How to Hire a Good Plumber in Stockton
Faulty and poorly installed plumbing fixtures will definitely cost you some good money if you delay in fixing them. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a single household leak can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day resulting in more than a $350 increase in your annual water bill. Once you see a sudden spike in your water bill, it is best to hire a qualified plumber to check for any undetected leaks and fix other broken fixtures. However, before you conclude on hiring any plumber in Stockton, ask the following questions to verify the professional is a good hand for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Stockton?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Stockton?
- Do You Comply with the City of Stockton Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Stockton Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Stockton?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Stockton?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Stockton?
The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is charged with the licensing and regulation of individuals that provide plumbing services in the City of Stockton. Per the requirements of this agency, any of these individuals that wish to perform plumbing work with a total value of $500 and above must obtain a relevant plumbing-related license. These licenses are only issued to individuals that are up to 18 years of age and have attained up to four years of journeyman level plumbing-related work experience. Parties that meet these requirements will be required to provide verifiable proof of their work experience, complete and submit an Application for Original Contractor License Form, and pay an application fee. Once these documents have been reviewed and accepted, these applicants will be contacted by the CSLB with information for a licensing examination, which includes a business portion and a trade portion.
Note that certain applicants from the States of Arizona and Nevada that meet the CSLB's licensing reciprocity program may qualify for a waiver of the trade portion of this examination. Once this examination has been successfully passed, these applicants are issued the requested licenses and are thus eligible to provide plumbing services to interested parties in the City of Stockton.
Performing plumbing work worth $500 or above without an appropriate CSLB-issued license is considered a misdemeanor offense in the City of Stockton and is punishable by fines of up to $15,000 as well as jail time of up to six months. You can verify the licensing status of plumbers in the city via the CSLB's online Check a Contractor License portal. You can also perform this task, and make other licensing-related inquiries, by calling the CSLB at (800) 321-2752.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Stockton?
Figures provided by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that plumbers in the City of Stockton earn a mean wage of approximately $38 per hour. Nevertheless, the cost of plumbing services in the city typically depends on the following factors:
- The specific type of plumbing service that you require
- The cost of parts and materials needed to satisfactorily provide this service
- The plumber's level of experience
It is always a good idea to compare prices from several plumbers near you before hiring one. This helps you get an accurate estimate of the market rate for your required plumbing service within your vicinity, and it also reduces your chances of falling victim to a fraudulent plumber.
A plumber in the City of Stockton earns an annual average wage of $80,030. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Stockton compared with plumbers in other parts of California and other major cities in the country:Stockton Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$38California Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$33.21Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Atlanta Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.53New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Detroit Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$33.24Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Stockton Building Code for Plumbing?
The installation, alteration, repair, replacement, and removal of all plumbing systems and equipment in the City of Stockton must be done in accordance with Chapter 15.16 of the Stockton Municipal Code, which is also referred to as the city's plumbing code. This plumbing code is an amended version of the California Plumbing Code, and it contains regulations, minimum standards, and practical safeguards regarding the use of plumbing equipment and systems in Stockton.
Before retaining the services of any plumber near you, it is imperative to confirm that this plumber is conversant with the requirements of the city's plumbing code. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the acceptable quality of materials for your plumbing job, the right permits needed to commence the job, and the inspections required for the job. Doing this ensures your safety as well as the safety of your property, and also prevents the issuance of city-imposed fines and penalties associated with code violations. You can contact the Stockton Community Development Department and the city's Building and Life Safety Division at (209) 937-8444 and (209) 937-8561 respectively to direct queries related to the plumbing code requirements for your intended project.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Stockton Code?
Per the requirements of the city's plumbing code, a permit is required for the installation, enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, conversion, and replacement of any plumbing system in Stockton, with the exception of the following:
- Projects that are strictly limited to the stoppage of leaks in drains, water, waste, soil, or vent pipes. Note that if this project requires the removal or replacement of any of these pipes that are already concealed, then a permit must be obtained
- Projects that are limited to the clearing of stoppages in pipes, valves, or fixtures, the repairing of leaks in these pipes, valves, or fixtures, and the removal and reinstallation of water closets. Note that the plumbing work done in these projects must not involve or require that any of these valves, pipes, or fixtures be replaced or rearranged
The Stockton Community Development Department oversees the city's permit issuance process, and these permits must typically be obtained before the commencement of the intended plumbing work. However, in emergency situations that require the replacement or repair of plumbing systems and equipment, the plumbing work can commence without a permit, as long as the permit application is made the next business day. Permit applications can be made by either licensed plumbers or property owners, and they can be done online via the Stockton Permits Online Portal or in person at the Stockton Permit Center located at:
- 345 N. El Dorado Street
- Stockton, CA 95202
Applicants will be required to complete and submit a Building Permit Application Form. In situations where the application is being made by a property owner, the submission of a separate Owner-Builder Form is also required. Note that, depending on the size and scope of the project, the additional submission of relevant project plans may be required. You can contact the Stockton Permit Center at (209) 937-8444 to make inquiries on the city's permit issuing process. Queries can also be made online via the Ask Stockton platform.
Finally, it is important to note that once your permit has been issued, inspections may be required at various stages of the plumbing work and also at its conclusion. These inspections are typically undertaken to ensure that the work is done in accordance with all applicable requirements of the city's plumbing code, as well as other relevant construction-related codes. Inspection-related queries can be directed to the Building and Life Safety Division of the city's Community Development Department at (209) 937-8561.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Whether you need to replace a faulty faucet, repair a sewer line, unclog a blocked drain or toilet, or do any other type of plumbing work, it is necessary to ensure that the plumber you employ for this task is capable of performing it. Plumbers in Stockton typically offer residential and commercial services that range from plumbing equipment repair and maintenance to plumbing system installations in new buildings. Regardless of this, it is advisable to verify that your intended plumber is experienced enough to provide the specific service that you require, and also find out how much you will have to pay for this service. The average costs of some common plumbing services that plumbers in Stockton provide to interested parties include:Residential plumbing work$105 - $120 per hour (labor only)Commercial plumbing work$140 - $150 per hour (labor only)Re-piping 1,500 sf home with PEX$6,245 - $8,075Toilet installation/replacement$220 - $235 (labor only)Unclogging sink, shower, or tub$175 - $220Drain line video inspection$370 - $425Septic system installation for three-bedroom house$10,525 - $12,505Septic tank cleaning/pumping for 1,000-gallon tank$390 - $460Sewer line cleaning$245 - $380Sewer line installation/repair$ per linear footSubmersible sump pump installation$1,215 - $1,750Water main installation/repair$45 - $75 per linear foot
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Stockton?
Household leaks account for more than one trillion gallons of water wasted across the United States annually. Considering that residents of Stockton pay monthly water service charges of no less than $33.90 in addition to a minimum of $2.11 per 748 gallons of water used, any situation that results in water leakage should be treated as an emergency. However, while water leakages and other plumbing-related issues should always be treated with urgency, some of these matters need to be dealt with immediately they occur. These include overflowing toilets, burst pipes, clogged drains that back up other drains, and flooded basements.
While it is common to search for the nearest plumber available to tackle these types of situations, proximity should not be the deciding factor when you require emergency plumbing services. You should also make sure that this plumber is aptly skilled and equipped to deal with the situation. You can find plumbers that possess these qualities through the CSLB's Find My Licensed Contractor platform. Alternatively, you can utilize third-party review websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp to search for qualified plumbers near you that provide emergency plumbing services. It is advisable to confirm that these plumbers possess current CSLB-issued licenses before retaining their services.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Stockton?
Hiring an unlicensed plumber opens you up to financial and possible legal risks if this plumber gets injured whilst working on your project. According to figures reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 2.7 million nonfatal work-related injuries occurred in 2020, with the construction industry accounting for over 174,000 of these injuries. Therefore, even though general liability insurance is not a mandatory requirement for plumbers in Stockton, you should always make sure that your intended plumber has a valid liability insurance plan. Request proof of insurance coverage from the plumber and contact the organization that allegedly provides this coverage to verify its authenticity. It is also a good idea to find out if the plumber's coverage is adequate for your project.
It should be noted that licensed plumbers in Stockton are typically required to post a bond of $15,000 to maintain their licenses. Also, per California law, plumbers that have at least one employee must maintain a valid workers' compensation insurance plan. You can contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752 to direct queries related to mandatory Stockton plumber insurance and bonding requirements.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Stockton
You should always look out for possible plumbing and home repair or improvement scams when you need to retain the services of plumbers near you. In August 2018, an operation by the CSLB unearthed several fraudulent individuals in cities across San Joaquin County, including Stockton, who had attempted to defraud unsuspecting homeowners of thousands of dollars through home improvement scams. Fraudulent plumbers and contractors in Stockton generally try to defraud homeowners by taking money for projects and either not doing the job at all or not completing the work. In some cases, these con artists deliberately do shoddy work that is designed to earn them a callback from their victims, thereby getting paid for the same job twice. Some common signs of fraudulent Stockton plumbers include:
- Door-to-door solicitations
- High-pressure sales tactics
- Insistence on large upfront fees and cash payments
- Insistence on handshake deals and verbal agreements over written contracts
- Offers of free or low-priced inspections and repairs
You should consider the following tips when hiring plumbers near you to avoid falling victim to plumbing or home improvement scams:
- Shop around and get quotes from at least three plumbers before hiring one
- Always ask your intended plumber for a list of local references and contact these references to get their opinions on the plumber's services. You can also lookup the plumber online via websites like Better Business Bureau and Google Review
- Verify the plumber's licensing status. You should also confirm that the plumber has proper general liability insurance coverage
- Insist on a written contract for the project
- Make sure that the plumber obtains all necessary permits required for the job
- Never pay the full cost of the project upfront and avoid cash payments
In addition to the aforementioned tips, you can report suspected plumbing scams to the San Joaquin District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit by calling (209) 953-7730, (209) 953-7731, or by mailing a consumer complaint form to:
- Consumer Protection Unit
- 222 E. Weber Avenue
- Room 202
- P.O. Box 990
- Stockton, California 95201
You can also file complaints with the CSLB concerning the actions of plumbers in Stockton. Note that there is no guarantee of restitution when you report fraudulent plumbers to either of these agencies. However, you can take personal legal action against erring plumbers by filing a lawsuit at the San Joaquin County Superior Court located at:
- Stockton Courthouse
- 180 E Weber Avenue
- 2nd Floor
- Stockton, CA 95202
It is advisable to get proper legal advice before taking any legal action, and you can utilize the San Joaquin County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service to get referrals to experienced attorneys in Stockton.