Help! – I Need a Plumber
Finding good plumbers in the UK is difficult. Need a plumber in an emergency and you’ve got a real problem.
There’s lots of articles available on selecting plumbers. We’ve all heard the advice – get quotes, follow up references and ask friends and families for referrals. All good stuff but it makes it sound as if people needing a plumber have a choice available to them.
This really misunderstands the issue which the average householder faces. Yes we do want to find a great plumber, that knowledgeable, polite, punctual, reasonably priced paragon of virtue but before we get that far, we have to find a plumber near me who is prepared to do business with us.
If you need a plumber in an emergency, you’ll either find the ones which have priced themselves out of the market and so are often available – Mr or Mrs “It’ll cost you!” or their more reasonably priced cousin Dave “Quickest I could get to you is next Wednesday.” Not great if you have a leak and it’s now Sunday.
Indeed the position is not much better if you are planning routine work such as having a boiler serviced or a bathroom installed. Getting a quote can be a challenge – getting the work started much more difficult.
Now, according to recent reports, the position should be easing.
Over the past few years, the press has run stories about a shortage of plumbers. In 2003, the British Plumbing Employer’s Council estimated that the plumbing industry would need to recruit 29,000 new entrants over the next 5 years. This led to reports of City workers leaving their jobs in the hope of earning £70,000 a year as a plumber.
More recently, however, there are accounts of workers with plumbing experience from Eastern Europe filling vacancies on building sites and a surplus of trainees trying to find jobs.
For the householder, this should mean that finding a good plumber who is available is much easier. The logic is fine but plumbers who are available for work are still an elusive breed. So if you have water pouring through the ceiling or your new bathroom arrives next Wednesday, read on for Hot Hints on tracking down a plumber.
Hot Hints for Finding a Plumber
- Asking for recommendations from family and friends is always a good first port of call.
- Check out one of the internet directories on-line – you can search for plumbers close to you and the better guides give the plumbers the space to provide details of their experience and specialist skills. Remember to mention the directory when you call – some have arrangements where the plumbers offer a discount.
- Look in your local parish magazine. Often the plumbers who advertise there live close by – in an emergency someone who is just down the road may well be quicker, cheaper and, more importantly, willing to turn out.
- Try your local paper. Some plumbers will advertise in the classified ads all year round, others will appear only when they are not busy – increasing your chance of finding someone who says “yes”.
- Ring your local letting agent – letting agents usually have a team of tradesmen and women who are set up to respond quickly to problems faced by tenants of the agent. Their plumber may be willing to help you.
- Call your plumbing supply shop – the staff get to know the regulars really well and are likely to be able to suggest someone who is not only good but who is available to take on your job.
- Plan in advance, every time, a friend has plumbing work done ask them who did it and if they were any good. Keep details of the recommended plumbers. Then, when the leak or blockage occurs you know who to ‘phone straight away.
Once you’ve found a possible plumber, do take steps to check them out. In reality, plumbers are no more likely to be rogues or cowboys than anyone else and most are extremely professional and hardworking. But erring on the side of caution is probably wise.