What do people think of when they think of plumbers? If you asked 100 people this question, you’d likely get a full range of answers. Unfortunately, there are some negative (and often unfair) impressions out there. We’ve collected some of the most common misconceptions that people have about plumbers and have included ways to avoid them.
Plumbers Make a Big Mess
Sure, plumbing can be messier than other professions (data entry comes to mind), but that doesn’t mean that plumbers will leave a mess behind when they leave. Plumbing professionals can combat this stereotype by keeping their tools organized, cleaning as they go and wiping down surfaces that may have gotten wet. Additional steps that can be taken before a plumber enters a house include, parking on the street instead of blocking a driveway, using walkways instead of cutting through landscaped areas and putting on shoe covers to protect the floors. These techniques can go a long way in the eyes of a homeowner.
Plumbers Make Up Charges as They Go
Sometimes, even relatively straightforward plumbing installations and repairs come with surprises. A homeowner might not realize that hidden leaks, mismatched pipes and bad DIY repairs can add time and money to a job – but they do. Knowing that unexpected situations will pop up, plumbers should try hard to provide accurate estimates to a customer before any work begins. Explaining the steps involved, along with the potential hurdles (and associated costs) will increase customer confidence and fight the impression that plumbers make up prices as they go.
Plumbers Do What They Want and Stick Customers with the Bill
This is certainly isn’t true of most plumbers. But to avoid any misunderstandings, it’s a good idea for plumbers to be upfront and open about any problems they find. Whenever possible, alternate solutions (and costs) should be offered so the customer can make informed choices without any surprises when the work is complete.
Plumbers Make Promises They Can’t Keep
It’s not an exaggeration to say that plumbers have made important contributions to history by improving sanitary conditions throughout the ages. However, even the most talented plumber will come up short if asked to perform miracles or work in impossible conditions. Plumbers should try to please their customers, but not by making unrealistic claims, or promises they can’t keep within a given timeframe or budget.
Plumbers Use Technical Terms to Confuse Customers
When plumbers speak to each other, the “plumberese” may get awfully thick. With IPB, CPVC, ABS and PVC pipe, the acronyms alone can leave a layman confused. Add in talk of tees, traps, cleanouts and couplings and even well-versed DIYers may find themselves lost in translation. To prevent confusion, plumbers should do their best to explain things in layman’s terms that customers will understand.
Plumbers are Rude and/or Dirty
For whatever reason, the stereotype of a dirty-shirt wearing plumber with crack-exposing pants looms large in popular culture. Plumbers can fight this imagery by showing up in clean clothing—and maybe a belt. Uniforms aren’t 100% necessary to replace a toilet, but they may come in handy for shops that have multiple service technicians in the field. When products and services are varied, wearing clothing that displays the name of the company everyone works for can be a useful way to advertise and promote brand recognition.
Plumbers Show up Without the Right Equipment
While it would be impossible to fill a van with every part, fitting and plumbing tool that might be required for every service call, it makes sense to carry a selection of high-use items. Sure, a plumber’s day is subject to change without notice, but a well-equipped van can save time (and money) by preventing trips back to the shop, the expense of purchasing parts at the local store and costly rework. This is a win-win for the customer and the plumber.
Service That Builds a Good Reputation
At the end of the day, plumbing is about more than clearing clogged drains, installing sump pumps, replacing water heaters and fixing garbage disposals. Plumbing is also about providing an essential service and making a living for your family. Following the tips above will give you a leg up on the competition, lead to good word-of-mouth advertising and most importantly, repeat customers.