Reputation may not be the only determining factor when choosing a plumber. But it certainly plays a major role.

A good reputation needs to be earned. And when it comes to plumbing—be it for a new bathroom, leaking or blocked pipes, or even repairs after a natural disaster—then good reviews and feedback can help you find a great plumbing contractor and avoid shady dealers.

How to Determine a Reliable Plumber

If you are looking to hire a reliable plumber in Canberra, the first thing you should check is customer reviews. Some companies may post these on their websites; although you can also do a web search to see if there has been discussion elsewhere. Look not only for general feedback too but also for comments specifically on their performance, price and specific services.

Word of mouth is also excellent in determining a plumbing contractor's reputation.

Look for a Licence

Of course, any plumber you are considering hiring should also be registered. Organisations such as Fair Trade NSW, Master Builders in Queensland and the ACT Planning and Landing Authority may have information on plumbers licensing and be able to refer you to licensed plumbers in your area.

Registration varies from one state to the next. But in general, you will also need to confirm that the plumber is licensed to perform the specific work you are after (there may be different classes of licence available). Licensing is a legal requirement that helps protect the consumer.

Most plumbers will display their licence number on their website or pamphlet. If it is not, then politely ask.

You can also check with the licensing body in your state or territory.

Money matters

A plumber with a good reputation should be upfront in terms of money and pricing. You will need a written quote before deciding to take on any plumber. Check that it is detailed and includes both labour and material costs.

If in doubt, query your contractor. The best way to avoid disputes is to be clear on every aspect of the job from day one.

Services may vary as well. But, in general, a plumber will ask for 10% of the total fee as a deposit, unless it's a job over $20K, in which case it is likely to be 5%.

If anyone asks you for the full fee upfront, politely exit the building. It is not standard practice to demand prepayment and does not bode well for an honest and reliable plumber.