When the water is working, everything is GREAT; however, it’s not until it stops working that we notice how much we need it. A flooded basement, dirty drinking water, or overflowing sewage are enough to send any homeowner or business manager into a panic. With expensive building damage or personal health at stake, it’s easy to be on edge when hiring a plumber.
The plumber, on the other hand, is used to the situation. While they’ll do all they can to fix an emergency or repair a part, they have the knowledge, and therefore the confidence, to remain calm and get the job done. They deserve credit, compensation for their education level, and, depending on the situation, straight-up hero status.
When it comes to working together during such dire situations, it’s important to understand both points of view in order to make sure the work goes smoothly and the issue isn’t escalated. In this article, we go over some of the most common frustrations both customers and plumbers face and how to deal accordingly. If you’re a customer who wants their water fixed or a plumber who wants repeat business, follow along.
Pro Tip #1: Respect
Remember, if you’ve hired a certified plumber, he or she knows what they’re doing. They’ve had formal training and job experience and are there to help you. It’s ok to ask questions or even ask for qualifications, but don’t hire someone with the assumption they know less than you – if that’s true you should be able to solve it yourself (we don’t recommend trying this).
If you’re the plumber coming into someone’s home or business, keep in mind they have a right to know what’s going on. Respect their space and keep them informed. Mutual respect is one of the most important aspects of any professional or personal relationship, so it’s a great place to start.
Pro Tip #2: Discuss Pricing First
For the customer, it’s important to remember that plumbing isn’t usually a cheap endeavor, but it’s worth the price to avoid ongoing plumbing issues. The expertise we went over in tip #1 means that this is a specialty trade – the person on the job is being compensated for years of schooling and on-the-job learning, their time, and the plumbing parts you need are specifically manufactured and may be expensive as well.
That being said, it’s important for the plumber to remember that a plumbing problem is an unexpected expense and the customer may not be anticipating such high prices. It’s best to discuss pricing early on and explain the reason behind the dollar amount to avoid any confusion or anger later on.
Pro Tip #3: Clear Communication
In the same vein as tip #2, communicate everything clearly from the start. If you’re a customer, try to give as much detail as possible about your plumbing problem. It’s ok if you aren’t sure what to say – the expert should be able to see what’s going on! Still, it’s good to ask questions and express your concerns. Do you think this will be done in an hour? Do you need to reschedule your restaurant’s grand opening? Set your expectations, and your plumber will let you know what’s realistic. And make sure to look over any contracts before signing off.
As a plumber, keep in mind that one of the top complaints from customers is lack of communication – uncertainty about what the problem is, when it will be finished, and how much it will cost. While you know what you’re doing and may be busy running around to different jobs, remember that an updated customer is a happy customer. Need to go buy a replacement part? Not sure what the problem is but sending someone else over to look at it? Let your customer know; they’ll appreciate being kept in the loop, and it should be smooth sailing from there.
Pro Tip #4: How to Handle Complaints
Hopefully, if you keep your communication open, there won’t be any complaints. In the service world, though, there’s always room for someone to be upset. Here’s how to deal: if you’re a customer who feels they have been wronged, file a formal complaint through your local government. It’s possible you ran into a plumber who wasn’t looking out for your best interests, but any plumber who takes pride in their work will back you up – maybe call up another company to get advice and more context on if what went down was wrong or not.
If you’re a plumber dealing with a complaint or a bad review, try to handle it with grace. It won’t help matters to lose your cool. If you’ve done everything by the book, respond to the customer politely and privately with evidence and facts to back you up. Remember that it helps to have everything in writing, and that more often than not, it’s not personal and the customer really just wants someone to address their concerns.
Pro Tip #5: Just Don’t
This one’s for the customers, from the plumbers. It’s easy to make these common plumbing mistakes, but we’re here to help. Avoid doing the following things and you’ll save money on unnecessary plumbing calls.
Flushable wipes ARE NOT FLUSHABLE
We know, this one is weird. Wet wipes are great for travelling, seem super clean, and some literally say flushable on the package. Most toilets, however, can’t handle these thick wipes and end up clogging. Trust us, stick with the regular toilet paper.
Know the right time (and the wrong time) to use drain cleaner
Using chemical drain cleaners too often or in the wrong way can cause even more problems. Not only does the cleaner not always take care of the clog, the chemicals can ruin the pipe system.
Hire a professional
If you’ve learned anything from this article, it should be that there’s validity in the plumbing trade and work from someone who isn’t qualified will only lead to more problems down the road. This goes for trying to fix things yourself, but also for hiring a “handyman” or unlicensed poser – this can be bad news for your plumbing system and may even lead to legal issues.
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