How to Hire a Good Plumber in Virginia Beach
According to the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities, a small drip from your leaking faucets and pipes can waste up to 50 gallons of water per day, thereby inflating monthly water charges. As such, it is essential for residents to hire a good plumber to perform occasional plumbing maintenance on their home plumbing systems and promptly fix any noticed leaks or plumbing defects. Hiring duly licensed and qualified plumbers to perform such maintenance and repairs not only guarantees you a working plumbing system but also helps you save on water usage. When looking for plumbers near you, you can generally rely on trusted friends, family, and even other home improvement contractors for referrals. However, it is also advisable to ask the following questions and ensure your intended plumber is the right choice:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Virginia Beach?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Virginia Beach?
- Do You Comply with the City of Virginia Beach Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Virginia Beach Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Virginia Beach?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Virginia Beach?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Virginia Beach?
Before bidding for plumbing jobs in Virginia Beach, plumbers are required to obtain a license from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). This Department issues plumbing licenses through its Board for Contractors, which regulates contractors across Virginia. Per section 54.1-1115 of the Code of Virginia, any plumber who carries out plumbing work without a valid license or proper license commits a misdemeanor and will be fined an amount not exceeding $500 for each day they are in violation.
The DPOR issues two types of plumbing licenses, namely the journeyman plumbing license and the master plumbing license. However, before applying for a plumbing license, interested persons must generally be at least 18 years old, complete a pre-license education program from an approved and accredited vocational school, and pass the required licensing exam. Depending on the license type, interested persons are further expected to meet specific requirements before sitting for the relevant licensing examination. For example, before sitting for a journeyman plumbing license examination, interested persons are required to satisfy one of several requirements, like acquiring at least four years of practical experience and 240 hours of formal vocational training in the plumbing trade or an associate's degree from a two-year program in a tradesman-related field with two years of practical experience in the plumbing trade.
Also, before sitting for a master plumbing license examination, interested persons are required to have acquired at least one year of experience as a state-licensed journeyman plumber or ten years of practical plumbing experience to be verified by a reference letter from a former employer or client.
Applicants who have satisfied these requirements and passed the relevant licensing examination must then submit a completed Tradesman Exam and License Application form and pay the applicable fees to the DPOR at the address indicated in the top left corner of the form. Applicants will typically be required to show proof that they have satisfied licensing requirements. For example, applicants for a master plumbing license will be required to provide a copy of their valid journeyman plumbing licenses. After obtaining a plumbing license, plumbers must complete a three-hour continuing education course annually to maintain their licenses. For inquiries and assistance with obtaining a plumbing license and related processes or requirements, interested persons can contact the DPOR at (804) 367-8511.
Note that the State of Virginia has an active reciprocity program with the State of Washington. As a result of this reciprocity program, some plumbing license requirements are exempted for plumbers from Washington. Out-of-state plumbers who may want to inquire about this reciprocity program and exempted licensing requirements can contact the DPOR via the aforementioned telephone number.
You can confirm if your intended plumber is duly licensed by utilizing the license lookup tool maintained by the DPOR. This lookup tool also provides records of disciplinary actions against any plumber, which you can utilize to assess your intended plumber's professionalism.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Virginia Beach?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers in Virginia Beach are estimated to earn a mean hourly wage of $23.91. However, other factors influence how much plumbers may end up charging for their services. Such factors include the job's complexity, the cost of materials, and the required manpower for the job. Accordingly, it is advisable to compare quotes from at least three plumbers before hiring one. Doing this enables you to choose the plumbers that best suit your financial budget.
A plumber in the City of Virginia Beach earns an annual average wage of $49,730. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Virginia Beach compared with plumbers in other parts of Virginia and other major cities in the country:Virginia Beach Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$24Virginia Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$24.75Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Atlanta Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.53New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Virginia Beach Building Code for Plumbing?
Plumbing work across the City of Virginia Beach is regulated by the 2018 Virginia Plumbing Code, which the city adopted in 2018. This Code sets the standard for the alteration, modification, maintenance, and replacement of plumbing systems in the city. In addition to this, the Plumbing Code sets the health and public safety standards applicable when constructing, installing, and modifying plumbing systems in Virginia Beach.
Anyone who violates the Plumbing Code commits a misdemeanor and will face civil penalties as determined by the Virginia Beach Housing & Neighborhood Preservation's Code Enforcement Division. Therefore, it is essential to retain the services of plumbers who are well-versed with the Plumbing Code and the provisions of this code that are relevant and applicable to your plumbing project. Residents can contact the city's Housing & Neighborhood Preservation's Code Enforcement Division at (757) 385-4421 for more information on the Virginia Plumbing Code and assistance with code compliance.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Virginia Beach Code?
A permit is generally required for various plumbing works in Virginia Beach, including the installation of new plumbing fixtures or drains, the installation or replacement of testable backflow preventers, and the replacement of water or sewer lines in both residential and commercial buildings. The Permits & Inspections Office of the City of Virginia Beach Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD) is responsible for processing plumbing permit applications and plan reviews for plumbing projects across the city. However, per section 108.2 of the Virginia Plumbing Code, some plumbing works can be performed without a permit. Such plumbing works include the replacement of plumbing fixtures and well pumps, as long as water supply, distribution systems, sanitary drainage systems, or vent systems are not altered in the process.
While project owners or licensed plumbers can obtain permits for residential plumbing projects, only licensed plumbers are authorized to apply for commercial plumbing permits. To apply for a plumbing permit, applicants can download and complete a plumbing permit application form. This completed form can then be mailed or submitted to the city's Permits & Inspections Office at:
- Permits & Inspections
- 2875 Sabre Street
- Suite 500
- Virginia Beach, VA 23452
- Phone: (757) 385-4211
Alternatively, permit applications can be made online via the city's Citizen Access System. To utilize this system, applicants must create a user account or log in to their account if they already have one. Interested parties can utilize an online user guide to navigate this Citizen Access System.
The Virginia Beach Permits & Inspections Office generally processes permit applications and issues a plumbing permit to applicants who have satisfied stipulated requirements, which may include the submission of plumbing plans where applicable. However, note that applicants must pay the stipulated permit fees within five days of the permit approval.
Also, a permit holder must schedule inspections with the DPCD at different stages of the plumbing project. Depending on the type of plumbing project, you may require anywhere between four to seven inspections at various stages of the project. You can explore the inspection brochure provided by the DPCD to find out the stage of your plumbing project at which you would you need to schedule an inspection. Inspections are scheduled through the city's Citizen Access System. After inspections have been duly scheduled, you can contact the designated inspector between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on the day of inspection. For inquiries regarding plumbing permits, interested parties can contact the city's Permit & Inspections Office at (757) 385- 4211 or via email.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Plumbers in Virginia Beach offer different plumbing services, including fixing faulty plumbing fixtures, clearing clogged drainage, and installing and maintaining plumbing systems. Nonetheless, some plumbers may specialize in offering specific types of plumbing services. For instance, some plumbers specialize in handling commercial projects, while some specialize in handling only residential projects. As a result, when searching for a plumber, it is crucial to hire one who specializes in offering the services you need.
Listed below are common plumbing services in the City of Virginia Beach and their estimates:Plumbing remodeling or addition$4,500 - $6,200Toilet installation or replacement$150 - $180Clearing drain clog or blockage$135 - $165Bathtub installation for acrylic tub$2,000 - $2,500Drain line video inspection$280 - $350Gas line installation$30 - $50 per linear footSeptic system installation$7,500 - $9,500Septic tank cleaning or pumping$260 - $350Sewer line cleaning$180 - $290Sump pump installation$900 - $1,400Swamp cooler installation$2,500 - $2,800
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Virginia Beach?
The Virginia Beach Department of Public utilities estimates that a leak can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. Considering how such leaks can spike your water bills, make a mess of your home, and potentially compromise your building structure, it is crucial to fix them and any other plumbing issues urgently. Therefore, it is recommended that you treat these leaks, and other plumbing issues, as an emergency. However, while it is essential to routinely check your plumbing system for defects, getting competent plumbers to fix these plumbing problems is equally an important task.
To find qualified plumbers near you, you can utilize online review platforms like Google Review, Better Business Bureau, and Yelp. These platforms typically have a list of plumbers near you with client reviews. However, before hiring any plumber, ensure to confirm this plumber is licensed. You can utilize the DPOR's license lookup tool to verify a plumber's license.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Virginia Beach?
Plumbing works involve significant physical efforts, heavy loads, and uncomfortable work postures that can cause falling or slipping. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbing injuries accounted for 37,800 nonfatal work-related injuries across the country in 2019. Therefore, while Virginia Beach does not require plumbers to have general liability insurance, it is advised that you hire a plumber with one, as it offers financial protection when there is an accident or injury resulting from your plumbing work. You can confirm if a plumber is insured by asking to see proof of insurance and contacting the relevant insurance provider for confirmation.
However, note that plumbers in Virginia Beach are required to obtain workers' compensation insurance if they have employees. Per section 65.2-805 of the Code of Virginia, if an employer fails to maintain a workers' compensation insurance, they shall be liable to a civil penalty of up to $5,000. You can direct your queries regarding workers' compensation insurance requirements in Virginia Beach to the Virginia Worker Compensation Commission at (877) 664-2566.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Virginia Beach
Residents of Virginia Beach are generally advised to protect themselves against deceptive and unscrupulous individuals posing as plumbers when planning a plumbing project. Although these unscrupulous individuals may be sophisticated in their methods, some common signs of these scammers include an unwillingness to provide work references, insistence on collecting full payment, inability to provide a registration certificate or license number, and door-to-door solicitation. In June 2021, a judge sentenced a contractor to 29 years and six months for defrauding several residents of Virginia Beach. Most of these residents paid anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 for work that was never carried out or never completed. Unfortunately, these types of stories are common in Virginia Beach yearly. As such, it is crucial to take necessary precautions to protect yourself against possible plumbing scams. In this regard, you can take the following steps:
- Hire only licensed plumbers. You can use the DPOR license lookup tool to verify your intended plumber's license.
- Get at least three references from your plumber so you can review their past works and assess their professionalism.
- Check bids or estimates from at least three different plumbers before hiring a plumber.
- Make sure you have a written contract with your plumber. If you do not understand some terms of the contract, ask the plumber for clarification. Alternatively, you can engage the services of an attorney.
- If you must make an upfront payment, ensure you pay only 10% of the agreed payment or $1,000, whichever is less.
- Ensure you always keep all records of payments and other documents related to the project.
- Avoid making a final payment until you are satisfied with the plumber's service.
Finally, you can report any deceptive plumber in Virginia Beach by completing a complaint form and submitting this form to the address provided at the top right corner of the form. Alternatively, you can file such complaints by contacting the Virginia Beach Office of the Commonwealth Attorney at (757) 385-4401 or via email.