Wondering how to hire a plumber who is right for the job? Look beyond plumber rates and prices and select an individual who is able to solve a problem. It doesn't matter whether you are in Toronto or Mississauga or anywhere else, I dare to say that the most savings in time and money come from hiring a problem solver.
Once I came across this insight from Glenn Sheppard , and it resonated with me. Glenn is a leader in fighting the declining American work ethic and a bestselling author of books on dealing with problem employees.
Glenn described how his shower drain backed up. So he called a plumber.
A plumber worked for about an hour and charged him $250. Shower drain worked for a day and then backed up again.
Glenn called the plumber for explanations. He was told that the only thing that would save him was a replacement of the whole line worth $850.
So he called another plumber with similar rates. Plumber showed up, stayed for an hour and charged $250. The drain was backed up next morning. A plumber told Glenn that there was nothing else he could do.
Glenn then called another plumber. A guy showed up (on time) and inspected the bathroom. He asked if there were any renovations recently done in the house. In fact, there were.
He immediately pointed out at the place where the pipe bends 90 degrees. This is where construction debris get caught when they fall down the drain.
He cut open the main drain line under the house and pulled out a piece of ceramic tile lodged exactly where he said it would be.
In less than ten minutes, he fixed the line and Glenn asked him how much he owed for the job.
"Does $150 sound fair?”
Glenn objected “ABSOULTEY NOT!”
“Then pay me whatever you think is fair and we‘ll call it even” he said.
Glenn wrote him a check for $250.
He looked confused and said, “I only spent a few minutes. How can I charge the same the other guys did?”
An expert in dealing with hiring right people for the job told him that he was worth even more for him. This plumber saved his time and solved his problem the way other plumbers couldn't.
We don't hire people for their time. We hire them to solve our problems.
We can only hope that higher paying professionals solve problems faster. We assume that their fees and prices are good indicators of how fast or well they will solve our problem.
This assumption may or may not be right. After all, plumber prices and fees may be higher just because of the cost to run a business. Think about costs of maintaining back office, running advertisement campaigns, or doing SEO to get plumbing company on the first page of Google.
Plumber fees, even the most reasonable ones, can still hurt your pocket.
So most of the times you would likely select a Toronto plumber whose fees are lower.
As a plumber, I urge you to look beyond the fees.
Check out their testimonials, talk to them, ask them for previous experiences, and look for signs that they can solve a problem.
Ask them what happens if the problem reoccurs.
Just like plumber #3 in this story, I have had numerous opportunities to provide a second opinion. I have fixed problems that plumbers before me couldn't fix. I have troubleshot problems aiming to fix their root cause, not to leave a homeowner with a costly bill for a full replacement just because I spent time working on their issue.
My training as a gas and oil pipe repair engineer comes handy. But more than that, my nature as a problem solver helps customers who face mysterious plumbing problems.
If a plumber proposes full replacement, ask him why. If he is irritated that you question his authority, or if his answer doesn't sound too convincing, seek advice of another plumber.
Ask him if he is ready to guarantee his work and fix the problem in case it reoccurs for free.
And if a plumber came and fixed your problem fast, don't assume that his fee is excessive because he did it in 10 minutes. Just like in Glenn's case, you might have just hired a good problem solver.
This is what you need at the end of the day, don't you. When you go to Home Depot to buy a drill, what you really need is a hole in the wall that that drill can make.