Many customers have complained about being overcharged by their plumber after forking out thousands for a simple job such as commercial kitchen fitout. So how can we prevent spending too much next time we need our pipes unblocked?
The majority of plumbers are professional and charge their clients a fair amount, however the highly in-demand nature of the industry has allowed for some shifty people to prey on innocent clients. Here’s how to find a good catch:
Do your research
Word-of-mouth recommendations are arguably the best way to find top quality plumbers, but if you can’t get any, you’ll have to do some online research instead.
Of course, this assumes that you have the time to do so – an overflowing toilet is a pretty urgent situation that may require you to call the closest plumber around. The Institute of Plumbing has a reputable website which provides a directory of registered plumbers; this is a great way to find a plumber near you via postcode. Alternatively, you can look them up using the Yellow Pages.
Once you’ve located a plumber, you’ll want to assess them for quality. You can do this by:
- Asking them how long they have been working for and if you can visit their premises
- Asking them for references
- Asking them if you can see any examples of work they have performed
- Asking them if they have insurance for your property – and your neighbour’s property
- Asking them if they guarantee their work and back this up with insurance; and
- Finding out if they are an official trade body member (e.g. APHC); this requires them to adhere to a code of practice.
No matter how reassuring they are over the phone, it’s important to check that they are appropriately qualified. You can do this by visiting them in person, viewing their past work and checking with trade bodies.
Also make sure that you call several different plumbers to compare – and get different quotes.
How much should you pay?
There are no official guidelines around how much you should be charged by a plumber. This makes it essential to get a number of different quotes, so that you can get an average price; if one charges $2000 for a job and another charges $200, this is a clear sign that you need to do more research.
The APHC suggests avoiding plumbers that require you to pay a large amount of the fee upfront. While a deposit is okay, any more than 50% is too much. Make sure you agree to a price before they start work so you don’t get a rude shock at the end.
Get a written contract
Getting your plumber to give you a written contract before commencing work is an excellent way to establish the price and keep you safe legally if something goes wrong. This contract should include a full description of the work that will be done, the plumber’s agreed upon quote, start and end dates for the work, and information on any guarantees. You might also want to take notes of the work as it goes on.
How to make a complaint
If you have a bad experience and are dissatisfied with the outcome, the best place to start is with your plumber in question. Make a complaint in writing specifying the problem, your desired solution and a time frame, and in most cases they will be happy to help. If this doesn’t help, you can then go through their registered trade organisation’s complaints procedure. If they aren’t a member of any trade bodies you will have to take them to court.
If you’re doing your big day on a small budget, creating your own wedding cards is a great alternative to purchasing expensive cards through a designer.
Planning a marital ceremony can be stressful – it’s important that making your own cards is straightforward and hassle free. Thankfully, there are a number of digital resources that make the process incredibly easy – and also a lot of fun!
You don’t need to be a skilled designer to DIY your wedding invitations; tools like Canva and Adobe Spark allow you to create them with ease, erase your mistakes, try different options and share your designs with friends. Of course, you can make your cards as simple or as complex as you like – it all depends on what you’re after and how much time you have to spend on them.
Figure out your wording
The first step in the design process is to decide what information you’ll be including on your wedding invitations. Open up a Word document and figure out your wording, making sure to include details like request, time and date, names, location and RSVP details.
Sketch (or choose) a design
You’ll then need to decide what you want your design to look like. Online evite sites will generally provide you with a gallery of premade options, or you can start your own from scratch. Get inspired by other designs online and then draw a rough sketch on a piece of paper to get an idea of what you want. Make sure you establish what theme and colour scheme you’ll be using, too.
Select your shape and size
Evite sites offer a number of different shapes and sizes for printing your wedding invitations. You might be content with the traditional 5 x 7 inch rectangle or you might want to be a bit different and opt for a square one. Whatever you desire, you can have!
Choose your images
Choose images that pair well with your theme. If you’re having a romantic fairy-tale affair, flowers will look great. If you’re having a celestial marital ceremony, look for star and moon images. Ensure that you use images that you’re allowed to use – public domain unless you’ve paid for your images.
Select a typography style
Your choice of typefaces will have a huge impact on the overall look of your wedding invitations given the importance of text in this context. Bold or script typefaces generally work best for headings (such as the names of the couple getting hitched), whereas thin, regular and easy-to-read typefaces are ideal for secondary text. Other typography pairings include thick and thin, serif and sans-serif, and regular and italics.
Figure out printing
Working out how to print your wedding invitations properly is often the most stressful part of the process – it’s unfortunately all too easy for a print job to go wrong! First, establish what kind of paper you want to print on. Options include matte, parchment, marble, vellum, glassine, recycled and linen.
Next, decide what printing method you’d like to use – this can potentially be expensive as you may need to hire someone with the appropriate tools. Letterpress presses letter plates into the paper to create a lovely indented look. Engraving allows you to create raised letters on your wedding invitations but is quite costly. Digital or offset printing is the cheapest option, ideal for people who want to print at home.
If you’re printing your cards through a business (and not your home printer), make sure to do so far in advance of your marital ceremony to ensure they arrive on time and look the way you want them to.
Most businesses rely on some form of promotional, written media to help sell their business offerings and services. Because of rising business costs, a lot of firms are moving to overseas providers, ultimately outsourcing these processes to cheaper, international firms. However, it’s important to not forget about your local print shops like Carbon8, because they can bring a variety of terrific advantages for your business. Let’s check some of them out.
Going to one of your local print shops is a good choice because you can get in touch with them with greater ease. They operate in the same time zone as you for a start, but it also means you can call up for a quick, personal meeting if needed. Basically, working with a local provider brings a greater level of flexibility and understanding when it comes to your daily tasks.
An added benefit of dealing with local print shops is the social awareness aspect. Because their business operates in the same geographical region as yours, there is already an implied consensus and agreement on certain social aspects of your work-related needs. Both parties can essentially work together to build a product or campaign that understands the full impact of its actions (e.g. worker safety, care for the community, equality and diversity).
It’s also a more environmentally ethical decision to choose local print shops. Shipping costs are far cheaper if you go with a local option, meaning your emissions and carbon impact per campaign run is far less.
A lot of business owners opt for the international option because of one thing – money. Whilst their services might be cheaper than your local print shops, once you factor in shipping, establishment costs and other fees, the differences in price are largely incidental. You might even find that it’s worth paying a slightly higher fee if you know that you can get access to your provider with greater ease (in other words, they more than make up for the slightly higher price). Moreover, you might even find that your local supplier will match the cheaper alternative, meaning the whole price factor is negligible.
More personalised service
Let’s face it – if you decide to go with one of the cheaper print shops overseas, you might run into a few problems. One of the big drawbacks is the fact that their capacity to offer personalised services is hindered by the fact that they operate overseas and likely won’t have anyone domestic who can assist you.
You might also have to contend with a language barrier, which could be difficult if you don’t have the necessary language skills (or people) to be able to effectively communicate with someone conversing in a different language or via broken English.
Another benefit of seeking out one of your local print shops is the fact that you have a greater chance of delivering a far more polished and accurate project. If there are any concerns or some sense of confusion related to your project, speaking to a local provider to clarify any issues is far easier than having to wait a few hours to get in contact with an international provider.
At the end of the day, the choice is up to you when it comes to finding the best print shops in your industry. Whilst you might be able to save costs by outsourcing your needs to an overseas company, there are certainly some drawbacks related to that decision. If you want more personalised services, flexibility and security in knowing you can easily get in touch with your provider, then going local is always a safe bet.
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