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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in the City of Orlando
According to the Orlando Utility Commission, a leaky toilet can waste over 90,000 gallons of water monthly, raising your water bill significantly. Similarly, a single toilet leak can add up to $500 to your monthly water bill. Therefore, to avoid paying for unused water, it is recommended that you hire a good plumber to repair every plumbing issue in your home and keep your plumbing system maintained. You can typically find a good plumber near you by getting referrals from friends or neighbors. However, you should always ask any plumber you choose to hire the following questions to determine if this plumber is the best choice:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Orlando?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Orlando?
- Do You Comply with the City of Orlando Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Orlando Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Orlando?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Orlando?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Orlando
Anyone who intends to offer plumbing services in the City of Orlando is required to obtain a plumbing license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), which licenses plumbers operating across Florida. Operating without a plumbing license attracts a cease and desist order and a possible administrative fine of $5,000 for both the unlicensed plumber and the resident who engages this plumber.
The plumbing license types issued by the DBPR are classified into certified and registered plumbing licenses. Certified plumbers provide plumbing services anywhere in Florida, while registered plumbers can only work in a specific area. To obtain a certified plumbing license, interested persons must be:
- At least 18 years old,
- Have at least four years of plumbing experience or must have completed four years of plumbing-related college education with an additional one year of plumbing experience,
- Pass the Florida certified contractor examination, and
- Provide proof of insurance coverage in the amount determined by the DBPR.
Similarly, to obtain a registered plumber license, applicants must be at least 18 years old and must provide proof of financial stability and insurance coverage. In addition to the aforementioned requirements, applicants must also provide a certificate of competency issued by a local licensing authority. Queries concerning plumbing licenses can be directed to the DBPR's Customer Contact Center at (850) 487-1395.
In addition to a state-issued license, plumbing contractors in the City of Orlando are also required to register with the Orlando Permitting Services Division. Note that registration with this Division is a prerequisite to obtaining a building permit in Orlando. To register with the Division, plumbing contractors are required to provide proof of plumbing license issued by the DBPR, a business tax receipt issued by the city, and current proof of workers' compensation insurance or proof of exemption from the workers' compensation insurance requirement. Queries regarding citywide contractors registration can be directed to the Orlando Permitting Services Division at (407) 246-2261.
To confirm a plumber is duly licensed, residents of Orlando can utilize the DBPR's online licensee search tool or contact the Department at (850) 487-1395.
The hourly cost of hiring a plumber in Orlando is typically determined by the type of service you need, the plumber's experience or qualification, and the cost of relevant materials. Before hiring a plumber in the City of Orlando, you should ideally have a general idea of what your project may cost. You can do this by comparing estimates from different plumbers.
A plumber in Orlando City earns an annual average wage of $44,100. Listed below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in the City of Orlando compared with plumbers in other parts of Florida and other major cities in the country:
All home improvement and construction works, including plumbing works, are regulated by the City of Orlando through the adoption of the 2020 Florida Building Code. This Building Code governs the installation, maintenance, replacement, or alteration of plumbing systems and all other plumbing activities across the city. The Code also specifies the minimum standards for plumbing work in the city, as well as who is eligible to provide plumbing services. Before hiring a plumber in Orlando, it is good to confirm if the individual is familiar with the Florida Building Code, as this protects you from penalties and administrative fines that may result from code violations. You can direct queries concerning the Building Code to the city's Permitting Services Division at (407) 246-2271.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Orlando Code?
A plumbing permit is required before several plumbing works in the City of Orlando can begin. Such plumbing works include installations, replacements, and repairs of plumbing fixtures and systems. However, some plumbing works are also exempt from permit requirements. Per section 105.2 of the adopted Florida Building Code, plumbing works exempt from permits include clearing of stoppages or repairing of leaks in valves, pipes, and fixtures without replacing any of the aforementioned plumbing systems. Nonetheless, before hiring a plumber near you, it is always a good idea to find out if the job requires a permit in order to ensure you follow the applicable requirements of the Building Code.
Plumbing permits applications are processed by the Orlando City Permitting Services Division. To obtain a plumbing permit, applicants must obtain a downloadable plumbing permit application form and mail the completed form to:Permitting Services Division
400 South Orange Avenue
P.O. Box 4990
Orlando, FL 32802-4990 P
Note that permit applications can only be submitted by registered contractors. If your plumber is not registered with the Permitting Services Division, your permit application will be denied. The Permitting Services Division typically processes all permit applications within two business days. Once an application has been processed, the applicant will be notified to submit the necessary plumbing plans for approval. If the value of the plumbing project is more than $2,500, the applicant will be required to file a notice of commencement with the Orange County Comptroller's Office before starting any work on the project. Applicants are then notified of permit fees and payment instructions after submitted plans have been successfully reviewed. Note that payment of fees validates permit applications.
In addition to issuing permits for plumbing works, the city's Permitting Services Division also performs inspections on plumbing work for which a permit has been issued. These inspections are to ensure the plumbing work is done according to city standards. Common plumbing-related inspections in Orlando include underground rough-in inspections, sanitary system inspections, water pipe inspections, and interceptor inspections. You can schedule an inspection online or by contacting the Permitting Services Division at (407) 246-4444. For inquiries on applying for a plumber permit and related processes, you can also contact the Permitting Services Division at (407) 246-2271.
Orlando plumbers offer different types of plumbing services, ranging from installation of new plumbing systems to replacement and repair of faulty plumbing systems. This includes fixing household leaks, cleaning clogged drains, and replacing or repairing faulty fixtures and fittings. However, before hiring a plumber near you, it is important to find out if the individual has the experience to perform a satisfactory job for you. For example, while simple repairs like fixing household leaks do not require many years of experience, you need a more experienced plumber to install new pipes, especially if it is a new building. You can find out if the individual is experienced by asking about their years of practice and asking them to provide references from previous clients.
Note that your type of plumbing work and the plumber's experience typically influence the overall cost you will spend. However, listed below are some of the cost estimates for plumbing services in the City of Orlando:
Emergency plumbing issues generally include any plumbing issue that requires immediate attention. Such issues include burst pipes, valve failure, clogged toilets, and even general problems like dripping faucets. It is estimated that a simple household leak can waste over 10,000 gallons of water yearly and consequently increase your water bills. However, while you are focused on ensuring that your plumbing problem is fixed immediately, you should also ensure that the individual you intend to hire is qualified and competent enough to fix the problem.
You can find good plumbers near you by exploring third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp. These websites also contain customer reviews, which are helpful with assessing a plumber's expertise and professionalism. Despite getting positive customer reviews on a plumber, you should always ensure that the individual you intend to hire is licensed. You can confirm your plumber's license status by utilizing the DBPR's online licensee search tool.
In Florida, contractors are required to maintain general liability insurance before operating within the state, and contractors with employees are additionally required to maintain workers' compensation insurance. Accordingly, it is crucial to ensure that any plumber you intend to hire is duly insured. Besides ensuring this plumber is law-abiding, hiring an insured plumber also gives you financial protection from claims that may result from work accidents during your plumbing work. This financial protection is particularly essential, considering the construction industry accounted for 30% of fatal work injuries across Florida in 2019.
You can verify whether your plumber maintains general liability insurance by requesting a certificate of insurance and confirming from the insurance company that issued the certificate. If the plumber has employees, you can verify if the plumber has workers' compensation insurance by contacting the Florida Division of Workers Compensation Compliance at (850) 488-2333 or by utilizing the online proof of coverage database.
According to a report published by the National Association of Home Builders in 2017, the average cost of carrying out a single home improvement project in Orlando and other cities in Florida is over $6,000. Considering the amount of money spent on home repairs and improvement in Florida, the construction industry is an attractive niche for fraudulent individuals posing as legitimate plumbers to defraud unsuspecting citizens. For example, in August 2021, a swimming contractor near Orlando was charged for collecting money from several customers without starting the projects for which payments were made. However, the contractor was asked to pay nearly $139,000 as restitution to affected customers. Unfortunately, there are various instances of such contractor scams, and some residents may not be lucky enough to get compensated.
Therefore, before you hire a plumber to fix your plumbing system, you need to ensure this plumber is legit to avoid falling victim to scammers. Some of the popular scam methods used by these scammers include inflating the cost of plumbing materials, requesting upfront payment and not showing up to do the job, and doing shoddy work that will require repair after a short period.
You can avoid falling victim to such scams by doing the following:
- Avoid door-to-door solicitations
- Use third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review to find competent and legitimate plumbers near you.
- Hire only licensed plumbers. You can confirm a plumber's license status by checking the DBPR's online licensee search tool
- Get estimates from at least three plumbers and ensure that each plumber provides details of the amount of work to be done and the cost of materials to be used
- Ask any plumber you intend to hire for a list of references and make sure that you contact the individuals to verify the plumber's claim
- Ensure that the plumber has insurance coverage. You can confirm if your plumber is insured by asking for an insurance certificate and calling the insurance company that issued the insurance certificate
- Get a written contract for the project. Make sure you understand the terms of the agreement before signing it
- Avoid making full payment until the work has been completed and inspected
415 North Orange Avenue
P.O. Box 1673
Orlando, FL 32802
However, residents of Orlando should understand that the Orange County Consumer Fraud Unit can only facilitate an amicable settlement between the relevant consumers and contractors. If you want compensation, you can file a small claims case against the plumber at the Orange County Civil Court. However, note that you cannot claim more than $8,000 in small claims cases. Finally, if you choose to take legal action, it is recommended that you first seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.