How to Hire a Good Plumber in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg uses a tiered water rate system that sees residents using water efficiently paying less than $3.58 per 1,000 gallons of water. However, if your household water usage exceeds 10,000 gallons monthly you will be charged $5.80 or higher. At 10,000 gallons, you are using way more water than the typical single-family home and this excess may actually be a result of leakage. Leakages including dripping faucets, faulty toilets, loose showerheads, and broken underground pipe wastes more than 90 gallons of water per day. Hiring a qualified plumber to fix undetected leakages will be a wise choice when you notice this excess usage. However, before you settle for any plumber in St. Petersburg ask the following questions to determine if the professional is a right hire:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of St. Petersburg?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of St. Petersburg?
- Do You Comply with the City of St. Petersburg Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of St. Petersburg Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of St. Petersburg?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of St. Petersburg?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of St. Petersburg?
Plumbing licenses in St. Petersburg are issued at the state level by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) through it's Construction Industry Licensing Board, to interested applicants that satisfy certain eligibility requirements. Per Section 489.127 of the Florida Statutes, it is illegal to act in the position of a contractor or carry out contracting activities, which includes plumbing, without being duly licensed by this board. Unlicensed plumbing in St. Petersburg is punishable by up to a year in the county jail or a $1,000 fine, with stricter penalties on subsequent violations. Note that licensing exemptions are made for minor plumbing activities like unclogging drain and fixing broken pipes. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to hire a duly licensed plumber for any type of plumbing project that you wish to undertake.
The first step to becoming a licensed plumber in St. Petersburg is enrolling in a plumbing apprenticeship program, and interested parties that wish to do this must be at least 18 years old and have a high school degree. Enrolling for a plumbing apprenticeship in St. Petersburg can be done in two ways, either the applicants work independently or they join a program through a trade school. This apprenticeship typically takes a period of four to five years to complete, after which the applicants will be required to pass a journeyman plumbing license examination before being issued a plumbing license.
You can confirm the licensing status of plumbers in St. Petersburg by using the online services portal provided by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation or by calling this department at (850) 487-1395.
Getting a complete quote is one of the most essential requirements before hiring a plumber. A complete quote covers materials, labor, and miscellaneous expenses. It is often a good idea to get these quotes from at least three to four plumbers before settling on one. This allows you to compare the cost of materials and labor effectively and helps you select the plumber whose rates match the size of your budget. Note that a plumber's service fee can either be charged at a flat rate or an hourly rate, and it is important to get clarification on this before signing any contract.
A plumber in the City of St. Petersburg earns an annual average wage of $61,100. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in St. Petersburg compared with plumbers in other parts of Florida and other major cities in the country:St. Petersburg Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.37Florida Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$21.92New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Detroit Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$33.24Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66Boston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$40.46
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of St. Petersburg Building Code for Plumbing?
Hiring a plumber that is conversant with the St. Petersburg City Code will help you avoid statutory penalties that come with code violations. This code was put in place to govern all plumbing activities that go on in St. Petersburg, and all plumbing work done in the city must align with it. As such, the plumbing code regulates the alteration, repair, installation, erection, relocation, and maintenance of every plumbing system in the City of St. Petersburg. The code makes provisions for the safety of the life and property of the residents of St. Petersburg regarding their use of these plumbing systems by ensuring that the highest standards and quality of materials are used for these systems.
It is also important for you to be familiar with the code, as this will help you spot violations if they occur. The city's Building and Permitting Department is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the plumbing code and this department can be contacted for further inquiries by calling (727) 893-7231.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of St. Petersburg Code?
Plumbing activities like repairing fixtures and valves, clearing of stoppages, replacement of an existing fixture, and stopping of leaks in the soil are all permit exempted in the City of St. Petersburg. Permits for plumbing works done in the City of St. Petersburg are issued by the Building and Permit Department.
Plumbing permit applications in St. Petersburg can only be done online. After filling and submitting the online application form, applicants may print a copy of the completed application form for their own record purposes. Permits are typically created after the applications have been successfully reviewed, and applicants that need to provide plans for their plumbing project will be sent an email with instructions on how to do so. These plans are typically submitted, alongside a stipulated application fee, at the Building and Permit Department office located at:
- One 4th Street North
- St. Petersburg, FL 33701
- Phone: (727) 893-7111
The plumbing project can commence after a permit number has been issued. However, note that inspections may have to be scheduled before the project can be officially considered completed. These inspections can be scheduled online or by calling (727) 893-4101, following the voice prompts and also providing an applicable inspection code. Queries related to permitting and inspections can be directed to the St. Petersburg Building and Permitting Department's help-desk at (727) 893-7231.
Before hiring the services of a plumber, it is imperative to confirm if the plumber has the right skill level for the job you need done. Plumbers in St. Petersburg offer a variety of services, like fixing faulty faucets, replacing faulty pipes in existing structures, or installing plumbing systems in new building structures. You need to certify that the plumber you intend to hire has the experience to offer the service you need. For instance, a journeyman plumber might be able to repair broken fixtures, but unable to handle installations of plumbing systems. Note that several other factors come into play when St. Petersburg plumbers provide quotes for their services, such as the nature of the job, the extent of the damage that the plumbing problem may have caused, the cost of materials for the job, and permit fees.
Listed below are some common cost estimates for plumbing services in the City of St. Petersburg. Note that these estimates do not include permit fees:Clearing clogged drains$100 - $500Leaky pipe repair$150 - $350Gas line installation$39 - $50Water softener installation$1200 - $1500Swamp cooler installation$2500 - $3500Gas line repair$150- $700Bathtub Installation$2,000 - $3,000Septic tank installation$750 - $3,000Installation of garbage disposal$65 - $150Water main installation$500 - $2,000Toilet repair$100 - $200Water pump installation$1,000 - $1,500Sewer line cleaning$200 - $350Water heater replacement$1,500 - $3,000Well pump repair$650 - $850Drain line problems$250 - $1,000
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of St. Petersburg?
All plumbing issues are regarded as emergencies, but some are more urgent than others. For instance, the urgency of a flooded basement or a burst pipe cannot be compared with that of a faulty faucet or leaky fixture. In the event of a plumbing emergency, the plumber's experience and proximity must be put into consideration. Residents of the City of St. Petersburg pay a minimum of $13.5 on water bills monthly, therefore a timely response is required so as not to further increase this bill or the damage that these types of plumbing problems typically cause. You can find qualified emergency plumbers near you through third-party websites like Google Review, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau. Note that you should always confirm that these plumbers possess valid licenses before concluding any hiring arrangements with them.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of St. Petersburg?
Before you hire any plumber in St. Petersburg, you should always find out if the plumber has valid insurance coverage. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 309 fatal work injuries occurred in Florida in 2019, with the construction sector recording the highest number of fatalities at 91 cases. Hiring a plumber with insurance coverage protects you from any monetary burden that may arise as a result of an injury on your work site. You can verify the plumber's insurance coverage by requesting an insurance certificate and calling the insurance company to confirm its validity. Plumbers in the City of St. Petersburg to obtain state-mandated workers insurance coverage from the Florida Division of Workers Compensation (FDWC). The FDWC maintains a list of contractors that have active workers' compensation and you can verify your plumber's coverage via this division's database or by calling (850) 488 - 2333.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of St. Petersburg
Homeowners in cities across Florida, including St. Petersburg, are estimated to spend as much as $6,000 on a single home improvement project. With the amount of money spent on home improvements in the city, it is not unusual for unscrupulous plumbers to try to scam residents of the city. In 2018. an unlicensed contractor was arrested for taking upfront payment from homeowners in Central Florida without doing the required work. There are several signs that you may be dealing with a fraudulent plumber in St. Petersburg, some of which are listed below:
- The plumber refuses to write a quote or sign a contract
- The plumber has no proof of a proper license
- The plumber has no valid insurance coverage
- The plumber requests a large down payment
- The plumber is unable to provide plumbing credentials
- The plumber makes unsolicited visits or calls and offers discounted services
- The plumber's business card does not contain a local address or telephone number
You can protect yourself from scam plumbers by taking the following steps:
- Demanding to see a proper license and verifying it via the license verification portal.
- Asking for referrals tor plumbers near you from friends and family
- Never agreeing to cash-only deals
- Using third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review to find legitimate plumbers near you.
- Requesting quotes from different plumbers and comparing these quotes
- Getting a written contract and making sure you understand the terms of the contract before signing
- Avoid making a full payment until the job has been completed to satisfaction
- Ensuring that the plumber is insured by asking for an insurance certificate and calling the Insurance institute for authentication.
- Requesting references from the plumber and contacting these references to get their opinions on the plumber.
- Being wary of plumbers that mount pressure on you to make snappy decisions.
If you wish to file a complaint against a plumber, you can do so by contacting the Consumer Protection Division of Pinellas County by calling (727) 464-6200, sending an email, or by filling and submitting a business complaint form.
Alternatively, you can also file a complaint against a plumber in St. Petersburg with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, either by calling (850) 487-139 or via this department's online complaint portal. Finally, you can report the alleged fraudulent and deceptive business activities of plumbers directly to the Florida Attorney General's Office by calling (866) 966-7226.
In the event that you do not receive total satisfaction after filing a complaint with any of these offices, you can seek monetary compensation for damages done by filing a lawsuit against the plumber at the Pinellas County Small Claims Court located at:
- 315 Court Street
- Clearwater, FL 33756
- Phone: (727) 464-3341
Note that this court has limited jurisdiction and you only claim up to $5,000 in damages. It is best to seek the help of an experienced attorney before taking any type of legal action.