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5 Tips on Vetting Your Next Plumber or Garage Repairman

While we all like to consider ourselves handymen, when the toilet is overflowing, the kitchen sink is spewing water, and our garage is holding a personal strike against opening up, we often find our phone in hand before our wrench. While hiring a repairman may seem like the simple solution, you are in fact inviting a complete stranger into your house and offering them a good sum of cash for handling your problem.


There are a fair share of professionals who are no better at fixing a garage or your plumbing than you are, and are happy to take your money for sub-par work. To keep from having your bank account and your bathroom sink leaking, the key is to properly vet professionals before you inviting them into your home. Easier said than done? With these five tips, you’ll have the right tools to ensure your hired professional has the right tools as well.

1. Research Them

The first and foremost step in the vetting process is a background check. Now you don’t need to have friends in low places or be a certified CIA agent to perform a little personal researching, as the internet can provide you with all you need and more as a second opinion on your potential repairman. Especially for professionals, having a credible online presence is a sign of competence and success; if you can’t find them online, that’s your first warning.

  • Online Reviews

Sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are specifically made to benefit both buyers and sellers, allowing customers to browse through a list of professionals and gauge who is right for them. This is done especially with online reviews given by previous customers, and it allows you to see the quality of work they can provide. How many stars do they have? Which customers complained about which services? How is their turnaround and how fixed is their rate? Every professional has a bad review or two, but this will give you a trustworthy means of verifying their credibility.

2. Ask Friends for Recommendations.

Recommendations are everything, and in addition to Yelp and Angie’s List, asking your friends or consulting social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can give you the opportunity to get a more rounded personal opinion. This can be as simple as talking to a co-worker about the things they expect from their plumber, or going to a garage repair profile page and asking followers if they have experience with your considered professional.

3. Ask For Specifics

Real professionals want you to feel as comfortable and as confident as possible, and will be happy to be both transparent about their work and communicative on the details. When you’re vetting your potential repairman, be sure to nail down the specific details of the job and what their intentions are – their response and their tone of response will tell you volumes.

– Is Their Quote Fixed or An Estimate?

With the aim to encourage confidence in their customers, most reputable repairmen will offer a fixed quote on the work they will provide. Many a scams have been carried out with a “rough estimate” that ends up doubling or even tripling at the end of the job, leaving you with work you don’t approve of or a price tag you certainly can’t stomach.

– Can They Itemize the Work?

There are some trustworthy professionals who prefer estimates but still have good intentions. In all cases, the next step is to ask for them to specify the work and the correlating prices. Good repairmen are experienced enough to know what to expect, and should surprises arise, they can point out the exact difference or unexpected outcome in a way you can see for yourself. Transparency is key, and if your potential repairman can’t tell you exactly what they’re offering, you must doubt their credibility.

4. Meet Up With Other Professionals

Even if you’re sure one repairman is the best choice, it’s important to speak with other candidates and ask what they’re offering. Even if you don’t seriously consider them, you can find out important information about what the competition offers, what they’re willing to do, and how much they want to charge for it. This second opinion can send alarm bells off when your repairman asks for twice the money, does half the job, or has some strange demands that no other professional sets in place.

5. Ask About Their Background

Innocent until proven guilty is the theme, but there’s nothing wrong with double checking. After having researched them online, it’s wise to ask them about their details and history directly. For professionals who aren’t very tech savvy, this could be a chance for them to redeem their lack of available information; and for scammers, this is a chance for them to slip up and show their duplicity.

– How Long Have They Been in Business?

Not all quality professionals need a great deal of experience, but knowing what you’re getting into is valuable. A professional with ten years’ experience is certainly more trustworthy than one who has only been at it for a week, especially if your other means of vetting have come up with less than satisfying results.

– Can They Reference Suppliers and Previous Clients?

Just like with Yelp offering a second opinion, a professional’s willingness to reference other contacts is a sign of experience, transparency, and professionalism. Even if you never double check these facts, it shows their professionalism as a whole and their willingness to acknowledge your caution. A scammer will have few references and difficulty sharing information.

Even if it’s just to fix your garage door, inviting someone into your home is a risk – both to yourself and for your poor garage door. Making sure you have the right professional isn’t difficult; it just takes time, a little digging, and the willingness to ask questions. And remember, you’re the one with the checkbook, so you’re the one that gets to call the shots.

Are you looking to repair your garage door? Get in touch with New York Gates today. Call us at 718-614-0616 for a free consultation.