How to bypass the Sydney Plumber gimmicks and choose a professional plumber that won’t let you down.

  • William Demirdonder
  • April 23, 2021
  • No comments
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  1. The most common plumbers gimmicks to avoid 
  2. 5 tips on how to choose the best plumber for you 
  3. Don’t be fooled by Google 
  4. Questions to ask any plumber before you choose them 
  5. Why Am I Telling You This? 
  6. What does a $0 Call out fee mean? 
  7. What sets Proximity Plumbing apart from the rest 
  8. Our promise to you – How we work 
  9. A final note about sales gimmicks


If you’ve ever Googled “Plumber Near Me” Or “I need a plumber now” in Sydney you would have been inundated with many “too good to be true” sales gimmicks.

We’ve been servicing our local, Sydney clients for ten years now so we’ve seen many cowboys come and go in the industry. They all bring a sales gimmick, lead generation tactic or two to help get clients over the line. However, we’ve seen too many clients cop the brunt of these gimmicks and be worse off for it. In fact, we’re often called in to ‘fix’ the issues these sub-par service providers have left their client’s with.

So we’d like to explain the most common Sydney Plumber gimmicks so you can learn what to avoid AND help you choose a professional plumber that won’t let you down. 

plumber gimmicks to avoid

The most common plumbers gimmicks to avoid.

Clear your blocked drain for $49

$49? Yeah right! This is a clear sales gimmick from lazy businesses that want a quick customer and will most likely charge through the roof for the actual service. Firstly, no professional plumber can guarantee a $49 blocked drain clearing without attending to your property and inspecting the blocked drain. The blocked drain may be coming from multiple reasons and some reasons could lead to time consuming and costly repairs – do you think a plumber will honour this $49 if they’ve spent five hours clearing tree roots from your pipes – NOPE.
Read more about our explanation of this type of gimmick here. 

Mention this ad for $50 OFF

You may have received a coupon in the post, or see this one in the local newspaper.
This type of sales gimmick is about getting you to book in a service, thinking you’re receiving $50 back in your pocket. Most likely, the $50 will be added to your invoice in some way, whether it’s a call out fee, overtime fee or labour parts.

 

Discount for Senior Citizens 

This is an easy gimmick to include in an ad with a specific reason – to make it easy for seniors to choose them. The trouble is, once they’re on your property you have no understanding of how much of a discount or how much they will charge you. They may show a discount on your final invoice but most probably have overcharged you for everything else.

 

SAVE $100 on a new water heater

Without knowing what type of heater, what brand, what size or any other information to do any cost comparison, this gimmick is designed to bring a customer to the business, not provide the customer with any genuine discount. If you need a new hot water heater, it’s always best to do your research and ask for the exact model, brand and breakdown of labour and time costs to get a real quote for the work involved.

 

We’ll arrive on time or we pay you $100

Time is money! Now because of the stigma surrounding tradies (plumbers especially) that they are always late, always slow, take a lot of time to finish a job etc, this gimmick sounds great. However, it’s just another HOOK to REEL you in.

Most professional, licensed plumbers will arrive on time because (like us at Proximity Plumbing) they are established with a team, work to a professional scheduled calendar and don’t make promises on services they can’t keep, so they will arrive on time and that $100 goes out the window. Now, flip a coin, if the plumber is late and woo hoo you gain $100 – that will be reflected somewhere else on your invoice. 

End result – it’s $100 you’ll never see. It’s not real. 

 

plumber gimmicks to avoid

5 tips on how to choose the best plumber for you

 

1. Do you research

Look them up online, look at how professional their business is presented. Is this a legit business or looks a little dodgy? Search the license and make sure they’re registered and a professional, licensed plumber.

2. Look at reviews

Real reviews will tell you so much about a business. At Proximity Plumbing, we are proud to say we have over 300 real, 5-star google reviews. You can check them out here.

3. Call around

Pick up the phone! Call at least three plumbers and ask them all the questions we’ve listed below in this article. This will help you separate the cowboys from the professionals. 

4. Specifics

If you’re looking for a plumber for a specific issue you have right now, for example, you need pipe relining or a pipe replacement, then ask the plumbers you call about their experience in that specific issue. 

5. Be Clear On The Quote Process 

Most professional plumbers will not be able to give you an exact quote without attending to your property and getting eyes on the problem. If a plumber gives you a locked in quote over the phone having no knowledge of what they’re working with, avoid this plumber. 

 

Don’t be fooled by Google 

Google is a business, and like any business wanting to make money, they are focused on two key things. One, user intent and a close second is making money.

Today, 65% of small-to-midsized plumbing businesses invest in pay-per-click advertising. The average small plumbing business using Google Ads spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per month on their Google paid search campaigns. That’s $100,000 to $120,000 per year.

You’re not alone in wondering “If Google isn’t right, then what is right in the world!?” But don’t worry, we will simplify how google splits the search page into three different areas, so you know what you’re looking at. 

  1. Paid Adds – These are found at the top of the page and are designed to GRAB your immediate attention. The average “local” plumbers are bidding up to $110 Per Click in the hope that you foolishly click on their ad. 
  2. Local Search – Google knows all, and they are kind enough to share the real locations of its plumbers and the location of where the business is actually based. Plumbing businesses that are physically based geographically near you will always be at the top of the results for this section. This is a key point! Even better; yet you get to see their star ratings and the number of credible reviews they have. 
  3. Organic Search – These results are from Google. Based on all the information Google has, it’s who they perceive as being the best plumber near you. Thanks, Google! But in all seriousness Google: the main goal is understanding user intent and providing the best and most relevant organic search results for your search terms. 

Now you know what you’re looking at when Google brings up its results for a Plumber Near You! For more information on How to hack your google results, read this article. 

 

Five key questions you should ask any plumber:

1. Do you service my suburb (and how fast can you get here)?

This is a two-parter question. So you want to know where they predominantly work; is your suburb part of their service area AND how fast can they make it to you. This is especially important in an emergency – you don’t want to book in a plumber to fix your emergency then be told it’s a three-hour wait until someone can make it to you!

This question is important for Sydneysiders because a lot of the gimmicky, cowboy plumbers are based far outside of Sydney, especially far outside of the eastern suburbs and could take HOURS to arrive at your property. At Proxomity Plumbing, we offer a 30-minute onsite guarantee. We can do this because we are true local, eastern suburbs based plumbing team with multiple fully equipped vans and many team members. 

2. Are you a licensed plumber?

Please, please, please ask this question!

In Australia, plumbers need a license to practice their trade. This is true for most states and territories. A licensed plumber means a professionally trained plumber is working on your pipes and not an amateur. You can always do a quick search to see if your plumber is licensed or a google search to check if their website has any extra credentials (like whether they’re a member of any industry-based associations such as Master Plumbers).

Follow This link to check your preferred contractor https://www.onegov.nsw.gov.au/publicregister/#/publicregister/search/Trades

Service NSW offers this link which will tell you about current, expired and cancelled licences under the name, licence number or ABN/ACN being searched. It is important to check the tradesperson engaged has a current licence to ensure they have the appropriate qualifications for the work you want to be done. 

3. How much do you charge?

We all want to know we’re paying for quality services and not being ripped off! So, before saying “yes” to any plumber coming to your property and helping your plumbing emergency make sure you’re clear on their rates and how they charge you.

For example, they may have a call-out fee plus an hourly fee. They may have an “emergency” surcharge. They may charge per job or per half hour. They may only take credit cards or only take cash.

Look for professionalism at every step and make sure you are comfortable with the rates mentioned. Ask if there are no “extra” or “hidden” charges and whether the rate includes GST.
This is especially true if you’re contacting a plumber with a ‘too good to be true’ offer or coupon or $49 service.

At Proximity Plumbing, we have a free quote service include in our $0 call out fee and our prices are explained thoroughly before we start so there is no surprise at the end of the job. We don’t inflate prices for emergencies and for larger jobs we do offer a payment plan option.

4. Will you be the plumber arriving at my home?

You want to know who is coming into your home and whether or not they are as professional/qualified as the person you’re speaking to on the phone! Gone are the days of “I’ll just send the apprentice”. You are paying good money for a service that needs expert hands, make sure you’re 100% aware and satisfied with the person who will be fixing your plumbing issue.

If the job is for a specific issue (for example, a busted hot water system) there may be a plumber on the crew who is best suited to that issue. Have the representative you’re speaking with explain why and tell them a little bit about that person (ie. are they also licensed, are they also able to attend ASAP, will they honor the payment rates you’ve already discussed).

5. What’s the process when you arrive at my home?

Here’s where you can start to see the differences between amateurs and professionals so it’s a key question to ask! If the plumber you’re speaking with can easily answer this question and provide a step by step process of how your plumbing team will arrive at your home, assess your issue, treat your home and leave the scene then you’re onto a pro. 

 

Why am I telling you this?

For two reasons:

  1. No plumber can honestly quote you a price over the phone or internet to fix your plumbing issue if they have not ‘had eyes’ on the situation. They will have no idea of your property’s layout, pipe and drainage system or past plumbing issues. It’s a bit like a doctor going in blind to an operation they have no idea what the issue is or how long it will take but you want to know how much it will cost you before they start.
    It’s one of the reasons we offer a $0 call out fee to inspect your home’s plumbing issue.
  2. I’m telling you this because I’m passionate about raising awareness in our community for these “cowboy” plumbers and letting you know there are other, more professional and safe options available. I would love to see a time where our industry and its professionals are not known as rip off merchants, but professional and well-respected tradespeople. That’s what we’re all about at Proximity Plumbing. 

What Does A $0 Call Out Fee Mean? Is this another gimmick?

‘$0 call-out fee’ means that we DO NOT charge you to arrive at your door, between business hours (8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

Before we start any work to help you with your plumbing issue, we provide you with a quote AFTER we have inspected your plumbing issue.

We provide you with an upfront FIXED price that will be discussed. This is so that you don’t have any ‘bill shock’ at the end of your service and there are NO hidden costs. Often there is more than one way to tackle any issue, so we even go to the effort of providing more than one option for each service so YOU DECIDE what you’d like to do. Providing great service, quality workmanship, and expert advice to our customers is the top priority for our team at Proximity Plumbing.


$0 call out fee is not a sales gimmick, it’s a genuine offer for you to test our plumber’s professionalism and technical knowledge out before you decide to invest in our workmanship. It’s a way for you as a client to feel comfortable with our company before you agree to our quote and say yes to us completing your plumbing service.

 

Our Promise To You – How we work. 

When you call our Proximity Plumbing team we will assess your plumbing issue or emergency over the phone, as you talk with a real person! We will give you tips on how to turn off the water/clean-up/contain the damage until we arrive (if it’s an emergency) or schedule the next available plumber to your location. 

Thanks to our service scheduling software, our plumbers know exactly where they’re going and will arrive at your home on time (in one of our snazzy Proximity Plumbing vans). They will be in uniform and introduce themselves to you; telling you who they are and where they’re from courteously. 

Our plumbers will always remove work boots or cover them to protect your home’s floors. Our plumbers will assess the plumbing issue, provide you with information, and a breakdown of the cost involved before they get started. You’ll have the chance to ask any questions.

The work will be completed with minimal impact to your home and with as much care as possible. The workspace will be clean and neat when we leave, and you’ll even have a lovely home candle to say Thank You for choosing us and to help make the home smell lovely once we leave. 

Now that’s a simple break down of our process and when you hire a professional plumber they should have a process very similar to ours. If they can’t articulate that over the phone maybe it’s best to keep searching until you find one who can (or call us).


Final Note About Sales Gimmicks

There are quality, professional plumbers out there! If you take care as a consumer; do your research, trust your gut and don’t fall for the ‘too good to be true’ gimmicks then you’ll be able to choose an excellent service provider.

If you are experiencing a plumbing problem or emergency please call us now and speak to our friendly team member over the phone. We will be able to help you book in a call out (a free call out) and assess your plumbing issue. You can also book in a service online, by clicking here.

 

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