FAQ: Who has the best price?


Oscar Wilde is attributed with the quote “The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

A personal note from Randall

Now, more than ever, it’s important to get the most out of every dollar you spend so who can blame you for shopping around for the best price for plumbing service? But is the lowest price the best price?

I’ve been involved with the plumbing profession for over 3 decades and I have worked with thousands of contractors. Based upon my experience in the plumbing world, here are a few tips to help you get the best service at the best price.  

A low price over the phone may be the tip of a costly iceberg.

 Some contractors quote low prices over the phone, hoping to add never ending changes once they are on the job. Some contractors naively think they can solve your problem, sight unseen, and quote a “best case” price that can only fly when all the stars are properly aligned. Whether they’re being sly or naive, you could end up paying much more than the low price you expected. Consider using a professional who will first size up the job, then quote a price based upon what they see. Often, these contractors charge a fee for the initial visit but that’s a small price to pay for knowing what the job is really going to cost you. 

Scary service people.

If you’re comfortable having the “cheap guy” wandering through your home then enjoy the savings. Even if your plumber isn’t scary, consider that successful businesses attract successful people. A budget priced contractor may have a difficult time recruiting and retaining top tier people which means they’ll send whomever they can get. Maybe your plumbing problem doesn’t require much skill to resolve but experienced professionals can often spot hidden problems before they cause more damage to your home. 

Training is the key

Budget priced contractors try to hire the best they can but often, they get the left overs. Premium contractors invest in good people as well as ongoing training so that they can be assured of better results. This should matter to you because doing the job right the first time saves you money as well as unnecessary hassles and property damage.

Is it worth the wait?

Waiting an extra hour or so at the doctor’s office doesn’t compare to spending a whole day waiting for your plumber only to find out that you’ve been rescheduled. Missed appointments happen whenever a contractor doesn’t have enough people to get to all the work. It also happens when they need money so bad they just can’t say no to a paying customer.  Premium contractors try to keep plenty of professionals on board, even though they know they have to charge more. You just need to decide if the dollars saved (if there are any) are worth the lost time.

Outa sight guarantees.

Guarantees are one of the biggest differences between the budget companies and the premium contractors. From a business perspective, it’s difficult for a contractor on a tight budget to cover the risk of something breaking. If their personnel are poorly trained they have a higher likelihood of problems and with a smaller profit margin they can ill afford to take care of you when something goes wrong. To make the math work out, they’re forced to limit their guarantees to defective materials only, or perhaps they will cover labor for a few months - if you can get them to return your calls. Premium contractors provide more peace of mind because they have warranty costs built into their prices. Some offer multi year guarantees, some even offer 100% satisfaction guarantees. In other words, when you hire the cheapest you’re probably taking on the risks of having to pay for the work again. Is it worth it?

I’ve spent over 30 years in this great profession. These days, my primary focus has been to help plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractors improve their businesses through better business practices such as improved customer service, investing in better employees and better management practices. When a contractor runs his/her business properly, you, the consumer, win.  


© 2009 Randall Hilton all rights reserved.