Of course the time when your pipe has already burst is too late to calmly search for a reliable professional. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have an emergency list lined up in advance with the names and contact information of service professionals that you like, trust, and have tested.

What if you don’t? Google is there to help.

Searching for plumbers online and reading through reviews on the online directories is always the best way to go if you don’t have any previous experiences.

Use your zip code and try to find a plumber using keywords that have to do with your situation (such as “plumbing drain near San Diego, CA)

Make sure you ask for a price over the phone for common issues, or a free estimate for more involved projects. For a simple drain snake, or a minor repair, the plumber (or even the dispatcher that answers the phone) should be able to provide you with a set flat price. Ask for coupons, special deals or discounts for special populations (military, student, senior, etc…)

Find out when they can commit to an appointment, and ask to speak directly to the plumber who will be arriving at your property (don’t settle for speaking to the dispatcher only) – often they would be able to provide some over the phone advice on what you should do, the severity of the problem, any potential complications, or any other details worth knowing.

Remember – you get what you paid for.

Price isn’t always the primary consideration in choosing a contractor. Make sure that they are licensed, insured, drive a respectable vehicle, and seem to be nice, careful and pleasant people. Nothing beats a good first impression and the gut instinct that accompanies it.