nelson Salas is the owner of Amigo Rooter & Plumbing Arizona in Phoenix. Salas is originally from El Paso, Texas, and has worked full-time as a Master Plumber in Texas and Arizona. For more information, visit www.amigoplumbingaz.com.