How to Hire a Good Plumber in Laredo
Water leaks are common problems in most homes, and failing to address them can lead to water wastage of up to 10,000 gallons in a year, leaving you with exorbitant water bills. Therefore, it is crucial to hire the services of a good plumber when you notice any leak in your home or experience plumbing faults. Doing this will help avoid water wastage and can help you save as much as 10 percent on your water bills. When searching for a plumber in the city, you can find out if a plumber is the right fit for you by asking the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Laredo?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Laredo?
- Do You Comply with the City of Laredo Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Laredo Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Laredo?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Laredo?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Laredo?
According to section 25-63 of the Laredo Code of Ordinances, it is unlawful for any person to offer plumbing services without first having obtained the necessary license. Failure to obtain a license is generally unlawful and attracts administrative penalties, including fines of up to $5,000.
The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE) administers plumbing licenses to eligible individuals in the City of Laredo. Plumbers regulated by this Board are classified into different types, including apprentice plumbers, journeyman plumbers, and master plumbers. However, while all plumbers must obtain a license from the TSBPE before offering plumbing services, apprentice plumbers are simply required to register with the Board. Nonetheless, in order to register or obtain a plumbing license from the TSBPE, per section 1301.002 of the Plumbing License Law, interested persons are generally required to meet certain licensing requirements, submit a completed registration application form or pass required licensing examinations, and pay the required fees. Note that licensing requirements vary. For example, to become a registered apprentice plumber, an interested person must be at least 16 years old and be working under the supervision of a licensed plumber. On the other hand, to be eligible for a journeyman plumber license, interested persons must be registered as an apprentice plumber or licensed as a Tradesman Plumber-Limited with 8,000 hours of plumbing working experience. Interested persons must have also completed a 48-hour training course approved by TSBPE.
After satisfying the relevant licensing requirements, interested persons can obtain a registration application form or examination application form and submit the completed form, along with required fees, to the TSPBE. Licenses can be renewed annually, but applicants must complete six hours of continuing professional education before they can be eligible for license renewal. Also, it is important to note that licenses that have been expired for more than two years cannot be renewed until they have been reinstated.
Interested persons can inquire about plumbing license applications by contacting the TSBPS at (512) 936-5200. Also, residents can utilize the Online Licensing System maintained by this Board to confirm if their plumber is duly licensed.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Laredo?
The average hourly cost of hiring a plumber in Laredo varies depending on the services to be rendered. For example, the average cost of toilet installation or replacement ranges between $135 and $145, while water softener installation costs between $920 and $1,200. Hence, before deciding on the plumber to hire, it is best to consider bids from at least three plumbers. This will help you compare costs and settle for a fair price for your plumbing work.
A plumber in the City of Laredo earns an annual average wage of $32,040. Below is a breakdown of the Average hourly wages for plumbers in Laredo compared with plumbers in other parts of Texas and other major cities in the country:Laredo Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$15.40Texas Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$24.44New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$44.20Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$27.93Dallas Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$24.37Detroit Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$33.24
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Laredo Building Code for Plumbing?
When looking out for a plumber to fix your plumbing issues, ensure that you engage one who is aware of the Plumbing Code in Laredo. The current Plumbing Code applicable in the City is the 2018 International Plumbing Code, which was adopted to regulate the construction, erection, enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, and maintenance of all piping, fittings, fixtures, and plumbing systems within the city. This Code aims to protect public health, safety, and welfare, and it covers several plumbing systems, including fixtures, faucets and fixture fittings, water heaters, storm drainage, traps, interceptors, and separators. Any person who does any plumbing work in violation of this Code is punishable with a maximum fine of $2,000 per violation. Therefore, it is crucial to hire a plumber who understands the provisions of this Code and how it applies to your plumbing project in order to protect yourself from possible Code violations.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Laredo Code?
According to Section 25-63 of the Laredo Code of Ordinances, it is unlawful for any person to perform any plumbing work without first having procured the necessary permits. However, permits are not required for some specific plumbing works, including:
- Stopping leaks in water, waste, or vent pipes, provided no pipe is replaced or removed,
- Stoppage or repair of leaks in valves, pipes, or fixtures and the reinstallation and removal of water closets, as long as it doesn't require the rearrangement or replacement of affected valves, pipes, or fixtures.
Application for a plumbing permit is usually made by plumbers or homeowners who want to carry out any plumbing work. The City of Laredo Building Development Services Department is responsible for issuing plumbing permits in the city. To apply for a plumbing permit, applicants are to email a completed plumbing permit application form to this Department. Note that the Laredo Code Official might require that construction documents, engineering calculations, diagrams, and other data be submitted in two or more sets with each application for a permit. Also, before a permit is issued, the Code Official must inspect and evaluate the space, building, equipment, and materials relevant to the plumbing work.
Every permit issued by the Code Official expires if work does not commence within 180 days from the date it was issued or if the work is suspended or abandoned at any time after the work is commenced for 180 days. Note that the Code Official is authorized to conduct inspections to ascertain that the plumbing work is being done in compliance with the applicable Plumbing Code. Therefore, after obtaining a permit, homeowners must ensure they or their plumber schedules inspections with the Code Official before the conclusion of the plumbing work. If any violation of City Ordinances is noticed, the relevant homeowner will be required to make the necessary corrections before the plumbing work can be approved. Inquiries regarding permitting and inspection can be directed to any Designated Building Permit Official.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Plumbers in Laredo offer varying services, which mostly depend on the scope of their plumbing licenses. For example, while Master Plumbers and Journeyman Plumbers may install, change, repair, service, or renovate plumbing systems, Tradesman Plumber-Limited can only construct, install, repair, service, or renovate plumbing for one and two-family dwellings. Therefore, when considering which plumber's services to hire, it is essential to hire a plumber with the license and skill relevant to the service you need. However, while this is important, you should note that a plumber's license type and scope typically influence their charge rate.
Below are some common cost estimates for some plumbing services in the City of Laredo:Bathtub installation$1,700 - $2,100Clearing drain clog or blockage$110 - $136Drain line video inspection$230 - $263Fuel tank installation/removal$2,000 - $2,500Fuel tank removal$1,550 - $1,700Gas line installation$26 - $40Septic system installation$6,500 - $7,700Sewer line installation/repair$54 - $75Sump Pump Installation$750 - $1,000Toilet Installation or Replacement$135 - $145Water Softener Installation$915 - $1,200
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Laredo?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, most household leaks come from worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves, and these leaks result in the wastage of over 10,000 gallons of water annually. Considering that residents of the City of Laredo pay at least $25.24 per 1,000 gallons of 1" metered water consumption, ignoring a leak in your home can be expensive, as the resulting water wastage increases your water bills. Hence, every homeowner is advised to treat household leaks as emergencies and fix them immediately. To find plumbers who offer emergency plumbing repair services near you, you can check third-party websites like Yelp and Better Business Bureau. However, ensure that any plumber you hire is duly licensed. You can verify the licensure of a plumber by utilizing the TSBPE Online Licensing System.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Laredo?
Per section 7-29 of the Laredo Code of Ordinances, all contractors, including plumbers, must have commercial general liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage, and the minimum coverage per occurrence must be $300,000. According to figures published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 123 construction workers, including plumbers, died in workplace accidents in Texas in 2019. Hence you need to hire only insured plumbers to work in your home, as a plumber's insurance financially protects you from covering the costs of any work-related injury during your plumbing work. You can confirm if a plumber is duly insured by requesting that they provide their certificate of insurance.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Laredo
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, American homeowners spent more than $400 billion on residential renovations and repairs in 2020. This means that a lot of money goes into home improvement in each state, including Texas. Unfortunately, this amount of money attracts fraudulent plumbers who scam homeowners of their money across the state, including the City of Laredo. These shady plumbers typically utilize several scam methods, including insisting on being paid upfront and not getting the job done, refusing to provide references, showing up at your door uninvited, and demanding payment in cash. For example, a contractor in the Webb County area was sentenced to prison and fined $10,000 for collecting substantial down payments from city residents for home improvement projects and repeatedly failing to begin or complete these projects. Considering how devastating falling victim to a scam can be, it is expedient for you to protect yourself from such a situation when planning for your plumbing project. In doing this, you can take the following steps:
- Be cautious of plumbers who solicit services door-to-door.
- Verify that your hired plumber is actively licensed. License verification can be done through the Texas online license search portal.
- Get estimates from at least three different plumbers on the cost of your requested service so you know if you're being overcharged or presented with an abnormally low bid.
- Use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to find trustworthy plumbers. Also, check their ratings and see if any complaints have been filed against them.
- Insist on a written contract. Advisably, this contract should state the project's description and the plumber's duties.
- Don't give full payment to any plumber until the work is complete and you have inspected it yourself and found it satisfactory.
- Maintain a record of all paperwork related to your job.
- Never make cash payments. Instead, consider paying by credit card to avail yourself of additional protections like a generated payment receipt.
Homeowners who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a plumber can file an online complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General Office. Alternatively, you can obtain a downloadable consumer complaint form, which is available in English or Spanish, and mail the completed form to:
- Office of the Attorney General
- Consumer Protection Division
- P.O. Box 12548
- Austin, TX 78711-2548
Upon filing your complaint, the Consumer Protection Division will review it to identify illegal activity. However, be aware that the Consumer Protection Division cannot represent you in any legal proceeding nor offer monetary compensations. For legal representation and monetary compensation, consumers can seek the services of a private attorney and possibly file a small claims lawsuit at the Webb County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4. Consumers should note that they can only claim a maximum amount of $10,000 in a small claims lawsuit.