Tips for Hiring a Commercial Plumber
Commercial plumbing services differs greatly from residential plumbing. It is important for business owners and facilities managers to choose the right company to safeguard their property and tenants. And because plumbing problems can, and often, occur outside of business hours, it is especially important to choose a reliable plumber who offers a wide range of 24/7 emergency services. Commercial business owners and managers should consider many variables when partnering with the right company.
Commercial Plumbing Experience
Since commercial plumbing requires experience in larger plumbing pipes, specialty fixtures, and complex drain configurations among other commercial grade plumbing parts, it is important that any commercial building owner or manager choose a plumber with experience in commercial plumbing systems, service, repair and installation.
It can be challenging to identify problems that could cause damage that inexperienced commercial plumbers may miss. Residential plumbers may also have trouble identifying proper drain snaking in a multi-story building. If a drain line is part of a stack or connected line, it is imperative that the plumber snaking a drain on a floor with units below will need to inspect all drain lines on that line down to the ground floor. If a plumber snakes a line without checking downstream, it is possible a clog is shoved down the line and while the drain may appear to be clear, it is really just pushed down. This can cause floods in lower floor units.
An experienced plumber will also be able to diagnose plumbing problems quickly, as they will have likely seen similar issues many times. And, in a commercial space, quickly diagnosing and repairing a plumbing issue is critical to protect the property form costly damage, as well as allowing tenants and renters to continue business operations.
Twenty-four Hour Service
There is never a good time to have a plumbing problem, but when plumbing goes wrong in the middle of the night, it is even worse. Whether choosing a commercial plumber or a residential plumber, knowing that they offer 24-hour emergency service may give you peace of mind. Commercial property owners and facilities managers should always have reliable, 24-hour full-service plumbing companies on hand that have been vetted and proven an asset in emergency situations.
Licensed, Insured and Bonded
It is equally important for both residential and commercial clients to ensure any services are provided by a company with the proper license and insurance for their industry. A reputable company will put their license number on their commercial vehicles, business cards, websites, and all advertising so that customers may check with the California State Licensing Board to check validity and review any actions against the company.
To be bonded means that the company has paid a premium to a surety company. Hiring a bonded company is important to safeguard against jobs being left unfinished, damage to property, or if a contractor fails to comply with state regulations, or performs subpar work. It is an additional way, on top of insurance, for customers to ensure they are protected when service men and women are working on their property.
In addition, companies should carry liability and workers compensation insurance (workers compensation if they employ any personnel outside of the owners). Liability will cover customers property against damage. Workers compensation protects the company, the customer, and the workers in case of accident or injury on the job.
Most commercial properties require a certain amount of liability insurance to be carried in order to ensure that their large commercial properties are covered in the event of any damage.
A good reputation in commercial plumbing is something all customers should look at. Ask other commercial property owners or facilities managers for referrals and look at the company’s online reputation. 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 common 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 review says something no one else mentions, it might be less valid.
How companies’ respond to feedback is also something to be aware of. If a company responds to every review with sincerity and treats it as an opportunity to improve, it shows they care enough to take the time to communicate with their customers.
Commercial plumbing technicians and companies should have experience in the specific industry aligning with your commercial space. For example, if a hospital facilities manager is looking for a commercial plumber, they will want to make sure that the company and employees have experience working in hospitals, as well as the required vaccinations. Most healthcare facilities require any on site workers to be up to date with specific vaccinations.
Also, if the commercial space is a resident building, or mixed use with office space, the plumbing will be different; the plumbing professionals should have extensive experience in service and repair of this type of space to keep businesses running and residents comfortable.
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. This is not to say that newer companies will not provide good services, but it is more of a challenge to vet the company and ensure they will meet the needs of the commercial business owner or facilities manager.
For newer plumbing professionals, ask for references. Chances are they have been working in the industry for many years and may be new to the area, but spent many years with a reputable company before starting their own.
Whatever the case, look into the business or professional and their years of experience. If they cannot produce any referrals or history, they may not be a good fit for a large commercial plumbing job.
All commercial plumbing, and residential as well, should come with standard warranties. On most service and repair jobs, a labor warranty is standard and should be documented prior to work. Professional plumbers will also use high-grade plumbing parts and supplies, which come with industry warranties as well. Ensure that all parts being used come with a warranty from a manufacturer and ask the company what a warranty encompasses.
Choosing a commercial plumbing professional does not have to be an exhausting experience. Especially in San Diego, there are many reputable companies offering transparency, honesty and integrity. Create a checklist when looking to partner with a company and ask if they have the ability to handle large jobs, emergencies at any time, and have the proper licensing. From there, make sure they meet the criteria for your commercial needs. Larger companies will also have a personal development team to help assist in all commercial plumbing jobs.
At Bill Howe, we offer commercial plumbing in a multitude of industries. With dedicated accounts and account managers, it makes it easy to schedule plumbing repairs in advance or in the middle of the night.
For more information about Bill Howe Plumbing’s commercial plumbing ability, call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469) today.