Hiring a professional, licensed plumber is strongly recommended for any major home plumbing project or repair. Knowing how to find qualified plumbers in your area and what to look for during the hiring process will ensure you get quality work done safely and correctly.

Keep reading for my tips and tricks on how to hire a qualified plumber for your home. 

DIY Plumbing

For everyday drips and clogs, you can save the cost of a plumber by doing the work yourself. Check out our information on repairing a toilet and fixing a leaky faucet to learn how.

Beyond these basic plumbing repairs, know when to call a pro. Plumbing requires a lot of knowledge and specialty tools. Code requirements are one part, but you also need parts knowledge and material experience. For example, knowing how hard you can crank PVC before it cracks takes time to learn. Not having a feel for this can turn a $10 repair into a flood.

Be prepared for urgent situations by establishing a relationship with a plumber before you need one. Hire them for non-emergency repairs or fixture installs during normal hours if possible. It’s easier to get a plumber’s attention as a regular customer rather than a panicked stranger calling at 8 p.m. on a Saturday asking them to fix a gushing waste pipe.

How to Find a Qualified Plumber

When checking plumbers, ask for proof of a license. Most states require licensing, and they provide a number to verify it’s current with no complaints. Any plumber you consider should also have current workers’ compensation and at least $500,000 liability insurance. Liability insurance covers damages if the plumber causes an accident or injury while working in your home.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

The best way to find a good plumber is to ask friends, neighbors, contractors, and real estate agents. Nothing holds up a home sale faster than plumbing problems, so agents often have reliable, fast plumbers. Once you find one you like, keep their numbers for emergencies.

You can also search review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List. Look for plumbers with consistently positive reviews long-term. This indicates quality work and service. Avoid those with many negative reviews or complaints.

What to Ask Prospective Plumbers

When interviewing plumbers, ask:

How long have you been in business? Look for several years of experience.

Are you licensed and insured? Ask to see proof.

Do you offer emergency services? Availability for emergencies is crucial.

What are your rates, and do you offer free estimates? Get multiple quotes.

What types of plumbing do you specialize in? Some focus on construction, others on repair.

Do you provide warranties on labor and parts? Good plumbers stand behind their work.

Checking references is wise before hiring. Make sure past customers are satisfied.

How Much Will a Repair Plumber Cost?

Emergency plumbing bills are often shocking. Are plumbers taking advantage? Sometimes, the short work duration increases rates. Though plumbers may only spend an hour, you pay for travel time, parts pick-up, and more.

For details on common plumbing repair costs, see our plumbing repair costs guide.

Keep in mind travel time increases rates. Living far from the plumber could mean a higher bill. It’s smart to find one nearby to save on drive time fees.

You can also ask if they offer flat rates for certain repairs. This provides a set price up-front rather than surprise hourly charges. Just get any quote in writing beforehand.

What to Expect During a Visit

When plumbers arrive, show them the problem area. Have a bucket to catch drips and protective materials like drop cloths in place. Be prepared to describe the issues in detail to aid diagnosis. I recommend jotting down notes before they arrive so you don’t forget any of the problems you’ve been experiencing. 

In most cases, plumbers have to cut holes in drywall to access pipes and valves behind walls. A good plumber will patch these holes afterward. Be prepared — your plumber may need to shut off the main water valve to prevent gushing during repairs.

Once finished, plumbers should explain the problem’s cause and offer tips to properly maintain your plumbing and avoid future issues. Understand the cause before paying the bill.

Boiler Replacement
Generally, you can expect to pay $5,300$9,500 to replace your home’s boiler. Price will vary for electric, gas, and wood models.
Emergency Plumbing
You can typically expect to pay $68–$450 for emergency plumbing, depending on the severity of the problem at hand.
photo of a geothermal heat pump
Ejector Pump
Generally, you can expect to pay between $850$5,500 for a new ejector pump, depending on the type of pump you need.

How to Hire a Remodeling Plumber

For non-emergencies like remodels, you need someone who knows residential systems and local codes. They should work neatly in finished environments by putting down drop cloths and making easy-to-repair holes only when necessary.

Rerouting pipes involves locating the lines, cutting out sections, installing new pieces, and soldering everything back together. The plumber may need to open up walls or floors to access and replace pipes.

The best source is a general contractor who sees the work before it’s covered up. They know quality work, like clean joints, 90-degree angles, and proper joist holes.

Contractors won’t risk hiring unqualified plumbers who could leave joints unsoldered or leaky PVC and ruin floors, leading to insurance claims and lawsuits. With so much riding on the plumber, contractors stick with the best.

When hiring directly, ask to see previous work and check reviews. Quality plumbers should have a portfolio of similar remodels. Verify past clients were satisfied.

Questions for Remodeling Plumbers

Before hiring a remodeling plumber, ask them the following questions: 

How many years of full-system experience do you have? Look for extensive knowledge and ask for references. 

Are you familiar with local building codes? Local knowledge is vital. Building codes provide standards that plumbers must follow for safety.

Can you provide remodeling job references? Call to verify quality work.

Do you offer plumbing layout services? Some provide computer-aided design (CAD) drawings.

What labor and parts warranties do you offer? Warranties protect against defects.

What are your rates, and do you offer firm bids? Get two to three quotes before hiring.

Also, verify licensing, bonding, and adequate insurance coverage.

Remodeling Plumber Costs

Remodel plumbers typically charge $45 to $65 per hour, not including parts. But some charge per fixture based on rough-in and install rates.

Parts and fixtures for a powder room run $1,000 to $1,200 or more. With per-fixture pricing, the total turnkey price is set up-front rather than hourly.

For more details, see our water heater installation cost guide.

To save, use mid-grade fixtures and get multiple estimates to compare rates.

Get Free Estimates From Professional Plumbers
Match with a plumbing expert to help you with installation or repair.

Is a Qualified Plumber Worth It?

In most cases, yes. Hiring a licensed pro is worth the investment. DIY fixes may be tempting, but improper installs can fail over time and cause severe water damage or flooding, costing you much more in the long run. 

Qualified plumbers have extensive training and experience correctly diagnosing and fixing issues up to code for reliable systems. For major remodels, only licensed plumbers have the skills to design and size new plumbing properly. This expertise prevents future problems.

While hourly rates are higher, their knowledge and quality of work often warrant the cost. Botched DIY jobs can easily offset any savings. Your home’s plumbing is too important to risk.

FAQs About Hiring Plumbers

How much should I tip?

For good service, tip 10 to 15% of the total bill. Tips aren’t usually expected for major remodels.

When should I ask for a fixed-price quote instead of hourly?

For big jobs like re-piping, get a detailed bid with one set price to avoid surprise hourly fees.

What questions should I ask before hiring?

Ask about licenses, insurance, experience, specialties, guarantees, and testimonials. You’ll also want to check out their work experience by asking for references to speak with before investing in the project.

How can I find the best plumbers nearby?

Search online reviews, ask neighbors for referrals, or get contractor recommendations.

What are the signs of an unqualified plumber?

Red flags include no license or insurance, high-pressure sales tactics, vague pricing, and reluctance to provide references.

Should I hire a master or apprentice plumber?

For complex repairs or remodels, hire a master plumber with extensive training and experience. Apprentices lack the expertise.

How can I reduce repair costs?

Start by getting multiple quotes and shopping around. Compare flat rates rather than ‌hourly and ask about discounts on combined jobs.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Jonathon Jachura

Jonathon Jachura


Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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photo of Amy DeYoung

Amy DeYoung


Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

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