Water is a powerful natural resource that enables our homes to run smoothly. Without it, our daily functions come to a standstill. As powerful and important as water is, it can also be dangerous to work with and can cause massive damage to our homes. For all of these reasons, it is very important to only hire a licensed plumber who has years of knowledge and experience. By doing so, you can take comfort knowing that the right pro will handle any plumbing situation your home may experience.
To better understand the importance of hiring a licensed plumber, HomeStars spoke to Jeff Wright, master plumber, founder and CEO of The Great Plumbing Co. Jeff is truly an expert when it comes to plumbing. He has been involved in the plumbing industry for more than 36 years and has been a master plumber for 30 years. In that time he has learned exactly why it is so important to always hire a professional and licensed plumber and what can happen if you don’t. Read on to learn more about Jeff’s expert opinion on the subject.
1. What licensing and certifications do plumbers need?
When it comes to being a plumber, there are several certifications and licenses needed to legally be allowed to operate as a plumber and as a plumbing business. According to Jeff, across Canada plumbers require a “Certificate of Qualification.”
This certification is administered by the province (for example, Ontario College of Trades), and is obtained after completing a 5-year apprenticeship that involves both on-the-job experience (approx. 9000 hours) and three separate schooling periods (basic, intermediate and advanced). Note: This certification is not a licence to practice as a business and accept payment for plumbing services. This certification is simply to be recognized as a “Certified Plumber.”
If a certified plumber wishes to operate a legitimate business in a major city, let’s say Toronto for example, they must also obtain a Master Plumber and Plumbing Contractor license. A certified plumber can obtain a Master Plumber license by filling out an application and remit applicable fees with their city. A Plumbing Contractor license can be obtained also by paying a fee for registration. The certified plumber will have to show proof of their Certificate of Qualification in order to move forward with the above licenses. Prior to these licenses being issued by the city, they require a police background check and the relevant documentation be provided to the city upon application for licensing.
2. Are there different types of plumbers and do they require different licensing?
There are three types of plumbers: residential, commercial, and industrial. All three still require the same Certificate of Qualification. The licensing for their specific field falls under the jurisdiction of the particular city they work in.
3. How can a homeowner confirm proper licensing and credentials?
Jeff says that the best way to confirm proper credentials with a plumbing company is to ask them for proof of the Certificate of Qualification for the plumber that will perform the work. You can also ask your plumber for proof of their certificate of qualification. If a plumber does not have these credentials or tries to find excuses not to show them to you, you should not hire that plumber. These credentials are necessary to operate so any reputable plumber should have no issues providing proof of these credentials.
Tip: If your project is of a large scale, you can also require the certified and licenced plumber to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance. This document can help provide additional comfort that you are hiring a licensed plumber that also carries insurance. Insurance coverage is also a major part of consideration when hiring a plumbing company.
4. What are the drawbacks of hiring an unlicensed individual to perform plumbing tasks?
There are many drawbacks to hiring an unlicensed individual, mainly putting your home at risk due to lack of knowledge and experience. As mentioned above, becoming a certified plumber requires years of schooling and on the job training to gain experience. Without a Certificate of Qualification, you can’t confirm how an individual obtained their knowledge. Are they learning as they go at your expense and putting your home at risk? Without proper credentials you can’t confirm that the individual is qualified to do the job.
Another drawback of hiring an unlicensed individual is the lack of professionalism. Simple things like being on time, being courteous while in the home, and being responsive are skills learned by apprentices while they are still training. Without proper schooling you could be hiring someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or how to properly treat a customer.
One of the biggest and most important drawbacks is that an unlicensed individual will not be able to acquire insurance. Water can be unpredictable and damaging if you don’t know what you’re doing. Imagine hiring an unlicensed individual to save a few dollars, only to end up with a flooded home instead of a completed project. It’s not just water damage you have to worry about. Your home could even be set on fire while soldering if the individual doesn’t know what they’re doing. Without proper insurance the cost to fix the flood or fire will be on the homeowner and their insurance. This is why hiring a plumber with proper credentials and liability insurance is so important. If something goes wrong, both parties are covered.
5. Why should homeowners only hire licensed plumbers for their projects?
Hiring a licensed plumber will give you peace of mind that the right person with proper training, knowledge and experience is handling your project. You do not want to put your home and family at risk by hiring someone who is not licensed. Hiring a licensed plumber ensures that the job will be done right the first time and if anything does go wrong, both parties are covered. Why stress yourself out when you can just as easily find a licensed plumber who you can trust?
Water is a powerful natural resource that we need in order for our homes to function properly. Whether you have a leaking pipe or a fully flooded basement, you want to ensure you are hiring a qualified plumber to handle it for you. The easiest way to confirm proper credentials is to ask the potential plumber before you hire them. They should be able to easily provide proof to put your mind at ease. In addition, when browsing profiles on HomeStars, look out for the Verified badge that confirms the company has the proper credentials. Take Jeff’s expert opinion seriously and do not hire an unlicensed plumber the next time you need help with your home’s plumbing.
The Great Plumbing Co has been in business for three decades. Since beginning business in 1989, Founder and Master Plumber Jeff Wright set out with the goal of helping homeowners in the greater Toronto area with their residential plumbing needs. Providing value for the customer with a respectful, professional, and quality service approach has always been his top priority from the start. As a full-service plumbing company focused on providing high quality plumbing solutions and unbeatable customer care, there is no job too small or too large for them to handle. Whether it’s a small repair, full installation or remodeling project, they will always take the time to listen to your concerns, and work with you to decide on a cost-effective solution. Check out their HomeStars profile to read over 280 customer reviews, view their Verified badge and their three Best Of Awards!