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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in the City of Tampa

If you found your water bill unexpectedly high, your best first course of action is to hire a qualified plumber to help check for undetected leaks. Considering that the City of Tampa Water Department charges $4.71 per 748 gallons, such leaks could be expensive. Dripping faucets, faulty toilets, loose sprinkler heads, and broken underground pipes can waste over 90 gallons of water per day. Hiring a good plumber to handle these issues will save several hundreds of dollars in water and wastewater bills while also helping the city conserve water. Before you conclude on hiring a plumber in the city, ask the following question to be sure the professional is the right hand for the job:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Tampa?

Per Section 5-105.5.2 of the Tampa Building Code, you can not hire an unlicensed person to act as your plumber or to supervise people working on your building. Residents of Tampa must understand that hiring an unlicensed contractor in Tampa or any other city in Florida is considered a misdemeanor, and it is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is responsible for licensing eligible plumbers in Tampa, and you can verify your plumber's license status using the DBPR's licensee search tool.

The DBPR issues both the certified plumber license and a registered plumber license to eligible plumbers in Tampa. A holder of a certified plumber license can work in any jurisdiction in the state, while registered plumbers can only provide plumbing services in the jurisdiction for which the license is issued. To obtain a certified plumbing license in Tampa, applicants must be no less than the age of 18. In addition to this, applicants must also have at least four years of plumbing experience or college education, and must have taken and passed a state certification examination. Applicants will also be required to provide proof of financial stability and insurance coverage. To obtain a registered plumber license, applicants must not be less than the age of 18, and must provide proof of financial stability and insurance coverage. Queries concerning obtaining a certified plumbing license or a registered plumbing license can be directed to the DBPR's Customer Contact Center at (850) 487 - 1395.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Tampa?

The hourly cost of hiring a plumber to perform plumbing repair or installation in your home is generally dependent on factors like the nature of the work, the plumber's experience, and the cost of materials. However, it is always a good idea to get multiple estimates from different plumbers as this will help you know the average market price for the plumbing work you want to carry out.

A plumber in the City of Tampa earns an annual average wage of $45,800. Listed below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Tampa compared with plumbers in other parts of Florida and other major cities in the country:

Tampa Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$22.02
Florida Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$21.92
Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$29.04
Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$26.71
Chicago Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$44.20
Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$22.66
Washington D.C. Plumbers Hourly Average Wage
$27.93
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the City of Tampa Building Code for Plumbing?

Home improvement or construction work may result in a variety of financial and legal liabilities when they are not done following the city's rules and regulations concerning such work. These liabilities include, but are not limited to, statutory penalties, home improvement scams, and potential court cases. Before carrying out any home improvement work, it is always important to find out if your professional is familiar with the city's Code regulating such work. The City of Tampa Building Code governs the installation, maintenance, replacement, alteration, and modification of plumbing systems in the city. The Code establishes the minimum plumbing work requirements necessary to safeguard the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of Tampa.

To ensure that plumbing work in the city meets these requirements, the Building Code specifies that only licensed plumbers can work in the city and plumbing permits must be obtained for most plumbing work. While Tampa plumbers are expected to have read and understood the city's Building Code, it is also important for residents to be familiar with the city's Building Code. This helps you to know when a plumber is trying to violate any section of the Code. All queries concerning the city's Building Code can be directed to the city's Construction Services Division at (831) 274-3100.

Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Tampa Code?

Per Section 5-105.1 of the Tampa Building Code, no homeowner or authorized agent shall install, repair, alter or remove a plumbing system without obtaining the necessary plumbing permits. However, it is not every plumbing work that requires a permit in the City of Tampa. According to Section 5-105.2 of the same Building Code, fixing leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures, without replacing any plumbing system does not require permits. While minor repairs may not require permits, it is always important to find out if your plumbing work requires permits. Note that any work performed before applying for a plumbing permit in Tampa is entirely at the risk of the homeowner and inspection of such work will not be performed until the necessary permits are obtained. Therefore, obtaining a plumbing permit will ensure that you do not perform the same plumbing work twice.

A home improvement or construction work permit can be issued to a homeowner or contractor provided that the individual meets the requirements for obtaining a permit. You can obtain a home improvement or construction work permit from the City of Tampa Construction Services Division online. Note that you are required to create a user account to use the online system. To obtain a permit, you may be required to submit the plans, specifications, or drawings of the project you want to carry out to the Construction Services Division. These drawings shall be prepared by or under the direction of a registered architect or engineer. As soon as the plans are reviewed, your plumber can then apply for the permit. Note that all permit applications must also contain the date of application, and you must pay the necessary fees for a permit to be issued.

In addition to the issuance of plumbing permits, the City of Tampa Construction Services Division also carries out inspections on the plumbing work for which a permit was issued. Note that each home improvement or construction work permit holder in Tampa is assigned a Construction Inspector. The inspector will provide you with a list of inspection requirements for residential construction projects. Common plumbing inspections in the City of Tampa include under-slab inspections, tub set inspections, rough-in inspections, sewer inspections, and irrigation inspections. Queries concerning plumbing permits and inspections can be directed to the city's Construction Services Division at (831) 274-3100.

What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?

Plumbing services in the City of Tampa generally include installation, repair, alteration, modification, and maintenance of plumbing systems. Before hiring a plumber in the City of Tampa, it is always a good idea to find out if the individual is experienced in the type of service you need. You can ask the individual how long they have been providing the service and how much they charge for the service. In addition to this, you should ask for a list of references you can contact to verify the plumber's claim.

Listed below are some of the cost estimates for plumbing services in Tampa:

Toilet installation
$185 - $500
Bathtub installation
$1,833 - $2, 300
Septic system installation
$6,000 -$10,000
Sump pump installation
$733 - 1,200
Clearing clogged or blocked drains
$100 - $250
Septic tank cleaning
$255 -$300
Swamp cooler installation
$2,000 - $2,700
Water softener installation
$1,000 - $2,000.
Well pump installation
$700 - $1,500
Sewer line cleaning
$151 - $217
Sewer line installation and repair
$52 - $70
Septic tank cleaning or pumping
$230 - $300
Drain line video inspection
$233 -$300

Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Tampa?

Tampa plumbers offer a variety of emergency plumbing services. These include, but are not limited to, fixing faulty pipes, faulty sump pumps, and dripping toilets. Unlike many other home repairs, plumbing issues require immediate attention. Ignoring a faulty plumber system can increase your water bill significantly, as well as the cost of fixing the issue in the future. It is estimated that household leaks can waste more than one trillion gallons of water annually. Leaks can increase the number of gallons of water you use per day. Residents of Tampa must understand that the more water they use, the more it costs per unit of water they will be billed. For example, every 748 gallons of water metered in Tampa carries a wastewater charge that starts at $4.7, and where wastewater charges apply, each additional unit of portable water provided will include a combined water and wastewater cost starting at $6.80. To avoid getting a high water bill at the end of the month, you must ensure that your plumbing leaks are repaired immediately.

While you are trying to speed up repairs for emergency plumbing issues in your home, it is always crucial to confirm that the individual you intend to hire is licensed and experienced enough to fix the problem. In addition to this, it is also very good to hire a plumber near you. Hiring a licensed plumber near you increases your chances of getting a professional that is familiar with the city regulations that apply to the type of work you want to do.

You can locate licensed plumbers near you using third-party websites such as Better Business Bureau, Google Reviews, and Yelp. These websites not only maintain a list of professional plumbers in your area of residence but allow customers to post reviews of plumbers they have used in the past. These reviews usually include customers' opinions on a plumber's level of expertise, work ethics, and professionalism, which can help you avoid hiring the wrong person to fix your plumbing problem. Regardless of how you come in contact with your plumber, it is still important to confirm their license status. You can do this using the DBPR's licensee search tool.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Tampa?

Contractors in the City of Tampa and other parts of Florida are required to maintain general liability insurance with limits of liability not less than $300,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and $50,000 per occurrence for property damage. Hiring a plumber that has proper insurance protects you against claims of property damage, personal injury, or death. In a report published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 309 fatal work injuries occurred in Florida in 2019, and the construction industry recorded 91 cases of work injuries. Considering the high risk of fatal injuries in the construction industry, residents of Tampa should always ensure that their plumber is covered by insurance. This will protect them from being held responsible for the medical bills of the injured persons.

In addition to liability insurance, contractors in the City of Tampa are also required to obtain a workers' compensation certificate from the Florida Division of Workers Compensation. You can verify if your plumber has a workers' compensation certificate using the division's workers compensation coverage database, or by calling (850) 488 - 2333.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Tampa

It was estimated that residents of Tampa and other cities in Florida spend over $11 billion on home improvement projects every year. Considering how much contractors can make from home improvement projects, residents of Tampa must understand that they can be targeted by unlicensed contractors and unscrupulous individuals posing as contractors. In July 2017, a New Jersey man was arrested for scamming a Palm Bay couple after posing as a plumber. State officials gathered that the man never obtained a Florida plumbing contractor license after moving to Central Florida the previous year. Similar to other home improvement scams, plumbing scams can come in various forms. These include not showing up to do the job after receiving down payment for the job, increasing estimates for the job after starting work, using inferior materials despite receiving funds for quality materials and doing shoddy work that will require you to contact them again. While these scams are often targeted at older residents, it is always important to understand that anyone can be a victim of home improvement scams. The only way to protect yourself from unscrupulous individuals is by being aware and educated about home improvement scams. You can protect yourself from plumbing scams by taking the following steps:

  • Be wary of door to door contractors and anyone that uses high-pressure sales tactics
  • Get at least three written, itemized estimates before choosing a plumber
  • Ask trusted friends and neighbors for reference, and check third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review to see what others are saying about the contractor
  • Ask the plumber for proof of licensure and verify the information using the DBPR's licensee search tool
  • Get a written contract for your project and ensure that you read and understand the details before signing an agreement
  • Do not pay for the full amount for home repairs upfront

You can report Tampa plumbing scams to the Hillsborough County Department of Development Services online, or by calling (831) 272-5600. However, reporting a matter to the Hillsborough County Department of Development Services does not guarantee that you will recover what you lost to the contractor. Residents of Tampa who desire to be paid the total amount of money they lost to the contractor can file the matter in an appropriate court. Matters that are valued at $5,000 or less can be filled with the Hillsborough County Small Claim Court.