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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plumber in Sacramento

A typical single-family residence in Sacramento pays less than $120 for water used monthly. If you found your water bill far in excess of this amount, leaks from your faucets, showerheads, toilets, or outdoor pipes may be responsible. To save yourself some good money and save the city up to 100,000 gallons of water in a year, contract a qualified plumber in the city to help fix undetected leakages. However, before you conclude on hiring any plumber always ask the following questions to be certain the plumber is good for the job:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in Sacramento?

Plumbers who wish to operate in Sacramento are required to obtain state-issued licenses from the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) before doing so. Failing to meet this requirement can lead to statutory penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and incarceration of up to six months, as well as administratively-issued fines of up to $15,000. Note that repeat offenders receive steeper punishments. Also, plumbers in Sacramento who do not provide services that are not valued up to $500 are exempt from obtaining CSLB-issued licenses.

Persons who wish to obtain a plumbing contractor or any other type of plumbing-related license from the CSLB must be up to 18 years old. These persons must also be able to provide acceptable documentation that indicates that they have attained a minimum of four years of plumbing-related journeyman-level work experience. Once this documentation has been verified, these parties will be required to fill out an Application for Original Contractor License, which should be submitted to the CSLB, along with a non-refundable application fee. Applicants who provide incorrect information in the application form are typically contacted by the CSLB to provide the right information, and failure to do this within 90 days will result in the license application being automatically withdrawn.

Likewise, applicants who have their application forms reviewed and accepted by the CSLB will also be contacted with details for a licensing examination, which they must pass before they can obtain the requested license. The licensing examination consists of two parts: a business portion and a trade portion. However, the CSLB has a reciprocity program under which qualified applicants from the states of Nevada and Arizona may waive the trade portion of its licensing examination for plumbers.

Before hiring any plumber in Sacramento, you should always confirm that this individual possesses a valid CSLB-issued license. You can do this online via the CSLB's Check a Contractor License webpage. You can also contact the CSLB via phone number (800) 321-2752 to make inquiries concerning its plumbing license requirements and to confirm the licensing status of your intended plumber.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in Sacramento?

Plumbing costs in Sacramento are affected by several factors. These factors include the type of service that the hired plumber is expected to provide, the cost of materials and permits that the plumbing job may require, the amount of labor required to get the job done, and the plumber's level of experience. When hiring any plumber in the city, it is always a good idea to get estimates from at least three different plumbers to get an idea of the average going rate for your required plumbing service in your neighborhood.

A plumber in Sacramento earns an annual average wage of $64,020. Below is a breakdown of the Average hourly wages for plumbers in Sacramento compared with plumbers in other parts of California and other major cities in the country:

Sacramento Plumber Hourly Average Wage
California Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Los Angeles Plumber Hourly Average Wage
New York City Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Houston Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Philadelphia Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Jacksonville Plumber Hourly Average Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the Sacramento Building Code for Plumbing?

Title 15 of the Sacramento City Codes regulates the alteration, relocation, reconstruction, or repair of plumbing equipment installed or used on or within any property, building, or structure in Sacramento. This title, which is also referred to as the Sacramento City Building Code, is implemented to provide the minimum standards required for the protection of public safety, property, health, and welfare in the city as regards the use of plumbing systems and equipment.

Hiring a plumber who is knowledgeable and skilled enough to implement the relevant requirements of the Sacramento City Building Code is a very important qualification to look out for when searching for plumbers near you. While licensed plumbers in the city generally meet this requirement, you should always get confirmation on this from your intended plumber.

It is also a good idea to contact the Sacramento Community Development Department's Building Division at (916) 808-5318 to get information on the requirements of the city's building code that applies to your intended plumbing project. It is important to note that violations of the Sacramento City Building Code are considered misdemeanors and are punishable by fines of up to $25,000.

Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the Sacramento Code?

All plumbing work that is done in Sacramento is regulated by the Sacramento City Building Code. Per this code's requirements, plumbing permits must be obtained for projects that involve the construction, addition, remodeling, and repair of plumbing systems in the city. Permit issuance is handled by the Sacramento Building Division, and interested parties can obtain plumbing permits by contacting the Building Division's Public Counter at:

300 Richards Boulevard
3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811

Note that appointments are typically required for parties that wish to apply for these plumbing permits. These appointments can be scheduled via email or by calling (916) 808-5838. When making this appointment, you will be required to provide the following information:

  • The site address of your project
  • The nature and scope of the project. This includes whether the project is residential or commercial.
  • Your contact information, including your email address and phone number

If your plumbing permit application involves a plan check, you can submit the necessary plans online via the Sacramento Citizen Portal. Likewise, permit applications for minor residential plumbing work like fixture replacements, sewer repair and replacement, and the re-plumbing of supply and draining piping can also be made online via the Citizen Portal. Sacramento provides members of the public with information and assistance on how to utilize its Citizen Portal, the portal's homepage.

However, it should be noted that a user account is required before this portal can be accessed for the submission of plans and permit applications. Also, while plumbing permit applications may be made by any interested party in Sacramento, these permits can only be issued to property owners, licensed contractors, and authorized agents of any of these individuals.

Finally, once the plumbing permit has been issued and your plumbing work commences, the Sacramento Building Division will be required to carry out inspections before any parts of the work are covered or concealed. These inspections are done to ensure that your work complies with the necessary building code requirements, and your plumbing project is not considered approved until all required inspections have been completed. You can direct plumbing permit and inspection-related questions to the Sacramento Building Division at (916) 808-5318 or via email. Queries related specifically to the online plan submission and check process can also be directed to this division via email.

What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?

Plumbers in Sacramento generally offer a wide variety of residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal plumbing services to interested customers in the city. These services include general plumbing repair services, water pipe replacements, leak detections, sewer video inspections, real estate plumbing, and faucet repair and installation. However, before hiring any plumber near you, it is important to make sure that this plumber is skilled enough and also has the proper tools and equipment to fix your specific plumbing problem.

In addition, you should also make sure that this plumber's services fall within the confines of your budget. Provided below is a list of the average costs of common plumbing services offered in Sacramento:

Commercial plumbing services (per hour)
$110 - $125
Residential plumbing services (per hour)
$85 - $95
1,500 sf home addition or remodeling plumbing
$5,050 - $6,545
Drain line video inspection
$300 - $345
Clearing drain clog or blockage
$145 - $175
Toilet installation or replacement
$175 - $190
Bathtub installation
$1,790 - $2,240
Water main installation or repair (per linear foot)
$35v - $60
Septic system installation for a 3-bedroom house
$8,500 - $10,135
Septic tank cleaning or pumping for a 1,000-gallon tank
$315 - $375
Sewer line installation and repair (per linear foot)
$70 - $90
Sewer line cleaning
$200 - $310
Submersible sump pump installation
$985 - $1,420

Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in Sacramento?

Ignoring household leaks is estimated to add an extra 10% in fees to water bills across the United States. With residents of Sacramento paying close to $100 monthly for water fees, every plumbing problem in the city should generally be treated as an emergency. Delaying these problems not only increases your overall water consumption and inevitably raises your water costs but also adds other financial burdens on you through potential damage to your home and property. Ignoring plumbing issues also poses health hazards, such as mold and mildew growth, and also provides an enabling environment for pests and rodent infestation. Some examples of plumbing issues that should be resolved as soon as they are noticed include burst pipes and broken water outlets, overflowing toilets, backed-up sewers, and water heater failure.

Considering the sensitive nature of emergency plumbing issues, it is always in your best interest to retain the services of a licensed and duly qualified plumber to handle these types of matters. This is because hiring an unqualified or ill-equipped plumber to handle your emergency plumbing problem can end up causing more damage to you, your property, and any other residents of this property.

As such, when in need of emergency plumbing services near you, it is advisable to get referrals to qualified plumbers from reputable sources. These include the contractor directories provided and maintained by the California Contractors State License Board and the Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors Association, as well as third-party professional review websites like Google Reviews and Better Business Bureau. Note that you should always make sure that any plumbers you intend to hire via these sources are qualified to operate in Sacramento by confirming that they possess a current and active plumbing license.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in Sacramento?

Plumbers face numerous hazards on the job, including slips, trips, and falls, and exposure to harmful chemicals. According to data published by the California Department of Industrial Relations and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2019, a total of four fatal and 37,800 nonfatal work-related injuries occurred amongst plumbers in California and across the country, respectively.

As such, the importance of hiring insured plumbers cannot be overlooked. Working with an uninsured plumber opens you up to financial liabilities if this plumber gets hurt while working on your job. While plumbers are not statutorily required to have general liability insurance plans in Sacramento, they are recommended to do so by the CSLB, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your intended plumber follows this recommendation.

However, it should be noted that any plumber who employs workers, albeit just one, is mandated to maintain a valid workers' compensation insurance plan. Likewise, plumbers in Sacramento are also required to post a minimum surety bond of $15,000 to maintain their licenses. You can confirm the details of your intended plumber's insurance and bonding by requesting proof of these and contacting the organizations that issued the relevant plans and bonds. You can also contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752 to get more information on the insurance and bonding requirements for Sacramento plumbers.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in Sacramento

In 2017, it was reported that an elderly Sacramento woman was almost defrauded by unlicensed contractors in the area to the tune of about $16,000. Luckily, this woman was able to realize the scam early on and also get the con artists arrested. Unfortunately, not everyone else can be this lucky. As such, when hiring plumbers near you, it is important to look out for signs that your intended plumber may be more interested in fraudulently obtaining money from you instead of doing the required job. Some red flags to look out for when hiring a plumber in Sacramento include:

  • The plumber arrives at your doorstep unsolicited.
  • The plumber tries to use high-pressure sales or scare tactics to get you to retain their services
  • The plumber claims to have leftover materials from a previous job and offers to use them for your project at a discounted fee
  • The plumber cannot provide evidence of a CSLB-issued license
  • The plumber is reluctant to provide a written contract
  • The plumber demands cash payments or asks that checks be made out to an individual instead of a business
  • The plumber does not have a local telephone number

Some precautionary measures that you can take when hiring a plumber near you to prevent falling victim to a contractor scam include:

  • Always verify the license of any plumber you intend to hire, either online or by calling (800) 321-2752. You should also confirm that the plumber is not included in the CSLB's list of most wanted contractors
  • Be wary of door-to-door or unsolicited plumbing repair offers, especially if the plumbers try to use scare tactics to get you to retain their services.
  • Always insist on a clear, well-detailed contract for any plumbing project that you intend to undertake.
  • Confirm the insurance and bonding status of your intended plumber
  • Never pay cash or make out checks to individuals
  • Limit initial payments to 10% of the total value of the project or $1,000, whichever is less, and do not make final payment until you are satisfied with the work done by the plumber
  • Keep proper records of all documents related to your plumbing project

Finally, you should report all plumbing and contractor-related scams, either by filing a construction complaint with the CSLB or by completing and mailing a consumer fraud complaint form to the Sacramento County District Attorney's Consumer and Environmental Protection Division at:

906 G Street
Suite 730
Sacramento, CA 95814

The completed consumer fraud complaint form can also be submitted via email or fax to (916) 321-2232. It should be noted that filing a complaint with either of these offices does not guarantee you monetary restitution or any other sort of personal remedy for the actions of the fraudulent plumber. However, you may be able to obtain these personal remedies by taking private legal action against the plumber at an appropriate Sacramento County Superior Courthouse.

It is advisable to retain the services of a qualified lawyer if you decide to take this route. You can find qualified lawyers near you by utilizing the resources made available to interested members of the public by the Sacramento County Bar Association via its lawyer referral and information services webpage.